Things To Do In and Near Bermondsey
Updated: Feb 1, 2022
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When planning a trip to London, Bermondsey may not be the first part of the city that you write down. While there are plenty of things to do in and near Bermondsey, it’s not really a tourist hotspot. It’s often overlooked in favour of other popular nearby attractions such as Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. I hadn’t heard of Bermondsey before I started researching unique parts of London, so I’m glad we managed to fit one night in here after our stay in Whitechapel.
The history of Bermondsey dates back to before the 10th century, and was home to a Cluniac Abbey in the Middle Ages. By the Victorian period, Bermondsey had developed into an industrial centre known for tanning, leather making, and spinning a type of cloth called calico. The expansion of the port of London saw a lot of warehouses being built in Bermondsey, which today have been transformed into flats, restaurants, and shops. It’s a vibrant part of London to explore and is ever evolving. Here are some recommendations for things to do in and near Bermondsey.
If you’re wandering around this area of London, you’d be hard pressed to find a better street to explore than Bermondsey Street. It’s lined with independent shops, unique restaurants, and plenty of bars. This street helps Bermondsey to feel more like a small village than anything else. Despite it being so close to Tower Bridge, it feels a world away from the rest of London. Walking along Bermondsey Street is one of the best things to do in Bermondsey - you never know what you’ll find here.
A great cafe in Bermondsey to stop at is Fuckoffee. It’s located along Bermondsey Street and is a very quirky place in London to visit. On top of their unusual decor inside, they’re known for their organic coffee and cakes. Since I don’t drink coffee though, I opted for one of their freshly blended smoothies which was very refreshing. If you’re easily offended you may want to give this coffee shop in Bermondsey a miss. A lot of their menu items have been given “sexy” names, and the decor has come into question sometimes. If you’re not easily offended though, visiting Fuckoffee is a really fun thing to do in Bermondsey.
Fashion & Textile Museum
A quick visit to the Fashion and Textile Museum is a great thing to do in Bermondsey, especially on a rainy day. It’s the only museum in the UK that’s completely dedicated to showcasing contemporary fashion and textile design. It was founded in 2003 by a British designer, and the building was designed by a Mexican architect. It’s very bright on the outside so you can’t miss it! If you’re visiting Bermondsey, I’d recommend heading to this unique museum in London.
The Shard is an iconic landmark in London, and it’s only a few minutes walk from the Fashion and Textile Museum. It’s the tallest building in the UK and the seventh tallest in Europe, and it’s design is pretty impressive too. Most of the building is office space, but it’s also home to the Shangri-La Hotel, which is one of the most luxurious hotels in London. The View From the Shard is a major tourist attraction in London, offering visitors the best views of the city from the top floor. And if you’re feeling extra fancy, you can always go to one of the bars or restaurants in The Shard too.
In my opinion, one of the best markets in London, other than the famous Camden Market, has to be Borough Market. It claims to date back to at least 1014, though it’s moved sites quite a lot over the centuries. It’s one of the oldest and largest food markets in the city, selling everything you could possibly need to make the perfect meal. Then there’s the food stalls. You could spend days hopping between the food stalls at Borough Market, but try to avoid it at lunch time as it gets incredibly busy. The Black Pig is one stall I couldn’t recommend enough, especially if you like pulled pork. It’s a short walk from Bermondsey Street and easily accessible using the London Underground.
No trip to London is complete without seeing Tower Bridge. It was completed in 1894 with the purpose of easing traffic. The bridge was built with a movable roadway that lifts up for ships to pass through, which was considered a marvel at the time. Today it stands as one of the most recognizable structures in the world, and you can even take a look inside. The self-guided tour allows you to walk in the steps of the Victorian engineers. Once you get to the top, you can walk across part of the bridge and there’s even a glass floor if you’re not scared of heights! After the Tower Bridge tour, a short walk brings you to the Engine Rooms, where you can see the inner workings of the bridge. It really is one of the best things to do near Bermondsey.
If the price of The Shard isn’t within your budget, you can get the same view (and a view of the Shard as well) for free at the Sky Garden. It’s a great thing to do near Tower Bridge, as it’s only a 15 minute walk away from it. The Sky Garden is London’s highest public garden, offering incredible city views, a tranquil setting, and a place to grab a bite to eat or drink. It’s one of my favourite places to go in London, and is ideal if you’re a budget traveller. Make sure you pre-book a time slot online before visiting. It’s completely free to book but they only allow a certain number of people in at a time.
Hop on a Train to Greenwich
If you have some spare time, Greenwich is one of the best places near Bermondsey to visit, and takes less than 30 minutes on the train to get to. We travelled to Greenwich to visit two of its main attractions: the Cutty Sark and the Royal Observatory. The Cutty Sark is a British clipper ship built in Scotland in 1869. It was one of the last of its kind to be built and the fastest, with its primary cargo being tea from China. Today it stands proudly as a museum, where visitors can explore all parts of the ship and learn more about its impressive history. It’s a key attraction in Greenwich and should definitely be on your list of places to visit in London.
A short walk from the Cutty Sark will bring you to the Royal Observatory. It’s the home of the Prime Meridian and Greenwich Mean Time, and you can physically stand over the Prime Meridian Line too. It was commissioned in 1675 by King Charles II and has played a vital role in the study of astronomy over the years. The view from the observatory over Greenwich Park and the River Thames is considered to be one of the best views in London. Greenwich is a very unique place in London to visit, even if it’s just for a few hours.
Where To Stay in Bermondsey
If you want to stay in the heart of this trendy area of London, your best bet is to check in to the Bermondsey Square Hotel. The hotel sits along Bermondsey Street, so you couldn’t be in a better location. It takes less than 10 minutes to walk from Tower Bridge Station to the hotel, and it’s a pet-friendly hotel in London too!
We stayed in one of their Terrace Rooms, which was very spacious inside, with a large shared terrace. The terrace would be perfect to sit out on during the summer months. It was a gorgeous modern room, with a luxury bed, rain shower, and complimentary snacks being only some of its features. The big plus for me were the large French doors that opened onto the terrace. Other requests such as fresh milk or a newspaper could easily be made at the reception desk.
They have a few options for breakfast, but we went with the hot breakfast which included use of the continental buffet. The hot breakfast dishes can be found on the menu, but we were able to help ourselves to the continental buffet which has everything you could possibly ask for - and more. The hotel also offers all-day-dining, which is very convenient if you have a hectic schedule. The dinner menu isn’t massive, but it has a good variety to choose from, with vegetarian options available as well. Both breakfast and dinner are served in the same part of the hotel, next to the reception desk, in a cozy atmosphere that’s perfect for those cold winter nights.
>> Click here for the most up to date prices at the Bermondsey Square Hotel <<
There are many more great things to do in Bermondsey and the surrounding area, and hopefully we’ll get a chance to return and explore it in more depth. The Bermondsey Street restaurants were calling our name, as were a number of bars tucked away in the Victorian railway arches. Bermondsey a perfect part of London to visit if you want to escape the touristy crowds and immerse yourself in a historic area of the city that’s a bit of a hidden gem.
Have you wandered around Bermondsey before? We only spent one day in Bermondsey, so I would love to hear what other places we should visit when we return. Please feel free to leave a comment below! And don’t forget to follow my latest travels on Instagram too.
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