London Winter Walks: South Bank to Tower Bridge

A glorious stroll any time of year, the walk from South Bank to Tower Bridge takes in iconic London sights and offers some of the best vistas of London there is…

Photo: Getty

Christmas sparkles on the South Bank with its annual seasonal display of mulled wine stalls and festive foods as well as pop up performances, but the area is always good walking value even when the decorations have been taken down.  

Step out along the Thames from the London Eye where book lovers will enjoy browsing at the stalls in front of the BFI. Head towards the former power station Oxo Tower, taking in views across the river to Somerset House and the Embankment.

Lively Gabriel’s Wharf is a good stopping point for small artisan shops and restaurants as you step on towards Blackfriars Bridge.

Now you will see the Tate Modern, former power station and now home to some incredible artworks including the spectacular large scale installations in the entrance hall.  The upper balconies have great views over the river and nice bars and restaurants. 

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Don’t miss the Millennium Bridge, forever known by Londoners as the ‘wobbly’ bridge as it got off to an unsteady start when it was opened in 2000.

Now you will find yourself at Shakespeare’s Globe, a reconstruction of the Bard’s original theatre (1599 to 1644) which opened in 1997.  A popular spot for tourists and selfie takers, you can go to the visitor centre even if you aren’t taking in one of the in the round performances. 

Round the corner is the Anchor Bankside pub, a classic old pub with a history dating back 800 years. Stop at The Golden Hinde, another replica, this time of Sir Francis Drake’s ship which sailed the world in the 1570s. 

If soaking up all this history is giving you an appetite, your luck is in as next stop is Borough Market packed with food stalls, pubs and shops. It is found next door to Southwark Cathedral, which dates back to 1106 but rebuilt several times over the years.  It is free to enter and there is a small café inside.  

From here cross over London Bridge to the bars and restaurants of Hays Galleria and look out at HMS Belfast, past the City Hall and down to Shad Thames you will get a glimpse of Tower of London and Tower Bridge.