So this walk basically gives you a glimpse of many of London’s famous landmarks by taking you along the river Themes, through the worlds biggest art’s complex on the South Bank and ending at one of London’e oldest attractions. It also takes you to the real Shakespeare’s Globe (oh yeah, the other one is a fake – sorry to break that to you!) through the worlds biggest modern art museum and allows you to stop off at not one but two fabulous street food markets – what are you waiting for?! 😉
Start at Waterloo station, end at Tower Hill station – time walking 1 hour 30 mins.
Download map (enhance with free OS app for smartphone): goo.gl/e3JzZ2
Ok, start by getting the tube to Waterloo – an area of London named after the train station, which was named after the bridge, which was named to commemorate the battle of Waterloo..got it? Great, let’s move on..
Once you’ve left Waterloo via the main entrance through the station concourse, head towards the London Eye, the worlds tallest cantilevered observation wheel…whatever that means.. Buy tickets beforehand…don’t queue, it’s boring!
Head along the Southbank, passing the many, many, many street entertainers (and a carousel, yipee).
Once you get to the Royal Festival Hall, take the lift up to the 5th floor for a little known free view of the river. Buy a drink from the street food market in front of the RFH before hand and lord it up over the people below!
Say hello to Nelson Mandela at the side of the Royal Festival Hall before making your way back onto the South Bank to watch the cool kids skate
Used by skaters since the 1970’s (yes dad’s/granddad’s did skate) the famous undercroft skate park came under threat of development in 2014 but the kids fought back with the slogan ‘you can’t move history’ and the developers retreated – “down with the capitalist regime” etc..
Continue along the river past the National Theatre (Royal National Theatre, dahling). It’s brutalist architecture divides opinion with some saying the best view of the river is from inside the theatre so that you can’t see it – rude.
Head up to the large secret garden terrace above the terrace restaurant for a calm space away from the crowds (food and drinks are available from within the theatre), or brave the crowds at the rather wonderful Understudy bar before..
checking out London’s very own beach with rather smashing views of the City and St Paul’s, oh and depending what time you’re walking you could appear on national TV’s This Morning behind Richard and Judy, or is it Phil and Fern…no now maybe it’s Phil and Holly..
Keep going on past the 1864 built London Chatham Dover Railway bridge that was extended to the right only 10 years after it was built, was hardly used from 1925 and eventually dismantled in 1985 to..
the worlds biggest and arguably best modern art gallery, Tate Modern (and another pit stop in the Founders Arms) – walk through the turbine hall to see the latest instillation before passing what was a very wobbly Millennium Bridge when it first opened (don’t worry – they shut it shortly after it was open to fix the wobble!).
Just next door to the Tate is Shakespeare’s Globe – not the original, that comes a bit later in the walk, but it’s a true representation none the less. In Shakespearian times this area (know as Bankside) was renowned for fun times full of playhouses, bear baiting pits and hookers (all the fun stuff) due to it’s proximity from, and therefore outside the jurisdiction of, the City of London on the other side of the river.
Head behind the Globe to see the very unremarkable original standing place of the Globe which is now under some offices! Take a detour above Southwark Bridge to see the home of the 90’s TV show This Life’s Egg, Milly, Miles and Anna (I’ll never forgive Milly for going off with that old bloke.).
Right, onwards past the narrow lanes of the Clink where there is an old wall, a replica of Sir Frances Drake’s Golden Hind and then Southwark Cathedral, or The Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie as it’s more formally know. This has been a Christian worshiping site for over 1000 years and has it’s origins in the times of William the Conqueror…quite old then.
Just behind the cathedral is Borough Market – home of FOOD!!
As well as a lot of food to get your chops around you can also pop into Rake on Winchester Walk for a ridiculous selection of beers, or for something less alcoholic try Monmouth Coffee (and Cheese lovers head to Neal’s Yard Dairy). The big silver structure used to belong to another famous market in Covent Garden of My Fair Lady fame, and head to the middle of the market and check out another movie home – Bridget Jones’ flat…now a fancy wine bar!
After the market head towards the 95 story Renzo Piano designed ‘Shard’ – it’s meant to represent a shard of glass and it was apparently designed on the back of a napkin. Lot’s of thought went into it then! It’s quite big.
Head through London Bridge station back onto the river via More London’s cool ‘old vs new’ view of Tower Bridge..
Were you will find HMS Belfast, originally designed to fight the Germans, a super view of the Tower of London and what looks like a glass testicle, which is actually London’s City Hall..
Pass the Tower Bridge photo op and continue under it to..
The old wharfs that were the setting of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, now worth considerably “MORE” now they’re apartments than they were as warehouses (see what I did there – “please Sir can i have some MORE?”? Of forget it.).
After the cobbles end, turn left back onto the river where, if you’re rich you can dine at Le Pont de la Tour, if you’re not rich then head to All Bar One but either way get another Tower Bridge photo op, this time with the City behind it.
Finally head onto the bridge where you can marvel at the ancient architecture of the Towers…or the fake, studio set like cladding of the towers as they’re not old at all. Parliament insisted the bridge be designed in a Victorian Gothic style to harmonise with the Tower of London which was opened in 1894. It wasn’t always red, white and blue either, but brown and repainted in today’s colours to celebrate the Queen’s silver jubilee.
Once over the bridge, wave to the Tower of London, built by William the Conqueror to symbolise oppression inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite (cheerful) – it now houses the Crown Jewels (sparkly).
And finally pop into the tube so that you can head home to rest your tired feet and down a lovely cup of tea/pint/extra large gin.
Well done you – all that way with no moaning, and wasn’t it easy to follow the pink line? I hope you have enjoyed and that you still have some life in your mobiles battery 🙂