9 Must see things on a London South Bank Walk
Walking along London South Bank is one of our favourite walks to do. It’s an ever-changing social hub of London, with many historic locations to see. Walking from London Bridge to the London Eye will take in many sites and views. Typically though, we will walk from London Eye to London Bridge (if we make it all the way).
At 1.7 miles, the walk can be done in a little over half an hour and is a great walk between the City and the West End (done in reverse of the below). That though is without stopping to marvel at some of the sites you will see along the way.
1 – London Eye
Starting at the London Eye you will find many distractions, not including the London Eye itself (originally called the Millennium Wheel).
A ride on the London Eye will take you about 30 minutes and is a great way to get some panoramic views over London.
2 – Udderbelly Festival or Christmas Markets
Just down to the side of the London Eye (depending on the time of year), you will find the Udderbelly Festival (May – September) or Christmas Markets (November – Early January). In the summer you’ll find many acts to enjoy in an upside-down purple cow tent from sword swallowing to comedy. In the winter, enjoy a mulled wine, street food and soak up the Christmas atmosphere.
3 – Royal Festival Hall
Originally opened in 1951 for the Festival of Britain, it is one of the world’s leading performance venues. Stop for a snack or see what’s on. You will not be disappointed with 2,500 seats available. Underneath, you will find some great street art and a skate park.
4 – Tate Modern
Walking along the river, you will reach the Tate Modern. Opposite the infamous wobbly bridge (Millennium Bridge), which will take you over to St Paul’s Cathedral. Free to enter (special exhibitions may require payment), you will find many British works of art on display at the Tate from 1900 to the present day.
If you have the time, divert from this London South Bank Walk to visit St Paul’s across the bridge. It’s worth a visit.
5 – Shakespeare’s Globe
Away from the West End of Theatre Land, you’ll be in awe of this open air theatre. If you time it right, you will see the actors waiting outside. Even better is to experience the outdoor theatre experience that the Globe offers.
The current theatre is based on the 1599 version of the building, which was originally located about 230 metres away. The modern version can accommodate 1,400 spectators, compared to the original 3,000 that used to be crammed in. Try the mulled mead on sale in the bar, a warm blend of honey liquor and spices that will make you feel like you’re being hugged from the inside.
6 – The Anchor
Stop for a drink or a bite to eat in a pub that is over 800 years old. Not quite the oldest pub in London (Rules is the oldest pub in London, but more on that another time). Step inside The Anchor and you’ll be amazed at the labyrinth of ways to the bar. We’d be surprised if you leave through the same door you enter. In the warmer months, there is an outside area that’s great for watching the world go by.
7 – The Golden Hinde
After your refreshments, wander under the arch and past the remains of Winchester Palace. You’ll arrive at The Golden Hinde. Open daily, it’s worth a hop onboard. Now in a dry dock, the galleon once circumnavigated the globe between 1577 and 1580. (So even in the 16th Century we knew the world wasn’t flat.) This great boat was captained by Sir Francis Drake.
An awesome replica, all that remains of the original was made into a chair which can be found in Oxford University.
8 – Borough Market
Winding round the corner, no South Bank walk would be complete without a visit to Borough Market. One of the largest and oldest markets in London. On offer, is a wide range of food and wine. You’ll be sure to find something enjoyable to reward your walking so far.
9 – London Bridge Views
Shuffling round and up on to London Bridge you will see some great views, our favourite being the one to the East, where you will see Tower Bridge in the distance and HMS Belfast moored. All worth further exploration and a visit if you have time.
From here you can cross the bridge to the City of London to discover more or continue along the South side of the river to explore further. Either way you’ll not be disappointed.