I recently cancelled all of my Saturday plans in anticipation of a furniture delivery only to have the guys arrive with the set of drawers at 8am. In a complete morning fog I found that I suddenly had an entire Saturday to spare without any advance plans (such a rarity in this city) and had already been for a big run the evening before.
So what’s a bored Lady whose husband had disappeared for the day to do?
I decided to head for a walk over to the other side of the river and was rewarded well. After battling the tourists on Tower Bridge first…
Bermondsey is exactly how I imagined London to be before I moved here 7 years ago – cobbled twisty streets everywhere with well dressed locals. In my head it looks exactly the same as it probably has for hundreds of years, but I’m sure that’s not the reality – the area used to be considered the absolute worst area you could possibly go, with open sewers in the streets, industry that was too loud to be in the City (leather works etc) and full of undesirables of the time.
But now it is rather lovely and is just a stone’s throw away from London Bridge and Borough Market, which brings me to the reason I walked that way. I desperately want to love Borough Market but (and please don’t hate me for this reader), I can’t stand the place – it’s too crowded, too pretentious and I always find myself hot and bothered in it, so desperate to get out that I end up paying £8 for a bap with 2 slices of chorizo (one of them bound to fall out onto the pavement) or a slice of cheesecake that would cost £3.50 anywhere else and leave irritated. I’d heard that Maltby Street Market is the antithesis of Borough Market – quality food without the pretentiousness or throngs of tourists and that it is an easy 15 minute walk from Tower Bridge.
It was a relief to get there. The crowd was locals, people like me (yep, middle class yuppies) who enjoy their food, slowly ambling their way through a nice quiet side street below some railway arches. While I don’t think I’d head to Bermondsey just to check out the market alone, I did enjoy chatting to some of the stall holders and tried some delicious food, including this amazing piece of salmon (£2.50):
The market isn’t very big and once you’ve sat down to eat for a while you can easily check it out within 30 minutes. I moved on to Shad Thames behind Butler’s Wharf. It is a lovely street and beautiful to walk down any time of the day. An old boss once took me to Le Pont de la Tour on the wharf and it is one of the best meals I’ve had in London to this day; but that was well out of my budget so I strolled down to the Design Museum, which I didn’t realise costs £11 to get in but apparently their Louboutin exhibition is great (might be worth a pay-day treat) and eventually settled on some tea and a muffin at Teapod Tea House.
The tea there was great (and the selection is good), but I can’t say the same about the muffin which quite frankly was dire; I have never seen a cake turn into dry crumbs so quickly. If I were to head back there I would pop into Le Pont de la Tour’s shop across the street and buy one of their expensive but excellent looking cakes instead.
So if you’re in the mood for food but can’t cope with the thought of Borough Market, then make your way to Maltby Street and enjoy a stroll around uncrowded Bermondsey and Butler’s Wharf. It makes a very relaxing stroll, just avoid Tower Bridge and its crowds if you don’t want to lose that calm.
Do you have any secret London spots?