The River Thames’ Southside Sights: Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, London Eye and Cinderella’s Cathedral

May 26, 2011 by    Posted under: Travel

Today was a day for impressive sights. My self guided walking tour (gotta love Lonely Planet) took me through London’s South Bank. The South Bank runs along the south side of the River Thames and has a very different feel than The West End. Impressive sights in The South Bank: Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Cinderella’s Cathedral (properly named Southwick Cathedral) and The London Eye.

On my way to the South Bank, I stopped by Trafalgar Square and snapped a few photos and on my way back, I walked through The City (stay tuned for a tour of that neighborhood soon) and was overwhelmed with the immense beauty of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

St. Paul’s Cathedral

St. Paul’s Cathedral is, to put it lightly, impressive. It is gigantic and just the thought of people building this without modern day machinery is mind boggling. The Cathedral was completed in 1710. That means it’s been offering people a place to worship for over 300 years. The stories and lives this church must have seen, generations of families sitting in the same pews…it’s all very moving to me.

St Paul’s also somehow made it through the blitz undamaged. Just about every building I have read about in London has seen some kind of damage from the bombing of the city during WWII, so that in itself is astounding. I hope to come back to St. Paul’s for some contemplation and touristy gawking later in the week.

Me, The River Thames and Big Ben

London has tons of bridges that cross over the River Thames. We walked over the Golden Jubilee Bridge to get to the South Bank today. This was for two reasons: We knew how to get to it and it offers amazing views of the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben. Here you can see just how large the Palace of Westminster is behind me.

Fun Fact: You have to be a UK citizen to tour Big Ben.

Shakespeare’s Globe Theater

Okay, so this isn’t the original Globe Theatre, that place was torn down in the mid 1600’s (theater being believed to be the devil’s work and all), but it was built to nearly the exact specifications of the original. Today’s reconstructed Globe Theatre has not one nail or screw in it. 600 wooden pegs keep it together, specially fired Tudor bricks were made to match the style of the original and it has a real thatched partial roof. You can still see plays there although I didn’t think to look up if they only host Shakespeare’s plays.

Southwick Cathedral aka Cinderella’s Cathedral

Southwark Cathedral is often referred to as “Cinderella’s Cathedral” for good reason – it looks like she could live there! Southwark is London’s first and oldest Gothic church.

Fun Fact: Shakespeare’s brother, Edmund, is buried here.

Trafalgar Square

I just love saying ‘Trafalgar’ (pronounced Tra-FAL-gar). It’s hard not to sound British whilst saying it. (I also love that they say ‘whilst’ here.) The square itself is very touristy but sits in front of the National Gallery, which is a beautiful building. It also has a nice fountain and Nelson’s Column (which is surrounded by statues of big kitties).

The National Gallery

I didn’t actually go into London’s National Gallery but the building is massive. It holds 2,300 paintings from the 13th century to the 1900s and, like all British national museums, free.

The London Eye

It’s hard to miss the London Eye. This giant Ferris wheel can been seen from far and wide and it (supposedly) offers amazing views of the City. Rather than sitting in a hanging seat, The London Eye has glass enclosed pods that you can stand in. Although it looks like it would be a lot of fun, the 30 minute ride isn’t worth £17 to me.

Millennium Bridge

Millennium Bridge is a new and very modern looking foot bridge. It crosses the Thames at the famous Tate Museum. You might recognize Millennium Bridge from Bridget Jones Diary, as it turns out she lives near by. The dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral can be seen in the background.

Anchor Bankside Pub

The Anchor Bankside Pub is, like so many of London’s buildings, historic and rich with history. What first got my attention with this pub was how much it reminded me of Boston (wonder why) and how truly quaint and beautiful the building is. Once I started reading about its history, I learned it was once owned by someone named James James (he was an apothecary), which I think is pretty neat.

See more photos of London on Where in the World is Basha’s Facebook Page!

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