Rotherhithe, on the south bank of the River Thames, has managed to retain a charming village atmosphere and it is from here I started my walk along the Thames Path. In Part One of this two part blog post I explore Rotherhithe’s delightful historic centre before continuing my journey along the waterfront to Tower Bridge.
Brunel Museum - the mural depicts the "boring shield" used in the construction of the tunnel
The Brunel Museum is housed in the former Engine House tells the fascinating story of the world's first underground tunnel, which was built between 1825 and 1843, and was described as the 8th Wonder of the World. The project involved father and son team Marc and Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the latter of whom nearly lost his life during its construction.
Hungerford Suspension Bridge bench
A fun feature of the museum's gardens are the three benches modelled on bridges designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Royal Albert Bridge bench
The small roof garden is magically transformed in Midnight Apothecary’s cocktail bar on Saturday and Sunday evenings during the summer months. It offers wonderful cocktail creations as well as opportunities to toast marshmallows over a camp fire. We first discovered this last year when we chose it as the venue for our very first Tweet Up (meet up of our twitter friends) and can highly recommend it for a fun and quirky night out.
The Mayflower is a picturesque and historic riverside inn full of olde worlde charm. Its name commemorates the ship that took the Pilgrim Fathers to America in 1620. I'd suggest timing your visit to coinside with Blackout Sundays when from 6pm the pub is lit only by candlelight.
St Mary's Church
The present day St Mary’s Church was completed in 1716 and was designed by John James, an associate of Christopher Wren. It’s constructed in red brick with an obelisk spire and provides an attractive focal point to this tranquil area.
The interior of St Mary's Church
The church has an elegant interior and many evocative reminders of the area’s maritime past. It was redecorated by William Butterfield in the 1870s with its painted vaulted ceiling and beautifully carved reredos (altar screen) by Joseph Wade.
Adjacent to the church is Hope Sufferance Wharf, a former warehouse. Directly opposite is St Mary’s Churchyard Gardens, while still retaining several of its original gravestones, it's been transformed into a small park with a cafe.
Former school and Watch House
The former charity school building dates from c1700 and features charming figures of a boy and a girl. The school was founded in 1613 by Peter Hill and Robert Bell. Next door is the Watch House, dating from 1821, it was constructed in an attempt to deter body snatchers.
Sands Film Studio is an independent production facility and independent period costumier established in 1976. Also housed in the building is the Rotherhithe Picture Research Library which is a free resource open to the public. The library also runs a Cinema Club which offers screenings on Tuesday evenings and Thursday mornings. Membership of the club is free and donations are requested for attendance at screenings. Seats for the Tuesday evening Cinema Club screenings can be booked via Eventbrite.
In Part Two of this blog, which will follow soon, I will continue my journey via the Thames Path to Tower Bridge and on the way will see the remains of Edward III's Manor House and explore the fascinating area known as Horsleydown as well as taking in some fabulous views of the London skyline.
Rotherhithe Station is in Travelcard Zone 2. From there I followed the Thames Path walking trail to Tower Bridge. A distance of about 2 miles/ 3.2km.
Brunel Museum is located at Railway Ave, Rotherhithe, London SE16 4LF. The museum is open daily and there is an admission charge. There is a cafe which also hosts art exhibitions. They also hold fabulous special events including regular guided tours of the tunnel's impressive Grand Entrance Hall. To find out more about the tours of the Grand Entrance Hall Caroline's Miscellany blog features an excellent article about it. Also check out the museum's own website for opening times and more details.
The Mayflower pub is located at 117 Rotherhithe St, SE16 4NF. It is open daily and serves food. See their website for more details.
St Mary's Church is located at St Marychurch Street, SE16 4JE. See their website for more details.
Sands Films is located at 82 St Marychurch St,SE16 4HZ. See their website for more details.
If you enjoyed reading this blog you might also like reading about Smithfield, another part of London which has retained a village atmosphere.
The author of this blog is a qualified City of London and City of Westminster Tour Guide who leads guided walks combining world famous landmarks with hidden treasures often missed by the crowds