I am finally getting back to writing my next blog post. Life sometimes takes a few turns and it’s hard to sit down and write. But that does not mean that we have stopped exploring our adopted home. We have done plenty. I have taken hundreds of pictures. Each and every one of them tells the story of our life here. I have even grown attached to the pictures. I can’t even hit the delete button to delete at least some of them! I have declared to my husband that this means it’s time to buy a new IPad with even more storage.
This time I am going to cover the area near Tower Bridge and highlight a few particular places on both sides of the river. We have walked to these places on separate occasions, but this can be easily done in a single afternoon.
Let’s start at the area of Bermondsey. It is a district on the southeast side of London. It is east of Tower Bridge. It is famous for what is known as Beer Mile but I haven’t done it so I won’t go into detail on that. I know some of you might be interested in it, so it deserves a quick mention. It is a mile or two of artisanal beer breweries, bars, and shops. Since we are foodies, we were more interested in the food side of Bermondsey, the Maltby Street Market. If you are in London over a weekend then do visit this international street food market. It is situated partly under railway bridge arches and extends into a narrow alley called Rope Walk. It’s open only on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. It is a small market but oh, how much is packed in that tight narrow lane. I love the whole atmosphere of it. It is tucked into such an unusual location, adding to the charm.
Even if you are a picky eater, you will find something delicious to eat. Be prepared though, on a hot sunny day, your delicious food will be accompanied by buckets of sweat. Also, for some stalls, lines can be long. If you want to sit somewhere, you might have to climb up on a cart. I am going to post some pictures and leave rest for you to discover.
From Maltby Street let’s move to Shad Thames.
That was on my to do list for a long time. When I saw the pictures of this London street, I had to go. The nearest tube station is little far. Either you can walk from Bermondsey or London Bridge. We walked to the small and mainly residential area to reach Shad Thames. The plaque over there describes it as the best surviving street of London’s Docklands. Both sides of the street are edged by warehouses and crisscrossed overhead with wrought iron bridges. It is truly beautiful.
Now these brick buildings are home to restaurants and apartments. After you enjoy this unique street go on to the river side. There are a couple of arched passageways leading you to breathtaking views of Tower Bridge from the east side.
The day we went, there was a Indian movie shooting going on there. So we stood with other gawkers in hopes of catching sight of a famous movie star but all we saw was a rehearsal of a fight scene over and over again.
Okay, let’s move on to the next thing on my list, for which you will have to cross the river using Tower Bridge. The closest tube stations to where we are going are Bank and Monument. Saint Dunstan in the East is a small garden situated atop a small hill called St. Dunstan’s Hill.
If you are sightseeing at the Tower of London or Tower Bridge on your trip to London and you want a quiet moment to yourself from the hustle and bustle, this is the place to seek out. To me, even if you don’t need a break, this little oasis is worth a visit. The City of London built this beautiful garden in the place of ruins of a 10th century church. The original church had burnt down in the Great Fire of London in 1666. On its place a new church was built by one of the most prominent British architects, Christopher Wren, during the rebuilding of London post the Great Fire. But it wasn’t in the destiny of even the new church to survive. It was destroyed during the Second World War. The wild garden put in place amongst the ruins is one of the prettiest gardens I have ever seen. I will let my pictures do the talking.
Let me move onto the last place I am going to cover in this blog. The Sky Gardens is a stones throw away from the St Dunstan in the East Gardens. You can even see the building on which London’s highest garden, The Sky Garden, sits.
The building is known as the Walkie Talkie building because of its shape. The Sky Garden is free to the public and it has amazing 360 degree views of London. The garden with bars and restaurants is located on the top. There is an open terrace where you can walk out and look at the Thames meandering among well-loved London landmarks.
You can wait for a ferry to pass under Tower Bridge and see Tower Bridge separate to let the ferry pass. You do need tickets to enter The Sky Garden even though it is free. These free tickets book fast. During the day they have two time slots available for walk- ins. But depending on the crowds you might not be able to get in. The best option is to book your time slot. They open the booking two weeks in advance. I think if you can get in at dusk then it’s the best. It is fun to see London slowly slipping into night with the lights coming on. Of course you can book a table at one of the restaurants and enjoy the views.
As you have noticed none of these activities require any money except for buying your lunch at Maltby Street Market. These are the things that are light on the pocket yet fun and relaxing. If you are a Londoner and haven’t done some or all of these things, why not take a summer weekend afternoon and do this starting with lunch at Maltby Street and ending with Happy Hour at the Sky Gardens. There are so many such small pleasures around London that we never run out of things to do. I better stop before I go on and on. We are rushing off to Kensington to check out the famous London Mews!
Kynance Mews, Kensington
PS. In case you are thinking of doing the walk I have suggested in this blog, here are some estimates about the time it will take.
Bermondsey Station to Maltby Street Market: 12 minutes walk.
Maltby Street Market to Shad Thames: 6 minutes walk.
Shad Thames to Saint Dunstan in the East via Tower Bridge: 20 minutes walk. More if you want to stop and enjoy the views from the bridge or take in the Tower Bridge Museum and shop. Also you can go up the bridge to the viewing gallery and see the passing traffic on the bridge and River Thames through the glass floor.
Saint Dunstan in the East to Sky Gardens on 20 Fenchurch Street: 3 minutes walk