South Bank, London

4.5 out of 5 stars 148 Reviews

Waterloo, SE1

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    City Hall

    by Britannia2 Written Apr 1, 2012
    City Hall

    This iconic building on the South Bank is City Hall - this is where the Mayor of London works out of and decisions on transport, planning and so on are made.
    You can visit parts of City Hall, Mondays to Thursdays from 8.30am to 6pm and Fridays from 8.30am to 5.30pm.
    They host regular exhibitions at City Hall, usually on topics relating to London or that have been created by Londoners. All exhibitions are free and open to everyone to see.

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    Enjoy the south bank

    by uglyscot Written Jul 13, 2011

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    Get off the train at Waterloo Station and head towards South Bank Centre. This is the hub of activity. It has a completely diffferent atmosphere to the Embankment.
    We attended a literary event there, then had a snack on the terrace, before exploring the surroundings
    July 2011 there was a display of beach cabins, a 'fair' and people painting on the pavement, standing like statues etc t was bright and colourful and brought a smile to my face.

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    Shakespeare's Globe Theater - Worth a Visit!

    by Donna_in_India Updated Jun 3, 2011

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    Inside the Globe Theater

    I'm not sure if you have to be a fan or Shakespeare, a fan of theatre, neither, or both to enjoy a visit to the Globe Theater but I found it fascinating. Built in 1599, this original was destroyed by fire in 1613. Another theater was (re)built in 1614 on the original site but closed in 1642. It wasn't until 1996 that a reconstruction of the original theater was built and opened, about 750 feet from the original site.

    Located on London's South Bank, the globe, circular in design, was a 3 storey open-air amphitheatre about 100 feet in diameter. It could hold almost 3,000 people. Many of those people, called "groundlings", paid only a penny to stand in the "pit" (at the base of the stage) to watch a performance. Today the new theater holds about 1,500 people total of which 600 are standing.

    If you come for a performance bring or rent a seat cushion, as the wooden benches are rather hard. Check the website or call the box office for performance information.

    There is a Globe Exhibition to the right of the theater with displays and hands-on exhibits as well.

    Exhibition and Globe Theatre Tour: 9:00am - 5.30pm (last admission at 5:00pm).

    There is a charge for tours which run every 15-30 minutes.

    Admission for exhibition and theater tour:

    Adult: £11.50
    Senior (60+): £10.00
    Student (with valid ID): £10.00
    Children (5-15): £7.00
    Children (under 5): Free
    Family (up to 2 adults & 3 children): £32.00


    Please note that all visitor information is correct as of this update.

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    Surrealism at its best! Dali Universe

    by thecatsmeow Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Nobility of Time riverside walkway
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    A permanent exhibition devoted to the works of Salvador Dalí, located in the former home of the Greater London Councile. Over 600 of Dali's works are on display, including the wold's most complete display of Dalí sculptures.
    Four of Dalí's 20 ft monumental sculptures have been placed on the riverside walkway.
    Dali was a Surrealist and many people still do not know what that is. They just think he was a bit off. Surrealism is a style in which fantastical visual imagery from the subconscious mind is used with no intention of making the work logically comprehensible.
    Dali influenced the scene with his personal flavor of surrealism. The basis of Dali’s Work was a personally inspired system which he called the ‘Paranoiac Critical’ method. Dali explained this as "a spontaneous method of irrational knowledge based on the interpretative-critical association of delirious phenomena." This method was really an extension of Dali’s own fevered personality, the nature of which he summed up when he said, at an opening on an exhibition of his in work in 1934, ‘The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad.’
    Dali was set apart from the group of surrealists in his time due to his right-wing politics (during this period leftism was the fashion among Surrealists, and in fact in almost all intellectual circles). If you enjoy art this is a must see!

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  • Southbank Theater Pub- Footsteps to the Moon

    by travelvixen Updated Apr 4, 2011

    Only 10 pounds per ticket or 7 pounds for students, Footsteps to the Moon is a musical about some escaped lunatics caught in the middle of a war and how the world around them is acutally as mad as they are. The subject is dark yet lightened by humour and the music is also quite uplifting. It is extremely slick and very professionally presented by actors normally working in the West End on such successes as Bombay Dreams and others. The nature of the venue is such that the audience feels as if we are part of the show, part of the experience. It is incredible.

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    Dalí Universe

    by martin_nl Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Dal�� elephant sculpture on Southbank

    On South Bank in front of County Hall you can see various sculptures of the Spanish artist Salvador Dalí's work. Inside the County Hall building you can find a gallery dedicated to Dali's work. There are over 500 works displayed. Some of Dalí's work can be experienced as a bit shocking. He himself says that his specialty isn't exactly modesty. His work in my opinion is very interesting and different for sure!

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    Time Stands Still in London

    by Elena_007 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    An Original Dali Artwork Sculpture

    In this remarkable sculpture by Salvador Dali, time seems to stand still, almost as if in a time warp. The clock face appears to be melting and is attached to branches, perhaps resembling the tree of life? There is also an angel to the right kneeling by the hands of time. It is located practically next to the London Eye, and is worth stopping for a look. I found it rather interesting. There are several other examples of Dali's work along the South Bank of the Thames.

    There are other works inside County Hall by the famous Spanish artist, that I would have liked to see, but I will have to plan on seeing that on my next visit, as, unfortunately, I was limited on time. The web site below will give you greater insight to his many works of art, along with prices for admission, operating hours, etc.

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    Hayward Gallery

    by gordonilla Updated Mar 13, 2011
    Exterior (1)
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    Open daily from 10.00 to 18.00, with the late nights being Thursday and Friday (until 20.00)

    There is a cafe and a shop.

    During my visit in March 2011, I saw The British Art Show 7 - "In the Days of the Comet". It runs every 5 years.

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    London City Hall

    by vichatherly Updated Mar 5, 2010

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    City Hall London

    It looks peculiar and must make you dizzy when walking around inside.

    I think it cost me, the tax payer, a small fortune.

    The building has been designed by Foster and Partners, one of Britain's leading architects, who have also been involved in designing the new Hong Kong airport and the Reichstag in Berlin. The structural engineers for the building and consultants on the feasibility of the design of the building are Ove Arup and Partners.

    The design brief was to create a headquarters building that would become a new landmark for the capital. The design by Foster and Partners expresses the transparency of the democratic process and promotes the image of a modern vibrant world city.

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    The Globe Theatre

    by uglyscot Updated Nov 18, 2009

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    The Globe
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    The Globe Theatre as it is today is a reconstruction of an Elizabethan theatre. Sam Wanamaker, an American actor/director had the dream of giving London back one of its most famous theatres . Plans were drawn up using descriptions and etchings from contemporary documents. The end result would not perhaps make Shakespeare feel at home , if he were to return today, but neither would it be completely alien .
    The Globe is circular and open to the skies. The audience stand and react with the players as they perform on stage- not with rotten tomatoes, eggs or oranges though.
    The wooden frame building with the lath and plaster filling and thatched roof is near, but not on ,the original street. A flag was flown when a performance was in progress.
    In addition to the actual theatre the new complex has an exhibition section and educational programme.

    It was begun 1987 and completed 1997.
    Both Shakespeare and Sam Wanamaker are commemorated in nearby Southwark Cathedral..

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    Viva la Quinta Brigada.

    by planxty Written Jul 22, 2009

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    International Brigade monument, London, UK.
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    It's funny how things happen sometimes. I am currently re-reading George Orwell's "Fighting in Spain" after many years. For those of you not familiar with the book, it recounts how the author went to Spain in the 1930's to fight against the Fascists of General Franco, who were supported at that time by the Nazis. People came literally from all over the world to fight, in what was known as the International Brigade.

    Fast forward to last Saturday when I attended a wonderful VT meet and Treasure Hunt, superbly organised by the indefatigable Jo (Jo 104). We were divided into teams and sent off to find the answer to clues. Now I must have walked past this statue dozens of times and I have never even stopped to look at it. It is a memorial to the British people who fought in the International Brigade, and I think it is rather attractive. Worth a look if you are anywhere near the London Eye.

    It was sculpted by Ian Walters and unveiled in 1985. Oh, if you are wondering about the title of the tip, it is the title of a Christy Moore song about the same subject. I couldn't stop humming it for the rest of the day!

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  • South Bank

    by anniduffs Written Jul 22, 2009

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    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. For everything South Bank visit www.southbanklondon.com

    Within easy walking distance from Covent Garden, Soho, Westminster and the City of London , the South Bank stretches along the Thames from Lambeth Bridge to Blackfriars Bridge. It’s the perfect location for a relaxing stroll and a spot of people watching- away from the bustle of the West End . 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 is plenty of inspiring things to see and do for all ages.

    If you are looking for choice, the South Bank has loads to do, day or night. Take in the views on a flight on the London Eye. For film buffs, the revamped BFI Southbank offers art-house and mainstream movies, plus the trendy Benugo bar & kitchen. The famous Old Vic theatre is under the artistic direction of Kevin Spacey, meaning big stars and big productions; the annual panto is a must! Just down the road, the Young Vic is leading the way in presenting fresh theatre from emerging talents, and has a buzzy, funky bar which is definitely worth seeking out.

    For kids there’s the popular London Aquarium which runs themed days and family events. The monthly Film Fundays at the BFI IMAX & BFI Southbank mean activity-filled Sunday afternoons for families.

    Take in some classical, world, jazz or pop at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, QEH & Purcell Rooms, which present a diverse programme of performing arts, music and reading events, and are home to the contemporary Meltdown Festival. Watch out for big name curators. The Hayward gallery is 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. A stroll along the riverside can take in art, street performers, skaters, the second hand book stall and al fresco dining.

    Watch an award-winning play with famous names at the National Theatre which presents classics as well as new writing, and the free, interactive Watch this Space outdoor festival is a fun way to pass a summer’s afternoon (or lunchtime!).

    In fact from June through to September, South Bank really comes into it's own with summer festivals and outdoor events. There's the Coin Street Festival, which has seen a Turkish Bazaar, a traditional English Fete and Pulse, which celebrated Central and Eastern European music. Festival series such as the London Literature Festival, Waterloo Carnival, Meltdown, Watch this Space and The Mayor's Thames Festival mean a diverse programme of arts events, theatre, circus, performance, food, debates, music and fun family-friendly days out.

    There’s 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, dim sum at Ping Pong, contemporary English at Canteen, modern oriental at Ozu and Chino Latino, and a brasserie-style menu at Tamesa.

    For shopping the South Bank is a design-led, boutique experience that offers something a bit different from Oxford Street . Go to Oxo Tower Wharf and Gabriel's Wharf to pick up unique gifts or splash out with a special commission. These shops are particularly good for jewellery, interiors and clothing.

    Visitors to London many not immediately think of staying on the South Bank, but the hotel offering is expanding and the central location and proximity to attractions means it is an ideal choice. There’s the traditional Marriott County Hall Hotel with afternoon teas overlooking Big Ben, and the more modern Park Plaza Riverbank and Park Plaza County Hall are a stylish weekend base from which to explore.

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    Hayward Gallery: Rooftop boating with a view :)

    by Durfun Written Jun 22, 2009

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    Rooftop boating !!!

    For a quirky experience, try the rooftop boating here, part of Psycho Buildings exhibition (until 25 August). Tickets cost just under 11 ukp.

    Check out Austrian collective Gelitin's hovering boating lake, which floods the gallery's outdoor terrace overlooking the London Eye and County Hall.

    Argentinian Tomas Saraceno has created a huge, suspended 'bubble' that sits on another terrace, and into which people can climb and relax on a transparent air-supported 'pillow'.

    Other highlights include a beautifully sculptural plywood 30-seat cinema by Slovenian Tobias Putrih, a ghostly red fabric staircase by Korea's Do Ho Suh and Brit artist Rachel Whiteread's eery hillside scene of more than 200 lit doll's houses.

    Fellow Brit Mike Nelson has transformed one of the Hayward's rooms into a space seemingly ravaged by an escaped wild beast.

    (text from the internet)

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    OXO tower

    by Airpunk Written May 11, 2009

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    A magnificent view and some useless, but interesting facts make this building a spot worth to mention. Like today’s Tate Modern building, the Oxo tower was built to house a powerplant but is around fifty years older, dating from the late 19th century. But it was never use so and sold to a manufacturer of beef cubes (which still exists and is called…. OXO!) which turned it into a cooling store. In 1928 and 1929, the building was redesigned into an art deco style. Oxo wanted to a have large illumnated advertising sign on the building. However, this was fordbidden and so the architect responsible in the rebuilding just added a couple of windows to the tower which for some unknown reasonm were shaped like an O an X and another O. After WWII, the building fell into decay and in the 1970s and 1980s, it was close to be pulled down. When the whole area was redeveloped in the 1990s, it was decided to refurbish the OXO building too and it even won a prize for urban redevelopment. It is no longer owned by Oxo, but houses offices of several other companies, shops and a couple of restaurants. What many people do not know: You are free to take the elevator leading to one of the restaurants on top of the building and enjoy the view onto the Thames without having to order a meal!

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    BFI (British Film Institute)

    by pieter_jan_v Written Apr 13, 2009

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    BFI Southbank

    The BFI (British Film Institute) promotes Britain's film and television heritage and culture.

    At the Southbank in the former National Film Theatre over 1,000 films a year are being shown, from rare silent comedies to cult movies and archive television screenings. The venue hosts previews and gala screenings as well as events and on-stage interviews with film-makers, actors, producers, critics and writers.

    The BFI IMAX has the largest cinema screen in the UK. Films shown in 2D, 3D and IMAX DMR immerse the audience in larger-than-life images with 12,000 watts of digital surround sound.

    Furthermore there are the BFI National Archive and BFI National Library.

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