Thames Path: London Bridge to Greenwich

Starting off in the centre of London and discovering many points of interest along the way, following the Thames Path from London Bridge to Greenwich is one of the best walks in London to stretch your legs and explore new parts of the city.

We completed this walk on a mild December day. It had rained earlier in the morning, though it was fortunately dry during our time in London despite dark clouds threatening a downpour on a few occasions.

As London is arguably the best location for a UK city break by train, there are multiple stations you can travel to for the start of your walk, as well as a few options for returning at the end. Blackfriars and London Bridge station are two options if you’re looking for a point nearby to begin the walk, and these useful train links help to make it one of the best walks along the Thames in London.

Our walk from London Bridge to Greenwich was the first of a longer two-part walk, with the second section continuing to follow the Thames Path from Greenwich to Woolwich.

Heading off from London Bridge

You can start this walk from any point along the Southbank, and it can form part of a longer walk if you have the time or energy. We arrived at London Bridge station, which makes for a useful starting point. 

A view of the Shard from London Bridge station
A view of the Shard from London Bridge station

From the station, we headed straight to the river, through the impressive development that frames Tower Bridge as you approach it.

A pedestrianised street in London with Tower Bridge in the distance
Heading towards the Southbank

This will be the busiest part of the walk. With so many sights and attractions around, including HMS Belfast, the Tower of London, and Tower Bridge, this part of the Southbank is a popular spot for tourists and a great place to take photos.

Once you’ve taken all the photos you want, continue east along the river and towards Tower Bridge. You’ll soon be getting away from the crowds.

A view of Tower Bridge from the Southbank
A view of Tower Bridge from the Southbank

Into Bermondsey

Head through the tunnel under Tower Bridge and along Shad Thames. These converted warehouses create an atmospheric alley to walk down.

Converted warehouses in London
The converted warehouses along Shad Thames

Take a turn off left and you’ll be back by the Thames again, from where you can simply follow the river east, with Tower Bridge behind you.

Cross the footbridge over St Saviours Dock and continue following the Thames Path, passing by China Wharf.

St Saviours Dock
St Saviours Dock

You’ll be forced away from the river temporarily and onto Chambers Street, but you’ll soon be alongside the river again and into one of the most interesting areas of Bermondsey.

Barges on the river Thames
Looking back along the Thames with Tower Bridge in the distance

By the edge of the river you’ll notice four statues, known as Dr Salter’s Daydream. These commemorate Alfred Salter, a public servant who helped to reduce poverty in 19th-century Bermondsey, and his wife Ada, the first woman mayor in London.

Statues from Dr Salter's Dream
Three statues from Dr Salter’s Dream

On the other side of the road to this is the site of King Edward III’s manor house, and there’s an interesting plaque which depicts what it would have looked like in the 14th century.

Remains of King Edward III's manor
Remains of King Edward III’s manor house

Keep heading along the road and past The Angel pub.

Onwards to Rotherhithe

The Thames path alternates been footpaths right along the river and roads slightly inland, but just keep heading east and you’ll soon move from Bermondsey and into Rotherhithe.

One of the first landmarks you’ll see is St Mary’s Church. There are a lot of points of interest in this area if you have time to look around.

St Mary's church in Rotherhithe
St Mary’s church in Rotherhithe

Most notable is the local history related to the Mayflower, the ship famous for voyaging to America in 1620. The captain, Christopher Jones, is buried in St Mary’s churchyard, and you’ll pass the Mayflower pub.

The Mayflower Pub in Rotherhithe
The Mayflower Pub in Rotherhithe

You’ll also walk by the Brunel museum which is worth a stop in if you have time.

Cutting across Stave Hill

Further into Rotherhithe, you’ll come across Surrey Basin Bascule Bridge. From here, you have two choices: follow the Thames Path around the curve of the river, or cut across Rotherhithe for a different (and slightly quicker) route.

Surrey Basin Bascule Bridge
Surrey Basin Bascule Bridge

As this was part of a longer walk, we took the path that cuts inland, heading around Surrey Water and down a pedestrianised avenue that follows the path of an old filled-in canal.

Surrey Water, populated by ducks
Surrey Water

The purpose of this alternate route is to climb Stave Hill. This artificial hill provides some of the best panoramic views across London in all directions, so it’s definitely worth heading to if you want a break from the Thames path.

The view from Stave Hill
The view from Stave Hill with Canary Wharf and the Shard on the horizon

From there, you can head south through the ecological park and all the way to Greenland dock, then follow the signs that take you back to the river to rejoin the Thames path.

The route through Rotherhithe
The route from Stave Hill

Along the river and through Lewisham

For the final leg of the walk, you’ll have a good view of Canary Wharf across the water as you continue following the river. With these meandering bends in the Thames, it can be disorienting, but keep as close to the river as possible and you won’t get lost.

A view of Canary Wharf from the south bank of the river Thames
Looking across the river to Canary Wharf

On the way, you’ll pass the location where Queen Elizabeth knighted Sir Francis Drake onboard his ship The Golden Hind.

A plaque describing the history of The Golden Hind
A plaque with more details about Sir Francis Drake

Further along, the path will head through Pepys Park and away from the river. As a general rule, take any left turns that you can in order to roughly follow a path parallel to the Thames. Now you’re in Lewisham. You’ll head down Grove Street first then cut through Sayes Court Park, where you can see a 300-year-old mulberry tree. Later, walk along the high street and then turn off onto Prince Street. 

Information about the mulberry tree in Lewisham
The history of the mulberry tree in Sayes Court Park

There are still signs along the way to guide you, and eventually you’ll be able to head up Watergate Street, onto Borthwick Street, and then back along the Thames.

The Dog & Bell pub in Lewisham with a toucan advertisement
The Dog & Bell pub in Lewisham

There’s a statue of Peter the Great which you’ll pass by before crossing Greenwich Reach Swing Bridge.

A statue of Peter the Great by the river Thames
A statue of Peter the Great

Into Greenwich

From here, the Thames Path is straightforward and you’ll be able to see the destination up ahead, with iconic landmarks like the Cutty Sark easy to spot from a while away.

The Cutty Sark in Greenwich
The Cutty Sark

The best aspect of this walk is where you end up. Whether you’re feeling touristy and want to see the Old Royal Naval College, the observatory and Prime Meridian, or if you’re just in need of refreshment, there are plenty of options.

The Old Naval College in Greenwich
The Naval College in Greenwich

After a long walk, you might be ready for something to eat and drink. We stuck by the river and walked past the Naval College, stopping off at The Yacht for a filling lunch.

Take your time to explore Greenwich. If you’re planning on returning to central London (and don’t want to walk back), you can get a train from Greenwich station back to London Bridge or take the DLR.

Alternatively, you can continue your walk along the Thames Path as we did after our lunch, heading east from Greenwich to Woolwich.

Other recommended London walks to try out

Explore other parts of the city by learning more about the best walks in London, which include:

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