The Thames Walk: Sights & Sounds on the Southbank

Big Ben and Houses of parliament in London, UK

The team at The London Pass have been exploring the Thames Walk. From iconic sights and attractions, to the best eats with a view, here is their guide to getting the most out of your visit.

Ask any Londoner about their favorite things to do in London and, without a doubt, they will mention a walk along the Southbank. The Southbank offers fantastic views of many of London’s most iconic landmarks, as well as unique perspectives of the river and the city itself. From Big Ben, to the Tower of London, the London Eye and Shakespeare’s Globe, discover the best there is to see along the Thames Walk.

WHAT TO DO

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Start your Thames Walk at Westminster Bridge to take in all the sights as you walk east along the river. The easiest way to get there is on the tube, so hop off at either Waterloo or Westminster stations depending on where you are coming from. Although there is no right or wrong place to start the walk, Westminster Bridge to Tower Bridge is a popular choice which guarantees some of the best views in London. The walk is around 3 miles long, so depending on your pace and how often you stop to take photos, it should take just over an hour. Lace up those trainers, recharge your camera batteries and take in the atmosphere!

WHAT TO SEE

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Kicking off your walk at Westminster Bridge means you can take great selfies next to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, two of the most iconic and historic landmarks in London. Head for the Queen’s Walk promenade on the southern embankment and you’ll pass the London Eye before reaching the cultural hub of the Southbank Centre, Royal Festival Hall, the British Film Institute and National Theatre.

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Carry on past the OXO Tower, home to contemporary galleries and shops – with a great top-floor terrace for drinks. A bit further on, don’t miss the iconic Shakespeare’s Globe – it’s an exact replica of the theatre that burnt down in 1613 – before approaching the acclaimed Tate Modern art gallery, which is home to some of the best modern art in the world. Then you’ll pass London Bridge (not to be mistaken with Tower Bridge!) and the WWII battleship, HMS Belfast, before coming up to the historic highlights of Tower Bridge and Tower of London. The Tower is arguably being London’s most popular tourist attraction because of its incredible history dating back to the Norman invasion.

WHERE TO EAT

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The Thames Walk will certainly work up your appetite, but don’t worry there are plenty of delicious stopping points along the way where you can get a sugar fix, coffee hit or sit down meal. The area just east of the London Eye hosts a variety of festivals during the course of a year, including Winter Wonderland, the Udderbelly comedy extravaganza and the Wounderground funfair. These are accompanied by pop up food stalls from all over the world that will make your taste buds cheer.

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Just before the OXO Tower, you’ll pass Gabriel’s Wharf which is home to a great fish restaurant, perfect for mid-way meal. If you carry on to the Tate Modern, you could reward yourself with a pint at the Founders Arms which overlooks the river and St Paul’s Cathedral. It’s a great spot to watch the sunset, too.

Follow these top tips on your Thames Walk and you can be sure to see the best of London, from all angles. These riverside perspectives will allow you to see some of the best sights up close, as well as their spectacular surroundings. So don’t forget to wear comfy shoes and make sure your camera is charged!

Article contributed by London Pass

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