Summer might be over, but that’s no excuse to hide away indoors! As the old saying goes, if you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life – and there’s no better place to fall in love with the capital all over again than London Bridge.
This small but perfectly formed historical neighbourhood on the Thames is worth exploring especially if you suffer from “been there, done that” with other parts of the city. We’re going to fix that for you, by livening up your senses…
Silent Disco and Time Out have partnered to bring you a unique way to experience London at night. Ever go to a club and think, this DJ isn’t really doing it for me, I want to check out a different room, but I might lose my friends. Problem solved: three DJs, one room, wireless headphones, and the best views of the Thames you can set your soundtrack for the night. From high atop The Shard you can dance to the beat of your choice.
The NELKEN-Line is a global dance project inspired by the infamous Pina Bausch who used choreographed lines as a recurring theme in her work. The project takes contemporary dance out of the theatre, into the street and can be performed by anyone. It’s London debut was led by Dickson Mbi, touted as the next great British choreographer of his time. But you don’t have to be a professional to take part — The Pina Bausch foundation gives you step-by-step tutorials and you can make your NELKEN-Line with a group of friends, post it to the site and share your art with the world.
“Me time” movement is also possible for solo explorers. Globe House Yoga offers daily classes and weekend workshops for all aspiring yogis. If a good old walk is more your style, the off-the-beaten-track Low Line walk gives a great sense of the Thames’ Victorian heritage by taking you through the viaduct systems that linked the various neighbourhoods along the riverbank.
Taste of the Thames
Never been to India? Here’s an opportunity to travel with your taste buds. Celebrate the delights of the afternoon “High Chai” at The Lalit London. It’s everything you love about a traditional high tea but with an Indian twist. Cutting Chai (black tea with the most glorious masala spices) accompanies miniature samosas, feather-light pakodas ensconced in light gram flour batter, chicken tikka and paneer flatbread rolls for your savoury palate and a selection of sweets which include the milk-based sweet barfi and a delectable Indian version of the shortbread biscuit. The experience is certainly a nod to the long, intertwined historical relations between Britain and India that the Thames has served as a conduit for. The iconic warehouses just around the corner at Shad Thames used to house the spices that came up the river from across the Indian Ocean.
Catch a river bus from London Bridge City Pier and see London by water. You can opt for a tour, or do as the locals do which is hop on the commuter riverbus run by MBNA Thames Clipper. Go east toward Greenwich and visit the newly refurbished Cutty Sark, or go west to Hampton Court and see how the Tudors lived.
When you’ve made your way back to London Bridge City Pier, treat yourself to a lavish cocktail at Gong in The Shard. It’s the highest bar in Europe and the views are spectacular. The clever new cocktail menu has been introduced that is inspired by iconic film directors, the classic menu also has everything from a perfect Tom Collins to a sublime French champagne cocktail. If you’re a bit peckish still, the bar snacks are also a sight to behold. We love the mini seafood tacos prettied up with edible flowers. The Gong does get very busy so it is advisable to book well in advance.
If heights aren’t your thing, there is always London Bridge itself. Face west, and pat yourself on the back. You are a true Londoner once again.
Put your headphones on, fire up that smartphone and experience London Bridge with your ears. Musicity Londonis the brainchild of DJ and BBC Presenter Nick Luscombe. Musicity invites artists to respond to a particular place with a specially commissioned track. Check out participating composers at The White Cube and Southwark Cathedral.
For something more traditional, check out free recitals or Evensong at Southwark Cathedral or head to Bar 31 on a Friday or Saturday to soak up the sounds of acoustic performances from local musicians.
Touched by the olfactory
Rituals… in the newly done up London Bridge Station has a stunning selection of home fragrances inspired by the Ayurvedic traditions of India and the exotic floral scents of the Far East. Just a hop, skip and a jump away from London Bridge station is Neal’s Yard Remedies Therapy Rooms on the edge of Borough Market where you can treat yourself an aromatherapy massage.