London for Free – A cultural walk along the South Bank – Part 2

Continuing our walk along the South Bank…..(from Part 1 here)

The Golden Hinde

Just a few short steps from Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre where I ended the first part of my walk along the South Bank, there’s a really vibrant area full of upmarket apartments, restaurants and cafés all converted from the old river warehouses, where you’ll find The Golden Hinde, Sir Francis Drake’s old Galleon, in all her glory. She really is a sight to see. It’s also so unusual to see an old ship like this just moored up like she would have been a few hundred years ago.  This is an area of tiny, cobbled streets and so much ancient history, and the tourists love it here.

The Golden Hinde

The Golden Hinde

The Golden Hinde

The Golden Hinde

The Anchor Pub

Just around the corner from the Golden Hinde, there’s a really old pub called the Anchor which dates from over 800 years ago and is the South Bank’s oldest surviving tavern. It was rebuilt after the Great Fire of London and it used to be the nearest pub to Shakespeare’s Globe, frequented by lots of theatrical people and probably Shakespeare himself! It has has a lovely terraced seating area and gives a great view of the boats going up and down the Thames.  It’s a fabulous place to sit and relax on a sunny day.

The Anchor Pub

The Anchor Pub

The Clink Prison Museum

Just follow the cobbled streets along a few more yards and you’ll find the Clink Prison Museum and it’s hanging skeleton (not sure if the skeleton’s a real one or not but it looks like it!). The Clink was the oldest (dates from 1144) and most notorious prison (lots of raucous individuals in the area) and still has torture devices and ancient artefacts on show.

The Clink and its hanging skeleton!

The Clink and its hanging skeleton!

Southwark Cathedral and Borough Market

Within a short few yards round the tiny streets, you’ll also find Southwark Cathedral and the foodie paradise of Borough Market, and I did a separate blog post about this area here.

Southwark Cathedral

Southwark Cathedral

Borough Market

Borough Market

The Shard

Continuing our walk, we now come across London Bridge where you have to walk down some steps to continue along the river bank.  Here you will also pass the tallest building in London at the moment, the Shard.

The Shard at dusk

The Shard at dusk

Hays Galleria

Continuing the walk from the Shard, you’ll come across Hays Galleria, which is another perfect place to stop and have a drink or a bite to eat as there are numerous cafés, restaurants, and of course, shops to wander round. The original Hays Wharf was built in the 1850s, and was a massive warehouse which took cargo from ships from all over the world.

Hays Galleria

Hays Galleria

The focal point of the Galleria is a sculpture which dominates the centre, called ‘Navigators’, which reminds me of Jules Verne’s ‘Nautilus’ from 20,000 Leagues under the Sea!

The Sculpture 'Navigators'

The Sculpture ‘Navigators’

London Bridge City Pier

Just opposite the Galleria on the river bank, you’ll find ferries from London Bridge City Pier for trips along the river.  The ferry runs in both directions towards the centre of London to Blackfriars, Embankment and the London Eye, and if you’re heading in the opposite direction, towards Greenwich, you’ll see some landmarks including the Tower Of London, Canary Wharf and The O2 Arena.

London Bridge City Pier

London Bridge City Pier

HMS Belfast

Right next door to the City Pier is HMS Belfast, a massive Royal Navy Light Cruiser which is permanently moored on the river and which operates as part of the Imperial War Museum.  You can go on board and have a tour of the interior, and it can also be hired for private parties.  I have actually been on board HMS Belfast at a work function and it was strange to be eating, drinking and dancing amongst the inner workings of the ship as it was originally, just metal, machinery and very cramped conditions!

HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast with the Tower of London to the left and Tower Bridge to the right

London City Hall

A short stroll from HMS Belfast the river bank opens out into a wider expanse where the very distinctive rounded glass building of the London City Hall can be found. City Hall was designed by the very famous architect, Sir Norman Foster, of the Wobbly Bridge fame, and is the HQ of the Lord Mayor and the London Assembly.

London City Hall

London City Hall

Tower Bridge

Just yards from City Hall you’ll come to the steps of Tower Bridge.  This is one of the most iconic structures of London and one of the most recognisable.  Walking across Tower Bridge you get an amazing view of both upstream and downstream of the river, the City skyline and down to the London Eye, and also a good view of Canary Wharf in the other direction.  At certain times of the day you get to see the roadway of the bridge actually opening to let the larger ships go through.

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge

Shad Thames

Before crossing Tower Bridge, it’s worth taking a short detour under the arch of the Bridge into Shad Thames. Shad Thames is a very narrow street of Victorian warehouses on either side, which still have the elevated gantries crossing them overhead. These old warehouses have all been converted into upmarket apartments, restaurants, offices and beautiful little independent shops.

Shad Thames

Shad Thames

As you walk across the bridge, you also get a bird’s eye view of the Tower of London, which stands right next to Tower Bridge on the opposite bank and where we finish our walk.

Tower Bridge and the Tower of London

Tower Bridge and the Tower of London

There’s so much to see and do along this stretch of the river that you’re spoilt for choice, and there’s always different events happening in and around the South Bank.  The stroll from the London Eye to Tower Bridge can take you all day if you want to stop and have a drink on the way, or it can take you an hour at a faster pace…it’s also a nice safe bike ride at the weekend, although you may have to dodge lots of tourists!

Here’s a map of the area

Here’s a link back to Part 1 of the Walk.

Author: Debbie

Share This Post On
468 ad
%d bloggers like this: