Although there are plenty of other great things to do nearby on Bankside, we've specifically focused on the areas of Borough and Bermondsey for this article.
Eat your way around Borough Market
You say 'Borough', you hear 'Market'. It'd be rude to come to the area and not visit the foodie haven. In reality, you could spend a whole day in the market, eating your way through pastries and cheeses, meats and street food, before stocking up on fresh produce to whip up a meal at home. Our top tip though? Head there for an early lunch (weekdays only — Saturdays are heaving, and it's closed on Sunday) to dodge the bulk of the crowds.
Immerse yourself in fashion
The Fashion and Textile Museum can be a tricky one to visit, as it's only open when there's an exhibition on (it has no permanent collection). Past displays have focused on designers including Anna Sui and Thea Porter, as well as other aspects of textile design including knitwear. It gets a bit niche from time to time, but all exhibitions are backed up with an excellent programme of talks and events.
The building itself is quite distinctive too (photo above), feeling like something out of a Spanish village rather than a central London back street.
While you're in the area, pop into London Glassblowing on the same street. It's often possible to watch the expert glassblowers at work, and there are classes available — although they get booked up way in advance.
Hide out in a secret garden
This alleyway, in view of The Shard, has been converted into a hidden garden. It's not big, so cross your fingers that when you get there, the benches are empty, and the little library is full. Bring your lunch (extra points if it's from Borough Market) and enjoy the tranquil spot within a short walk of London Bridge station.
Take in some art
Bermondsey Street's White Cube Gallery is a contemporary art gallery, hosting a regularly changing calendar of commercial exhibitions in its three exhibition spaces. There's also an auditorium where film screenings and lectures take place on a regular basis. Check the website to see what's currently on. A few minutes walk away, the edgier Underdog Gallery in the railway arches hosts all manner of exhibitions.
Catch a film
Kino Bermondsey is one of London's lesser-known indy cinemas, boasting a single screen that's mainly put to use screening new release films. If the location looks familiar, it was previously known as Shortwave Cinema.
Eat at Maltby Street
If Borough Market hasn't satisfied your foodie cravings, Maltby Street Market pops up next to the railway arches at weekends, with all manner of food and drink traders selling their wares. Overwhelmed by choice? Check out our recommendations.
Visit an old operating theatre
One of London's smallest museums, the Old Operating Theatre Museum is home to... Europe's oldest surviving operating theatre. It had a bit of a revamp in 2017, and offers an insight into the history of medicine. The theatre itself predates anaesthetic, and was used to train medical students. There's also a herb garret, which was used by apothecaries to dry their herbs.
Join the queue for Padella
This popular pasta restaurant has been open for a couple of years now, but the queue's show no sign of waning. It's a no-reservations spot, and it's not uncommon for people to wait for a couple of hours in the evening. For your best chance of getting in, go on a weekday lunchtime instead. Can't wait that long? Check out these other places to eat and drink nearby.
Visit part of the Old London Bridge
The medieval London Bridge has been scattered, its many parts distributed all over the place. One of the alcoves can be found in the courtyard of Guy's Hospital, and is currently occupied by a seated statue of John Keats. Take a seat with Keats and enjoy being surrounded by a piece of London history.
Get an adrenaline hit
Feeling adventurous? The Arch Climbing Wall is open to everyone, with introductory lessons for those new to sport, and improver lessons for those who need a little more help. There are two venues in Bermondsey; the Biscuit Factory and Building One. Nearby, there's 800m of track waiting for go karters at Team Sport Indoor Karting
Did you really think you'd get all the way through an article about things to do near London Bridge with no mention of London's most visible tourist attraction? We're not claiming it's a little-known attraction, but The View from the Shard is open until 10pm most nights, and although it's not cheap (£30+ for an adult), you'll save yourself a considerable whack by booking in advance.