The Southbank Area of London is as rich in cultural heritage as it is in theatre, art, gourmet food, and nightlife. With so much to do an experience, we’ve compiled a short list of the best things to to in Southbank. Take a hop on over to the other side of the River and see what Southbank has to offer!
Since 1997, SEA LIFE London Aquarium has been home to one of Europe’s largest collections of global marine life! Guests are invited to spend the day exploring the wonders of the sea and encountering seahorses, octopus, zebra sharks, clownfish, and even the deadly stone fish. Guests are also welcome to feed the aquariums collection of friendly stingrays all without ever having to leave the heart of the British Capital.
Hard to miss along the Thames River, the famed London eye soars above the water a 135 meters high. The Eye has 32 capsules one for each of the city’s 32 boroughs, and encapsulates 25 people at a time. Riders are free to walk around the capsule during the 30 minute ride, and take in the spectacular view of London. On a clear day, a rider will be able to see for about 40 miles in each direction!
Comprised of three separate theatres, the main national theatre was opened in 1977 and named the Olivier, after the first national theatre director, Laurence Olivier. Today, the theatres put on a collective 25 new shows a year, and is also hosts a learning centre, theatre tours, restaurants, a riverside bar and a bookshop.
A neighbor to The National Theatre is The Globe Theatre, which spherical build and straw thatched roof harkens back to the streets of Elizabethan London. Modeled after The Original Globe which stood on Southwark, Shakespeare’s Globe was opened in 1997 by Actor/Director Sam Wanamaker. The Globe is most famous for its original practice Shakespeare productions, where guests can choose between a seated ticket, or a “groundling” ticket which lets you stand close to the stage just as peasants would have done at the Original Globe. While the Shakespeare season runs from the summer to early autumn, The Globe also has a winter season where guests may sit indoors in a beautiful recreation of the 17th century Blackfriars Theatre.
Centrally Located just north of Waterloo station, The BFI IMAX plays host to all the latest films, as well as special screenings of classics on the UK’s biggest cinema screen. Owned by the British Film Institute, BMI IMAX is open to the public, but also host to some of the biggest and most star studded film premieres in Britain.
Southbank is a great place to take the whole family because of the variety of things to do in the area. When it comes to theatre, The young Vic and The Old Vic are at the forefront of running both classical and experimental productions that everyone can enjoy. The old Vic, active since 1818 is famous for its original emphasis on the Shakespearean Repertoire. Today, the legendary theatre aims to be a surprising, unpredictable, ground-breaking, rule-breaking, independent beacon of accessible, uplifting and intimidating art.
At the Old Vic, visitors are treated to a more experimental view of theatre, and reworkings of older, more traditional shows on a modern and fresh context.
The young Vic boasts the most diverse and engaged audience in London, and high quality works at low prices.
Located right above the Young Vic, The Cut is an independent bar that is host to some of the best dishes an artisanal cocktails in all of London. Their cocktail menu varies based on what is being put on at the theatre, but specializes in handcrafted drinks with high attention to detail. The Wine and beer list is varied with over 40 selections to choose from. As for the food, The Cut Prides itself on being all about fresh and seasonal food from organic, free range and sustainable sources. For an added flair be sure to grab a seat on the balcony for a nice view while you eat.
Often referred to as the most famous market in London, Borough market is located just steps away from the London Bridge tube and is host to over 100 gourmet food, and specialty stalls. A historic venue, borough market is one of the largest and oldest food markets in London,with a market on the site dating back to at least the 12th century.
Directly across the Millenium Bridge stands a large unassuming building that houses some of the greatest works of modern art in the whole world. With a constant rotation of new and exciting shows and exhibitions, guests will be able to experience a variety British and international art from the 16th century to the present day. Best of all, the Tate offers free admission to all of its visitors.
Finally on our list is the Southbank Centre, which opened 67 years ago as a performance space, and over time expanded to include five beautiful and diverse venues! Of them most popular venues located in South bank is Royal Festival hall, which transforms itself around Christmas time into a winter wonderland. Royal Festival Hall produces magical family shows, markets, twinkling lights, and other seasonal delights. In the Summer, the hall is home to major exhibitions by world famous artists. The Southbank Centre has a variety of attractions and is sure to be enjoyed by the whole family.
To take advantage of all that Southbank has to offer, be sure to book a tour here!