A nice way to explore parts of the city of London is a walk along the South Bank. With the Big Ben as your starting point, it will take you about 50 minutes to get to the Tower Bridge. There is a lot to see and do around the South Bank, so if you have the time, take at least one day to explore the area.
1. Starting point: the Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster
The starting point of our walk is the Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster, the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
2. Cross the Westminster Bridge and enjoy the view
3. The London Eye
A ride with the London Eye will take you about 30 minutes and the view is said to be breathtaking. During high season getting tickets in advance is highly recommended. Afraid of heights? At the foot of the London Eye you will find the entrance of the London sea aquarium. When you continue tour walk along the bankside, you will pass the Jubilee Gardens, where you can find a lot of street artists and musicians.
4. Gabriels Warf
Pass the Waterloo bridge and turn right to Gabriels Warf, home to a mix of independent shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. If you have the time, visit the Oxo tower. Take the elevator to the top to enjoy the view. The Oxo tower hosts a lot of nice galleries. If you take an interest in art take your time to explore the different art shops.
5. Blackfriars Bridge
Pass the Blackfriars Bridge, where you can still see the remains of an older bridge right next to it. In the back of the picture below you can see St. Pauls Cathedral.
6. Next stop: Tate Modern
Tate Modern houses in an old electricity building. The building alone makes it worth a visit and the good news is: like with most musea in London a visit to Tate Modern is free of charge. For temporary exhibitions you do need to buy a ticket and donations are being much appreciated. After a visit to Tate, you can pass the Millennium Bridge to the other side of the river bank. Here you can visit St. Pauls Cathedral with its famous whispering gallery.
7. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
Although this theatre is a replica of the original Shakespeare Theatre, a guided tour is absolutely worth it. You can also buy tickets for shows at this theatre.
8. Lunch at the Anchor
Getting hungry or thirsty? Pass the Southwark Bridge and take a break at the old pub the Anchor. Enjoy your drinks or a great meal with typical pub food.
9. A nice view at the City of London
While the streets are getting smaller at the South Bank, you can enjoy the view of a more modern part of London at the other side of the river: the City. Continue your walk though the old and small streets along the river bank and pass a replica of the old Hinde II, a full-sized reconstruction of the ship Sir Francis Drake used to circumnavigate the globe between 1577-80. You can explore the boat if you buy a ticket.
10. The Tower Bridge
Pass the London Bridge to reach the Tower Bridge. Inside the Tower Bridge you will find a museum about the history of the bridge. A ticket includes a walk over the famous glass floor. On this side of the South Bank there are a lot of shops, restaurants and bars. In the Thames you will get a glimpse of the HMS Belfast, a historic warship that can be visited.
11. The Tower of London
Discover 1000 years of history and visit the much feared Tower of London. Learn more about the people who were imprisoned (or escaped from) here and take a look at the crown jewels. Although tickets do not come cheap you cannot afford to skip a visit.
12. Return to the Big Ben by boat
I can imagine your feet are really hurting at this time. Don’t worry! You can relax and enjoy the view from the Thames on a Boat that will take you back to you starting point in about 20 minutes.