Search for cheap hotels near South East London
South East London has changed drastically in recent years, from some of the poorest areas of the city and wasteland into some very desirable locations to live in. From the trendy gastropubs and artistic museums of Bermondsey, to genteel Greenwich, where you will find the Greenwich meridian and rowing races along the Thames, to Woolwich Arsenal, located at the far end of the south east, the original home of Arsenal football club, where you will find monuments to British military history such as the Royal Arsenal, Royal Military Academy and Royal Horse Artillery. Here you will also find the exciting Firepower interactive exhibition, which puts you at the centre of combat action.
South east London's topographical make up varies wildly the further east you travel. The most centrally located areas; Borough and London Bridge are some of the oldest parts of London alongside the City and contain some very elegant buildings, including many of Christopher Wren's remaining churches. It was here that London's first two established theatres, The Rose and The Globe, were built and exhibited plays by the UK's immortal bard, Shakespeare, and perhaps less immortal, but nonetheless respected, Christopher Marlowe. The Rose and The Globe were both demolished and destroyed long since, but the new Globe Theatre is a very popular and faithful reproduction of the original, complete with wooden pews and cushions sold extra. Due to its artistic leanings, the area had a bohemian reputation and was viewed by many as a moral cesspool. On this bank of the river, you could see bear baiting, visit the hedonistic Southwark Fair and engage in more carnal pleasures, although London Bridge was also the site of many of the city's prisons, so you could find yourself thrown in The Clink, which is now a fascinating museum with a set of working stocks. For a less faithful but greatly entertaining view of London's infamous past, you can visit the London Dungeon, although if that sounds a bit too scary for you, Southwark Cathedral; Borough Market, the city's gastronomic Mecca; and lots of lively pubs and bars are situated close by. Culture vultures will also want to make a stop at The Tate Modern, set in a stunning, disused power station setting; you can see some of the best contemporary art from home and abroad here as well as a fascinating programme of seasonal exhibitions.
Bermondsey used to be an imposing and unattractive industrial area of London, filled with worker's slums and rife with Dickensian poverty. The industrial buildings and slum facades are still there, although nowadays they look somewhat more aesthetically pleasing and rub shoulders with some very stylish modern flat complexes and some delectable gastropubs. Cheaper rents and a range of available exhibition spaces in derelict factories have made this part of London an emerging arts scene, and you will find The Design Museum and The Fashion and Textiles museum alongside many small and mid-range galleries, no doubt helped by the affluent citizens in the area who work in nearby Canary Wharf. Further east on the south bank of the Thames you will find the start of the Docklands area, Canada Water, Rotherhithe and Surrey Quays. Although the area has been developed in recent years, and no longer contains opium dens and brothels (one assumes), it still feels very different from the centre of London and has some stunning walks along the river where you can see some very exclusive flats surrounding marinas with private yachts. Here you will also find some surprising green spaces to explore such as Cherry Gardens and Lavender Pond Nature Reserve.
Further east, Greenwich has been an active area throughout London's history, once the home of the Palace of Placentia, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I were both born here and made use of the palace often Greenwich was also an important naval port and as such, you will find the National Maritime Museum located here and The Cutty Sark, a famous 19th century tea clipper. You can also tour the Royal Observatory and watch a gig at the huge O2 Arena, which was once the controversial Millennium Dome. South of Greenwich you will find Lewisham, an area still undergoing extensive regeneration, with an ethnically diverse community and several notable Victorian buildings alongside council flats. Lewisham's cheap rents have made it an up and coming arts centre, and aside from the Lewisham Arts House, you can find a few impromptu gallery spaces wandering through the streets. Lewisham may not have many huge sites, but it has some fantastic Caribbean restaurants and cosy local gastropubs frequented by an eclectic crowd, many of whom are students at Goldsmiths College in nearby New Cross, where Damien Hirst and other Young British Artists plied their trade.
Due to the Docklands Light Railway and the eastern overground line stretching down to West Croydon, southeast London is now easy to explore and offers a glimpse into London's curious docklands past as well as some unique walks. Hotels tend to be much more expensive in areas such as London Bridge and Borough, but cheaper hotels can be found in Bermondsey and Elephant & Castle and Greenwich offers a range of hotels to suit all budgets.