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A Cultural Guide to Bermondsey

The riverside neighborhood of Bermondsey has certainly transformed since Charles Dickens painted such an unflattering portrait in his novel Oliver Twist when it was considered the slums of London. Nowadays, a decidedly gentrified air has settled over the southern banks of the Thames overshadowed by the iconic Tower Bridge, with fashionable restaurants that have replaced the decrepit warehouses and wharfs. Don’t worry, even with its contemporary facelift, Bermondsey retains its humility and is still one of the best places to find a cheap hotel in London.

Bermondsey Antiques Market

The trick to making the best of this daily antique market is to show up early since the real treasures get snapped up right away. The buildings, with their quaint stores fronts, emit a nostalgia that oozes out over the marketplace, creating a friendly, laid –back mood that makes shopping an adventure. It’s a perfect place to strike up a chat and learn some of the secrets of the trade from vendors and antique enthusiasts.

Location: Bermondsey Square, Sourthwark

Price: No admission charge, bargaining allowed!

Tower Bridge - Exhibition

Undoubtedly the most famous bridge in the world, this magnificent edifice spanning the Thames is more than just a way to cross the river! Along the way you can tour cultural exhibits and transverse the elevated walkways to explore London’s past while admiring its modern skyline.

Location: Tower Bridge Road, SE1 2UP

Price: Adults-£8.00; Children 5-15-£3.40; under 5s free, group discounts available

Anchor Tap

For a cheap pint and some friendly conversation, check out this no frills yet charismatic tavern in the shadow of the Tower Bridge. Reminiscent of the jovial British pubs of yesteryear, darts and pool remain the main entertainment, loud music and video games are nowhere in sight.

Location: 20A Horselydown Lane, SE1 2LN

Price: £2.03 a pint


Foodies try to keep this restaurant a closely guarded secret so they won’t face crowds when craving the fresh seasonal delights made to order by their creative chefs happy to accommodate special dietary restrictions. Open for dinner seven days a week, Simplicity also offers brunches on Saturday and Sunday that includes a full English breakfast with Benedicts, omelettes and vegetarian selections.

Location: 1 Tunnel Road

Average Price: £36.00

Butlers Wharf Chop House

Mouth-watering steaks and fresh fried fish served with crispy chips are the specialty at this down home yet refined restaurant that serves up all the favorite English classics, including Yorkshire pudding. With a great view of the river from their terrace, this restaurant attracts both visitors craving British fare and locals hankering for comfort foods from their youth.

Location: 36e Shad Thames, SE1 2YE

Average Price: £12.50 lunch, dinners from £40.00 - £70.00

This great museum run by Newham College is the hub of fashion and design in Bermondsey. The displays include fashion, textiles and jewellery and also run courses for aspiring designers. There is a great shop where you can purchase products by young designers and a lovely little café where, after a long day wandering the neighbourhood you can relax with a cuppa.

Location: 83 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3XF

Ticket prices: £7.00 adults, £5.00 students