The dockland in London is not the first destination people choose when they visit this beautiful capital. Yet, it inspires one of our favourite walks.
Tower Hill Station
Tower Hill station is the starting point of our walk. We always enjoy a nice view of some famous city landscapes, and the Tower of London. For here I will guide you for a long walk. When on the riverside, don’t miss the “Coppa Club” on your right. You can enjoy a nice break, especially in the winter, as their igloos protect you from the cold air while enjoying a perfect view. During evenings and week-end you’ll have to make a reservation if you want to be seated. But anyway, the igloos always make a great impression! Then we use the riverside path to pass under the Tower Bridge in order to join the St Katharine’s Docks.
St Katharine’s Docks
If you manage to avoid commuting times and lunch time you will have chances to enjoy a beautiful shooting spot free of people during the week. During the week-ends in the morning, this place is quiet. The docks here offer still water with exciting building reflections. The streets surrounding the area have the charm that cobblestone can offer. The “Dickens Inn” is quite remarkable.
Don’t miss the little path behind “Fab Food Patisserie” and the second lock closer to the river that does not appear on Google Maps. The statue in front of “The Brasserie” is worth a little of your time. You can play with it and the Tower Bridge, depending on the light and create lovely images.
When crossing Tower Bridge you will have the choice of walking on the left hand sidewalk, more convenient regarding the fact that you come from the left, or the right hand side sidewalk. If the view from the left sidewalk is really nice and maybe more authentic because no famous building on it, the view from the right is amazing. If you are lucky enough to enjoy this place in the morning, the Tower Bridge will draw his shadow on the waters of the Thames River, but maybe on the riverside too. This can be a great composition, but it also can ruin your photo. Shadows can create a scary mood, this is not good on a sunny day. So use the shadow with care.
You can also use the elevator inside the Tower Bridge and enjoy an amazing view on both side of the Thames. There is also a glass floor, and mirrors on the ceiling that can be used by your creative spirit! Wait a little bit and you will enjoy the glass floor between to elevators, much less people and a clearer view of the perspective of the walkways. Take time here and walk on both sides. On sunny days you’ll have to find a way to manage the reflections on the windows if you want to shot the cityscape. Try different angle, or find a way the incorporate the reflection on you photo in a creative way…
When you join the South Bank, you will be on Shad Thames. You’ll have a lovely perspective of the bridge from the beginning of the streets. It’s a renovated Dock area. They kept all the higher overpasses above the road, allowing the communication between the warehouses. The street is lovely, and some great photos are to be made here. Try also the side alleyways. Don’t miss “The Watch House” a great bakery where you can enjoy excellent coffee and good food. A little bit busy on the week-end but you always manage to find a little corner on the big tables of the place. People share the space and it’s a perfect occasion to enjoy a refreshing small talk!
Maguire Street and surroundings
Now, your stomach is full, but not too much I hope because their’s something else to fill it with later! Your caffein level high again so you can keep going on Shad Thames and then turn on your left when you’ve joined Maguire Street. I like this part of the river side. There usually isn’t many people and the view is fantastic. You travel in time and find yourself one or two centuries ago (if you can make abstraction of the modern glass buildings ?), walk along until you can’t go further. You will be on a small lock and a beautiful shooting area.
Back on Maguire street, you’ll enjoy the old atmosphere of the docks in a quiet way. These small backstreets are not very busy. They have been restored nicely and you can enjoy a great shooting time. Turn on Gainsford St and walk along. Everything can result here in a nice image, take time, play, enjoy. Depending on the weather you’ll have many different atmospheres here. Don’t miss the small hidden courts on your way, some offer free access to the top of the buildings, and you’ll have a roof view that was worth climbing the escape spiral stairs.
A beautiful photo to make here on one of my fav houses in London: the white tower of “Now Mobile” Building. It already is beautiful from the Tower Bridge, but from this point, the white colour is highlighted by the surrounding brick-lanes. Then it’s time to enjoy “the best fish and chips in London” as the owner mentioned on the door. “The Bridge House” is a friendly welcoming pub with great fish and chips and a perfect place to have a good rest and enjoy local specialties.
Potters Fields Park
Time to go back walking on Queen Elisabeth St and cross Tower Bridge Rd. Don’t miss a lovely photo point from here, especially if you catch on of the red double-deck buses on it. Then go on this same street until you reach access to Potters Fields Park. You have hundreds of photo opportunities here. You can play with the building skyline, their shapes, the reflections on them, the volumes and space of the place, the view on the North bank, everything is an occasion to enlighten your creativity. We are not in the docks area here, but this cool spot is interesting.
Use the riverside until you reach Hay’s Galleria. You can have a look here. The use of the space, the glass roof waving with grace and the central statue are worth a little of your time.
When you are done here find your way from the riverside to Hay’s Ln, then use a busy but small portion of Tooley St, before it goes away, with you, from A200. You’ll find some more quiet streets, worth wandering in. I like the small corner of “The Olaf stairs.” Then use the path under the London Bridge. Don’t miss the rear of the Southwark Cathedral and take time to find shooting points to play with the statue of the modern knight, the Shard, and the Cathedral.
Turn on Montague Cl, then take Cathedral St. You will stand right in front of a beautiful ship that does not sail anymore, but is adding to the atmosphere of the area. Join Clink St, where you’ll discover some more cobblestone and brick-lanes, but you will also find the remains of Winchester Palace. These remains have been surrounded discretely by modern buildings, in order to give a support and create spaces to make the place useful again (cafes and other services). Keeping going on Clink St will lead you under the rails coming from Cannon St Station. Then you’ll find light again keep on the riverside path and step on Shakespeare’s ground. Enjoy the perfect replica of Shakespeare original open-air theatre: The Shakespeare’s Globe.
A little further there is also the Tate Modern, but regarding our walk it comes close to its end on the Millennium Bridge. I find it to be a great photo spot. Play with the wavy curves of the bridge, the view from the bridge… Appreciate from here the covered distance of the day, as you can see afar the Tower Bridge. Don’t miss the view of St Paul’s Cathedral, and make your ultimate goal today to reach it. A last treat before going home: anywhere in the world I love “Le Pain Quotidien” very good quality of everything, not to mention equitable and organic products, a nice warm wooden deco.