London is a fantastic city for an urban walk during the day, but in some ways it is even prettier all lit up after dark. We especially love walking along the Thames pathway in the evening. All the pathways are well lit, and London landmarks like Tower Bridge, the city and the Shard look fantastic lit up. On this occasion, we were staying near Tower Bridge. We wanted to visit my friend in South London, but the tube (the underground) was broken so we got stuck at Canada Water. We used to live nearby in Rotherhithe, so rather than getting back on the packed tube, we decided to walk back to Tower Hill via our favourite route.
London was looking so gorgeous that I stopped to take plenty of photos. If you ever fancy a quick walk in the evening, this is a lovey option.
Walk to Tower Bridge from Rotherhithe
Walk to Tower Bridge at Night – The basics
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Time: We walked for 1.5 hours.
What to bring:
You don’t need to carry much. Anything you forget can be purchased easily.
There aren’t enough dogs in central London, but you can walk them here, just keep them on a lead and remember to pick up their poop.
How hard is it?
Easy! Jut stay close to the Thames and you won’t get lost. You can see central London and the Tower of London to guide you most of the way.
If you have not lived in London, you may not have heard of Rotherhithe. It is a pretty, residential area on the banks of the river Thames. It’s the location of the Brunel Museum, a gorgeous park (the Russia Dock Woodlands and Stave Hill) and plenty of excellent pubs. When we lived in this area, we’d often do the walk I am about to describe to return home after our date nights. It is a really romantic walk in the evening.
P.s. If you want me to name of one of the best pubs along this walk, you can’t go wrong with the Mayflower right on the Thames (near Rotherhithe station and opposite the Brunel museum.) It’s gorgeous, makes fantastic pimms and has decent grub.
So, to follow in our footsteps, just follow the Thames path along by the river. At first you walk through very quiet (and quite posh/gentrified) neighborhoods. It was great to live here before the Olympic games in 2012, but after that the rents became higher and higher so we had to move North to a cheaper area. This story has been repeated all over London. It means these neighborhoods are lovely to walk though, but they are veeery pricey if you want to live here.
The photo above is from Bermondsey Beach, where you can climb down and search for treasures in the mud when the tide is out. It has great views of St Katherines Docks (where we’ll end up later) as well as Tower Bridge and the City.
I love the way as you get closer to central London, more and more lights dance on the waves of the Thames. I guess this is why this walk feels so romantic to me. It’s just full of sparkles. It’s also very calm for so close to the center of London.
You’ll be walking through gentrified dockands, so there are plenty of bridges where you can peek into the old industrial buildings (that are now mostly posh flats.)
Butler’s Wharf and Tower Bridge views
Even if you don’t do this whole walk, you may want to visit Butler’s Wharf. It is close to Tower Bridge and lined with restaurants, each with a great view of the bridge. It’s one of my favourite spots for taking photos of Tower Bridge. It all looks fantastic at night when it is lit up.
Right before you reach the bridge, you need to go back away from the water, and along Shad Thames. You can tell I spent too long taking photos – that’s Marc off in the distance, wandering off without me. Oops.
Tower Bridge – close up
I don’t think I will ever get bored of seeing Tower Bridge. I love seeing it open to let ships through, but even on normal days it is just so pretty. When I got back to Canada, my boss mentioned she thought this was London Bridge. For non-Europeans, nope – London Bridge is not quite as beautiful…it is the next bridge along from Tower Bridge, built in the 1970s and not quite as striking. The Old London bridge (the one that was falling down in the song) is now in Lake Havasu City, Arizona(!) The story of its removal is pretty cool, so I’ll add a link to it here in case you like history.
There are pedestrian footpaths on either side of the bridge, so even at night it is fine to walk over it to North London and Tower Hill.
St Katherine Docks
Once we’d made it to the North side of the River Thames, we wanted to walk a teeny bit more, so we ventured over to St Katherine Docks to see how they were lit up for the festive season. I’ll start by showing you the Dickens Inn – this is a great pub! This pub is a former brewery that was used right back in the 18th century(!) Isn’t it lit up beautifully!?
We wandered around St Katherine Docks to see if we could find anything good to eat. Unfortunately everywhere was either full, or closed. So we just kept exploring and enjoying the festive lights of London.
I particularly loved this huge anchor covered in fairy lights! Apparently this is from the wreck of the Amsterdam, owned by the Dutch East India Company. It was shipwrecked in 1749, on it’s Maiden Voyage.
It’s also always cool to see what old boats are docked in this part of London. There were some beautiful vintage ships when we visited.
Next we headed back towards the Tower of London and our hotel. We looped back to the Thames again, for one more view of London at night.
Tower of London lit up
I have to admit, when we lived in London, I normally avoided hanging out too near the Tower of London. I mean, it is always sooo busy and full of tourists. It’s also not really an area that is full of night-life, so somehow I had never noticed how beautifully it is lit up once the sun goes down. If you want to see it in the daytime, see my previous post about walking from Tower Bridge to Big Ben in the day time.
Did you know in winter you can skate in the Tower of London? I had no idea, so it was a nice surprise to see so many people having a giggle on the ice!
Aaand that was then end of our impromptue evening walk. If you can, walking to Tower Bridge can be really lovely after dark. My photos make it look like night time, but as it was the middle of winter, it wasn’t even that late. We started as the sun was setting at 4:45pm, and we were back by the Tower of London before 6pm. This was the last day of 2019, and our last night in the UK. I am so glad we could spend it on such a romantic little walk.
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