They say a London Bridge taxi is mysterious creature. Rarely seen when needed, always there when it isn’t. And when you consider the place itself, boxed in between the Shard and the River Thames, maybe it’s not all that much of a surprise. London Bridge Station has always jutted out awkwardly from the heart of historic Southwark; serving millions on their way to South London and beyond. But handy as it may be for whisking you away, we feel its true value lies in its more immediate surroundings. Follow this fascinating guide to the area and even hop in one of our dedicated London Bridge minicabs to traverse its many marvels. London Bridge station as we know it today sits perched on bankside, offering a convenient cross section of the Northern and Jubilee lines. Making it a surprisingly accessible cross junction to all corners of the city. But it wasn’t always so. Historic London Bridge has actually been knocked down and rebuilt countless times over the centuries, and while it never did quite ‘fall down’, it did suffer an altogether more unusual fate. When the last incarnation of the bridge was condemned before it did finally fall down, the city decided to sell it. Remarkably they found a buyer in Arizonan oil magnate Robert P McCulloch. So bizarrely, you can still visit the old bridge on Lake Havasu, USA today. Regardless of architectural oddities. The area has always been a thriving nucleus of arts, culture and gastronomy. Home to the incomparable sights, sounds and flavours of Borough Market as well as the magnificent recently rebuilt Globe Theatre. This truly is historic London at its most authentic. We suggest you follow our London Bridge taxi driver’s guide to the area and find out where all the locals go to eat, drink and just take in the sights.
Where to drink
Boot & Flogger
Dubbed ‘London’s first real wine bar’, this is a thoroughly British institution. The Boot & Flogger is a warmly inviting establishment that’s been stuffed to its ancient rafters with amazing wines, outstanding sherries and of course, a number of top drawer ales to boot. In need of some nourishment? They also serve meat carved off the bone. As if you’d have it any other way…
10-20 Redcross Way, Southwark, SE1 1TA
Spacious, it ain’t. To use estate agents parlance, this pub is ‘cosy, snug & comfortable’. But don’t let its size put you off. Because inside this modest nook, the owners (brewers themselves) have crammed in around 130 beers in the fridges as well as five separate kegs pulling a constant variety of ales. For those less beer inclined, the pub also serves cider and wine aplenty.
14 Winchester Walk, Borough Market SE1 9AG
The George Inn
The great surprise behind the George Inn, is the great surprise behind it – a beer garden. Just far away enough from the touristy drag, this historic pub offers a fine selection of home-cooked food and thirst-quenching libations. And as the last remaining galleried inn in London, it’s actually featured as a National Trust place of interest.
The George Inn Yard, 77 Borough High St, Southwark, SE1 1NH
Where to eat
Wright Brothers Oyster & Porter House
You’ve simply not eaten Oysters properly in London until you’ve been to Wright’s. Cut out of the side of Borough Market like the galley of a ship, this almost tipsy-looking oyster bar and seafood restaurant is a real treasure. We like to sit in front of the kitchen at the bar, chugging and shucking porter and oysters til we feel fat and bloated. But you’re just as welcome to park yourself at one of their many barrel tables with a glass of fizz.
11 Stoney St, SE1 9AD
Traipsing around Borough Market is hardly a slog. But if you do find it all a bit much and fancy a bite to eat without leaving London’s famous gastro-bazaar, we recommend Roast. Not exclusively limited to serving their (albeit pretty stunning) Sunday Roast, this British restaurant draws on all the market’s incredible resources. All while affording you a gloat-worthy vantage point over the market itself. Especially if you’re lucky enough to get a table by the bar.
The Floral Hall, Stoney St, SE1 1TL
The success of this bustling tapas joint could arguably be measured by the fact that it has already spawned two more restaurants in Soho & South Kensington. It could even be measured by how lucky you have to be to nab a table (they don’t take bookings), but we feel it’s true success lies in the quality of its food. Sourcing its produce from the market to create dishes of incomparable value, Brindisa is tapas how it’s meant to be eaten.
18-20 Southwark Street, SE1 1TJ
What to do
There may be a few pretenders, but in truth there’s nowhere in London quite like Borough Market. Squirreled away under the railway lines like some sort of secret Dickensian flea market. This incredible spot has housed the city’s finest hawkers of specialty foods for over 1,000 years. Come for the food, stay for the food and most likely return for the food. It’s a gourmet’s delight.
8 Southwark St, SE1 1TL
Built from the ashes of a 1970 office block, The Shard is now an indelible hallmark of the London skyline. And the best part about it is that you can go inside. At 1,016 feet, it is the tallest building in london and the 87th tallest in the world. Making it a must-see for those who don’t suffer from vertigo. For those less inclined to venture to its summit, it also houses a number of excellent bars, restaurants and shops.
32 London Bridge St, SE1 9SG
Wrap up warm if you’re going to Shakespeare’s Globe. It’s been built for absolute authenticity (so it doesn’t have a roof). Constructed in 1997 to replicate the original 1599 theatre which burned to the ground, this theatre now shows plays almost all year round. We recommend you bring your own cushion as the seats are wooden benches. Alternatively, if you’re feeling brave, you can pay £5 and watch a play standing in the pit.
21 New Globe Walk, London SE1 9DT