As I mentioned in my last post about the Leman Locke hotel, we decided to stay in East London during the first weekend of our recent visit to Europe. I absolutely fell in love with the different neighborhoods on the east side of the city, especially on the south side of the Thames. While we’ve visited Southwark several times before, this was our first time exploring the neighboring Bermondsey district. Between the street markets, breweries and restaurants, I knew I loved it from the start. If you’re visiting London and looking for some local spots to try out, I’ve listed some of my favorites from our time in the southeast bank below!
Borough Market: This has always been a favorite spot of mine, and it now has an even more significant place in my heart due to the events that occurred there while we were visiting London. While the market has been closed since the attack, it’s actually reopening this week to continue serving the city as it has for the past thousand years. A visit to this market — filled to the brim with produce, cheese, meats, and local food stands — is definitely necessary if you’re in London.
Neal’s Yard Dairy: While this shop originated in Covent Garden, my favorite location to visit is on a side street near Borough Market. The shop is filled floor-to-ceiling with wheels of cheese, and you can sample a variety that are either locally made or imported. We grabbed a wedge of an amazing local cheddar and a loaf of bread for our train trip to Paris (details of that trip coming soon).
London Grind: This café and cocktail bar is located within an old bank at the end of London Bridge, and served up the best breakfast we had on the entire trip. Their avocado toast comes topped with poached eggs and red chilis, while their Full English breakfast came with the best roasted tomatoes and mushrooms. Aside from the food, their urban design aesthetic is pretty great, too. I fell in love with their neon sign quote on the back wall: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” There are also many other “Grind” locations throughout London, so there is most likely one nearby wherever you are.
Maltby Street Market: Located in Bermondsey beneath strings of lights and flags, this market should be on the top of your list if you’re in London during the weekend. The market runs beneath the train tracks, with local little shops tucked under the arches. Grab a gin cocktail to-go at Little Bird and stroll through the various pop-up stands serving all different types of street foods, from scotch eggs to waffle sandwiches. One of the best things I ate on the entire trip was a creamy French potato and ham dish served out of a gigantic pan near the end of the market (and I’m still trying to figure out how to recreate it!).
Bermondsey Beer Mile: The London craft beer scene reaches an all time high in Bermondsey. The neighborhood has nearly 10 microbreweries along a mile and a half stretch, which has been dubbed the “Bermondsey Beer Mile.” Many of the breweries are in the arches beneath the train tracks and are only open on the weekends. My favorites that we visited were Anspach & Hobday, Hawkes Cidery, and Brew by Numbers. The breweries are definitely on the smaller side and can get really busy, with people spilling out into the streets to enjoy their pints — but we loved getting to see where the locals spend their Saturdays!
Woolpack: Unlike some other pubs in London, the Woolpack has several local beers on draft. Their back patio is worth a visit, and made me miss my pup since it was super dog friendly! They also host pop-up events on their patio with local brewers, so we got to check out Fourpure Brewing Co. while we were there.
Tanner & Co: We stopped here for an afternoon cocktail, and it didn’t disappoint. Their bar menu can be found inside vintage books, while table numbers are painted on enamel cups filled with succulents. The best part is their bright patio complete with colorful market lights and vibrant patio chairs – an ideal place to enjoy a Saturday bloody mary in the sunshine.
More to come from our second weekend in London soon, as well as all things Paris!