As the weather is beginning to improve in London and we enter Spring, I thought it’s about time to get out and about exploring my own hometown, London. I live fairly close to London Bridge but never tend to go and explore this area too often, which seems a bit of a shame.
The whole area of London Bridge has recently undergone some huge transformations, from the totally re-built train station to the brand new Vinegar Yard street food market that opened in March 2019.
I recently spent the day exploring the neighbourhood, getting to know some of the best places in London Bridge. Please note, the spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own. You can find the some of the best hotels in London Bridge on their website, all of which are the perfect base to explore one of London’s most happening areas. So read on to find out how I spent a day exploring the London Bridge area!
No day of sightseeing is possible without fueling up on a great breakfast. I did a quick Google search before arriving in London Bridge, and to my delight, I saw that the Shard offers breakfast in its Aqua restaurant. I had no idea about this, and thought that would be a great place to start the day.
My friend Katy joined me and we headed to entrance at about 9am. After a quick bag check, we were in the lift and on our way up to level 31. To our surprise, we were the only guests in the restaurant!We were directed to a delightful table by the window, overlooking the River Thames, St Paul’s and London Bridge.
The menu is similar to other breakfast spots around London, but the view is incredible, of course. I’ve never been up here in the daytime before, so it was great to see people scurrying across the bridges like ants and to get a bird’s eye view of the city for once.
We even thought the pricing was pretty reasonable and only fractionally higher to other breakfast places in London. We ordered cappuccinos, as well as salmon and eggs on avocado toast. It came out pretty swiftly and was presented beautifully. A perfect start to a day of exploring the London Bridge area!
After breakfast, I slowly wandered over to Borough Market. One of the most iconic places in London Bridge and in the whole of London, I know the tourists descend here every lunch time to try out the tasty food offerings. I was a bit early so I wandered into some of the delightful stores at the edge such as Neal’s Yard. Within an hour or so, all of the stalls had opened and Borough Market was packed!
I wandered around for a while, and felt the sheer number of foodie choices a little overwhelming! I started with a coffee from Gentleman Baristas, which is on a small side street to the back of Borough Market. From here, I spotted some really cool street art which I remembered I had actually noticed earlier that morning from my table in the Shard. My friend had pointed out two hanging hearts under a bridge, but on ground level, I realised they were actually painted on the wall and lots of tourists were stopping to take photos!
Borough Market always amazes me with the number of foodie options available and similarly, the sheer number of tourists and local city workers who visit here everyday for lunch. I decided upon some freshly made pasta from the stall ‘La tua pasta’ and took a perch at on a bench to watch everybody going by.
Not only can you buy lots of freshly cooked food at Borough Market, but you can also buy a lot of produce. I found Konditor and Cook, famed bakery and cake makers on the edge of the market. I treated myself to a couple of brownies to take home and then I also discovered a stand selling warm sausage rolls and savoury tarts.
I was surprised at the prices too on some of the fruit stands – far better than my local supermarket, with a punnet of raspberries going for £1. The traders at the fruit and veg stands were shouting their prices and tempting passersby, and it felt reminiscent of London markets in old movie scenes!
After lunch, I wandered just down the road opposite the new entrances to London Bridge station. I’d heard of the brand new Vinegar Yard opening and thought this was a great chance to go and take a peek around. It is part outdoor street food market and part vintage clothes market. The entrance to Vinegar Yard is marked by a huge silver train carriage, elevated about 10m above the ground, with giant metal ants on it. A little odd, but at least it means you can’t miss it!
Vinegar Yard is free to enter and has around 10 food stalls dotted around the edge, with rows upon rows of picnic benches filling up the main yard area. With a full tummy, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to eat anything but felt it would be a shame not to. I wandered towards the Italian stand, called Sugo, and ordered a bowl of fresh arancini balls. The perfect part two of my Italian lunch.
I’m looking forward to returning to this cool new spot with a bigger appetite and in the summer months, when I can sit outside for longer!
So there’s my day exploring London Bridge. Unsurprisingly perhaps, it became a self-guided food tour because, after all, eating out is my favourite thing.
London Bridge is not only super easy to get to and centrally located, but with the much heralded and long established Borough Market, together with the newly opened Vinegar Yard, it is definitely a great spot for foodies in London. Next time, I’ll have to walk just a little further to Bermondsey Street, also in the London Bridge area to explore there too as I’ve heard great things.
Are there any other places you’d suggest in the London Bridge area? Let me know in the comments below!