Just east of Blackfriars bridge, in the borough of Southwark, is Bankside, an area so rich in history, culture, and foodie delights that I honestly don’t know why I didn’t spend more time there when I lived in London.
I dunno you guys, I think in hindsight I might have been one of those east London idiots who only ventured south of the river if I reeeeeaaaally had to. Oh and for work. Because my office was at Tower Bridge.
Anyway, I have no idea why I didn’t spend more time in London’s Bankside in the 3 years I called this fair city home. Luckily I was able to redeem myself in October when I visited London properly for the first time since I moved back to Leeds which I had MANY FEELINGS ABOUT OK.
So, if you’ve yet to explore this awesome area, here’s where to eat, stay, and play in Bankside.
Eat Your Way Around Borough Market
One of the biggest (and oldest) food markets in London, Borough Market is must-visit if you’re in Bankside. I’d encourage you to support the local traders and actually buy something, of course, because there’s so much to choose from; fresh bread, fruit and veg, flowers, meats, sandwiches, cakes, chocolate. But if you’re not feeling flush it’s still a lovely market to wander around. It does get busy though, so get there early if you can.
Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street, SE1 1TL
Get Your Flat White Fix at Monmouth Coffee
Or, you know, a latte, a cappuccino. Whatever.
Normally found with a loyal queue of customers waiting outside, Monmouth Coffee is just outside Borough Market and definitely worth the wait. Sit and watch the world go by or get a coffee to go and have a wander around the stalls inside the market.
Monmouth Coffee, 2 Park Street, SE1 9AB
Take a photo of St Paul’s Cathedral
It’s one of the most cliched images of St Paul’s on the internet but do we care? Not really. Get yourself in position at the Tate end of Millennium Bridge, and get ready to snap away at the gorgeous cathedral across the river. Best take a few, though, this bridge is almost constantly busy.
Admire London from Millennium Bridge
Linking Bankside with the City, Millennium Bridge is a great place to get uninterrupted views across London and the river Thames. From here, you can see the Shard, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral and more so remember to take your camera and stop for a while amongst the crowds.
Visit Shakespeare’s Globe
The Globe at Bankside is a faithful reconstruction of the open-air playhouse designed in 1599 where many of Shakespeare’s plays were performed and definitely worth a visit whether you’re a Shakespeare fan or not. Book yourself tickets to see a play, take a tour of the theatre, or visit the Globe Exhibition which explores the life of Shakespeare and allows you to imagine the Globe as it would have been.
Shakespeare’s Globe, 2 New Globe Walk, SE1 9DT
Discover Modern Art at The Tate
Is there anything more calming that wandering around an art gallery? Escape the bustling streets of London for a while and spend an hour or two at Tate Modern. If there’s a specific exhibition you want to see you’ll need to book tickets, but otherwise you can wander straight in.
Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG
Get a good night’s sleep at Novotel London Bankside
If you want to be close enough to Bankside’s action to not have to rely on public transport, but not so close that you can’t sleep at night, I’d recommend Novotel London Bankside where I stayed.
The room was super comfy, it was a stone’s throw away from the tube if I did want to explore further (which I did), and the bathroom had this AMAZING screen that kinda made you feel like you were showering in the middle of the room.
Novotel London Blackfriars, 46 Blackfriars Road, SE1 8NZ
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p.s. I worked with Visit London on my trip to London but all photos and recommendations are my own obvs.