Walk 1412 - printer friendly version
The Monument to Trafalgar Square via Southwark Walk
Author - Lou Johnson
Length - 4.0 miles / 6.5 km
Ascent - 200 feet / 61 metres
Grade - easy
Start - OS grid reference TQ329807
Lat 51.509607 + Long -0.08633205
Postcode EC3R 8BQ (approx. location only)
This walk is full of interest and includes sights and history that spans a thousand years. For most of the route the River Thames is in view and much of what is seen reinforces the strong role that the Thames has had on London's development as major city.
The Monument (Grid ref. TQ329807), which commemorates the Great Fire of London in 1666, is the start of this walk and can be reached by underground and bus. After admiring and perhaps ascending the Monument, walk south towards the River Thames passing to the left of St Magnus the Martyr Church to reach the Thames Path. Turn left and with the river on your right walk towards Tower Bridge, which is clearly in view ahead. The riverside path passes in front of the Custom House (note the interesting weather vane) to reach the Tower Millennium Pier from where ferries and sightseeing boats operate.
Immediately after passing this pier you reach the Tower of London on your left. Built over many centuries, it is a complex building with the most recognisable feature being the White Tower which dates back to Norman times. As you continue past the walls of the Tower look out for Traitors' Gate on your left. This is the route people took when heading for the gallows. At this stage in the walk note that access steps onto the road over Tower Bridge and continue under the road to reach St. Katherine Dock Today there is very little evidence that even this far up the Thames saw significant amounts of commercial shipping with docks like this one responsible for transhipping many cargoes through the centuries. Today the dock is very much alive but its waters are full of pleasure craft.
Return under the road and, using the steps noted earlier, ascend onto Tower Bridge's roadway. Cross the Thames, perhaps stopping to enjoy the excellent view of London, and on reaching the South Bank descend the steps to reach the riverside path. Walk west (with the river to your right) soon reaching Hay's Galleria and HMS Belfast. After passing London Bridge Hospital you must turn left and away from the river. Turn right on Tooley Street, pass under London Bridge. On your left is Southwark Cathedral, the smallest of the three Cathedrals that overlook the Thames.
The onward route leads you past the replica of the Drake's Golden Hinde and along Clink Street past the Clink Prison Museum. Passing under the railway bridge serving Cannon Street and Southwark Bridge the path regains it riverside position. The next major landmark is the replica of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre on your left and the massive outline of Tate Modern also on your left. Crossing the Millennium Bridge we regain the north bank of the Thames.
On reaching the north bank, descend the steps on your left down to the riverside path and walk upstream with the river on your immediate left. The number of other pedestrians will have reduced considerably as you continue along the Embankment passing under Blackfriars road and rail bridges and Waterloo Bridge. On reaching Waterloo Bridge you may opt to cross the road and walk through Embankment Gardens where there are many statues commemorating famous people. Pass under Hungerford Bridge and immediately turn right into Northumberland Avenue. This leads you into Trafalgar Square and the end of the walk.