South Bank in London

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View of the London Eye at night

South Bank is a district of central London.

Understand

Experiencing the South Bank is a must-do in any London itinerary. Travellers will be visiting the cultural heart of London, an eclectic and creative area that is home to iconic attractions, stylish hotels and boutique shopping.

Within easy walking distance from Covent Garden, Soho, Westminster and the City of London, South Bank stretches along the Thames from Lambeth Bridge east to St Saviour's Dock just east of Tower Bridge. It is the perfect location for a relaxing stroll and a spot of people watching. You can take in beautiful views across to the Houses of Parliament and St Paul’s, especially early morning and at dusk, and the packed programme of theatre, exhibitions, music, film and free events means there are plenty of inspiring things to see and do for all ages.

Tourist Information Centre

  • London Visitor Centre (address: Arrivals Hall, Waterloo Int Terminal, SE1 7LT) (directions: at Waterloo mainline station) +44 20 7620 1550 london.visitorcentre@iceplc.com

Get in

By tube

The district is serviced by the following tube stations:

  • Waterloo (Jubilee, Northern, Bakerloo lines). In the heart of South Bank, perfect to access riverside walk.
  • Westminster (Jubilee, Circle and District lines). Walk over Westminster Bridge to arrive at London Eye and County Hall.
  • Embankment (Bakerloo, Circle, District and Northern lines). Walk south over the pedestrianised and recently-renovated Hungerford Bridge to the Royal Festival Hall area. Beautiful views.
  • London Bridge (Jubilee and Northern lines). Most convenient for the eastern end of the South Bank Walk.
  • Southwark (Jubilee line). Near the heart of the district.
  • Borough (Northern line). Convenient for the eastern part of the district and Borough Market especially.
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By rail

  • South Bank: London Waterloo, London Waterloo East, Charing Cross
  • Bankside: London Bridge

Get around

The South Bank area is probably best accessed on foot or by bike - parking is difficult at times.

By bus

The Riverside Bus service (RV1) is an great way to get around. It links over thirty of London’s attractions on its route from South Bank to Bankside, London Bridge, Tower Gateway and Covent Garden. [1]

By boat

The following piers [2] are in the South Bank area: Westminster, Waterloo Millennium, Embankment, Festival.

Bankside is served by Bankside and London Bridge piers.

The Tate Boat runs every 40 minutes between Tate Modern and Tate Britain (Millbank Pier), also stopping at the London Eye. It takes 20 minutes.[3])

See

Landmarks

South Bank

From west to east:

  • County Hall (address: Belvedere Rd) (directions: tube: Westminster, Waterloo) +44 871 663 2501
    The former seat of regional London government, now home to the London Aquarium and Dali Universe.
  • London Eye (address: Westminster Bridge Rd) (directions: tube: Waterloo, Westminster) +44 870 990 8883 customer.services@ba-londoneye.com
    price: Adult £15.17, child £7.59, senior £11.74, disabled Person £11.74, 10% discount purchased online
    open: Jun-Sep 10AM-9PM daily, Oct-May 10AM-8PM daily (except Christmas and 3-8 Jan)
    An enormous, 135 metre-high observation wheel with 32 exterior glass-walled capsules. It offers incomparable views over central London and up to 25 miles away on a good day. Tickets are sold for specific times, so if visitors wish to go on the London Eye at a specific time, they are strongly advised to book in advance, particularly in the summer. On a busy day, you can easily spend 1-3 hr queuing just to buy a ticket. However, you can also purchase tickets in advance online. Then you can collect your tickets at the London Eye in a separate queue, which takes a few minutes or less.
  • Southbank Centre (address: Belvedere Rd) (directions: tube: Embankment, Waterloo)
    Large 1960s development on the South Bank. Built largely of concrete, views on its architectural merits vary considerably. Presents a varied programme of music, literature, dance, performances and exhibitions on contemporary art and culture at its venues the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and The Hayward. A host of new eateries and shops have now opened along the riverside and terrace. The Royal Festival Hall hosts almost daily classical music concerts throughout the year, tickets often available on the day. The Royal Festival Hall has recently been through a long redevelopment though still holds its classic 1960s design. Free events are held daily, ranging from free music to festivals, interactive art installations to the popular slow food market.
  • Hayward Gallery (address: Belvedere Rd) +44 20 7921 0813
    price: Adult £7.50, child (12-16) £4, senior (60+) £7, student £6
    open: Sa-M, Th 10AM-6PM; Tu 10AM-8PM; W 10AM-8PM); F 10AM-9PM (except 24-27 December and 1-2 January)
    Particularly strong on contemporary art exhibitions. Hosts a single temporary exhibition at any time.
  • BFI Southbank (address: Belvedere Rd) (directions: tube: Embankment, Waterloo)
    Tucked under Waterloo Bridge, BFI Southbank, formerly known as the National Film Theatre, pitches itself as the home of film and has three screens showing classic (including silent), foreign language and less mainstream films. Recently redeveloped, it now has a new entrance on Theatre Alley, a shop dedicated to film, an interactive exhibition space and an excellent bar/restaurant at the back. Visitors can also access the Mediatheque - wind your way through the BFI's extensive film and TV archive for free. Cool bar and restaurant. Tickets are generally available on the spur of the moment.
  • National Theatre (address: Belvedere Rd) (directions: tube: Embankment, Waterloo) +44 20 7452 3000 M-Sa 10AM-8PM or +44 20 7452 3400 info@nationaltheatre.org.uk
    Three large auditoriums, the Olivier, the Lyttelton and the Cottesloe. The Olivier theatre is the largest with an open stage and a fan shaped auditorium around it. This ensures that all seats provide a good view. Most of the more 'popular' productions are put on here as the space provided is much larger than most theatres. The Lyttelton theatre is more traditional with a procenium arc with good views from most seats. The Cottesloe is a small studio theatre, seating around 400. Some tickets will be available on the day, either day seats (arrive before 9:30AM and queue) or standby (arrive before 6PM and queue), or you can buy online. Popular shows, especially those around Christmas in the Olivier sell out months in advance. Tickets to The National Theatre are generally better value than most other theatres. There is also the '£10 Travelex' season in the summer that provides a large number (over 100,000 seats a year) at £10. Booking in advance is required for these. There is also an exhibition space in the Lyttelton theatre foyer that frequently holds popular photographic exhibitions. Free jazz is often played in the evening in the ground floor foyer. During summer there is a free daily outdoor festival of performance, music, comedy and cabaret known as Watch This Space. Deckchairs (and artificial grass) are provided to watch on. Free exhibitions. Backstage tours £5. (http://www.nationaltheatrelondon.com/tickets/)
  • BFI IMAX Cinema (address: 1 Charlie Chaplin Walk) (directions: tube: Waterloo) +44 0870 787 2525
    Set back from the riverside is the BFI IMAX, the largest cinema screen in the UK at 26 m wide, 20 m high. Shows family-friendly 3D IMAX films as well as action films which work well on the huge screen. Also hosts special all-nighters such as the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
  • Gabriel's Wharf
    An eclectic mix of Shops and restaurants, the design shops at Gabriel's Wharf are exclusively run by small businesses who design and manufacture their own products, the majority of work available will have been made by the person selling it to you. If you can't find exactly what you are looking for it is possible to commission many of the designers directly. Shops to look out for include Bicha, Game of Graces and Anne Kyyro Quinn.
  • OXO Tower
    Home to designer-marker boutiques, selling everything from hats and homeware to wedding dresses and jewellery. Modern gallery on the ground floor which is free and open every day, various cafes, a florists and hairdressers here to. Upstairs there's the Tamesa Brasserie and Bincho Yakitori (Japanese tapas). Also contains a restaurant and bar on the top floor, giving you a great view over the Thames. You pay for the privilege through the food bill, though you can go up the tower and have access to a separate balcony for free. Interesting views of the surrounding South London area and great views of the Embankment.

Bankside

  • City Hall (address: The Queen's Walk) (directions: tube: London Bridge)
    open: M-F 8AM-8PM
    Greater London Authority offices. The brand new headquarters for London's Mayor and Assembly, a radically-designed glass fronted and rounded building.
  • HMS Belfast (address: Morgan's Ln) (directions: tube: London Bridge)
    price: £7.20-10.30, child under 16 free
    open: Mar-Oct 10AM-5:15PM daily, Nov-Feb 10AM-4:15PM daily
    A historic boat, part of the Imperial War Museum.
  • Southwark Cathedral (address: London Bridge) (directions: tube: London Bridge)
    Off the traditional tourist path, Southwark Cathedral has been the site of worship since the year 852. Literally in the shadow of London Bridge, the Cathedral is a shelter from the noise of the city. Next to the Cathedral is the Borough Market open Th-Sa with a wide range of specialty food to buy, a good area for lunch.

Museums and galleries

View into the main Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern
Tate Modern

From west to east:

  • Sea Life London Aquarium (address: County Hall, Belvedere Rd) (directions: tube: Waterloo, Westminster) +44 20 7967 8000 info@londonaquarium.co.uk/
    price: £9.75-13.25
    open: 10AM-5PM daily
    One of the largest aquariums in Europe, it boasts a collection of 350 species of fish, from sharks to stingrays.
  • Tate Modern (address: Bankside) (directions: tube: Southwark, Blackfriars) +44 20 7887 8888 (every day, 10AM-6PM) visiting.modern@tate.org.uk
    price: Permanent collection free but all donations welcome
    open: Su-Th 10AM-6PM (last admission 5:15PM), F Sa 10AM-10PM (last admission 9:15PM)
    An enormous art gallery converted from the former Bankside Power Station, a visit to Tate Modern could easily take half a day. The gallery collects together contemporary and modern art from around the world, arranged thematically. The most stunning aspect of the building, is the enormous Turbine Hall, which plays host to a single piece of work commissioned for the space each year.
  • Topolski Century (address: Concert Hall Approach, 150-152 Hungerford Arches) (directions: tube: Waterloo, Embankment) +44 20 7620 1275
    price: £2 adult (£1 concesion)
    open: Mon-Sat 11AM-7PM, Sun noon-6PM
  • The Hayward (directions: At the Southbank Centre)
    The largest public art space in the UK and the exhibitions showcase masters and young British and international artists, usually accompanied by outdoor installations that bring the area to life. The gallery often holds free exhibitions which can be enjoyed by all.
  • The London Bridge Experience (address: 2 - 4 Tooley Street) (directions: tube: London Bridge) 0800 043 4666
    price: Adult from £19.50
    The London Bridge Experience and London Tombs are two scare attractions for one price and have been voted the UK's Best Year Round Scare Attraction for three years running.
  • London Dungeon (address: 28-34 Tooley Street) (directions: tube: London Bridge)
    price: £21.95
    Brings to life the gorier elements of London's past, with faithful recreations of disaster, disease, and torture. Younger children may be scared.
  • The Old Operating Theatre (directions: tube: London Bridge)
    open: 10:30AM-5PM daily
    Britain's oldest operating theatre is an unusual tourist attraction, located in the roof space of St. Thomas's Church along with the herb store originally used by St. Thomas's Hospital's apothecary.
  • Design Museum (address: Shad Thames) (directions: tube: Tower Hill, London Bridge) info@designmuseum.org
    price: £7, student or concession £4
    open: 10AM-5:45PM daily (last admission 5:15PM) (except 25-26 Dec)
    A must for anyone with an interest in modern and contemporary design. The permanent exhibition follows the change in British homes from the early 20th century until present day, which is constantly updated to include new design classics. There are temporary exhibits which run for 3-4 months. Recent exhibits have included Saul Bass, Peter Saville and Archigram. The museum also runs Designer of the Year which awards a prize to a person or organisation that has produced an impressive piece of design (past winner was Jonathan Ive, who designed the iMac and iPod). There is a small shop that has plenty of art and design books as well as designer goods to take home with you.

Do

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
  • South Bank Walk
    The walk along the South Bank of the Thames is a relaxing walk through central London, away (albeit only a short distance) from the traffic. Pedestrians can walk alongside the river almost the whole way from Tower Bridge to Lambeth Bridge, following the route of the Jubilee Walkway [4], a route through central London that takes in most of London's key attractions, which was developed for the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977. A full guide to the riverside walk along the south bank of the Thames can be found on the Wikitravel South Bank Walk page.
  • Frog Tour +44 20 7928 3132
    Along the Thames and through the streets of London in an amphibious vehicle. Operated by Capital Frogs Ltd, County Hall, on the south side of Westminster Bridge.
  • Florence Nightingale Museum (address: St Thomas' Hospital, Westminster Bridge Rd) (directions: tube: Waterloo, Westminster)
    Tells the story of the Lady with the Lamp. Various family events, including art workshops. Located in the grounds of St. Thomas' Hospital.
  • Shakespeare's Globe (address: 21 New Globe Walk) (directions: tube: Blackfriars, Southwark) info@shakespearesglobe.com/
    open: May-Sep 9AM-5PM daily, Oct-Apr 10AM-5PM daily
    Sam Wanamaker's largely authentic reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, built using traditional techniques, stages plays in the Summer months. Around the year, there is an exhibition ending with either a tour of the theatre itself (in winter, and mornings in the summer), or a virtual tour (summer afternoons). Tickets for plays are often available on the day, particularly if you are prepared to stand in the yard.
  • Dali Universe (address: County Hall, Belvedere Rd) (directions: tube: Waterloo, Westminster)
    Extensive private collection of Dali's work.
  • Young Vic (address: The Cut, Waterloo) (directions: tube: Waterloo, Southwark)
    Fab theatre on The Cut which is home to younger theatre artists, especially directors. Presents plays for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Lively bar and restaurant too.
  • Old Vic (address: The Cut, Waterloo) (directions: tube: Waterloo)
    One of the oldest theatres in London which is now under the artistic direction of Kevin Spacey.
  • Menier Chocolate Factory (address: 51/53 Southwark St) (directions: tube: London Bridge) Theatre +44 20 7907 7060, gallery +44 20 7407 3222
    Restaurant, theatre, gallery and bar.

Buy

  • Borough Market (directions: Off Borough High St)
    open: F noon-6PM, Sa 8AM-5PM
    One of London's favourite wholesale working food markets, on Fridays and Saturdays offering a general retail market with specialties sold directly from the producers, organic products, delicatessen, cheese, wines, fish and imported continental fare. Around the market are other excellent food shops, for a total food experience! Pick up some food and enjoy it under Southwark Cathedral.
  • Hay's Galleria (directions: tube: London Bridge)
    A beautiful converted wharf which since 1987 has been home to cafe, shops and traditionl barrows selling fine art, jewellery , souvenirs and a vast array of London T-shirts
  • Oxo Tower Wharf (address: Barges House St) (directions: tube: Waterloo)
    Huge galleria.

Eat

There is a great selection of cafes, bars and restaurants for all budgets, so make sure you take time to watch the world go by. Have a light lunch at the cool Concrete day/night bar in The Hayward, a try crepe in Gabriel’s Wharf, or treat yourself to cocktails-with-a-view at the upmarket Skylon or Oxo Tower Restaurant. There’s also ‘Japanese tapas’ at Bincho and Japanese favourite Wagamama, dim sum at Ping Pong, contemporary English at Canteen, modern oriental at Ozu and Chino Latino, and a brasserie-style menu at Tamesa.

Budget

  • Marie's Cafe (address: 90 Lower Marsh) (directions: Behind Waterloo Station) 020 7928 1050
    price: Mains £4 - £6, 'bring your own' alcohol policy
    A favourite with locals, don't be put off by the shabby exterior of this greasy spoon/Thai cafe hybrid. The Thai menu is authentic and very tasty and service is quick. Very close to the Old Vic and around 10 minutes walk from the Southbank Centre: a great alternative to Southbank's uninspiring chain restaurants whether you are on a strict budget or not.

Mid-range

  • Cantina Vinopolis (address: 1 Bank End, London Bridge) +44 20 7940 8333
    This high vaulted brasserie was converted from Victorian railway arches. With an affordable listing offers fresh produce, the dishes are full of flavour and tasty.

Splurge

  • OXO Tower Restaurant Bar & Brasserie (address: 8F, OXO Tower Wharf, Barge House St) (directions: tube: Waterloo) +44 20 7803 3888 oxo.reservations@harveynichols.com
    open: M-Sa noon-2:30PM and 6:30PM-11PM, Su noon-3PM and 6:30PM-10PM
    Offers spectacular views and the complete dining experience with mouthwatering dishes and indulgent wines to match.

Drink

Pubs and bars

  • Doggett's Coat and Badge (directions: Blackfriars Bridge, south side)
    A four-floored bar overlooking the Thames near Blackfriars Bridge.
  • The Hole In The Wall (address: 5 Mepham St) (directions: tube: Waterloo) +44 20 7928 6196
    With a homey and comfortable decor, the appeal of the Hole in the Wall lies in its close proximity to the station and the excellent range of beers on the hand.
  • Windmill Tavern (address: 86 The Cut) +44 20 7207 3984
    Friendly bar staff pouring chilled beers from a wide selection. Great pub food.
  • The Horniman (directions: Hays Galleria, near London Bridge)
  • Founder's Arms (address: Hopton St)
  • George Inn (address: Archway off Borough High St) (directions: tube: London Bridge) +44 20 7407 2056
    The current Inn was built in 1676 after the original establishment was burned down in the Great London fire of 1666. The George is London's only surviving galleried coaching inn, and is one of the oldest pubs south of the Thames.

Clubs

  • Concrete (directions: The Hayward Gallery)
    open: Open until 3AM
    Free nightly music events. The best place to sample underground electro, indie, dub-step and more.

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

  • Express by Holiday Inn London Southwark (address: 103-109 Southwark St) (directions: tube: Southwark) +44 20 7401 2525
    Situated on the River Thames, this clean and charming hotel offers good rates for its location.
  • Southwark Rose Hotel (address: 47 Southwark Bridge Rd) (directions: tube: London Bridge) +44 20 7015 1480 info@southwarkrosehotel.co.uk/
    A boutique hotel located in the bustling and popular South Bank area less than 200 metres from the Thames. Offering air conditioned rooms with en suites, this hotel also has meeting room facilities.

Splurge

  • London Bridge Hotel (address: 8-18 London Bridge St) (directions: tube: London Bridge) +44 20 7855 2200
    This four star boutique hotel is popular with business travelers with its sleek and contemporary design and furnishings.
  • Marriott London County Hall (address: Westminster Bridge Rd) (directions: tube: Waterloo) +44 20 7928 5200
    With Big Ben checking on you across the street, the Mariott has an enviable reputation and is home to the largest pool in any London hotel. Providing first class service, enjoy a luxurious spa treatment on site or sip on a cocktail in the trendy bar downstairs.
  • Park Plaza Riverbank
    Stylish and reputable.
  • Park Plaza County Hall
    Stylish and reputable.

Contact

WikiPedia:South Bank



Source wikitravel.org/en/London/South_Bank