A stroll down the Southbank.
According to Wikipedia the South Bank “is an entertainment and commercial district of Central London, England, next to the River Thames opposite the City of Westminster”. But as any local will tell you it’s a whole lot more that. The walk from Tower Bridge (that’s the one with that raises for the big ships that come up the Thames) will reveal a burgeoning activity –fest that changes every time you stroll down its well trodden path. If you start at this bridge (the river will be on your right ) you will pass London City Hall a slightly drunken looking building that looks like the modern equivalent of the’ leaning tower of Pisa’ – the Mayor of London’s official office.
Moving through Riverside
Moving past the lively office blocks of the Riverside buildings that gush office workers at lunchtime and between 5-6 you will notice a large ship on your right – the famous HMS Belfast. This veteran ship is part of Imperial War Museums and no tells the stories of life on board this warship during the Second World War and beyond. It is a survivor of the fabled ‘Atlantic Convoys’ whose brave participants escorted merchant vessels on their way to the Arctic to take vital supplies to the USSR. It’s a fascinating glimpse of the past and worth a detour (kids under 15 go free). As you stroll past Belfast there is plenty of interesting stuff on your left and loads of restaurants should you be feeling peckish. If you want to detour sharp left and go in-land just make sure that you have a good map with you.
London Bridge next stop
You’ll soon arrive at London Bridge – a newish structure that replaced a number of predecessors .The last one was purchased by the Missourian entrepreneur Robert P. McCulloch of McCulloch Oil for US$2,460,000 who shipped it to Arizona via the Panama Canal. The claim that McCulloch believed mistakenly that he was buying the more impressive Tower Bridge. There are plenty of diversion around this area and it is simply packed with history for those of you like myself whose sponge-like ability for historical fact knows no limit. The Clink, the Golden Hinde, Southwark Market, the Globe – are all within spitting distance.
Onward, onward – and if you are at low tide keep your eyes out for a small ‘beach’ on your left where gregarious musicians will keep you entertained for hours. As you pass by keep an eye out for some fantastic street entertainers including the bag-pipe player whose instrument is pyrotechnically inclined and the tuba player/flame thrower who achieves a similar effect. If you are feeling particularly in need of cosseting treat yourself to lunch or dinner in one of the Oxo Towers two restaurants. You’ll soon past the Globe Theatre and will soon be very close to the Royal Festival Hall where a variety of performances are always taking place and a mid afternoon tea dance might be taken in.
Time for a pit-stop
Finish off your walk in one of the many pubs near Black Friars from where you will hopefully enjoy an unparalleled view of Bankside’s City-scape. (Or pop round the corner to the Rose and Crown, which has an amazing beer garden) I have missed out about 99% of the other stuff that you can indulge yourself on this walk – but trust me there is about a days worth plus of activities to be enjoyed in this unique part of London