If you’re not from London then you may not know that East London was once a part of the city that didn’t come wit...
The River Thames is almost as famous as London itself. Winding its way through the heart of the city, it draws in locals and tourists alike with its collection of riverside attractions, beautiful bridges and picturesque views. In a city containing so much history and so many man-made marvels, it is one of London’s premier natural wonders. So, if you want to take in the capital at a more leisurely pace, why not let the Thames be your tour guide and meander along this Southbank riverside walk?
The first point of interest that you’ll come to on your tour of the Southbank is actually on the northern side of the river, but it’s certainly worth crossing the water for. The Tate Britain, the national gallery of British art, is one of the largest museums in the country and holds landmark pieces by the likes of J. M. W. Turner and Tracey Emin, so there’s plenty to see here for fans of art in all its forms.
Top exhibits: Sir John Everett Millais’ “Ophelia” is one of the most powerful pieces in the gallery, while Barbara Hepworth’s “Pelagos” is a must-see for sculpture fans.
Travel Tip: The Tate Britain is one of the best connected tourist attractions in London, with Pimlico, Vauxhall and Westminster tube stations all just a short walk away.
Nearby attractions: If you do get off at Westminster station, or just fancy a slight detour, be sure to take in the nearby Westminster Abbey, the final resting place of many of Britain’s former kings and queens.
Thames Clipper ride
No riverside tour would be complete without spending some time on the water itself, so after you’ve admired some of the magnificent art exhibits at the Tate Britain, be sure to hop on the Thames Clipper, which stops at the nearby Millbank pier. Staying on the boat until its final stop at London Bridge will give you around 20 minutes to enjoy the water, before moving on to your next destination.
Riverboat highlights: Keep your eyes peeled as you cruise along the Thames as there’s plenty to see. The Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and St Paul’s Cathedral will emerge on your left, while the London Eye will prove difficult to miss on your right.
Make sure you have your camera at the ready, because these world-famous landmarks will make the perfect backdrop to a selfie or two.
Borough Market is one of London’s foremost destinations for foodies, with every cuisine you can think of and free tasters aplenty – although make sure you save some room for a proper meal! The market is open from Monday to Saturday, although not all of the traders are present on Monday and Tuesday. You’ll be spoilt for choice though whenever you arrive! There are street food stalls and fresh produce, cheesemongers and chocolatiers, vegetarian specialties and artisan butchers.
If you haven’t arrived by the Thames Clipper, London Bridge Underground station is just a stone’s throw away, as is the Shard, one of London’s most iconic buildings. Once you’re done enjoying the delicious treats on offer at the market, it is time to move onto our final stop, which will give you a chance to walk off some of that food.
Eat: Follow your nose to find Kappacasein, a stall offering gooey piles of Swiss raclette served on a pile of new potatoes, baby gherkins and pickled onions - delicious!
Drink: The Natural Smoothie Co serve refreshing, natural drinks that contain around 300g of fresh fruit.
Something for later: The caramel custard with salted honeycomb donut from Bread Ahead
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
Making your way out of Borough Market and towards the river, a short ten-minute walk west past Southwark Bridge will see you arrive at one of the most important buildings in the history of English and, indeed, international culture, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Although the original building burnt down in 1613, this modern version is a faithful reconstruction.
For fans of the Bard’s work or anyone with an interest in theatre, this is a must-see sight. Aside from the stage performances, there are also regular tours and an exhibition on Shakespeare’s life to keep you entertained. No trip to the Southbank would be complete without taking in this cultural landmark.
Top tip: Try to bag yourself one of the 700 standing tickets available for every performance. Not only are they the cheapest (just £5!), you may also get to interact with some of the actors as they make their way to the stage.