The Counting House, Cornhill: A South Bank Walk
Closest tube stops: Monument, Bank, Liverpool Street
Located in the heart of London within walking distance of several tube stops, The Counting House makes a fantastic base for an exciting city break. Steeped in history itself, its foundations sitting partly on the sleeper wall of a 2,000-year-old Roman basilica, the pub offers guests a taste of 19th-century grandeur, as well as easy access to some of London’s most historic sights.
You’re also in the perfect place to enjoy some of the best walks London has to offer, and you simply mustn’t miss taking a stroll along the city’s famous South Bank, enjoying spectacular views and the chance to see some of London’s most iconic sights along the way.
Your walk starts a short stroll from the hotel, at the Monument to the Great Fire of London. This imposing column was built to commemorate the fire, which in 1666 destroyed over 13,000 medieval houses and 87 parish churches. Standing at 202ft high, if the column was laid down westward, it would reach the spot on Pudding Lane where the fire started, and a viewing column at the top is available for those willing to take on the challenge of its 311 steps.
Walk down Fish St Hill and cross the road, and you’ll find the church of St Magnus the Martyr, which is mentioned in both Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist and T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. Turning right as you face the church, you’ll find some steps set into the wall on your left that take you up to London Bridge. A bridge has stood in this spot for over 600 years, offering incredible views across the river – although it’s quite a different one these days than back in the 1400s.
Crossing the bridge will bring you to the famous Borough Market, which is open six days a week and is home to stalls packed with fresh local produce and street food, as well as some of London’s best restaurants. Here, you can pick up some ‘drunk cheese,’ munch on a crusty chorizo roll at Brindisa’s grill, and brave the queues at Monmouth for a cup of their famous coffee to see you along the next leg of your journey. After stocking up, take in the imposing view of Southwark Cathedral, and perhaps head inside to see its stained-glass Shakespeare Window, before heading to The Golden Hinde, a reconstruction of Sir Francis Drake’s famous ship.
From here, you can walk along the South Bank towards Westminster, with plenty to take in along the way. As well as views of the river and St Paul’s dome across the water, there are plenty of shops to browse. You’ll also pass the imposing façade of the Tate Modern, home to modern and contemporary art from around the world, and The Globe Theatre, a loving recreation of the stage for which Shakespeare wrote his plays.
As you head towards The London Eye, you can continue your walk along the river all the way to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, cross Westminster Bridge, and enjoy a drink at The Red Lion before hopping onto Westminster tube for your return home.
If you’re not quite ready to call it a day and are keen to do more exploring, cross the Golden Jubilee Bridge towards Trafalgar Square, stopping off at The Admiralty for a drink and to rest your feet. Once refreshed, head up Charing Cross Road towards Leicester Square, where you’ll have two routes to choose from.
A left turn off Charing Cross takes you towards the sights and delicious smells of Chinatown and the shops of Soho, Oxford Street and Carnaby Street, while a right turn up Long Acre takes you to Covent Garden’s famous market, the Opera House, and the iconic Lamb and Flag pub.
Whichever way you choose to head end your walk, a quick tube ride will take you back to your hotel for a delicious dinner and a well-earned rest.