One of my favourite areas to explore in London is the beautiful London Bridge, home to the historic Borough Market, The Shard, aka the tallest building in the UK, Shakespeare’s Globe, the Tate Modern, the HMS Belfast and Tower Bridge. If you’re visiting, I’d highly recommend checking out some fantastic hotels around the London Bridge area as it has some of the best restaurants, bars and pubs in the capital and will give you a glimpse into what it’s like to live like a local. If you’re not wanting to stay in the hustle and bustle when it comes to the night, you could have a look at hotels around the city center like albert embankment hotel and many others.
This bustling area caters to all culinary tastes and there’s always a hidden gem just waiting to be discovered. It’s the ultimate place to wander as you never know what you’ll come across. For those who want to eat and drink like a local, I’ve put together a handy little guide of some of my newly discovered spots, as well as tried and true favourites from over the years. Let’s go exploring, shall we?!
Where to Eat
Borough Market is most notably my favourite market in London. A haven of street food stalls, artisanal bakeries, fresh produce, meats and fish, gifts, etc, you can try the most delicious culinary delicacies from all around the world. I’d recommend coming during the week if you can, as it’s heaving on the weekends with tourists. A few of my favourite stalls include Kohanom Krok for Thai Street Food, Scotch Tails for authentic Scotch Eggs and Shell Seekers for the biggest oysters I’ve ever seen! Have a read of my guide to Borough Market for a complete roundup of what to try during your visit.
El Pastor is a phenomenal Mexican Taqueria located within Borough Market that I have recently fallen in love with. It serves tacos with tortillas made from scratch in-house every day. While there are plenty of Mexican restaurants in London, I have come across very few that I’m actually a fan of and will no doubt go back to El Pastor time and time again. To give you a little taste of what you can expect, Ciaran and I indulged in the classic ‘Al Pastor’ tacos, made with 24 hour marinated pork shoulder, caramelised pineapple, guacamole taquero, white onion and coriander. Two beautifully stuffed tacos for just £6.50 – it’s a bargain. If you’re starving or in a big group, go for the short rib, which is big enough to serve between 2-4 people. Smoked low and slow with a chipotle-muscovado-coriander-spice seed rub, it’s practically falling off the bone as it arrives alongside fresh tortillas, pickled onion, salsa La Maya and if you’re feeling super indulgent – roast bone barrow.
Padella has gained a cult following in recent years for its simple but hearty homemade pasta. You’ll notice queues around the block to try it out and once you see the menu, you’ll see why. Eight-hour Dexter Shin Ragu is Padella’s signature dish made with fresh, thick ribbons of pasta with a tender ragu bursting with flavour, all made in front of your eyes. It’s as if you’ve been transported to Italy.
Texas Joe’s BBQ – If you’ve been a longtime reader of my blog, you will know that I am a HUGE BBQ fan and Texas Joe’s around the corner from London Bridge tube station, is one of my favourites in London. They’re all about authentic slow-smoked meats and the menu is awesome with signature dishes like pork shoulder to USDA beef brisket and beef prime rib to mutton, chicken, brisket nachos and even FRITO pie! If you’re looking to get your American BBQ fix, look no further.
Bob’s Lobster is a really cute seafood restaurant in the archways of London Bridge Station. It started off as a street food truck four years ago and grew in popularity over the years and has just opened its first permanent site in London Bridge! Ciaran and I checked it out a few weeks ago and loved the setting. The cosy restaurant has a chic tall bar filled with wines and champagnes that perfectly pair with their seafood offering. We came for the lobster and shared a roll with fries. The rolls are a little on the small side but pack a punch with the fresh flavours. If you’re a seafood fan, I’d give it a go 🙂
Where to Drink
Monmouth Coffee in Borough Market is one of the best coffee shops in London that imports a huge selection of single origin coffee beans from farms around the world, which are then skillfully roasted in nearby Bermondsey. It’s the perfect place to sip your morning coffee or grab a pick-me-up whilst wandering around. If you want to recreate this same coffee feeling in the comfort of your own home to save some time in the morning, you may want to look at getting yourself a coffee machine and some specialty beans to bring the coffee shop to your home, just without the people! You will need to learn how to clean a Sage coffee machine (if that is your preferred type), so you aren’t messing up your morning coffee!
The Shard is the tallest building in Europe and has some amazing restaurants and bars with sweeping views of London at the very top. Top tip: If you want to go to the viewing platform, you have to pay around £20 per person. Instead, shoot up to Aqua Shard on the 31st-floor bar for a cocktail instead and enjoy some of the best views of London with no entrance fee.
The George Pub, just across the street from Borough Market is a National Trust owned coaching inn and one of London’s oldest pubs! The Inn was built in 1677 and is the only remaining galleried Inn in London. Grab a pint or a Pimm’s and enjoy the sunshine on the terrace or cosy up inside during the colder months with mulled wine and cider.
Bedale’s of Borough in Borough Market is a fantastic little wine bar where you can sample a huge variety of wines by the glass alongside small seasonal plates with ingredients secured from Borough Market. If you’re visiting for lunch Monday – Thursday, take advantage of their set menu offering of 2 courses for £12 or 3 courses for £15 from 12-3pm. On Sundays, all wines are discounted when you buy a meat and cheese platter and there’s live music!
The Globe Tavern is hidden under the arches of London Bridge and stocks guests ales from the most exciting small batch brewers across London as well as wines and international beers. If you’ve seen the iconic Bridget Jones’s Diary, you’ll instantly recognise this pub as she lived in the flat on the first floor!
There are various other bars and pubs to try out if you are travelling around the London area. Whether it’s a boozy brunch or a night on the town, the party is just a click away with clapham high street venue hire options. One such option could be The Adventure Bar, which offers free cocktails to try, and gift vouchers that could be used either as bar tabs or brunch tickets for birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
What to do
HMS Belfast – Explore all nine decks on board the most significant surviving World War II Royal Navy warship docked just near Tower Bridge. Book advance online to get a 10% discount!
Tower Bridge – You can head to the top of Tower Bridge and take in the views from the glass walkway at the Tower Bridge Exhibition. Remember to also keep an eye out for Tower Bridge bridge lift times!
The Fashion & Textile Museum always has fabulous exhibitions that showcase the history of fashion and the latest trends in style textiles and jewellery. If you’re a fashionista, or just travelling with one, don’t miss out! You’re sure to be inspired by some of the oldest and most recent fashion trends here, and you’ll no doubt go out on the hunt down the high street or online afterwards to bag yourself a few items, and you can even find discounts on places like Raise too in order to save a bit of money. But visiting this Museum is a must whether you want to be inspired or just have an interest in the history of it.
There is so much to see and do in London Bridge that it would take a whole book to reveal it all! My best advice is to explore as much as you. I hope you find the above suggestions helpful and enjoy! Leave me a comment below and let me know some of your favourite places in the area to visit.
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*Spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views and recommendations for where to eat, drink and what to do are my own.