Whenever I feel the need to get out of my 'West London bubble', I head over to Bermondsey. Bermondsey lies just to the south of the City, and is one of my favourite areas of London to explore.
Turn right out of London Bridge Station down Tooley Street, avoiding the hoards of tourists heading to Borough Market and the London Dungeon. You will soon hit Bermondsey Street, which lies in the shadow of The Shard:
Bermondsey Street is a designated conservation area and retains much of its architectural character. I love the architecture of Bermondsey, with some of the original factories and warehouses still in use today (although sadly most have been turned into luxury apartments).
Zandra Rhodes founded the Fashion and Textile Museum on Bermondsey Street in 2003, and although not a huge space, it always shows really well curated exhibitions.
Recently I saw the Josef Frank exhibition there (on until 7th May - well worth a visit):
Just a short walk from Bermondsey Street is Maltby Street and Ropewalk. In more recent times, Maltby Street Market has established itself as a foodie destination, providing a welcome change from the heaving crowds of tourists who flock to Borough Market down the road.
Ropewalk is also home to Lassco, full of beautiful reclaimed furniture, lighting and home accessories:
At the end of a long afternoon exploring, why not stop for a glass of wine and some tapas at Tozino on Ropewalk. Walk through the velvet curtain and you will forget that you're in London: