The Little Surprises Blog

Little Surprises Recommends: Our "Thames Tour"

We love having people come to stay and are often asked for recommendations of things to do and see when in London for just a short time. This is our absolutely favourite morning/afternoon tour of central London, following the river, this can take anything from 2 to 6 hours depending on how many of the stops you make and how much time you spend eating/drinking along the way!



Start

Get the tube to Green Park (or walk) - come out of the tube station and head into the park. Wander through the park or down the path by the side of it until you reach the impressive site that is Buckingham Palace. Give the Queen a wave through the gates, check out the Queen Victoria Memorial Fountain & then head into St James's Park. If you are there around 11am at the right time of year, you can see the Changing of the Guard.



Pit Stop 1

There are lots of small coffee stands in St James's park. Grab a coffee, stand on the 'Blue Bridge' (yes, that is really it's name!), hold a parquet & you can even see a pelican if you are lucky! Head down past Westminster Abbey & the Houses of Parliament, across Westminster bridge towards the London Eye. Walk along the South Bank, enjoy the street performers & the pop up shops.


Pit Stop 2

There are so many options for where to stop but one of our favourites is the cosy cafe at the back of the British Film Institute. From here, continue your wander along the South Bank, until you reach the Millenium Bridge (it is big, white and for pedestrians only! You can't miss it!). Check out the chewing gum art (created by the incredible Ben Wilson) on the floor !



Pit Stop 3

You will be treated to a beautiful view of St Paul's ahead of you & can skirt to the right of it to head into the 'One New Change' building. Head up in the lift to the 6th floor & gaze over the incredible view of the skyline - the lift up is pretty fun too!

Photo: Instagram/lesterhthorpe, Instagram/BreadAhead


Head back the way you came and wander past The Tate & The Globe (optional pit stops here!). Continue along the South Bank, wiggling your way through the cobbled streets until you end up in Borough Market - if it is 'wine time', head into Beadles, if it is coffee time, head in to Rabot 1745 and if you just want a tasty snack, you must treat yourself to a Bread Ahead doughnut!


Pit Stop 4

The tallest building in the UK is The Shard. You can pay to go up to the viewing platform but we would recommend heading up to the 31st floor and having a glass of wine in the Aqua Shard.

From here, you can find yourself back on the South Bank, wandering towards Tower Bridge. Cross the beautiful bridge which was build 125 years ago, you will see The Tower of London to your left (pop in for a visit to the crown jewels or an ice-skate if it is winter!) before turning off to your right where you will discover our final stop!



Pit Stop 5

This is our final pit stop & we have chosen this because it is so unexpected in the centre of London! Just off of the main road, tucked behind some very tall buildings, you will find St Katherine's dock - a marina surrounded by restaurants, bars and filled with boats! Treat yourself to a drink in the sunshine, a delicious meal or even turn your hand to paddle boarding!


Photo: Instagram/paddleboardinglondon


Getting home

The easiest place to head home from is Tower Hill tube station although if you are not quite finished, you could head back over the bridge towards Bermondsey for a potter down Bermondsey Street.


Enjoy!