The little used pedestrian tunnel by London Bridge

Coming out of London Bridge tube station onto Tooley Street, you will often be buffeted from side to side by the hordes of tourists, and almost as many sales people trying to harangue you into visiting one or other of the two local horror shows.

If you are heading over to the Hays Galleria, then it can be a bit of a pain to squeeze though all the crowds, although regular visitors will know of how to use the side streets to escape.

What fewer know about is the underground passageway that runs right into the centre of the Galleria.

There is a footbridge over the road, and if you look next to where it comes down to street level you might notice another small set of steps leading down, often signposted as heading to a local gym. This is the tunnel.

Originally built — as far as I can tell — as additional shopping arcade, it currently houses just the gym, a local hair salon, and soon a shoe shop.

Otherwise, hardly anyone comes down here, and few walk through from one end to the other.

The modern end is all glass and marble and very 1980s, then there is a carpeted tunnel running up to the faux-heritage brick arches underneath the Galleria itself.

The London Bridge end of the tunnel

An unused corridor

In the far end looking towards the long corridor

I found out about the tunnel many years ago, as there are public toilets here, and are free, so make a useful service in the area where most other loos charge for use. They seemed to close for a few years, but are open again now.

What people popping downstairs to use the loo will rarely do though is wander off to see what the rest of the basement is like – although that is usually the first thing I do when I see an inviting doorway or corridor.

That lack of curiosity is what probably killed off plans to have more shops down here, and turned it into a bit of a secret that is a delight to show to often very surprised friends if you are in the area.

Is it that useful as a short-cut, well, no not really. But it is diverting.

Soon to open shoe shop

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10 Comments

  1. TGP

    Thanks Ian – I didn’t know about this.

  2. Michael

    At least until recently, the tunnel extended the other way, under London Bridge Hospital, all the way through into No. 1 London Bridge.

    That part of of the tunnel has been closed for about the past month while construction work is carried out. Might be a long while before it reopens again though.

  3. M@

    Yeah, I remember exploring that years ago and coming up in the lobby of an office building (probably 1 London Bridge), which was apparently a perfectly legitimate public right of way. I’d forgotten the passage was there, though, so thanks for the post.

  4. Keith Ferry

    I know this tunnel as I worked in the building above,No1 London Bridge for Price Waterhouse (now Pwc). This is an interesting building with a strange archway outside. This arch lines up with a empty space on the other side of the river and apparently this is where the original London Bridge crossed.

  5. Steve Thomas

    I always take people along this tunnel, as part of my guided walk ‘Secret Tunnels/ Hidden Passageways’ which runs every Tuesday morning. (I took 3 people through today in fact). I used to be able to take people through the entire length which runs from No 1. London Bridge (big office block right next to the bridge) all the way into the back of the Hayes Galleria (1/4 mile in total) At the moment, the No 1. London Bridge building is under some form of redevelopment, so part of the tunnel is closed. I’m friends with security though, and they are going to let me know as soon as the full tunnel is reopened- I’ll post it to ‘ian visits’ as soon as I have news.
    The tunnel was designed to connect all the new buildings of the London Bridge City development (built 1990′s), but the inspiration comes from a previous tunnel that used to link two sites owned by Hayes Wharf. When Hayes was a working wharf, they had two seperate buildings belonging to them, and workers could walk between them through an underground passage. Steve from ‘Green City Walks’.

  6. John

    Are you sure this is London Bridge? Looks far too smart…

    • IanVisits

      Of course I am sure – unless you know of another place where there is a Hays Galleria and two horror venues in close proximity?

  7. Roger

    So Steve Thomas (and Ian) is the rest of this tunnel open again yet?

    By the way Ian many thanks for your fascinating website, I’ve delved in it before but been having a more “in depth” look today. So much subterraneab stuff – one of my interests

  8. caryle

    hi yes I’d be interested to know and will be investigating on my next trip to the area.

  9. Amma Djan

    Great, blog Ian. Any idea who runs this area? Is it TFL or the Hays Galleria?
    The reason I’m asking is it would be a perfect film location.

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