South Bank, London

4.5 out of 5 stars 94 Reviews

Waterloo, SE1 442072026918
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  • Living statue
    Living statue
    by Galaxy31
  • Having a rest after a long days work
    Having a rest after a long days work
    by Galaxy31
  • Make a wish
    Make a wish
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  • EasyMalc's Profile Photo

    The Southbank Centre

    by EasyMalc Updated Jun 21, 2016

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you’ve started to follow my review of The Queen’s Walk on the south bank of the Thames, then continuing along the path towards Tower Bridge from the London Eye will bring you to the Hungerford Bridges.
    As you pass under the bridges you will come to the Southbank Centre, which consists of 3 main buildings - the Royal Festival Hall, the Queen Elizabeth Hall (QEH), and the Hayward Gallery.

    After WWII the labour government decided to give the nation a boost by creating a Festival of Britain. There were festivals all over the country but the main one was here on the south bank of the Thames. It opened in 1951 on what was pretty much a wasteland and included subjects like the arts, science and architecture, but the following year it was closed down when the conservatives came back into power.

    The Royal Festival Hall is the only building to have survived the exhibition, with the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Hayward Gallery springing up next to it during the 1960s. From an architectural point of view the Festival Hall isn’t so bad, but the other two buildings are closed for two years whilst improvements are made - and not before time if you ask me.

    The complex covers all manner of the arts. The Festival Hall is home to four orchestras and a 2,500 seater concert hall plus a poetry library. The QEH (along with the adjacent Purcell Room) is a venue for more alternative music, and the Hayward Gallery houses temporary collections of modern art.
    When I popped into the Festival Hall recently there was a festival on called Alchemy, which was a platform for artists exploring the relationship between the Indian sub-continent and the UK. It was a mixture of music, dance, comedy, films, talks, artistic design and workshops. I wasn’t here for any of the main events, but it might give you an idea on what happens at the Southbank Centre.

    With all this art and culture around it might well come as a shock to the system to see the undercroft of the QEH building a skateboarding area with graffiti covered walls, but it’s been here since the 1970s and I suppose it would be difficult to argue with the youngsters that use it, that it’s not art after some of the things I’ve seen elsewhere.

    Directions: Near the Hungerfored Bridges on the south bank of the river

    Website: http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/?gclid=CKyMmf2muc0CFe4y0wodKJsDHA

    Southbank Riverside Terrace 'Appearing Rooms' Fountain The Undercroft
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    The South Bank Lion

    by EasyMalc Written Jun 19, 2016

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    On the Lambeth end of Westminster Bridge is a 13ft (4m) long lion made out of Coade stone.
    Coade stone is a mixture of fired clay, flint, sand, and glass and baked at a high temperature for several days. The factory that produced this stone was located where the County Hall building now stands and began business as a ceramics factory in 1769 between Daniel Pincot and Eleanor Coade. The partnership split up but ‘Mrs’ Coade (who wasn’t married) carried on the business creating statues, decorative friezes and other stone embellishments. She called her stone ‘Lythodipyra’ from the Greek word for ‘twice fired stone’ which was part of the process. Other people preferred to just call it Coade stone, and the name stuck.
    Further along the South Bank where the Royal Festival Hall now stands was the Lion Brewery who commissioned a pair of Coade lions in 1837 (now under different ownership) and were among the last items made at the factory. To make way for the Royal Festival Hall the brewery was demolished in 1949, but thanks to a request by King George VI the lions were saved. For some time the South Bank Lion stood on a plinth near Waterloo station and was painted in British Rail red.
    When the station was extended in 1966 it was moved to its present position on the end of Westminster Bridge, stripped of its red paint and is now looking as handsome as ever.
    The other lion by the way, found its way to Twickenham rugby ground and has apparently been painted gold.

    Directions: On the Lambeth end of Westminster Bridge

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    • Architecture

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    SOUTHBANK XMAS MARKET 3

    by davidjo Updated Aug 26, 2015

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I thought that this market that takes place every December was perhaps a little expensive and most of the stall holders did not come from Britain. Belgian waffles, German sausages were among the tasty food on offer, but many stalls were selling Xmas decorations for the house or Xmas tree.

    Address: Waterloo, SE1

    Directions: Waterloo tube

    Website: http://www.southbanklondon.com/

    Santa greets the believers Belgian Waffles photo with Santa ��7 hot dogs
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    Art in the sand

    by Galaxy31 Updated Jul 3, 2015

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    While taking a stroll one sunny Sunday morning along the Southbank by Gabriels Wharf I came across this artist creating a beautiful face out of sand. They do that as soon as the tide goes in and that gives them a few hours to make their creations [http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/vv/8b8c/]

    Address: Waterloo, SE1

    Directions: Opposite Gabriels Wharf
    Waterloo tube

    Website: http://www.southbanklondon.com/

    Artist working with sand Artist working with sand Having a rest after a long days work Make a wish
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    Street Performers South Bank

    by cleocat Written Feb 4, 2015

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The South Bank area (where the London Eye is) is great for a walk. Street performers favour this area and there is always something to see. Many bars, pubs and restaurants as well. Take a stroll next to the river and enjoy the views and entertainment.

    Address: Waterloo, SE1

    Directions: Waterloo tube

    Website: http://www.southbanklondon.com/

    Street Performers South Bank

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  • Anjuschka's Profile Photo

    Walking alongside the River Thames at South Bank

    by Anjuschka Written Aug 10, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    It's a great occation to spend a nice afternoon out.

    I think the best way to get is arriving at London Bridge train station or TUBE station.
    You can also plan a walk from Tower Bridge to the London Eye or even The Parliament near Vauxhall Bridge.

    I always loved Sout Bank with the great view on the Thames and the things around.
    There might be banks you can sit on for a break and you can watch what happens on the Thames.

    I really love the Royal Festival Hall and of course the London Eye.
    At the Southbank Centre you have many things close together.

    +BFI Southbank
    +Riverfront Bar & Kitchen (where I had a nice soup)
    +National Theatre Bookshop
    and a lot more...

    When I went there last time in November there takes place a special (German) Christmas Market - what I thought was a great joy for me...

    I could highly recommend to spend some nice quality time there:

    I took a long walk from Hay's Galleria towards Westminster Station which is also nearby. It's situated not far behind the London Eye...

    Address: Waterloo, SE1

    Directions: London Bridge - Waterloo

    Website: http://www.southbanklondon.com/

    love these lamps... Some of the Christmas Market stalls... View on Big Ben and the Parliament Hay's Galleria View on the London Eye from the Westminster area..
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    Time Stands Still in London

    by Elena_007 Updated Jul 26, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

    Address: Waterloo, SE1

    Directions: Near the London Eye, County Hall, next to River Thames

    An Original Dali Artwork Sculpture
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    Street entertainers

    by Galaxy31 Written Jul 16, 2014

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    In Southbank you will find a lot of street perfomances going on all the time.
    A lot of them are by the London Eye, Gabriels Wharf and Tate Modern .
    It could be from musical performers, dancers, acrobatics, living statues, juggling and much more.
    It's a great way of spending a few hours watching them and they are free.
    Some of the acts are amazing but you have others that are not so good. Usually at the end of their perfomance they do go round so people can donate (tip) money for their act. If there are good I always give them something if not I walk away well before the perfomance finishes.

    Address: Waterloo, SE1

    Directions: Waterloo tube

    Website: http://www.southbanklondon.com/

    Tap dancing duet Living statue Living statue
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    Gabriel’s Wharf

    by toonsarah Written Apr 26, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This former row of old garages was transformed in the late 1980s by some sprucing up and the addition of quaint shop-fronts. These shops are now occupied by a selection of independent retailers (designers, artists, printmakers, florists, clothing, jewellery) making it an interesting place to shop for gifts or unique pieces for the home. There are also several places to eat and drink. I have so far only been in one of these, the excellent Gourmet Pizza Company. The other options include a pub, a restaurant specialising in seafood and steaks, and a pie shop. On the decking of the wharf you’ll find seating and a slightly bizarre collection of wood-carvings, the work of Friedel Buecking who occupies one of the shops. Children are welcome to ride the wooden animals, and often do! The whole is overlooked by the painted backdrop that disguises the wall of the ITV television studios next door.

    Directions: Set between the South Bank walkway and Upper Ground, accessible from both. The nearest station is Waterloo, with mainline trains and Bakerloo, Jubilee and Northern tube lines

    Gabriel's Wharf

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    Statue of Nelson Mandela

    by toonsarah Written Jan 26, 2014

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    This statue of Nelson Mandela has stood beside the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank for almost thirty years, but it took on particular poignancy in the days following the news of his death in December 2013. Many admirers left flowers and tributes here , and for a short period after his death a selection of quotes by the great man were projected on to the Royal Festival Hall.

    The statue, by Ian Walters, was commissioned by a former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, when he was leader of the Greater London Council., and was unveiled in 1985 by ANC president Oliver Tambo, at a time when Mandela was still imprisoned. At this time the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, was very hostile to the Greater London Council, which she later abolished. It would be charitable to think that it was for this reason, rather than any opinion she may have held about Nelson Mandela, that she refused to visit the statue, though I have my doubts …
    ’The day after the unveiling Labour Party firebrand and anti-apartheid activist Tony Brand stood up in the House of Commons, complete with ANC T-shirt and goaded the then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Would she find time, he asked, "to go to the South Bank to see the statue of Nelson Mandela erected by the GLC?" She replied with a terse "No".’

    The full inscription reads:
    ”THE STRUGGLE IS MY LIFE”
    NELSON MANDELA
    GAOLED 5th AUGUST 1962
    SENTENCED TO LIFE IMPRISONMENT
    12th JUNE 1964 FOR HIS ACTIONS
    AGAINST APARTHEID

    ERECTED BY THE GREATER LONDON COUNCIL
    UNVEILED BY OLIVER TAMBO
    PRESIDENT OF THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS
    28th OCTOBER 1985

    NELSON MANDELA WAS RELEASED
    AFTER 27 YEARS' IMPRISONMENT
    11th FEBRUARY 1990

    AWARDED THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE
    10th DECEMBER 1993

    INAUGURATED PRESIDENT OF THE
    REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA AND
    ITS GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL UNITY
    10th MAY 1994.

    If you’re walking along the South Bank do make the detour, up the steps to the right of the Festival Hall as you face it, to see and pay tribute to the great man.

    Directions: Ignore the red and the purple pointers – the statue is right by the green arrow on this Google map. Nearest Tube station, Waterloo

    Website: http://www.southbanklondon.com/

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    View Europe's biggest from Europe's tallest!

    by worldkiwi Written Aug 17, 2013

    The View in The Shard, London and Europe's tallest building, provides stunning views from horizon to horizon over Europe's biggest city! I was lucky enough in 2013, to be shouted a visit to The Shard by my cousins and we all enjoyed looking down on the intriguing Lego city that was London from 244m up! I would recommend this activity to anyone in London on a fine sunny day. It is expensive (I discovered) at £25 per person and you need to book in advance to secure a time that suits you.

    Address: Joiner Street, London SE1

    Website: http://www.theviewfromtheshard.com

    The Shard - a striking new landmark in 2013. St Paul's from The Shard (2013). The Tower of London, from the tower above London!

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    More London

    by antistar Written Jul 4, 2013

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    A new development on the south bank of the Thames is More London. Opposite the Tower of London at the south end of Tower Bridge you will discover a elegant piece of landscaped riverfront real estate that incorporates the new glass bulge of London's City Hall. From here you can enjoy some of the best views in London, sit on a grassy bank and enjoy lunch with the many government workers, or just stroll along the Thames.

    More London More London More London More London More London

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    County Hall

    by mikey_e Written Dec 27, 2012

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    The County Hall was once the seat of local government for the metropolis of London. This role is now played by the oddly shaped ball by Tower Bridge, but the County Hall continues to be a tourist and cultural attraction for Londoners and visitors alike. In part, County Hall derives its fame from the difficult relationship that existed between the Council and the British government in the period that led to the dissolution of the Greater London Council in the 1980s. Since then, the building was used for a number of different government and private functions, with its current usage dedicated to an aquarium, various low-brow horror shows and the London Film Museum. It was designed in Edwardian Baroque style and erected during the 1920s. If you aren’t interested in the horror maze or the aquarium, the ideal photo backdrop is still a good idea for a visit, as you can snap a few shots of yourself or others with the same background as the opening of the Hitchcock film Frenzy.

    Address: Waterloo, SE1

    Directions: Waterloo tube

    Website: http://www.southbanklondon.com/

    County Hall from the Bridge Courtyard of the Hall
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    London IMAX

    by mikey_e Updated Dec 21, 2012

    IMAX theatres are not new, but the technology that is used to enhance the technical forms of cinematic arts seem to advance every few years, opening a third way (in addition to content and form in the initial sense of the word) for the development of the seventh art. In recognition of these technical advances, the British Film Institute has opened up the London IMAX, a massive glass cylinder that stands not far from Waterloo Station on the Southbank of the Thames. The building was constructed in 1999, and was specially designed in order to insulate it from the noise and vibrations that might have been caused by the street traffic and subway lines around and below the IMAX. Both films and other performances (mainly operas) are shown at the IMAX, and such events can be quite popular, meaning that you should book your tickets well in advance if you’re hoping to partake of something at the IMAX.

    Address: Waterloo, SE1

    Directions: Waterloo tube

    Website: http://www.southbanklondon.com/

    IMAX over the arches London IMAX IMAX and Lambeth
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    Waterloo Station

    by mikey_e Written Dec 18, 2012

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    Waterloo Station is the UK’s busiest train station, and one of the busiest stations in all of Europe. Although a station has stood on this particular location since the 1840s, the current structure was not completed until 1922, after a series of expansions. The proximity of Waterloo to the City and to various other heavily populated and well-heeled sections of London ensured that its gradually increasing number of platforms seemed to be out of breath in the race to keep up with the steadily growing passenger numbers. The station is truly a city within a city, and features not only the ticketing offices and the various usual facilities that are associated with train stations (waiting rooms, coffee shops and restaurants) but also retail spaces and a police station. Given that the construction period for the new station spanned the First World War, the current building now contains a Victory Arch at the main pedestrian entrance to the facilities. The Arch is dedicated to the employees of the station who were killed during the Great War.

    Address: Waterloo, SE1

    Directions: Waterloo tube

    Website: http://www.southbanklondon.com/

    Lamp posts at the station Victory Arch Pedestrian entrance to Waterloo View of the side of the station
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