It turns out planning a wedding can be quite spenny! As such, I’ve had to rein in my love of luxury travel for less just a touch in the led up to our nuptials in Tuscany in September. However, that doesn’t mean I’m sitting at home counting down the hours until we jet off again. With last summer’s unprecedented Mediterranean vibes, and Brexit looming over us, the great staycation is well and truly making a comeback. So, seeing as I’ll be spending more time in the capital this summer myself, I’ve decided to feature some fantastic days out in London, the city I fell in love with almost 15 years ago. Let’s kick off the series with me showing you all around my neighbourhood. This is your London staycation – what to do near London Bridge.
Firstly, let’s get started with a hearty breakfast! Where the Pancakes Are at trendy Flat Iron Square, serves up delicious, honest food. Prepare to tantalise your taste buds with an epic stack of, you guessed it – pancakes!
This place is pretty popular though, so bank on a 40-minute wait in the queue. But, there is a nearby coffee shop, on the corner of Southwark Bridge Road and Union Street. So you can grab yourself a steamy cup of joe whilst you wait.
And, once you’re finally inside you can choose from sweet or savoury, classic or contemporary stacks made from the finest fresh produce. Rest assured, that by simply eating these delectable pancakes, you will be supporting the local British farming community.
Next, just a short stroll away, you will find London’s iconic TATE Modern. Look out for the red-bricked chimney of the former Bankside Power Station, now turned gallery. Inside is a wonderful collection of international modern and contemporary art overlooking the River Thames and the Millennium Bridge.
Art enthusiast can even organise a private guided tour for two, where museum curators and art experts explore the collection highlights and exhibitions with avid fans. For more information, click here.
Be sure to enhance your visit by downloading the TATE Modern app.
After a busy morning taking in the cultural sites of South London, stroll to the Swan Bar & Restaurant, for a tasty gastropub meal. With modern rustic interiors, the bar and restaurant is set over two floors, with incredible Thames and city views of St. Paul’s. You’ll be spoilt for choice with the tasty modern British menu on offer.
After lunch, pop next door to Shakespeare’s Globe. The replica was built in 1997, following the demise of the original (built in 1599), during a fire in 1613. Following the blaze, the theatre was actually rebuilt, only to be demolished in 1644.
Beyond the theatre itself, you will find a fantastic gift shop and an exhibit about Shakespeare’s life and work.
Continue tracing London’s history as you walk along the River Thames towards Borough. Along the way, you will spy Winchester Palace, and a replica of Sir Francis Drake’s ship, the Golden Hinde.
The riverwalk will eventually lead you to Borough Market entering via Southwark Cathedral. The markets are a food lovers heaven. With farm fresh produce and dozens upon dozens of food vendors selling every kind of divine cuisine imaginable, this is a local treasure you won’t want to miss.
I always take friends and family for a dozen freshly shucked oysters and a few glasses of champagne from Richard Haward’s Oysters on Stoney Street across the street from The Wheatsheaf.
There’s never a shortage of things to do near London Bridge. Long summer afternoons in the capital are best spent with a refreshing Aperol in hand, so, head over to Summer by the River; an annual pop-up located in front of City Hall.
Alongside the incredible views of Tower Bridge, you’ll find popup bars and food stalls and a great entertainment programme including live music, film and sports screenings, open-air theatre and even group fitness classes. There is really something for everyone, and it’s the perfect location to have a sundown tipple. This London staycation would have anyone fooled for thinking they were sipping an aperitif on the Med!
Head to stylish Bermondsey Street for fabulous bars and restaurants. José is one of my faves, the most amazing tapas bar from talented chef José Pizarro. From the cosy small and cosy restaurant, enjoy the views of the bustling street beyond. Dishes change daily and are created by market fresh produce.
Or, across the road, is one of London’s smallest restaurants, Casse-Croûte. The intimate all-day French bistro has the cutest checkered table cloths, and the walls are decorated with old black and white photos of the owner’s families, giving it a familial ambience.
Enjoy a phenomenal menu that changes daily, and a selection of some of London’s most exquisite wines chosen by sommelier Alex Bonnefoy.
And, another of my faves is Flour & Grape. Go early and pop your name on the list, and whilst you’re waiting, head down to the basement gin bar for a fantastic selection of gins. Their masterful bartenders will gladly create you a house special.
Upstairs you will find amazing fresh, handmade pasta alongside some outstanding Italian wines.
After dark, Bermondsey Street turns it up a notch. For late night cocktails and dancing, head to the fashionable, Bermondsey Arts Club. Once a Victorian public loo, the chic interiors are now home to a sexy speakeasy-style establishment that has impressive cocktails and toe-tapping beats.
I’m also a huge fan of Nine Lives. With great vibes, killer cocktails and epic DJ’s, this little neighbourhood bar is a gem.
You are spoilt for choice with so many cool things to do near London Bridge. For more London staycation ideas check out my post Seven places to go in London that will make you feel like you’re abroad, here.
I’d love to hear what you think of the places I’ve suggested in my London staycation guide on what to do near London Bridge. And, if you know of any other fantastic local hangouts, let me know. I’m always keen to discover somewhere new.
Until next time, safe travels.
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