London Photo Gallery - Southwark

Southwark once had a reputation for vice, being a hub for criminals and prostitutes during the Middle Ages. That has changed with new attractions, making the short journey across the Thames worthwhile. This is no longer an area to avoid.

There are a few bridges from The City that cross the Thames to Southwark. I picked London Bridge, whose pedestrian lanes offer very decent views. On a clear day, you can easily see all the way to the Docklands.

This side of the river offers a good perspective as to how quickly The City has changed in recent years. To get a free view of all that progress, head up the Tate Modern's viewing gallery.

Back on the ground, you can also enjoy skyline views along The Queen's Walk just behind London Bridge station.

A Thames cruise offers a relaxing way to see both sides of the river from Westminster to Greenwich, even though you can walk along most of it as well.

The Royal Navy cruiser HMS Belfast launched in 1938 and was decommissioned after the Korean War.

Hay's Galleria was once a busy wharf that handled mostly perishable goods such as food. It has now transformed into a shopping area.

St. Olaf House was completed in 1931 for Hay's Wharf's management.

The Shard is London's tallest buildng at 309m and if you don't mind breaking your wallet, there is a 5-star hotel offering skyline views or a fancy drink with a view from floors 34 to 52. On a good day, you can see out for some 40 miles.

I headed behind London Bridge station en route to my next stop, the Leather Market.

Bermondsey Street has once the centre of the tanning industry but has since transformed into a trendy area with cafes, galleries, and shops.

The Leather Hide and Wool Exchange was built in 1878 and the exterior has artwork depicting the tanning process.

From here, I walked back to Borough High Street to the west, passing by residentials along the way. The neighbourhood was a bit rougher than the north side of the Thames, but not yet unsafe during the day.

Borough High Street was a major transport route between London and the south of England, as London Bridge was the only Thames crossing until 1750.

Borough Market is now a major foodie destination, but it was once a major grocery market for Kent farmers to sell their goods to London, as the only bridge across the Thames was just next door. Located under the railway arches, I came a bit too late in the afternoon to shop or dine.

Southwark Cathedral was built in the 13th century but part of it had to be demolished to build a bridge in the 19th. It is the first Gothic church in the city but was only designated a cathedral in the early 20th.

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