Bankside Beach is a stretch of the Thames foreshore in Southwark, that is exposed at low tide. It is a popular place for mudlarking, as it has easy access onto the riverbed. This post contains everything you need to know about visiting Bankside Beach.
Location of Bankside Beach
Bankside Beach is located in the London borough of Southwark in between Blackfriars Bridge and Southwark Bridge, in central London. It’s just a short walk away from the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe theatre. The exact location is shown on the map below.
Bankside Beach has two access points that are fairly close together. One is to the left of Millennium Bridge, and the other is to the left of the Tate museum. Compared to other Thames access points, the stairs are in good condition. The two photographs below show the two sets of stairs.
Mudlarking on Bankside Beach
Bankside beach is one of the easiest places for mudlarks to access the river, and if you are worried about being alone on the foreshore, this area is usually buzzing with people.
Bankside beach is on the south bank of the river Thames, where the foreshore is much wider and shallower compared to the north. This means when the tide is coming in, you will be able to walk on the south side for longer than on the north, before the water gets too high.
It is also much easier to get down onto the river bed from the south side. The stairs down onto Bankside Beach are wide and shallow, whereas on the north side, the stairs are narrow and steep, with no wall or handrail alongside.
When the Romans first settled in London, they chose the north side of the river, which had ground that was easier to build on. The south side was marshland which was isolated from the city of London until London Bridge was built.
This may be the reason why more items of historical interest tend to wash up on the north side of the river than the south. Many of the objects found here were probably lost by people either travelling or working on the river. Some of them include buttons, coins, buckles, pottery, clay pipes and old bottles.
If you are mudlarking on Bankside beach, you can either walk under Blackfriars Bridge towards Gabriel’s Wharf, or under Millennium Bridge towards Bankside Pier. If you continue further east towards London Bridge, be aware there are no exit points between Southwark Bridge and London Bridge. The gate to the stairs by London Bridge is also locked.
If you are planning to walk down towards London Bridge, make sure you have enough time to walk there and back before the tide cuts off your exit point. The stretch between Southwark Bridge and London Bridge can easily trap the unwary, so check the tide times before you go.
Below are some of the photographs I took on Bankside Beach. The beach has great views of St Paul’s cathedral, which is directly opposite.
Other Beaches on the River Thames
Below is a list of other beaches on the river Thames in London
Useful Posts for Mudlarks
If you are interested in mudlarking, you may find the following posts helpful.
- A Guide to Mudlarking on the Thames in London
- 3 Best Mudlarking Books for Beginners
- Thames Foreshore Access Points for Mudlarks
- 6 Best Beaches on the River Thames for Mudlarks
- Mudlarking Under Millennium Bridge on the North Side
This Post Was About Bankside Beach on the River Thames in London
Thank you for reading my post. If you have just started mudlarking, I recommend doing a walking tour with Thames Explorer Trust, as the tours are run by archaeology experts who will help you to identify artefacts and show you what to look for.