London Walks, or How I Learned Motorcycle Boots are Not Made for Walking

London is a very walkable city. There, I said it.

And sometimes it’s the only way to see some of London’s most cherished sites, like the Southbank, Borough Market, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. Now I’ll let you google on your own about the above goodies. But if you want to see some photos, stick around.

It’s food that brings me to this part of town mostly. And beer. Food and beer, though sometimes not together. Besides that, London Bridge has three things going for it: 1) major rail hub. London Bridge station connects most of the south east to central London in mere minutes. Honestly it will take someone who lives 20 miles away less time to get into town than it does me, and I am only 3 miles up the road. 2) the Shard. 3) Borough Market.

Borough Market is my favourite place to get a quick bite to eat. Or just to have a wander. It’s where I want to do all my food shopping. And it’s possible as it is just a quick jaunt down the Northern Line.

From the courgettes to the chickens, Borough Market is, in my opinion, the place to be for local British produce. In and around the market are pubs and restaurants I can only dream of going to. Roast. Tapas Brindisa. Wright Brothers Oyster & Porter House. Okay. I’ve never had an oyster, but I am pretty sure I would like to try them here first.

The only photograph I have of Borough Market from this recent trip is of the fresh organic chickens that became my chicken wrap. For years we’ve been coming here for this particular stand (who’s name starts with a G, but I can never remember it!) that does fresh organic chicken burgers and wraps. And unlike everything else in London, the price has only gone up £1.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I had a meeting in the Leathermarket. It’s on Leathermarket Street, which leads to Tanner Street. Not much leather being made in this neck of the woods these days. Now this old period tannery building contains refurbished office and studio space that is going to do very well when the Shard is finished.

Speaking of:

From inside the Leather Market:

The Shard dwarfs the buildings around it. Taken from the middle of Weston Street.

Here is the full size view from further down Leathermarket Street.

And here is some random wall art indicative of this artsy, warehouse converted area.

So I walked down Leathermarket Street. Past Leathermarket Gardens and over Bermondsey Street to Tanner Street (walking by Tanner House, of course). Warehouse conversions. Gated mews communities. Then left on Tower Bridge Road and she finally reveals herself…

(Tower Bridge through the tunnel under the railway tracks)

It looks much better in person. Promise.

This area is regenerating faster than you can say “expensive rent.” Case in point:

This is the kind of building you find mixed in with the period warehouses, wharf buildings and pubs. I actually think the colours are quite fetching.

I have a confession to make. In all the years of visiting and living in London, I’ve never stepped foot onto Tower Bridge. Shocking I know. So this was a momentous occasion for me. I felt like Bridget Jones, all smiley in the sunshine.

The bridge wasn’t too horrible with tourists, nor was the area around Tower of London, so I was able to actually get a couple of shots off of the Bridge from the banks of the Thames. This replaces the shots I took over 10 years ago. (Between you and me, I need to go back and judge the position of the sun a bit better).

I made my way past the Tower (see previous post for pano!) to Tower Hill station where I thought it would be a good idea to take the tube to London Bridge, saving my poor little feet a bit of misery with the walk.

It was a very bad idea.

Sometimes when you do not want to walk, you end up being forced to walk. I hopped on the District Line one stop to Monument, thinking ah, I’ll just walk across London Bridge to Borough. No worries.

Instead some insane person living inside my brain said, “Hey, why not just take the tube! You can connect to the Northern Line from here! One stop! You know you want to…”

I’m convinced that insane person is dressed like a wee devil, as there were no signs anywhere that said, NORTHERN LINE CONNECTION AT BANK. YOU WILL BE WALKING ALL THE WAY TO BANK STATION, JUST TO COME BACK ON YOURSELF. TURN BACK NOW!

Inconvenient, don’t you think?

I walked from Monument to Bank when all I wanted to do was walk from Monument to Borough. Opposite directions. And none of the escalators were working, to top it all off. I had to walk up and down countless flights of stairs. Now, if you have a moment, just go reread the title of this posting.

Finally I’m in Borough Market, having learned yet again that the Underground is deceiving. I suppose that’s my penance for being a tourist for a day!

And then I had a chicken wrap. With that wrap – which, btw, the lady who served me offered to hold it whilst I photographed it. But I couldn’t be bothered. I was so hungry after my Momument / Bank / London Bridge debacle I just wanted that tasty wrap asap. And then to find some beer.

Riverside pubs line the route between London Bridge and my next destination: Tate Modern. Usually I’d find myself a spot with my sandwich and enjoy a half pint of the visiting ale, and I highly recommend that you do the same should you find yourself on the Jubilee Walkway, but not today. I needed me some art!

Past the Golden Hinde, down Clink Street, The Anchor Inn and onto Bankside, the riverside walkway. Next Southwark Bridge (where I finish my wrap, btw, in case you were interested), then the Globe Theatre and ending up at the Tate.

I said before I was there for the art, but really I was there for the building:

The Tate is housed in an old 1950s era power station. It was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott who designed, among other famous buildings, the red telephone box now synonymous with England.

Now by this time, my dogs were barking. Motorcycle boots, although comfortable in the first mile, don’t do well around mile marker three. So my plan was to scurry off to St Paul’s tube station and make my way home before the inevitable feet falling off occurred.

But not before I shot off a couple more images, of course:

The view from the foot of Millennium Bridge at the Tate. St Paul’s, the Thames, a bit of bridge. Pure London.

And last looks down the river toward where I started. It looks a lot further away than you think, the lens of my camera making it look much smaller than what the eyes perceive.

In just two short hours, I was able to wander down cobbled lanes, through markets older than the city I was born and over bridges mainly trodden by tourists. All this in sunshine and on a full stomach of organic chicken wrap. If it weren’t for those rascally boots I’d have shot off another round of photographs of St Paul’s. Instead, here’s a final thought for you, taken many years ago:

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