SE1: Southbank & Southwark; SE10: Greenwich; SE23: Forest Hill

UK LONDON Tower Bridge in London EnglandTower Bridge   
Over the 19th century, it became apparent that another bridge was needed east of London Bridge. In 1884 construction began on the Tower Bridge [Tower Bridge Road, +44 20 7403 3761, www.towerbridge.org.uk, Adults for exhibition £6, exhibition and the Monument £9]. The high walkways were originally intended to allow pedestrians to cross the river even while the lower parts of the bridge, the bascules, rise for ships.  Now, visitors usually visit these high walkways simply to enjoy the fantastic views of London. The Tower Bridge's exhibition covers the construction of the bridge and its history: you will find out for instance that the bridge has only been painted red, white, and blue since 1977, when its colour was changed to celebrate the Queen's silver jubilee. 

Millennium Bridge       
UK LONDON millennium bridgeAfter a wobbly start, which required two further years of modifcation to ensure safety, the Millennium Bridge opened in 2002. At 325 metres in length, it links Bankside to the City for pedestrians. The bridge is exceptional for its low profile and sleek design, the work of Arup, Foster and Partners, and Sir Anthony Caro. In particular the bridge runs between the TATE Modern and St. Paul's Cathderal. Indeed, as one is crossing from the south, the cathedral's dome falls squarely between the guard rails on either side of the bridge, a picturesque view of the city of London that ranks among the best.

South Bank          
South Bank is one of London's leading entertainment districts. For a long time the low lying land was used for grazing and for industry but since redevelopments in the 1950s, it has acquired a number of attractions. There is the Hayward Gallery, the latter which is part of the South Bank Centre, a complex which also includes the Royal Festival Hall and the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Overlooking the area is the charismatic London Eye, a relatively new feature on the London skyscape which offers great views of the city. Nearby is the London Aquarium, the Florence Nightingale Museum, and, slightly further afield, the Imperial War Museum.

Hayward Gallery      
Hayward Gallery [Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, +44 20 79604200, www.southbankcentre.co.uk, admission prices to exhibitions vary] opened in 1968, its design an example of the unattractive Brutalist style. The gallery hosts three or four exhibitions a year, which embrace many periods and styles. There is no permanent collection.

London Eye           
UK London EyeAlthough the London Eye [Jubilee Gardens, +44 871 781 3000, www.londoneye.com, Tickets range in price from £16.74 - £40] is young by London's standards, it is becoming one of the city's most popular attractions. The Eye opened in 2000 after less than two years of construction. It stands 135 metres high and weighs a total of 2100 tonnes.

There are 32 capsules, pill shaped carriages that are surrounded by glasses, affording a 360 degree view. These capsules hold 28 people each and over the course of a year the Eye carries 3.5 million people.

The half hour 'flight' is always enjoyable but the views are excellent at sunset and on exceptionally clear days, when you can see as far as 40 km to Windsor Castle.

Its best to buy tickets online and avoid the lines. If you are celebrating something special, you can pay a little extra for a glass of champagne or Pimms or even hire out a capsule for just you and friend.

Bermondsey          
South of the River Thames is the area of Bermondsey with its famous antiques market [www.bermondseysquare.co.uk/antiques.html] which dates back to 1855. It's held every Friday morning from 4am to 1pm at Bermondsey Square.


 


UK LONDON Design MuseumDesign Museum      
The Design Museum [28 Shad Thames, +44 20 74036933, http://designmuseum.org, Adults £11] showcases over 2000 individual pieces, bringing together examples of creative planning for the everyday. The story of mass production, from early Modernism to contemporary movements, is told through displays home appliances, furniture, information technology, and more.

Fashion & Textile Museum   
The Fashion and Textile Museum [83 Bermondsey Street, +44 20 74078664, www.ftmlondon.org] is both a centre for learning and a venue for exhibitions relating to the world of fashion, particularly in Britain.  

Southwark          
The ancient borough of Southwark is situated to the south of the Square Mile. In the Elizabethan era it was an entertainment hotspot with the Rose Theatre, the famous Globe Theatre, and numerous pubs.

UK LONDON HMS Belfast & Tower BridgeHMS Belfast           
The floating branch of the Imperial War Museum, the HMS Belfast [+44 20 79406300, Morgan's Lane, Tooley Street, http://hmsbelfast.iwm.org.uk, Adults £13.50] underwent service as a cruizer, protecting trade and supporting operations during military conflict.

London Dungeon       
The London Dungeon [28-34 Tooley Street, +44 20 74037221, www.the-dungeons.co.uk, £23.52] is a spooky journey into the depths of London's history over the past 1000 years: experience the Great Fire, questionable surgery techniques, the horrors of Jack the Ripper and much more.

Britain at War Experience   
Winston Churchill's Britain at War Experience [64-66 Tooley Street, +44 20 74033171, www.britainatwar.co.uk, £12.95] helps visitors to understand the everyday life of people in wartime Britain: there are artefacts, movies, photographs, and audio clips of important messages to the nation.

Old Operating Theatre Museum      
The Old Operating Theatre Museum [9a St. Thomas' Street, +44 20 71882679, www.thegarret.org.uk, £5.90] houses Europe's oldest operating room, which dates back to the early 1800s. Alongside an apothecary and herb garden, these were part of St Thomas' Hospital, a very old religious institution, which offered care and shelter to the sick and homeless.

 


UK LONDON Southwark CathedralSouthwark Cathedral       
Long associated with dramatists, Southwark Cathedral [London Bridge, +44 20 73676700, http://cathedral.southwark.anglican.org] stands on a Christian site dating back to at least AD606 and may have been used earlier by the Romans. However, it has only been recognised as a cathedral since 1905. The building itself is a composite of many periods of construction but it mostly dates to the period between the 13th and 15th centuries.  

Shakespeare’s Globe & Exhibition 
UK LONDON globe theatreShakespeare's Globe [21 New Globe Walk, +44 20 79021400, www.shakespearesglobe.com, Exhibition and Globe tour £12.50], the theatre in which Shakepeare's plays were perfomed, was reconstructed in the 1990s. The white walls and brown beams of the polygonal theatre hold performances of Shakespeare's plays as well as works by other dramatists, old and new. Though a modern reconstruction the theatre easily captures the atmosphere of an Elizabethan playhouse. An accompanying exhibition walks visitors through Elizabethan special effects and costume preparation. There are tours of the distinctive wooden theatre at least once every 30 minutes. However, if the Globe is unavailable, tours are transferred to the nearby archaeological site that was the Rose Theatre [56 Park Street, +44 20 72619565, www.rosetheatre.org.uk, Free entry, Globe exhibition and Rose Theatre tour £10], Bankside's first theatre which played host to plays by Marlow and Shakespeare.

Tate Modern Gallery       
UK London Tate Modern Andre Derain 'Henri Matisse' The TATE Modern [Queen's Walk, Bankside, +44 20 78878888, www.tate.org.uk/modern, free entry] is a repository for contemporary art from across the world. There are paintings, film, photography, sculptures, all brought together in the year 2000 and exhibited in an impressively appropriated, disused power station. The cavernous hall that housed the turbine is now the gallery's entrance. Two floors hold part of the permanent collection while a third floor holds temporary shows. The glass house above the building, added by architects Herzog & de Meuron, boasts wonderful views of the Thames for patrons of the restaurant and member room inside.

The collection grew out of the TATE Britain collection, when that gallery began to acquire more and more modern and international pieces. There are works from Fauvists like Matisse and Derain, from Surrealists Dali, Miro, Magritte, and works of Abstract Expressionism by Pollack and Rothko. There are also collections of Pop Art from the likes of Warhol and Lichtenstein and collections of Minimal Art and Conceptual Art. If this seems bewildering, you can take advantage of one of the gallery's free guided tours which run for 45 minutes at 11am, 12 noon, 2pm and 3pm from Monday to Sunday. There are also excellent multimedia guides available for £3.50.

 


 

Greenwich           
UK LONDON Greenwich london panoramaGreenwich is certainly one of the most naturally beautiful parts of London. The wide expanses of greenery and cool laid back vibes make the area seem like anything but busy, grimy London. The area has long had royal connections – and in 2012 it will be made a Royal Borough in celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee – and it is also known for its maritime history - here you can see the Cutty Sark, the Old Royal Naval College, which was formerly the old royal Palace of Placentia where Henvry VIII and Elizabeth I were born, the National Maritime Museum. Greenwich was once the place looked to tell the time: Visit the Royal Observatory at 0 degrees longitude to how the world once measured time.

Cutty Sark           
The Cutty Sark [King William Walk, +44 20 88582698, www.cuttysark.org.uk] is the last tea clipper in existence. Her sailing days lasted from the 1870s to the early 1920s, when she transported tea from China to England. The ship is currently under restoration, repairing fire damage that resulted in 50% of the ship's fabric being destroyed. The museum is due to reopen in Spring 2012.

National Maritime Museum   
UK LONDON National Maritime Museum Old bronze cannonThe National Maritime Museum [Romney Road, +44 20 83126608, www.nmm.ac.uk, free entry to the Maritime Galleries] is a great pirate's chest full of interesting information about Britain on the waves. There are a range of displays focusing on everything from Admiral Nelson, explorers through the ages, and the slave trade through to cruise photography, ship models, and even a ship simulator. It is certainly high up among the country's best museums.

Old Royal Naval College 
      
In the Tudor period, the Palace of Placentia stood on the site of the Old Royal Naval College [+44 20 82694747, www.oldroyalnavalcollege.org, Painted Hall and Chapel free of charge]. It was the birthplace of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. After that building's destruction, the college was established to help seaman and their families. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren and others later, the college has been used as a hospital and as a naval training centre. 

Queen’s House           
UK LONDON Queen's House, GreenwichPart of the National Maritime Museum, the Queen's House [+44 20 88584422, www.nmm.ac.uk, free entry] was built at the behest of Anne of Denmark, the wife of James I, but it as only completed in 1635 under the direction of Charles I's wife Henrietta Maria. The Tulip Stairs was the first self-supporting spiral staircase in Britain. It is also beautiful, a shell-like swirl of  white steps and wrought-iron balustrades.


Royal Observatory       
UK LONDON Greenwich ObservatoryThe Royal Observatory [Blackheath Avenue, +44 20 88584422, www.nmm.ac.uk, free entry to Astronomy Centre, adults £7 or Flamsteed House and Meridian Line Courtyard, adults £6.50 for Planetarium show] was founded in 1675 by Charles II, for the purpose of improving nagivation at sea. This could only be achieved through the precise measurement of time, a problem which was finally solved by John Harrison. His timepieces are still working and are on display in the Harrison Gallery, part of the Time Galleries. Flamsteed House was the original observatory and you can still visit the Octagon Room that was intended as the observation room – it turned out to be unfit for this purpose. While at Flamsteed House, visit the Meridian Line Courtyard and have your photo taken while standing on the Prime Meridian. Don't miss the fascinating Weller Astronomy Galleries or the Planetarium, which has an interesting selection of films about the universe.

Fan Museum           
The delightfully quirky Fan Museum [12 Crooms Hill, +44 20 83051441, www.thefanmuseum.org.uk, Adults £4] brings together over 3500 fans dating from the 11th century to the present day. Aside from the exquisite items in the museum's collection, the museum building itself is worthy of admiration, particularly the murals in its beautifully designed Orangery.

Millennium Dome (new O2)   
The Millennium Dome [Drawdock Road] held a year long exhibition to celebrate the new millennium in 2000. Plagued by controversy and not as popular as anticipated, the exhibition was dismantled afterwards. 'The Dome' as it is called, or 'The O2' as the parent company would like it to be called, now stages entertainment events.

 



Horniman Museum       
UK LONDON Horniman MuseumThe Horniman Museum [100 London Road, Forest Hill, +44 20 86991872, www.horniman.ac.uk, free entry] is one of London's lesser known collections. Frederick John Horniman, a tea trader, began the collection of cultural artefacts, natural history specimens, and musical instruments in the 1860s for the express purpose of  creating and educational exhibition in Forest Hill. There are Solomon Island canoes, masks from the Yoruba people of Africa, a pair of bone clappers from Egypt – a musical instrument made to look like human hands, as well as an extensive fossil collection that was acquired in 1987 from an amateur fossil collector. The museum's extensive gardens are also worth a stroll.