What to Do in London’s Bermondsey Neighborhood
In sprawling London, it’s easy to overlook pockets of the city that have just as much charm as its more well-known, well-trodden areas, and the neighborhood of Bermondsey (near the River Thames in central London) is a perfect example. The low-slung buildings along its narrow streets offer a relaxing, low key opportunity for excellent eating and shopping, and it also happens to be home to a few of the city’s most interesting cultural destinations—all of which means that it’s worth an easy hop on the tube (take the Jubilee or Northern line to London Bridge station) to spend a day exploring this quaint section of the British capital. These seven places below are a good place to start.
London’s famed weekend markets are legendary. Borough Market is the big one, but you’ll find its rival in Bermondsey. Tucked under the smoke-stained Victorian railway arches running through an industrial patch of the neighborhood, Maltby Street Market was founded in 2010 by defectors from Borough. Must-stops: Tozino, carving jamón ibérico to order; St. John Bakery, for open-faced smoked-salmon sandwiches with dill and crème fraîche; and Christchurch Fish, for freshly shucked oysters. Find a rickety table at Little Bird Gin Bar, where bearded lads in thrift-store caps serve top-notch Negronis in vintage crystal coupes. Saturdays, 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
A boutique, gallery, and yoga studio all in one, Bermondsey Fayre champions local artists and designers. Best bets: the animal-print wrap dresses and totes with whimsical patterns by Anami & Janine.
With an interior of more than 58,000 square feet, 1970s property that houses White Cube is one of the city's hottest destinations for contemporary art. With three large exhibition spaces in the one gallery, there's always something to catch your eye. Save time to poke through the gallery’s book shop while you’re there. Catch the current exhibition, The Crystal Land, featuring work from multi-media artist Josiah McElheny, through April.
Down the street from sister restaurant José, chef José Pizarro has opened the warehouse-like Pizarro. Here, plank floors, vintage chandeliers, and brick walls set the scene for tapas-style dishes such as girolle mushrooms with Manchego drizzled in truffle oil and sweetbreads with mustard and mayonnaise.
For a dose of London’s famed cutting-edge fashion and style history, head to this museum dedicated exclusively to contemporary fashion, textiles and jewelry, founded by British designer Zandra Rhodes in 2003. The building itself—designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legoretta and painted in vibrant shades of orange and pink—is worth a visit in itself.
The display cases at the wood-beamed B Street Deli are stocked with artisanal cheeses, charcuterie, and a carefully edited selection of honey, olive oil, and tea. Get your food to go or order the Wells Farm pâté platter, served with pickles and hot toast, at the bar. In the summer, take your provisions to nearby Tanner Street Park and picnic with the locals under the sun.
The now-iconic London high rise, The Shard (designed by Renzo Piano), is home to the hotel with some of the most spectacular views in the city, occupying the 34th to 52nd floors. And while the Shangri-La might not be in Bermondsey proper, it’s just a few minutes’ walk away from all of the neighborhood hot spots if you decide to spend the night (there’s too much to do in the neighborhood, after all, in just one day). The property’s 202 rooms offer floor-to-ceiling windows and sweeping views to take in the sights below, including Tower Bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral. But even if you don’t book a room, make sure to stop in for a drink at GŎNG Bar at day’s end, for stunning sunsets and excellent cocktails (try the “Sunshine and Flowers,” made with Bulleit Rye, poire eau de ive, Cocchi vermouth, herbs and lavender).