Are you ready to start this London walking tour and explore Westminster, Borough Market, Tower Bridge with your local guide, Me!?
Check the forecast and if you can, pick a sunny day… Basically, any day but raining will work! (Above all, if it will be pouring, fine, take the umbrella).
I recommend you to wake up early and have breakfast at the famous Borough Market. It was established back in the 13th century and definitely it’s worthy to stop.
I’m a big lover of markets. I always have the feeling that the food is fresher and more organic.
So, since I moved to London, I visited many of them but my favourite food market, is without doubt Borough Market.
Let’s catch any public transport that goes to London Bridge which is where Borough Market is. However, do not get confused with Borough Tube Station, which is close, but not the closest one.
Hassle-free tip: Are you already lost? Face London Bridge/The Thames, you will see The Shard in your right, the market will be in your left.
I always suggest going to Borough Market after 9 am, for instance, locals will have finished breakfast and already leading to the office.
Wait, don’t rush! Don’t buy your freshly made pastry or sausage roll just yet, discover all the options first.
Best places where to eat at Borough Market for breakfast:
- Sweet: Bread Ahead, famous bakery school of Borough Market. Directly from the bakery to your hand just in a couple of steps. They have a couple of stands, go directly to the bakery and you will have a nice view over the kitchen. It’s very cool to see bread makers and smell freshly baked bread.
- Porridge? Very popular and rich dish. Lead to Stoney Street by 26 Grains.
- Sour: The Ginger Pig, very famous butcher of London but also, they sell the best sausage roll in Borough Market.
- Coffee: Monmouth Coffee Company. If you see a long queue, that is the right place. Locals buy coffee beans from all over the World. One thing to remember, they have only regular milk. (Unless they recently decided to offer alternative options). The place is very tiny, and you may not seat. They have a toilet in the basement, you can’t tell that they have it. (Just in case you need it).
That is all for now. Do not worry… We will come back later for a late lunch.
Hassle-free tip: Avoid Saturdays. On Sundays, the market is closed. However, if you are into architecture this is the perfect day to go. Tuesday to Thursday are the least busy day. Please check the opening hours.
Discovering Tower Bridge
Don’t look for a subway in London Bridge. There isn’t one. Eventually you can use the tube’ subway to across the street but it doesn’t really make a big difference, as the are couple of traffic lights there.
Anyway, now that we are on the other side of the street, walk alongside The Thames.
Therefore on your way during your London walking tour you will find few landmarks:
- The Shard, built by Renzo Piano. It’s the tallest building in the United Kingdom (for the moment);
- Hay’s Galleria, you can’t miss that. There is a beautiful sculpture called “The Navigator” which actually honour the origins of the place, as it was one of the major wharves of London;
- HMS Belfast was a warship used during II WW now is one of the five branches of the Imperial War Museums (There is the IWM in Lambeth, about 10/15 mins away from there);
Now, that we are closer to Tower Bridge, you can take as many photos that you wish.
It looks like a bridge just came out from a fairy-tale book. (It must be the light blue hue. Before 1977 was brown and before was greenish and blue). Did you know?
Hassle-free tips: what if your photo will have a lift drawbridge? It doesn’t happen too often, better to check.
Best thing to see in London bridge:
In addition to this walking tour, if you have time, there are other 4 locations that you can easily reach from here and will give you a sweet view of London:
- Tower of London, formerly a castle and a prison. Here you can admire The Crown Jewels. Also, it’s one of the seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in London.
- St. Katharine Dock’s Marina is peaceful and magic. You fill like being elsewhere with the Shard in the background.
- What about a walk at 42 metres above the Thames on a glass floor?
- Do you like my header image? That is from my secret favourite spot… I would love to share it with you, Drop me a line. Otherwise next time I will go to take a photo I will have to queue. It’s a very narrow place and sometimes when the Thames is in flood you can’t really go to close. (I hope you will understand).
Perfect, It’s time to resume your London walking tour, probably you are starting to be hungry too.
the best lunch at borough market:
Just few more suggestions:
- Focaccia/Sandwich made with Italian delicious cured meats, The black Pig;
- London raclette made with rich, unpasteurised, full milk cheese and pickles at Kappacasein;
- Italian food, Padella is an extremely popular restaurant offering a large variety of Pasta dishes. Walk-in only.
- Rock Oysters, fresh and delicious. Richard Haward’s Oysters offers this exquisite food for almost 30 yrs.
- The restaurant specialised in cocoa beans (for savour and sweet dishes) Rabot 1745;
- Vegan ice cream, at Ruby & Grace;
- Fudge is a sugar candy. If you don’t know what it’s, give it a try. Go to Whirld’s stand
Wonderful! A full tummy will give us the boost needed to get closer to the end of the London Walking Tour.
From Borough Market to london eye
Before to leave Borough Market we still have to see few things.
Here, we can find the oldest gothic church in London, Southwark Cathedral. Also, inside is possible to see Shakespeare’s and his brother Edmund’s memorials. During your walk, (close to Wagamama) there is a mural of Shakespeare.
Just few steps away from the mural there is the 800 year old pub, The Anchor. Inside you can still see cubby holes used to hide by pirates, smugglers and prostitutes clients.
Continue to walk, we will find in front of us the reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Just after, you will see the oldest houses in the area. Cardinal’s Wharf dated back to the 18th century. (Cute and colourful doors will catch your attention. I love the yellow door).
Keep walking and finally, in front of us, we will have the Tate Modern. The entrance is free. Only if you wish to visit certain exhibitions you will have to pay.
Hassle-free tip: Have a quick pit stop at the terrace bar and enjoy the great view.
However, there is something else here, Millennium Bridge (which is pedestrian) links directly the museum to St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Should you visit St. Paul’s Cathedral or not?
Here if you wish, you can cross the river and discover the Cathedral, if not, you can keep it for another day.
If you decide to come with me to Westminster Bridge, then we still have to walk a bit.
Hassle-free tip: Please, do not walk side by side if you are more than two, as the area is full of locals going out for a run and I have to be honest. Have to speed up and slow down constantly is annoying. Sorry 😊
During your walk you will pass in front of important and interesting places, for instance:
- Royal National Theatre, speaking about architecture you won’t be really impressed.
- Southbank skate space, it’s there since the 70’;
- Southbank Centre, a complex of three buildings that create the largest art centre in Europe;
- Royal Festival Hall, is part of Southbank Centre and it was the first building after the II WW to be listed as Grade I.
- London Eye, you are probably used to see it with red lights, since February 2020 something changed. More precisely Lastminute.com took over the sponsorship, hence now London Eye is pink lighted.
Right, we are at the end of our London walking tour. I guess I must have exhausted you with all this walking. In conclusion, if you still wish to carry on your tour, take a photo with the Big Ben or visit Westminster Abbey.
The best tip if you wish to see london from above, spending nothing:
Just one last suggestion: If you are looking to watch London from above, do not pay. You can do it for free at Sky Garden. However, you have to book in advance.
Hassle-free tips: However, If you missed this opportunity, my other option will be The Shard, not what you think, not the view. (It will be too high in my opinion and you will see only roofs, same reason why I’m not a big fan of London Eye. I did it once, but I didn’t really enjoy it. This is just my opinion).
I used to work at the Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard and :
- Afternoon tea at Ting Lounge or eventually Ting Restaurant both of them requires smart casual dress code. The only difference between lounge and restaurant is the view, Lounge face north and Restaurant east (on the top of London Bridge railways). Request a window table, but as you do everyone else does it. Try to book as soon as possible. Normally, the requests are accommodated by date of the booking (elder)/special occasion.
- Have a fancy drink at Gong Bar. Smart elegant dress code required. Again, for the booking follow the suggestion above.
I hope you enjoyed this London walking tour. If you followed even a suggestion from this post I would like to hear from you, leave a comment. Please, give me your feedback. It will be very helpful.
See you soon,