Rotherhithe to Tower Bridge - A Walk Along the Thames Pathway Part 2

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Rotherhithe to Tower Bridge - City Skyline

In Part Two of this blog I continue my journey via the Thames Path to Tower Bridge and on the way saw the remains of Edward III's Manor House and explored the fascinating area known as Horselydown as well as taking in some fabulous views of the London skyline. 

I started my walk along the River Thames at Rotherhithe which features in Part One of this blog.

Rotherhithe to Tower Bridge - Edward IIIs Manor House

Edward III's Manor House

Leaving Rotherhithe I followed the Thames Path towards Tower Bridge where along the way I kept getting tantalising views of the City of London. After a short walk I arrived at the site of Edward III's Manor House. It was one of the smaller royal residences and built around 1350. Today little of the building survives but there is an information board which includes a drawing of what the building might have looked like.

Rotherhithe to Tower Bridge - City Skyline

The fabulous City of London skyline

I chose the perfect day for the walk and the City's skyline looked absolutely amazing in the sunshine. The tall buildings left to right from Tower Bridge are the Walkie Talkie building (aka 20 Fenchurch Street), the Cheesegrater (aka the Leadenhall Building), the Gherkin (aka 30 St Mary Axe) and the Heron Tower.

Rotherhithe to Tower Bridge - Butlers Wharf

Butler's Wharf with St Saviour's Dock Bridge

Butler's Wharf is just one of the former warehouses which have been transformed into luxury apartments. In the foreground is St Saviour's Dock Bridge designed by Nicholas Lacey. The stainless steel designed hydraulic cable stay swing bridge was installed in 1995 to connect up the Thames Path. In particuarly I like the ship's wheel which gives it a distinctive nautical theme.

Rotherhithe to Tower Bridge - St Saviours Dock

St Saviour's Dock

St Saviour's Dock was originally a tidal inlet and previously notorious for pirates attacking vessels. By the early 1800s it has become one of London's worst slums. It became known as Jacob's Island and Charles Dickens uses it as a location of Bill Sykes' dimise in Oliver Twist.

Rotherhithe to Tower Bridge - City Skyline

 Thames Path

I continued my walk along the Thames Path enjoying the views and checking out the restaurants for a future return visit.

Rotherhithe to Tower Bridge - Design Museum

Design Museum

Continuing along the water front I soon reached the Design Museum housed in a striking 1930s building, with its white rendering and art deco features, I was surprised to find it is a converted banana warehouse. The museum focuses on contemporary art and architectural design. It is due to to relocate in 2015 to the former Commonwealth Institute on London’s Kensington High Street and Zaha Hadid Architects, who designed the London Aquatics Centre, are due to move here.

Rotherhithe to Tower Bridge -Shad Thames

Shad Thames

I took a short detour from the Thames Path to explore the area known as Shad Thames. In the late 1800s the warehouses in the area were storehouses for exotic spices. Today the buildings have been converted into retail untits and luxury apartments which have been given such names as Vanilla and cinnamon, evoking memories of the former commodities stored there. It was said that when the residents first moved in they could still smell the sweet scents. I love the bridges that connect one side of the street with the other a reminder of the bridges that previously linked the outboard to the inboard warehouses.

Rotherhithe to Tower Bridge - Antony Donaldsons Waterfall

Waterfall by Antony Donaldson

While in the area take time to explore its hidden courtyards. A favourite of mine is Horselydown Square where there is a fountain surrounded with several bronze female bathers. What I like best is the attention to detail with small articles, such as a note book, pen and camera, on the edge of the fountain. It's designed by Antony Donaldson (1991) who also created the giant Hitchcock's Head on the site of the former Gainsborough Studios. 

Rotherhithe to Tower Bridge - Antony Donaldsons Waterfall

Another view of Waterfall by Antony Donaldson

Rotherhithe to Tower Bridge - Jacob

 Jacob The Circle Dray Horse by Shirley Pace

The delightful statue of Jacob, the Dray Horse, is my personal highlight of this area. The sculpture was flown in attached to a helicoper which must have made a memorable sight. It location commemorates the Courage Brewery horses that were stabled on this site from the early 1800s. The area was formally known as Horselydown takes its name from the phrase Horse Lie Down, referring to the the working horses resting before they continued their journey into the City of London. Behind Jacob is the Circle, a blue glazed tiled apartment block with wooden balconies.

 Rotherhithe to Tower Bridge

 Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge was designed by Horace Jones in collaboration with John Wolfe Barry (1894). The bridge consists of two towers which are connected by walkways that command impressive views.

Rotherhithe to Tower Bridge - City Skyline

 View of the Shard and City Hall from Tower Bridge

The views from Tower Bridge are wonderful. The Shard which is currently the tallest building building in the European Union at 1,004 feeet / 306 metres, is designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano (2012). To its left is City Hall with the Mayor of London's offices and Headquarters of the Greater London Authority, designed by Norman Foster (2002).

Rotherhithe to Tower Bridge - City Skyline

 View of the City Skyline from Tower Bridge

Finally looking over to the City of London from left to right are the Walkie Talkie Building, the Cheesegrater, the Gherkin and the Tower of London making a great view for the end of my walk.

Practical Information

Rotherhithe Station is in Travelcard Zone 2. From there I followed the Thames Path walking trail to Tower Bridge, for a distance of about 2 miles/ 3.2km.From  Tower Bridge it was a five miinute walk to Tower Hill Tube Station in Travelcard Zone 1. 

Edward III's Manor House is located at Bermondsey Wall East, Rotherhithe, London SE16. There is free admission and unrestricted access at all times. See English Heritage's website for more details. If you would like to know more about it there is a fabulous article on Historic UK's website which includes a drawing of what the manor house may have looked like and plan of its layout. 

Design Museum is located at 28 Shad Thames, London SE1 2YD. It is open daily. See museum's website for more details.

Tower Bridge Exhibition is open daily with an interesting display and fantastic views from its high level walkways. See website for more details.

The Shard is located at 96 Tooley St, London SE1 2TH. It has a viewing observatory, restaurant and bar which are open to the public. See their website for more details.

City Hall is located at The Queen's Walk London SE1 2AA. It is open to the public Mondays to Fridays. There are regular events and exhibitions, cafe and free wifi access. See website for more details.

The Tower of London is open daily. See their website for more details.

If you enjoyed reading this this you might also like reading Part 1 of this blog which features Rotherhithe.

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