City of London Self Guided Walk
Stage 3 St Paul's Cathedral/Globe Theatre To Tower Bridge
With Tate Modern In Background
|City Of London Self Guided Walk Stages|
We left stage 2 of our walk crossing the Millennium Bridge from St Paul's Cathedral over to the south bank of the Thames.
Two buildings will have caught your eye on the opposite south bank of the River Thames as you crossed the bridge. The large square building is the Tate Modern Art Gallery, a former electricity generating station for London.
Slightly to the left is the medieval building of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.
Tate Modern Art Gallery
Tate Modern is the national gallery of international modern art and also houses a collection of British art from the 1500s. The buildings vast size becomes apparent when you enter via the dramatic turbine hall which is 152 metres long!
The collection of modern and contemporary art represents all the major movements from Fauvism. It includes important masterpieces by both Picasso and Matisse and surrealist works by Dalí, Ernst, Magritte and Mirò.
Like many of London's largest art galleries, the Tate is free to enter. We have a dedicated page looking at London's art galleries.
|The London Icons Walk|
|City Of London Walk|
|The Kensington Walk|
|The Shopping Walk|
The Globe Theatre was a theatre in London associated with William Shakespeare. It was built in 1599 by Shakespeare's playing company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men, and was destroyed by fire. The modern reconstruction of the Globe Theatre in front of you was opened in 1997.
The theatre puts on plays in a season that normally runs from May to October and sometimes over the Christmas period. Just like the original, the cheap seats are standing. Tours of the theatre and an exhibition are available at all times of the year.
Once you have visited either or both the Globe and Tate follow the river eastward back towards Tower Bridge along the pedestrian path. A little way after the Globe Theatre is a riverside pub to refresh you for the final sector of the walk. This whole area up to Tower Bridge was recently just a district of old warehouses, but in recent years has been rejuvenated into a very attractive district, very atmospheric in places and full of interest.
The path goes under Southwark Bridge. You may see signs for Vinopolis, a rather out of context tourist attraction down a side road offering wine tours.
The path then veers a little inland into a very atmospheric, cobbled lane, Clink Street.
The Clink Prison Museum is on the site of the original Clink Prison ("possibly the oldest men's prison and probably the oldest women's prison in England") which held prisoners from the early Tudor years until 1780. Shakespeare visited an old school friend here.
You soon rejoin the river and come across St Mary Overy's Wharf, in which a replica of the Golden Hind resides in dry dock.
Drake left Plymouth in 1577, the aim of the voyage was for Drake and his men to be the first Englishmen to circumnavigate the globe.
Queen Elizabeth I gave Drake a charter granting him permission to attack and loot ships belonging to England’s enemies – in effect the Spanish.
Due to this charter, Drake and his men regarded themselves as privateers, not pirates – however, unsurprisingly the Spanish took a different view and regard him as a pirate to this day.
There is a self guided tour of the ship available.
The path now bends inland again around a building. On turning the corner, Southwark Cathedral is right in front of you. This historic old cathedral can be visited, there is no admission charge but donations are urged.
William Shakespeare is commemorated by a window and statue in the South Aisle.
You are now coming across London Bridge, the original bridging point of the Thames from 2,000 years ago, (see first stage of walk).
Cross over the busy approach road to London Bridge and take Tooley Street, parallel to the river. London Bridge railway station is over on your right, there is a very atmospheric basement with shops here.
On your right is the London Dungeon, consisting of a series of set scenes reproducing chilling aspects of medieval London aimed at kids.
The London Dungeon is a more gruesome version of Madame Tussaud's. The attraction consists of a series of set scenes reproducing chilling aspects of medieval London. Expect lots of darkness, dripping water, skeletons, caged rats, tolling bells etc. to add to the atmosphere.
Naturally there are scenes of torture in all its variations.
All are brought to life with special effects very well done, originally conceived for film and TV. Actors add life to the displays and among other things may sentence you personally to death.
Now, carry on along Tooley Street past the London Dungeon. Soon after coming to Hay's Galleria, a modern shopping mall. Walk through the shopping centre to the river on the other side.
Turn right along Queens Walk by the river, Tower Bridge takes your attention. The warship you would have noticed from the opposite bank in stage 1 of the walk is HMS Belfast.
HMS Belfast is a former Royal Navy cruiser from the 2nd World War. Since 1971, it has been used as a floating Museum.
Next, the modernistic round glass building just before Tower Bridge is the Greater London Authority building. Home of the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.
Members of the public may visit parts of the building Mondays to Fridays.
Climb up the steps to Tower Bridge and walk across. The bridge is a visitor attraction which you can tour inside. The entrance is at the tower at the Tower of London side of the bridge, on the side facing the Tower of London.
We have a dedicated page for Tower Bridge.
Complete the walk by walking to the end of the bridge and around the Tower of London to Tower Hill Underground Station.
|Back To Stage 2 Of Walk|
|To Stage 1 Of Walk|