Big Boats & Bridges: A Walking Tour of London’s Epic South Bank

Take a stroll along South Bank and discover all the best bits of London, in one place…..

London. Centre of the fucking universe.

There are two Londons. There’s the hipster, grimy, ‘out there’ London, where creative types hang out in bare-bricked coffee shops, grooming their mustaches. And there’s royal, ‘centre of the fucking’ universe London, which, as I’m sure you’re aware, revolves around the Royal Family, banker wankers and those funny little shops that sell postcards of the Royal Guards outside of Buckingham Palace, and Big Ben fridge magnets. Every time I see those shops, I imagine some poor sod sitting in an dark warehouse, listening to Elton John’s candle in the wind, whilst putting the finishing touches to his one millionth Big Ben magnet.

Anyway, living south of the river means I’ll do everything in my power not to subject myself to the rat-infested-sauna we call the Underground. It drives me insane with its endless mountains of escalators and ignorant bastards who wander around as if they are the only people trying to get somewhere. No, I’m happy here, in the south, walking and cycling everywhere.

So, here is your guided tour of London’s South Bank.  I find it has a little bit of everything that’s so great about London, especially if you look hard enough. There’s the iconic skyline of Big Ben, the London Eye, The Shard, the Tate Modern, and of course, Tower Bridge. And there’s plenty for foodies to indulge in at various pit stops along the way. South Bank has it all.

A little tip if you are coming to do this walk for yourself, don’t get confused between London Bridge and Tower Bridge. London Bridge is about the most boring, uninspired piece of architecture in all of the Kingdom’s great lands.

Do it yourself: Get the tube/train to Waterloo and start your South Bank walk from there. Grab breakfast/brunch at the foodie extravaganza, The Real Food Market, which is held at the rear of Royal Festival Hall and offers some of London’s finest independent food stalls. Then walk east towards London Tower Bridge, you’ll pass a whole bunch of exciting stuff, including the famous Tate Modern art museum and The Shakespeare Globe.

Keep going until you get to Borough Market. It’s become a little bit of a tourist trap these days but, housed underneath an old working railway bridge, it still feels like a trip back in time. Have lunch and/or dinner here, and then head to Monmouth Coffee for a cup of London’s finest coffee with the hipsters. Then it’s onto one of the bajillion local pubs that can be found nearby! Trust me, you won’t have any trouble finding one.

Arhhhh, London. You really are one of a kind.

A close up shot of London's epic Tower Bridge

THIS is London Tower Bridge. Not to be confused with London Bridge.

HMS Belfast on the River Thames, London. The Navy's Battleship

You can’t help but feel like you’re in an important place when you walk along the River Thames. Here you can also see the mighty HMS Belfast, one of the Navy’s resting battleships. Apparently you can rent it out for weddings and parties!

Kids splashing around in the water fountains by London Tower Bridge
London Tower Bridge Opening for a ferry boat

A red double-decker waits patiently for the Tower Bridge to reconnect. I’d rather wait on a motionless bus than cook to death on the stuffy Underground.

tips of the tops of Southwark Cathedral and shard in one photograph

The Shard (built 2013) may have the looks, but Southwark Cathedral (built 1220) still has all the style!

The Shard towering over Borough Market, London

Stock up on freebies at London’s most famous foodie haunt, Borough Market. You’ll see where all those guys with crazy tattoos work. Not a bad place to spend your 9-5!

Lee Bothers Potato Merchants, Borough Market, London

Borough Market is the real deal and still supplies many of London’s finest restaurants and cafes.

Bread stall at Borough Market, London

Bread. All kinds of bread. Oh yeah, they’ve got bread.

Monmouth Coffee at Borough Market, London

Monmouth Coffee at Borough Market. There’s always a line, but it’s always worth it.

Real Food Market at Royal Festival Hall, Southbank centre, London. With the London Eye in the background.

Not one of the best known foodie markets in London, but easily one of my favourites. Food from all over the world, good prices and a laid-back atmosphere. Heaven.

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