There’s no such thing as a boring weekend in London. There’s too much to do. As the 18th century English writer Samuel Johnson once said: if you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life. You can simply walk down any street and you’ll find an array of wonderful things to see, do, eat, drink and perhaps even make yourself.
While we could be here for days talking about our favourite roads (we’re super interesting like that), there are a few that stand out from the rest. One such road is Bermondsey Street. Back in the day (we’re talking a long time back), the Domesday book recorded that the area included 13 hides, a church, five ploughs, 20 acres of meadow and a woodland for five pigs. Oh my, how times have changed. Fast forward a millenia and there are now rows of pretty buildings, great pubs and a plethora of cultural excursions to take. Here’s our round-up of the best things to see and do (sadly no pigs made the cut).
What to do…
White Cube is an art gallery founded by art dealer Jay Joplin. Expect contemporary art and meaningful works everywhere you look. It is a clean, simple space and at the moment is showcasing an exhibition by Andreas Gursky featuring new and recent photographs by the German photographer until June.
Where: 144-152 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ
London Glassblowing was founded by glassblower-extraordinaire Peter Layton in 1976 (read our interview with him here). You can venture inside for a tour of the exhibition inside (they change regularly) and discover colourful glass creations of all shapes and sizes by different artists. Not only that, but you can also see artists practising the craft at the back of the gallery, moulding molten glass into stunning forms.
Where: 62-66 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3UD
The Fashion and Textile Museum
The Fashion and Textile Museum is dedicated to showcasing…. guess what? Fashion and textiles. The museum presents exhibitions, courses, talks, events and workshops on the work of designers and makers around the world. It was founded in 2003 by the icon of British design and pink-haired wonder, Dame Zandra Rhodes. Get on down there and try some needlework and embroidery in one of the classes.
Where: 83 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3XF
Independent cinemas are few and far between so when you have one on your doorstep you’ve landed on your feet. Lucky locals of Bermondsey can count the Kino Bermondsey as an intimate, arty alternative to the Odeons and Vues out there. Enjoy the latest films with a glass of wine in hand and snuggle into one of their big red leather seats.
Where: 10 Bermondsey Square, SE1 3UN
Electric Shuffle blends beautiful decor with fast-paced shuffleboard. You can expect fabulous cocktails and a reimagined version of the classic game. Their tables have been designed for teams of up to 16 through a series of different immersive challenges. For the best experience, book a 90-minute slot for £10 per person or if that’s not your thing, just pop in for a drink and watch the shuffleboard magic happen. Head there on Thursday to Sunday and you can turn it into bottomless brunch with live music and comedy. What more could you want?
Where: 10 Bermondsey Street, SE1 2ER
Where to grab a coffee…
Built in the 19th century, WatchHouse’s original purpose was to be a home for the guards who protected the graves in the churchyard. The guards have gone and the place has been refurbished (we’d be concerned if it hadn’t) but the name remains. Now instead of guards you’ll find darn good coffee, pastries, cakes and local art on the walls which you can buy, if you fancy a painting with your caffeine fix on a Sunday morning.
Where: 199 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3UW
Chapter 27 is owned and run by husband-and-wife team Rod and Ellie. They have a burning desire to serve up the best coffee – for both your morning brew and also your evening cocktail. Every coffee bean is sourced ethically from farmers around the world who promote good practices on their farms. They also do an espresso martini class for those who want an extra buzz.
Where: 72 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3UD
No, we’re not being rude. Fuckoffee is genuinely the name of this coffee shop – a coffee shop that wants you to “come happy” and “leave edgy”. With the vibes of a sex dungeon-cum-student digs it’s not for everyone. But they pride themselves on good coffee, so make sure to try some. You can even buy a bag of coffee beans to take home and grind yourself.
Where: 163, 167 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3UW
For something a little stronger…
If you want a little gastro with your pub then look no further than The Garrison on Bermondsey Street. Stop by for their three-course bottomless brunch, tuck into the likes of pigs’ head croquettes and enjoy a Hereford beef sirloin roast on a Sunday. Bright and airy it’s more of a restaurant than a pub, and is perfect for whiling away lazy weekends.
Where: 99 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3XB
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The dog-friendly watering whole The Woolpack is ideal for Friday night drinks. Everyone and their mate flocks to the bar for a pint of the good stuff and it all feels very London. They have a beer garden out the back for when it’s good weather and most people spill out onto the street anyway. There are even private booths for those who want a more romantic evening. It’s also great for a Sunday roast.
Where: 98 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3UB
The Last Talisman
Expertly crafted cocktails, a sizzling Asian grill and a decadent backdrop of music and modern art – what’s not to love at The Last Talisman? Good fortune doesn’t come to those who wait, but to those who explore. And it comes in the form of tantalising cocktails, and mouth-watering small plates. Sit back, unwind, and explore their very own Russian doll bar-within-a-bar – Mala Madre. Lunch, brunch, dinner and drinks – there’s always a lively schedule of things going on.
Where: 171-173 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3UW
Where to eat out…
A small restaurant with a very big heart, Pizarro is José Pizarro’s second London restaurant and just a few blocks away from José’s original tapas bar. José Pizarro is not just known as the Godfather of Spanish cuisine in London, but is also known by locals as a seriously generous spirit. His team totally live the vision and shower their love to get you to try the things that are so special to them: delicious dishes.
Where: 194 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ
José Pizarro is not just known as the Godfather of Spanish cuisine in London
Renowned chef and general foodie hero, Angela Hartnett launched Café Murano in 2019. Since then it has been serving up genuine Italian food from the kitchen in Bermondsey. Book a table and pull up a chair to try some fresh, uplifting dishes in a welcoming atmosphere. There are some places where we feel right at home and this is one of them.
Looking for traditional French cuisine at its finest? Then Casse-Croûte is waiting for you with open arms and a glass of its finest Pinot Noir. The menu changes every day but be prepared for slices of rare beef, fresh buttered greens, and seriously tasty steak tartare. The decor is just as appealing as the menu with vintage posters and personalised Casse-Croûte crockery.
Where: 109 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3XB