10 fabulous things to do near Tower Bridge

A trip to London wouldn’t be complete without a trip to see one London’s most iconic landmarks, Tower Bridge. But what do you do after? Thankfully, there are plenty of fabulous things to do near Tower Bridge so I’ve put together this guide to help you explore this historic area of London.

I’ve been lucky enough to work near Tower Bridge and its surrounding area for many years. It’s always been one of my favourite landmarks in London.

With its distinctive design, the thrill of your first glimpse of it never gets old no matter how many times you have seen it!

Despite seeing it, walking and running over it more times than I can remember I had never thought to go inside. Until 2021. Taking advantage of the lack of tourists in London, I decided to visit and see what I had been missing.

Once inside Tower Bridge, you step back to Victorian times and discover why and how the bridge was built.

Strolling along the walkway, crossing the glass floor if you are brave enough, offers you a panoramic view of London.

Back on road level you can explore the engine rooms to see how the bridge was originally powered.

I’m not sure why I had never thought of visiting before, it’s a great experience climbing the towers and crossing the walkways. Dotted throughout are lots of interesting facts and figures about Tower Bridge. Many of which I had no idea about.

A visit to Tower Bridge, going inside and then heading to a few spots along the river to get some photos takes no more than a couple of hours. So, what else can you do in the area?

Well, quite a lot. Packed with history but looking to the future with some of London’s most modern buildings, you could easily fill a few days exploring the surrounding area. However, don’t let that put you off. Even if you have just a few hours you can still see some of the best bits of London.

Having spend the best part of a decade working in the area I’ve complied the guide below detailing the other attractions near Tower Bridge and areas to visit.

I’ve split the list into each side of the river so you can maximise your time and avoid going back on yourself.

So, if you are looking for things to do in Tower Bridge, read on to plan your day in this fascinating part of the city.

This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you make purchase through my links, I may earn a small commission.

What to do near Tower Bridge: north side of the River Thames

Catch a glimpse of the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London

Right next door to Tower Bridge is another one of London’s most famous (and popular) landmarks, the Tower of London.

They are so close to each other, you can use this post for suggestions of things to do near the Tower of London as well.

Home to the sparkling Crown Jewels (still used by the Royal Family today), the famous ravens and packed with 1000 years of history it’s an experience you won’t forget.

Built by William the Conqueror in 1070’s the Tower of London has been a fortress, prison and royal palace. It was even home to zoo at one point.

Wandering around the near empty grounds, after it had reopened after the national lockdown, it was quite hard to imagine some of the horror stories from its colourful past.

Make sure you stop and chat to the famous Yeoman warders (you can’t miss them in their distinctive black and red uniform). Better still join one of their tours. They tell fascinating stories about the history of the Tower & share an insight into what it is like to live and work there.

Visit the Tower of London

Tip: As you might expect, the Tower of London is a popular attraction in London so can get very busy. Book in advance to avoid disappointment.

Even if you don’t go inside you can take a wander around the outside and take in the outside walls and the moat. There are plenty of places to grab a drink or bite to eat here too.

Whether you go inside or not, it is one of the best things to do around Tower Bridge.

Wander around St Katherine’s Dock

Tucked away next to Tower Bridge is one of London’s best kept secrets.

St Katherine’s Dock, is vibrant marina full of quirky shops and more bars, cafes and restaurants that you have time to eat in.

It has an interesting history too. Named after the 12th century hospital that was originally on the site, St Katherine’s Dock opened as commercial dock in 1828. However, as they were unable to accommodate the large modern ships they were never a great success.

After sustaining bomb damage in the Second World War, the docks remained derelict before being closed in 1968. The warehouses were replaced is with modern buildings in the 1970’s and the docks turned into the marina you see today.

It’s a great place for lunch or a post sightseeing drink.

Refuel after a day of sightseeing at with a classic afternoon tea at Ten Trinity Square

Just over the road from the Tower of London, you can’t help but notice the imposing wedding cake like building overlooking Trinity Square.

Originally the HQ of the London Port Authority, the Grade II listed building is now one of London’s luxurious hotels and home to one of London’s best afternoon teas (according to me).

Served under the grand domed ceiling in the Rotunda Lounge, often with live piano playing, it is spectacular venue for a luxury treat.

If you prefer something a little less formal, there are many other options for afternoon tea around the London Bridge area.

St Dunstan in the East: London’s hidden garden

The term hidden gem is often overused but in the case of St Dunstan in the East, the tag is totally justified.

Set in the remains of a church that was designed by Sir Christophe Wren this little oasis is the ideal hideaway to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

It’s like stepping into a secret garden, the low overhanging trees and restricted light making it feel like you are a world away from London’s financial centre. I used to pop here at for a lunchtime escape when I worked in the city.

The church was built around 1100 but was damaged in 1666 by the Great Fire of London and again in the Second World War in 1941. The steeple and tower survived and still stand today.

While this little garden is packed with history, it’s finding fame these days an instagram backdrop.

Sky Garden: A free view of the city from London’s highest public garden

Gaze at London’s iconic skyline from the top of one of London’s uniquely shaped buildings.

Right in the heart of the City of London is the Walkie Talkie. Officially named 20 Fenchurch Street, the nickname stuck due its resemblance to, you guessed it, a Walkie Talkie.

High above the city streets the leafy landscaped garden offers panoramic views across London. The scene takes in The Shard, Tower Bridge, St Pauls Cathedral and the rooftops of London.

There are also two restaurants and three bars. Having worked down the road for many years, it’s one of my favourite places for a summer evening drink.

Head to the City Garden bar for a view back over the city and the Sky Pod for a view towards Central and West London.

Access to the Sky Garden is free.

To avoid disappointment it is best to book in advance.

Tickets are released on a weekly basis, up to three weeks in advance.

What to see near Tower Bridge: south side of the River Thames

While the north side of Tower Bridge might win in the history stakes, the right side is packed full of food, art and culture.

Enjoy some fine dining with a view at Butler’s Wharf Pier

Once home to some of the busiest warehouses in the world, storing tea, sugar, coffee, grain and spices that arrived on cargo ships into the Pool of London, Butler’s Wharf Pier is now home to luxury flats and restaurants.

Head here if you want to dine with an amazing view of Tower Bridge. Le Pont de la Tour and the Butler’s Wharf Chop house both have terraces looking over the bridge.

Pop round to the Shad Thames side for one of London’s most photogenic streets.

Stroll around Maltby Street Market

Tucked away in the backstreets of Bermondsey, just a short walk from Tower Bridge,you’ll find Maltby Street Market.

Often touted as one of London’s best markets, it still feels like a locals secret.

Set underneath railway arches, the bustling market serves a range of street food from around the world. Small but perfectly formed, it is less crowded than Borough Market.

If you are a food lover, this is the place to head if you are in London for the weekend.

Relax at Potters Field’s Park

With a prime spot right next door to Tower Bridge, Potters Field Park makes a lovely spot to take a break in.

One of the few green spaces along the river, the park comes alive in the summer with its colourful gardens.

Many events and activities are staged here through out the year so there is always something to get involved with.

Watch a show at The Scoop

The Scoop is an outdoor sunken amphitheatre, in the shadow of Tower Bridge. Next door to City Hall (you can’t miss that building, look for the funny shaped one), it holds up to 800 people.

Between June and September it plays host to free music, theatre and film events as well as sports screenings in Summer by the River.

Grab a blanket, some snacks and head there for a night of entertainment.

Shop at Hays Galleria

Once one of London’s busiest docks, taking delivery of tea from the tea clippers of China and India, Hays Galleria is now food and shopping destination.

The converted wharf with its spectacular vaulted roof brings together a collection of high street shops, quirky market stalls, pubs and restaurants.

It hasn’t forgotten its history though. Right in the middle of the centre is a 60ft bronze sculpture by David Kemp called The Navigators.

Tower over London at The View from The Shard

You can’t miss The Shard. As the tallest building in London it dominates the skyline. I think most Londoners (myself included) were a bit sceptical when it was first built but it has quickly become an iconic part of the city landscape.

The Shard complex is made up of offices, restaurants and bars. But the star of the show is, of course, the view from the top.

Head up to the open-air Skydeck (level 72) for panoramic views over the capital. On a clear day (never guaranteed in London!) you can see up to 40 miles.

There are 306 flights of stairs in the building but thankfully they also have some of the fastest lifts in London so you can get to the top without breaking a sweat.

For a more luxurious treat, enjoy the views from one the bars or restaurants. I’ve had the afternoon tea at Aqua Shard and it’s one of the best in town.

My favourite fact about the The Shard is that it takes window cleaners three months to clean the building!

Borough Market

Just a few steps outside London Bridge station you’ll find London’s oldest (and most famous) food market.

With over 100 stalls selling everything from meat, fish, vegetables, cheese and breads to name a few, it attracts everyone from locals, to top chefs to tourists.

There has been a market in one form or another in this area for over 1000 years. Today, over four million people visit each year.

As well as the wonderful stalls, there are also restaurants, cafes and coffee on offer so best not to eat before you visit!

The market is open from Monday to Saturday.

The Last Word

Whether you are a history fan, a foodie or just like exploring London, you’ll find no shortage of places to visit near Tower Bridge. It is a great part of London so spend a day in.

Have you visited any of these? Let me know your favourite spot below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.