London Bridge & Borough
Centuries-old fortresses and the bustle of City workers, this area offers food, art and culture in abundance. Walk along the Thames and small cobbled streets of the neighbourhood, and take-in the area's character and charm.
Ivy's Guide to London Bridge & Borough
A Historical Look
Of all the buildings that line the River Thames, the Tower of London is the most iconic. Built in 1078 by William the Conquerer, this is the fortress where hundreds of treasonous prisoners lost their lives - and a stay in London Bridge isn't complete without a visit. Tower Bridge is another must-see. We love to go back in time and look at the state-of-the-art (at the time!) Victorian engine rooms that powered the Bridge's mobile arms. Plan your visit to coincide with times of the day when the bridge raises to let ships through. Famed WW2 vessel HMS Belfast is open daily for visitors to climb the ship's ramparts and experience life on a British warship.
Since the late 16th Century, the City of London has been a major centre for international commerce and banking. Today, 20% of the world's foreign equity market is listed in the square mile, which attracts the expertise of thousands of international professionals. Explore its historic winding streets, that meander through the City until they open out onto the imposing facades of the Bank of England and St Paul's Cathedral.
The Shard dominates London's skyline, completed in 2012 this iconic building is the tallest in Western Europe at 310m high with 72 floors. Diners with a head for heights have three restaurants to choose from, all with unrivalled views across the city.
Roast is a fantastic restaurant, using carefully sourced fresh produce and a modern take on classical British dishes, set in a beautiful dining room.
The Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell is at the cutting end of brunch. All dishes are served with love and precision. Book a table downstairs, in the heart of the action. For a quick lunch, go to Kebabs Made Good, who have pioneered fresh, slow-cooked kebabs that are distinctly chip/polystyrene/deep fat-free. The slow-cooked shoulder of lamb is a winner.
St Katherine's Docks, a pretty harbour in the heart of the City, is also home to some great pubs and restaurants. The Dickens Inn has a stunning timber facade with overhanging balconies, constructed in the 1820s. It's worth a visit to admire the building alone. Bravas Tapas does some of the best Spanish tapas that we've had in London. After plates of spiced lamb, croquetas and crema catelana, there's nothing like a digestion-aiding walk around the boats that are docked outside.
Classic British Pubs
In this part of London lie some of the oldest of all London pubs. Below are our favourites: Enjoy a pie with a sausage on the side - the most English of all meals - washed down with a pint at City workers' beloved pub, Simpson's Tavern.
The Lord Clyde is a typically English Pub with a great atmosphere, and has been in the same family for three generations.
The Garrison, Bermondsey, is a stunning London pub serving equally beautiful food. With a name like the Boot & Flogger, this wine bar can only be good. It has a great, lively atmosphere and serves up hearty British food.
Ye Old Cheshire Cheese has little changed since it was rebuilt after The Great Fire of London in 1666. A crowd of literary figures such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Mark Twain have all sat within its wooden walls with writing paper and a mug of ale. Today, it's frequented by the corporates who work in the international banks that line the Strand.
The Best Coffee in London
The Monmouth Coffee Company, can be found in Borough market, expect queues no matter what time of day. This coffee is sumptuous and rich, a real treat and the perfect pick-me-up. The coffee is delivered every day from the company's roasting site in Bermondsey.
Further East is The Barbican Centre, London's biggest multi-arts venue. Take your laptop to the cafe on the ground floor, Benugo, and get some work done over a cappuccino. This is also an excellent opportunity to explore what the venue puts on in the way of theatre and classical and contemporary music concerts.
A foodie's paradise - a haven of street food stalls, artisanal bakeries, glorious fresh produce and arguably the best coffee in London, the Monmouth coffee company.
The market dates back to the 11th century (that's over a thousand years old!), and has historically been so loved by local residents that when the government closed the market in 1755, residents raised £6,000 (the equivalent of around £55,000 by today's standards), to reopen it. Today, its stalls still overflow with exceptional British food.
This area is home to some of the world's most esteemed art galleries.
The Tate Modern, located on the Thames, housed within the former bank-side power station features an enormous collection of international and contemporary art housed in a magnificent setting.
Shakespeare's Globe, a reconstruction of the Elizabethan theatre, stages fantastic open-air productions.
Wilton's Music Hall is one of the most staggeringly beautiful buildings in London and the world's oldest surviving grand music hall. They offer guided tours, given by passionate heritage experts. The perfect cultural stop, just five minutes from the tower of London.
Whether you wander down the embankment, past Shakespeare's Globe theatre and towards the Tate Britain Gallery, or past Blackfriars to the Barristers Chambers of Temple on the other side of the river, you'll have London's history at your fingertips.
You can embark on a free guided walk around the area - a great way to explore the city and work up an appetite!
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