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Location – 36E Shad Thames, London SE1 2YE
Butler’s Wharf is a complex of apartments, café, restaurants and shops on the south bank of the Thames near Tower Bridge. Originally built as a series of warehouses and wharves in the late 19th century, during the 20th century they fell into disuse until the site was transformed into luxury apartments with a series of restaurants on the riverfront.
Terence Conran owns some of the restaurants and was responsible for the building of the Design Museum which is part of the complex.
Behind the riverfront apartment is Shad Thames, a street with a longer history than Butler’s Wharf being named on the John Rocque’s 1747 map of London. It still maintains a historical atmosphere with its cobbled streets and high level walkways that cross over the street. Not surprisingly the area is popular with filmmakers and featured in the Elephant Man, the French Lieutenant’s Woman, Highlander and Bridget Jones Diary.
If Shad Thames looks like it is straight out of a Dickens novel if you walk to the end of the street to St Saviours Dock , just over the bridge you will find the site of Jacobs Island, the notorious hideout of the evil Bill Sikes.
This is an area generally missed by visitors which means the restaurants, bars and café cater for the local population. If you visiting Tower Bridge or walking up the south side this is an ideal spot to sit on the riverfront for a good quality meal or drink and watch the world go by.
Restaurants include Le Pont de la Tour, the Butler’s Wharf Chop House, Cantina del Ponte, Bengal Clipper, Captain Tony’s Pizza & Pasta Emporium. The Design Museum also houses the Blue Print Café.
For practical advice for your visit to London and Special offers go to visitinglondonguide.com
The Design Museum
Location – 28 Shad Thames, London SE1 2YD
The Design Museum is a small museum situated in the Butlers Wharf/ Shad Thames area near to Tower Bridge. The museum covers Industrial, Graphic, Fashion and Architectural design and when it was founded in 1989 claimed to be the first museum of modern design.
The museum is based in an old warehouse but is unrecognisable as a warehouse due to its conversion into a Modernist style building . The museum is run as a registered charity and uses the money gained by the entrance fee to subsidise new exhibitions. The admission fee which will £ 12.40 in 2014 and its location perhaps explains why it only attracts a relatively small 200,000 visitors annually.
Paul Smith Exhibition runs till March 2014
The Museum has exhibition spaces with some permanent and temporary exhibits and education areas which are used for talks and as a space for children and students.
Even if you do not want to pay to see the museum, access to the Shop and Café are free. The Blue Print Café is one of the many Terence Conran restaurants in the area which has wonderful views over the Thames.
Terence Conran has provided a substantial amount of funds to move the Museum to the old Commonwealth Institute in Kensington in 2015.
Daily 10am – 5.45pm Last admission 5.15pm
The Design Museum is open on all bank and national holidays, except 25 and 26 December. On 24 December, the museum closes 2pm.
For practical advice and special offers for your London visit go to visitinglondonguide.com