12 Top-Notch Things to Do in London Bridge (2023)
As a globetrotter with a penchant for all things British, I’ve become quite the connoisseur of London’s charm; let me tell you, there’s one area that truly “bridges” the gap between history, culture, entertainment, and cuisine: the iconic London Bridge area.
With its stunning riverside views and captivating mix of modernity and antiquity, it’s no wonder that this vibrant neighborhood has become one of the city’s hottest spots for visitors and locals alike. Neighboring Bankside is also worth exploring during your London itinerary.
In the lively London Bridge area, there’s always something to tickle your fancy, whether you’re an art aficionado, a foodie, or a history buff. From the soaring heights of The Shard to the hidden depths of the historic Borough Market, this neighborhood is teeming with adventures just waiting to be uncovered.
So, buckle up, dear traveler, and join me as we embark on a cheeky jaunt through the top things to do in London Bridge.
Eat Your Way Through Borough Market
Borough Market is one of the top things to do in London Bridge. The market’s credentials are impressive, dating back to the 12th century. Its range of over 100 stalls is diverse — from fresh fish and produce to boutique skincare products, specialty items, and unique souvenirs from London.
A highlight is the Green Market, where a wide variety of the best street food in London awaits. Whatever your taste buds desire, Borough Market has got you covered. With the venue open every day of the week, there’s no excuse not to indulge in the experience.
Need help exploring Borough Market? There are some great Borough Market tours to choose from.
Admire Southwark Cathedral, Inside and Out
With its awe-inspiring exterior and equally stunning interior, Southwark Cathedral stands out as one of the top London Bridge attractions. It’s London’s oldest Gothic cathedral, dating back to the 13th century.
Despite its bloody past — it was the site of many heresy condemnations in the 16th century — Southwark Cathedral now stands as a peaceful oasis in the bustling city. You can attend a daily service or simply marvel at the glittering stained glass windows and intricate stonework.
Ascend the Shard for the Views
Do you want to see London from a whole new perspective? Visit The Shard for the ultimate viewing experience. Standing at an imposing 1017 feet (309 meters), this iconic skyscraper is the tallest building in the UK. It offers breathtaking panoramas from its viewing platform on the 72nd floor.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try the heart-pumping ‘Shard Ledge’ experience and step outside onto a glass platform on the building’s exterior for a truly exhilarating view.
Stroll Along Jubilee Walkway
The Jubilee Walkway opened in 1977 as the Silver Jubilee Walkway to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s accession. The 15-mile route offers a fascinating glimpse into the city’s history and culture.
As you stroll along the walkway, you’ll encounter iconic landmarks, from the Tower of London and Shakespeare’s Globe to the Tate Modern and Big Ben. When you’re tired, take a break and admire the views from the Millennium Bridge.
See the Ruins of Winchester Palace
Winchester Palace was once the luxurious London residence of the Bishop of Winchester, Henry of Blois, in the 12th century. Although most of the palace was destroyed by fire in 1814, parts of the Great Hall and its stunning rose window still stand.
While you can’t go inside the ruins, you can stroll through the tranquil garden in the Great Hall and imagine the grandeur of this once-magnificent building. Despite the damage, the palace is considered one of the last great remnants of its time and a must-see if you are a history or architecture enthusiast.
Take in the View of Tower Bridge
Visiting London without seeing the iconic Tower Bridge is like having tea without scones. Standing proudly over the River Thames, Tower Bridge has been one of the most recognizable landmarks in London for over a century.
Purchasing a Tower Bridge entry ticket allows you to access the building’s interior, explore the Engine Rooms, and learn about its operation and history. For the ultimate thrill, head to the upper walkway with its glass floor to hover over the bridge and watch the bustling city life below.
Board the HMS Belfast
As you walk along the Thames, you may be startled by the massive ship looming overhead. It’s the HMS Belfast, an intriguing piece of history now permanently moored along the river. The ship was built in 1936 and served in several conflicts, including World War II and the Korean War.
Today, the ship is moored and open to the public as part of the Imperial War Museum. It is an unmissable attraction if you’re a history buff or dream of being a sailor.
Interact With History at the Golden Hinde
Channel your inner pirate and step aboard The Golden Hinde, a full-scale replica of Sir Francis Drake’s famous ship. This reproduction of the original vessel (which was destroyed by rot) is one of the city’s most unique landmarks.
As you explore, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time to the 16th century. You’ll be intrigued by the stories of people circumnavigating the globe in creaky old ships with barely a map for direction.
Nosh at Maltby Street Market
Feeling peckish but not up for the crowds at Borough Market? Make your way to Maltby Street Market, tucked away in an alley under charming Victorian railway arches. With around 30 stalls serving up delectable bites made by local artisans, you’ll find yourself in culinary heaven.
Wash down your food with a drink from one of the many vendors offering craft beer, wine, and cocktails. The eclectic mix of options will have your taste buds dancing with joy.
Visit the Old Operating Theater
If you’re into strange experiences, head to the Old Operating Theater. Located in the attic of St Thomas’ Church, it is Europe’s oldest surviving operating theater.
The layout is simple: a surgeon, a table, and benches for medical students to observe the procedure. You’ll be eternally grateful that you’re living in modern times after seeing the 19th Century surgical tools. It’s morbidly fascinating, and you can’t help but be intrigued by the history of medicine when here.
Note: This is not ideal for those with mobility issues, as the only way to get there is via a 52-step spiral staircase.
Grab a Pint at a Historic Pub
If you’re looking for a taste of antiquity with your pint, look no further than the historic pubs of London. From hidden alleyway watering holes to more well-known establishments, a pub crawl is a perfect way to spend an evening.
With a rich maritime, industrial, and artistic past, the area’s pubs are where history comes to life. Each one has a unique story to tell, making it the perfect addition to your list of things to do in London Bridge.
Book Tickets for the London Bridge Experience
Do you want to dive into London’s dark past? Check out the London Bridge Experience — an interactive walk-through led by live actors. You’ll descend under the bridge and journey through 2000 years of history, from Boudica’s final battle to The Great Fire of London.
This experience is notorious as one of the scariest London Bridge attractions. It’s part theater, part history lesson, part amusement park, and a great way to have some laughs (and screams) while learning about London’s fascinating history.
Curious about these top things to do in London Bridge, or have you heard of other experiences you’re curious about? Let me know in the comments below!