Across the Thames from the City of London, Southwark was the lowest bridging point on the Thames for hundreds of years.
London Bridge here was indeed London’s only bridge until Westminster Bridge was built in 1750. Southwark was once a den of free traders, criminals and prostitutes, working outside of the City’s regulation.
People would cross the river for entertainment too, which is how the Globe Theatre came to be built in Bankside at the turn of the 17th century. The famous modern replica, Shakespeare’s Globe, is by the river, and one of a string of Thames-side sights and attractions in Southwark, counting the Tate Modern, the Millennium Bridge, HMS Belfast and the inimitable Tower Bridge.
Borough Market is a riot of colours, smells and human engagement. The traders—a vast repository of culinary knowledge—are only too happy to share their expertise with shoppers, or else just pass the time of day. Their voices are added to by the chefs, food writers, campaigners and teachers who help make the Market’s cookery demonstrations, publications, public debates and educational programmes so highly regarded.
Camden Town has been a residential area since the 1790s. But it was only the development of the Grand Union Canal and the improved railway transport that turned it into a bustling part of London. Today, visitors and locals gather here to hunt for treasures in Camden's markets, stroll by Regent's Canal, sample cuisine from around the world and listen to live music. Many famous people, including Dylan Thomas, Walter Sickert and Amy Winehouse, have made Camden their home.
St James's Park is at the heart of ceremonial London. It is the setting for spectacular pageants, like Trooping the Colour, and is surrounded by some of the country's most famous landmarks including Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, St James's Palace and Westminster.
Westminster is the bustling government area near Buckingham Palace. Tourists head to Trafalgar Square’s monuments and to see the changing of the guards at Horse Guards Parade while politicians mingle in Whitehall’s pubs. At the Houses of Parliament, by the River Thames, the Big Ben bell rings out from its iconic clock tower. Medieval Westminster Abbey contains the graves of historical figures such as Charles Darwin.
Beside the River Thames, the South Bank is a dynamic area at the heart of London’s cultural scene. The Southbank Centre, National Theatre, and BFI film theatre are all world-class arts venues. The riverside walkway is lined with trees, restaurants and historic pubs, and is the site of frequent fairs and events. Sightseers admire iconic landmarks like Big Ben and St. Paul’s Cathedral from the London Eye Ferris wheel.
South Kensington in London is synonymous with museums. Three of our best known national museums can be found here: the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum, known affectionately to many as The V&A.
However, this is a relatively new area which, only 170 years ago, was known as Brompton and was an 80-acre site of market gardens and fields. It was renamed, South Kensington after the opening of the first museums to give it more appeal to visitors at the time; the name being chosen because it was close to Kensington Palace.