South Bank - London

south bank londonThe South Bank is a centre for the arts and a London attraction popular with both Londoners and tourists. The site in its present form was created in 1951 for the Festival of Britain on an area that was formerly known as Lambeth Marsh. South Bank is a major arts centre and is home to a wealth of cultural attractions including the Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre arts complex, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Rooms, The Hayward Gallery and National Theatre. The influence of the South Bank spreads beyond its immediate location with the much visited attractions of the City of London and the hugely popular Tate Modern gallery further east on Bankside. The easily recognised black and white tower of the London Television Centre stands guard over this cultural nexus and it is from here that the long-running arts TV programme The South Bank Show is produced.

The west side of South Bank, just under and along from the Hungerford Bridge is one of London’s newest, tallest and most popular tourist attraction – the London Eye, which was until recently the world’s biggest Ferris wheel. The Eye is situated next to the River Thames, in front of Jubilee Gardens and the former home of London government, County Hall, which is now a Marriot Hotel and home to another favourite attraction, the London Aquarium

The angular, concrete slopes and staircases of South Bank have also made it something of a Mecca for London’s skateboarders who flock here in the evenings and at weekends to perfect their derring-do to a hip-hop, graffiti backdrop – they have become something of a tourist attraction on the own. There are even skateable sculptures dedicated to skateboarding on the South Bank.

For food and refreshments visitors can take advantage of one of the many cafes in each of the above mentioned attractions, or head south towards Waterloo Railway Station and its environs with nouveau English in the distinctive Fire Station Pub, and whole range of global flavours along The Cut and Lower Marsh.

The South Bank is easily reached by train from Waterloo, Charing Cross and Blackfriars railway stations, by tube from Southwark, Waterloo, Embankment, Charing Cross and Blackfriars, or by any number of bus routes. Visitors need to check with each of the attractions individually for opening times, ticket prices, exhibitions and programmes.