Set just a stone’s throw from the iconic Tower Bridge, the neighbourhood of Bermondsey has been inhabited since Roman times, and over the centuries it has been used as an epicentre of industry. After a period of decline and dereliction, it was revitalised during the 1980s and has since become one of the most popular spots in town in which to live. From craft breweries to excellent restaurants – here’s our rundown of 25 of the best things to do in Bermondsey:
1. Maltby Street Market
Maltby Street Market opened back in 2010 and has since made a name for itself as one of London’s most popular weekend markets. It’s a haven for foodies; with everything from award-winning sausage sandwiches from BANGERS and rich lentil wat from Amen Ethiopian Cuisine, to innovative duck dishes from Duck Frites and tasty dumplings from the Gyoza Guys. They’ve also got an excellent oyster bar – The Walrus and Carpenter – and a wine bottle shop too.
Maltby Street Market is open Saturdays (10am – 5pm) and Sundays (11am – 4pm). Restaurants and greengrocers are open from Wednesdays to Sundays (10am – 10pm).
Just reading Pizarro’s menu makes our mouth water, so we can’t even imagine the pure agony one must feel in the time between sitting down in the restaurant and taking the first bite. From squid stuffed with spicy rice to a roasted tomato and calçot onion paella – every dish sounds totally dreamy. There are also some fantastic desserts here – from chocolate tart with a cream cheese ice cream and an almond tart with raisins and dry figs.
📍194 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ.
Pizarro is just around the corner from its sister restaurant, José, which is primarily a sherry and tapas bar. Head there for Spanish wines, sherries, G&Ts and vermouth, as well as fantastic small plates from their daily menu.
📍104 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3UB.
4. Tanner & Co.
Tanner & Co is the restaurant that has it all. Visit for breakfast, brunch, bottomless brunch, lunch, dinner, Sunday roasts. Whatever time of day it is, you can always guarantee a good meal. With an epic list of British staples – including burgers, bangers and mash and fish and chips – and a selection of delectable sharing boards, you really have no reason to go anywhere else. Like, for a full day.
📍50 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3UD.
5. The Bermondsey Bar & Kitchen
Nestled away in what used to be a disused car park, the Bermondsey Bar & Kitchen is a quirky little place filled with industrial features, reclaimed furniture and funky lighting. It’s a restaurant-come-venue, so the options are pretty much endless: come along for a casual brunch, feast on succulent steaks and pizzas or, erm, get married?
📍40 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3UD.
6. Restaurant Story
A double Michelin-star restaurant with no menu – this is one for the memory books. Once you arrive, they construct a meal around your preferences, helping you to tell your story through food. You’ll have a choice of a seven-course or a ten-course meal, all consisting of seasonally-inspired ingredients.
📍199 Tooley Street, SE1 2JX.
This little joint is about as French as they come. The menu-du-jour is brief, authentic and strictly untranslated, so best get practising your français oui?
📍109 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3XB
Fuckoffee is a less-than-polite indie coffee shop with rude mugs and fantastic cups of joe. They also have some of the best loyalty cards we’ve ever seen. They’ve also set out to establish an ethical and transparent coffee-growing supply chain, ensuring that all the people that they work with to produce their coffee are treated equitably.
📍163-167 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3UW.
9. Hej Coffee
Bringing Scandi-vibes to south London, Hej Coffee is quite possibly the most beautiful coffee shop in the city. Even if Hej didn’t mean Hello, you’d still feel extremely welcomed as you walk through those teal walls and order yourself a flat white, so this is definitely one of the best places to grab coffee in Bermondsey.
📍1 Bermondsey Square, SE1 3UN.
10. The WatchHouse
This gorgeous coffee shop is the first of eleven in the city (with more on the way), serving up legendary espressos from an old shelter that was originally for the men guarding the graveyard at St Mary Magdalen Church at night – hence The WatchHouse. Wanting to preserve the legacy of the building, the WatchHouse team only used traditional materials in the refurb, and continues to act as a place of shelter and refuge, just with a little more coffee and a lot more sarnies.
Breweries & Distilleries
Frankly, it’s all about craft beer at the moment – and has been for years now. People are edging away from the Carlsbergs of the world and opting for edgier alternatives. And that’s exactly why the Bermondsey Beer Mile is so important. With several microbreweries within a mile-and-a-half radius, there’s no better place for a craft beer crawl. All hidden in and around a long stretch of railway arches, you’ll find the likes of The Kernel Brewery, Affinity Brew Co., and FourPure Brewing. (Make sure you check the opening times of each taproom before heading down – the only day all of them are open is Saturday.)
12. Jensen’s Gin Distillery
You’ll also find Jensen’s Distillery within The Mile, one of many gin distilleries in London. Just make sure you have a clear morning the next day – if you do the crawl properly, you might not be feeling too good.
📍55 Stanworth Street, SE1 3NY.
13. The Woolpack
A reliable ol’ Young’s Pub with a massive beer garden that’s open all-year round. Go and enjoy the sunshine and, if it gets a little chilly, grab yourself a blanket. They’ve also got heaters out the back if it’s a bit nippy and some lovely pub grub too.
📍98 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3UB.
14. St James of Bermondsey
A gastropub boasting an almost endless supply of craft beer and a kitchen cooking up Pieminister’s finest pies, St James of Bermondsey is a proper pub with plenty of character. They’ve got excellent pizzas on the bill here as well as some excellent bottomless brunches here too.
📍72 St. James’s Road, SE16 4QZ.
15. Dean Swift
Another pub hoarding a hefty set of craft beers, including Five Points, Fourpure, Gipsy Hill and Signature Brew. The food menu is as typical as they come, featuring the likes of fish and chips, sausage and mash, and some banging Sunday roasts too. It’s just down the road from Tower Bridge.
📍10 Gainsford Street, Butler’s Wharf, SE1 2NE.
16. Marquis of Wellington
The Marquis of Wellington is a bit of a crowd favourite with its lively vibes, sourdough pizzas and weekly throwback Thursdays. It’s also situated right in the heart of the Bermondsey Beer Mile.
📍21 Druid Street, London, SE1 2HH.
17. 214 Bermondsey
In a place with over 100 gins, you know you’re going to be happy. And, when cocktails are only around £6 (no seriously) you know you’ve found the happiest of happy hours.
📍214 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ.
18. Bermondsey Arts Cocktail Club
Bermondsey Arts Cocktail Club is a speakeasy serving up beautiful, quality cocktails in an old *ahem* toilet. Come along on a Wednesday for some live jazz, but make sure you book or become a member (it’s free!). It’s also open until the wee hours every day it’s open. Head to their website to find out more.
📍102A Tower Bridge Road, SE1 4TP.
19. White Cube Gallery
As one of the world’s leading contemporary art galleries, the White Cube is almost certainly worth a visit, and they have regularly-changing art exhibitions throughout the year. Find out what’s happening now here.
📍144-152 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ.
20. Kino Cinema
📍10 Bermondsey Square, SE1 3UN.
21. Walk along Shad Thames
In the 19th century, the Shad Thames was home to the largest warehouse complex in London. Nowadays it’s an Instagram hotspot, and is filled with a ton of restaurants, offices, shops and bars. It’s also just down the road from Tower Bridge too.
22. Arch Climbing
Where there was once an old biscuit factory, you’ll now find a crazy room full of walls you can climb. And, right around the corner, you’ll find another, similar looking room that was once home to Damien Hirst and Charles Saatchi’s art studios. Find out about memberships and beginner/refresher lessons over on Arch’s website.
📍Tower Bridge Business, Drummond Road, SE16 4DG.
23. Leathermarket Gardens
Leathermarket Gardens is a much loved park situated between Bermondsey Street and London Bridge. It’s the result of post-WW2 clearance when most of the site was flattened by bombs, and makes for an excellent place to while away a few hours.
📍13 Weston Street, SE1 3HP.
24. Bermondsey Spa Gardens
Fully-refurbished back in 2006, the Bermondsey Spa Gardens features a toddlers’ play area, a multi-use games area, a 333m running track, a plaza and the Ellen Brown Bermondsey Play Centre. Award-winning, it’s built on the site of the 18th century Bermondsey Spa.
📍15 Spa Road, SE1 3EU.
25. Southwark Park
Rounding off this list the best things to do in Bermondsey is Southwark Park – a lovely green space that boasts London’s first public memorial to honour a working class man – a drinking fountain to commemorate Mr Jabez West, a member of a local Temperance Society. It’s also got a bowling pavilion and a lake too.
📍Gomm Road, SE16 2TX.
So there you have it – a roundup of the best things to do in Bermondsey. From enjoying green spaces to wining and dining in some of the city’s best restaurants, this roundup should have you covered!
Also published on Medium.