I spent the other morning strolling along London Bankside after I’d explored the South Bank. This is such an amazing part of London which includes the Tate Modern art gallery, Millennium Bridge and Shakespeare’s Globe. You can continue on to investigate Clink Prison, Southwark Cathedral and Borough Market. With the backdrop of the River Thames, the London Bankside is a wonderful walk to enjoy in the summer.
Explore London Bankside
Tate Modern: The most iconic building on Bankside is The Tate Modern. The entry is free except for special exhibitions and there is plenty to see without paying but do leave a donation if you can. The Tate collection boasts British art from 1500 to the present day along with international modern and contemporary art. This includes paintings, prints, photographs, sculptures, videos, films, installations and performance. Inside the Tate Modern you will find plenty of places to sit down, toilets, cafes, restaurants and a great gift shop. The building itself is breath-taking, it was once the Bankside Power Station which closed in 1981 and was regenerated and opened as the Tate Modern in 2000.
Millennium Bridge: In front of the Tate Modern is the famous Millennium Bridge which was completed in June 2000. This is a steel suspension bridge which connects Bankside with the city and you can see St Pauls Cathedral on the other side. It is also known as the Wobbly Bridge because it swayed before it was modified and then re-opened in 2002.
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre: Just past the Millennium Bridge is the Globe Theatre. It was founded by the American actor and director Sam Wanamaker. As the name implies it is dedicated to exploring the work of William Shakespeare. It is only a few hundred yards from the original site and the building looks charming with the thatched roof. Book yourself on a tour or see a performance. You might notice three old buildings in between the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe. This is Cardinal’s Wharf; the tallest building has a plaque of Sir Christopher Wren who was the architect of St Paul’s Cathedral. Sir Christopher Wren lived there when building St Paul’s. See a picture of the house after the introduction paragraph in this article – how cute!
Clink Prison: Continue on past the Globe and through a tunnel under Southwark Bridge and you come across Clink Street. Here you will find the Clink Prison which was a notorious medieval prison. It housed significant criminals from history like Sir Thomas Wyattt, who rebelled against Queen Mary I.
Golden Hinde II: Near the prison is the Golden Hind II which was Sir Francis Drake’s famous galleon. It’s a full size replica of the ship which sailed around the globe from 1577 until 1580. You can take a tour of the boat where you will be shown around by actors in period costumes.
Southwark Cathedral: Stop by Southwark Cathedral which is such a beautiful building. It has been there since AD 606 and is reputed to be the oldest cathedral church building in London. It stands at the oldest crossing point of the tidal Thames which used to be the only entrance to the City of London across the river.
Borough Market: End up at the famous Borough Food Market which features artisan food stalls where you can enjoy everything from freshly baked bread to cheese, cakes, confectionery, meat, poultry and fish. The market has been in existence since 1014 and fast forward to modern day where it is open Monday to Saturday with more traders there Wednesday to Saturday. London Bridge station is out the front if you want transport.
If you fancy a big adventure you can incorporate the South Bank tour into your walk. If you start off at Waterloo you can also see the London Eye, Southbank Centre, Gabriel’s Wharf, OXO Tower Wharf and more. Read my post about London South Bank for further information.
London Bankside Restaurants
If you enjoy eating artisan food head for Borough Market Monday through to Saturday. You might need to eat your food standing up if you buy from the food stalls so take that into account. There are restaurants in the area but these are often packed at lunch times. There are quite a few chain restaurants in the vicinity of Clink Street. The Tate Modern also has restaurants inside, one of which is on the ground floor.
Travel to London Bankside
If you want to take in the Bankside attractions start your tour off by travelling to Southwark Underground Station on the Jubilee Line. Or you can travel to Blackfriars Train Station serviced by railway lines; Thames Link, Southern and South Eastern or the Underground Station where you can take the Circle or District lines. If you want to start the walk off from The London Eye travel to Waterloo Train Station and take exit 6. Enjoy your walk and find something amazing to eat! You can find out more information about current events at the Visit Bankside Website.
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Homegirl London.