9 Iconic Things to do near London Bridge

Old Operating Theatre Museum, Southwark Cathedral, and Clink Prison Museum

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Just south of the River Thames, the London Bridge area is one of the most quintessential London neighborhoods.

Whether you stay at a hotel in London bridge or are just visiting from elsewhere in the city, you’ll find so many things to do in London Bridge that can fill a whole day with activity.

We set out on a challenge to see what we could get done and what hidden nooks and crannies we could explore, and we ended up finding these iconic things to do near London Bridge to inspire you to plan your own trip.

Oh, and spoiler alert: this is one of the most picturesque areas of London, so don’t forget your travel camera!

Hey! Sidenote! Traveling in the UK? For tons more advice, beautiful photos and friendly help, click here to join my UK Travel Facebook group to carry on the conversation with fellow travelers and UK experts.

Southwark Cathedral London and The Shard at Night

Get a Bite to Eat at the Breakfast Club

When you come to London, you’ve got to eat, and where better than one of London’s Bridge’s best restaurants?

The Breakfast Club is a London favorite, and you can find one of their most popular branches near London Bridge station. We visited for dinner and enjoyed an amazing meal of “disco fries” and sweetcorn fritters with a side of mac and cheese, but they also do a fantastic breakfast menu (though we’d advise against the dessert portions of the pancakes as they weren’t up to par to this American!)

It’s always busy here, so make reservations when you can ahead of time or prepare to wait for a table. But, as the demand suggests, it’s so worth it!

The Breakfast Club London Bridge Menu
The Breakfast Club London Bridge Pancakes

Torture Yourself at the Clink Prison Museum

Many people suggest the London Dungeon experience when traveling around London Bridge, but I say skip the London Dungeon and head to the Clink Prison Museum if you want to actually learn more about medieval torture (and who doesn’t?).

This museum is not too expensive and leads you through a series of rooms in the original Clink prison, which is where the slang term for “jail” came about.

You’ll follow the stories of multiple people who lived and died at the prison and get the chance to test your stomach strength when you get a lot of very specific information about just how people loved to torture criminals back in the day (and they weren’t all criminals like we would think now – even debt could put you in here).

For one of the most educational and iconic things to do in London Bridge, you can’t go wrong.

The Clink Prison Museum London Bridge Exterior with a hanging skeleton in a cage
A model of a person in a jail cell at The Clink prison Museum London Bridge
Decapitated heads on poles at The Clink Museum in London Bridge
A torture chair at The Clink Prison Museum in London Bridge

Explore the Golden Hindes

This recreation of a ship sailed by Francis Drake around the globe sits nestled near the river in the London Bridge area on a dry dock, and it’s a fantastic place for kids and adults alike to step on board and see what life would have been like sailing on it.

It’s not a huge ship, so won’t take you too long to explore, meaning you can fit it into a jam-packed itinerary of things to do near London Bridge.

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The Golden Hinde London Bridge between two buildings

Old Operating Theatre Museum

Have you ever taken a moment to think about what medical life was like in the Victorian era?

You probably haven’t, and the Old Operating Theatre Museum is here to change that.

This wonderfully quirky museum in an attic in the London Bridge area has artifacts, including bodily ones, that help explore the medical methods and fears of the 1800s.

From leech trays to amputation knives (used without anesthetic, no less!), you can explore medical and herbal history. You can also step into an old operating theatre, which has been reconstructed on the same site it used to stand where medical students would observe surgical skills at St. Thomas’ Hospital.

The museum does regular talks and activities, as well, and there were a large group of kids taking part in an interactive activity while we were there.

A reconstructed operating theatre at The Old Operating Theatre in London Bridge
A Plague Doctor mask on a table of herbs at The Old Operating Theatre in London Bridge
An old bone saw at The Old Operating Theatre in London Bridge
An old prosthetic leg at The Old Operating Theatre in London Bridge

If you’re coming to London, you’ll also appreciate some of our other London guides, including…

x The Ultimate London Packing List for All Seasons
x London’s Most Iconic Attractions to Add to Your Bucketlist
x A Dummy’s Guide to Getting Around London

Chow Down in Borough Market

One of the most iconic markets in all of London is Borough Market, conveniently located in the London Bridge area just steps away from the tube station.

This is the foodie lover’s dream market, where the smells of fish and chips waft through the air and mix with sights and sounds of lamb burgers, veggie kababs, fruit smoothies, fresh bread and more.

Anything you dream of eating, you can pretty much find at Borough Market. There are also plenty of veggie and allergy-friendly options, in addition to cuisines from all over the world.

This is truly one of my favorite places to just wander around, though if you are hoping to really explore, visit outside of “rush hour” for lunch and head there in the mid-afternoon when it’s a bit easier to walk around.

A bread shop at Borough Market London with a lady being served
A squid food shop at Borough Market London
People milling around a food stand at Borough Market London

Hop on a River Boat

You can hop on a Thames Clipper boat from London Bridge Pier to take a journey around the River Thames during your visit to London Bridge. Just head down to the pier, purchase your tickets from the kiosk, and hop on board the next boat.

You can either stay on and come back to London Bridge to keep exploring, or consider using the boat to get to London Bridge in the morning to start your day!

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A boat tour on the River Thames with The Shard in the background at London Bridge

Take a Stroll along the River Thames in the Evening

The River Thames stretches across London, but one of my favorite places to take a stroll along the river is London Bridge, without a doubt.

There are bars, restaurants, and fantastic iconic things to see including the HMS Belfast battleship. I find that this part of London really comes into its own in the evening, when the string of lights above the walkways are lit up and you can see the London Bridge area in a whole new way.

Kalyn taking a picture of Tower Bridge at night
The Tower of London at night

Enjoy Evensong in Southwark Cathedral

Southwark Cathedral is a gorgeous cathedral near London Bridge and one of the best things to do in London Bridge for couples who want to take a moment out of a busy day and sit and reflect.

The cathedral holds regular services, as well as Evensong on most nights, which is free and gives you the chance to sit and admire the gorgeous interior architecture while listening to a traditional Evensong service.

There is also a peaceful garden and places to sit in the courtyard that are removed from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding London Bridge area and give you a nice spot to sit and talk.

The exterior of Southwark Cathedral London
Inside Southwark Cathedral with empty pews
Inside Southwark Cathedral at night

Appreciate the Shard

We didn’t head into the Shard on our day of London Bridge exploration, though you can if you want to see the view from the top of the Shard or enjoy one of the many restaurants inside.

I find it an iconic landmark near London Bridge to use to help orient you to your surroundings and appreciate one of London’s most controversial skyscrapers built just before the London 2012 Olympics.

Shops at London Bridge with The Shard in the background
A glass building with The Shard in the background

The spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own.

What Else Should I Do in London?

Whether you’re in London for a day, two days, a week, or more, here are our other top picks for excellent London sightseeing activities to help you get to know the city in an engaging way!

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