London Bridge may not be the bridge you’re thinking of. Although it has been immortalized in a nursery rhyme and in literature, this bridge crossing the Thames is overshadowed by the far grander Tower Bridge just a little further downstream.
The current London Bridge is a fairly charmless and utilitarian structure from the 1970s that really isn’t worth visiting by itself. However, the area around London Bridge certainly is.
This crossing of the Thames joins together the north and south parts of the British capital, and you’ll find plenty to do on either bank of the legendary river.
If you find yourself looking for things to do near London Bridge, you won’t be disappointed. Drop off your bags at a London Bridge luggage storage, and you can enjoy the best attractions on either side of the Thames.
On the south side of the Thames, just a few minutes on foot from London Bridge, is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. The Shard is a towering glass structure that dominates the skyline. At 1,016 feet (310 meters), it is currently the tallest building in Western Europe. You can take in the views from one of three viewing platforms or enjoy some fine dining at one of the restaurants located within the building.
A short walk from London Bridge on the south side of the Thames will bring you to Borough Market. This historic food market dates back to the 13th century, and today it offers a huge range of produce, including fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, cheeses, and more. There are also a number of cafes and restaurants located within the market, so it’s a great place to grab a bite to eat.
You can’t visit London without seeing Tower Bridge. This world-famous bridge is located just downstream from London Bridge, and it offers stunning views of the cityscape. You can even go inside the bridge towers and walk across the glass floor for a birds-eye view of the Thames below.
The Tower of London
No trip to London would be complete without a visit to the Tower of London. This historic castle has served as a royal palace, a prison, and an execution site over the centuries. Today, it houses the Crown Jewels, and you can even take part in a guided tour led by one of the famous Yeoman Warders (also known as Beefeaters).
The Tower of London has been a big part of British history, and visiting this fortification now is like taking a crash course in the last thousand years of the country. It’s an unmissable thing to do while you’re in London, and it’s so close to London Bridge that there’s no reason not to spend at least a few hours here.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
On the north side of the Thames, just a short walk from London Bridge is St. Paul’s Cathedral. This magnificent building was designed by Sir Christopher Wren in the 17th century, and it remains one of the most iconic landmarks in London. You can go inside to explore the cathedral or climb to the top of the dome for unbeatable views of the city.
For another great spot to take in the views, head to the Sky Garden on the north side of the Thames. This public garden is located atop a skyscraper, and it offers 360-degree views of London. There’s also a bar and a restaurant if you want to make a day of it.
If your budget stretches to it, dinner at the Sky Garden is an unforgettable experience. And if you want to save a little money, you can get the same view by just enjoying a couple of cocktails. However, reservations are strongly recommended.
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
Also on the south side of the Thames is Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. This reconstruction of the playwright’s original theatre is a must-visit for any fan of his work. You can take a tour of the theater or see one of the plays that are performed there throughout the year.
Taking in a play here is about the closest thing you’re going to get to a time machine. If you’re a Shakespeare fan, this is a no-brainer. But even if you’re not the biggest fan of the Bard, it’s worth visiting the theater to get a glimpse into Renaissance London.
The Golden Hinde
Near Shakespeare’s Globe is the Golden Hinde, a replica of the ship that Sir Francis Drake sailed around the world in the 16th century. You can go onboard and explore the ship or just enjoy the views from the dock.
This attraction is a great option if you’re looking for something to do with kids. They’ll love exploring the ship, and they’ll learn a lot about maritime history in the process.
Jack The Ripper Museum
Pay a visit to the Jack the Ripper Museum for something a little more macabre. This museum explores the infamous murders that took place in the Whitechapel area of London in the late 19th century.
Despite its subject matter, this is actually a really well-done museum. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re interested in true crime or history. The scary story of one of the world’s best-known and most mysterious serial killers isn’t really suitable for young kids. But older kids may well find it fascinating, and true crime fans shouldn’t miss this intriguing attraction.
Things to do near London Bridge
As you can see from this list, there is certainly no shortage of things to do in the area around London Bridge. Drop off your bags at a nearby luggage storage, and you’ll be ready to enjoy the best of what both North and South London have to offer.