london panoramic cityscape
The South Bank & BanksideLondon
London SE1
TfL Fare Zone 1
 
 
 
The southern bank of the River Thames between Southwark and the Lambeth Borough is packed with interesting historical buildings, cultural centres, galleries, boutique shops, restaurants, cafes, pubs, parks, community housing and iconic tourist attractions such as The London Eye.
 
A riverside walk gives access to all the attractions with splendid views of the River Thames with its many bridges, St Paul's Cathedral and Westminster, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.
 
The area is divided into two parts – Bankside and The South Bank which includes The Southbank Centre.
 
Bankside
Bankside stretches between Southwark and Blackfriars Bridge.
 
This is where you will find the 16th century galleried George Inn and The Borough Markets where you can stock up with a few picnic goodies. Do not forget to buy one of the famous, genuinely English, Melton Mowbray Pork Pies. Maybe rub shoulders with some of the stars from the TV cooking shows.
 
Heading upstream you can explore the magnificent Southwark Cathedral, St Mary Overie Dock with its replica 16th century warship ‘Golden Hinde’ and discover the ruins of the medieval Winchester House.
 
At the end of Clink Street is The Clink Prison Museum, then pass through the bollards under the railway viaduct and veer right on to the riverside walk. The Anchor Inn is an ancient pub but much redeveloped.
 
There are plenty of seats along the walk on which to rest and watch the cruise boats while enjoying your picnic – this is where you can savour your Melton Mowbray pork pie (goes well with a little Coleman’s English mustard and maybe a nice vine grown tomato – all from The Borough Markets).
 
Then it is time to wander around The Globe Theatre a wonderful recreation of Shakespeare’s playhouse.
 
At the end of Bankside is the unique Millennium Bridge. From this pedestrian bridge are stunning views down river of the Second World War Cruiser HMS Belfast and Tower Bridge.
 
Across the Millennium Bridge and upstream on the north bank is Cleopatra’s Needle and The Victoria Embankment. At the end of the bridge is a view of St Paul’s Cathedral, perfectly framed by the surrounding tall buildings.
 
Back on Bankside, the Tate Modern Gallery is housed in an old power house and well worth visiting.
 
At the end of Bankside is the Bankside Gallery, home of the Royal Watercolour Society and the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers.
 
South Bank
Popular with residents and tourists alike, this stretch of the river is home to many of London’s performance centres and galleries. As well, extensive sensitive redevelopment of the industrial buildings has provided a myriad of design orientated shops, specialist restaurants and cafes.
 
Mixed housing developments and green space have led to regeneration of the community in the area and London University’s Kings College campus has ensured that there are still reasonably priced places to shop and eat.
 
The official Southbank London website:
 
The South Bank attractions listed below without their own website can be found on the official Southbank London website - link above
 
Between Blackfriars and Waterloo Bridges are:
• The London Studios – TV production studios of many popular programmes with live audiences. For Ticket information and bookings go to Web: London Studios/ Audience Tickets
 
• The Bargehouse – a four-storey warehouse space housing changing art, photographic, design and architectural exhibitions.
 
• OXO Tower Wharf – An Art Deco building containing boutique shops on the ground floor, residential apartments and on the top floor a restaurant. The tower is easily recognisable from the ingenious use of 3 windows in the shape of an ‘O’. an ‘X’ and an ‘O’ spelling out the name of the beef extract product made by the company that used to own the building.
 
• Bernie Spain Gardens – pleasant green space dedicated to Bernadette Spain, one of the original Coin Street Action Group campaigners.
 
• Coin Street – Home to the Coin Street Festival - a series of free culturally themed events throughout the summer months. Web: Coin Street Community 
 
• Gabriel’s Wharf – designer jewellery and furnishing shops, affordable artwork, cafes and restaurants overlooking St Paul’s Cathedral.
 
• The National Theatre shows a mixture of classical, avant-garde, new work, children’s theatre and revived classic musicals. There are 3 auditoria – The Olivier with a unique revolving drum stage, The Lyttelton with a proscenium (framed) arch stage and The Cottesloe, a studio theatre. The foyers are open to the public and backstage tours run all day. Web: National Theatre 
 
• BFI Southbank – Situated underneath Waterloo Bridge, BFI was formerly known as the 'National Film Theatre’. It has 3 auditoria dedicated to showing classic, independent and non-English language films. The complex also includes the Studio, a Mediatheque (an electronic space where visitors can access the BFI national archive), gallery space, a Filmstore and a new bar. Web:  BFI Southbank
 
Between Waterloo Bridge and Hungerford Rail/Pedestrian Bridge also called the Golden Jubilee Bridges are:
• Festival Riverside & Terraces – arts and music related shops, restaurants and cafes ranging from sandwiches to more formal dining.
 
 
Between Hungerford and Westminster Bridges are:
• Jubilee Gardens - named in honour of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. There is a memorial here to the many British Battalion members who lost their lives fighting with the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War.
 
The London Eye – One of the world’s tallest observation wheels. Unparalleled views of London. Web: London Eye 
 
• SEALIFE London Aquarium – Europe’s largest display of aquatic life. Species range from sharks to tiny clown fish. Web: SEALIFE London Aquarium.
 
Stretching behind South Bank between Waterloo Road and Westminster Bridge Road is Lower Marsh where can be found:
• Waterloo Quarter – independent shops, Lower Marsh Market, the real south London. Web: Lower Marsh Waterloo
 
• BFI IMAX Cinema Web: BFI IMAX Cinema 
 
• The Old Vic – London’s oldest theatre currently under the artistic direction of actor Kevin Spacey. Web: The Old Vic Theatre
 
Getting There
To plan your journey whilst in London, use the Transport for London 'Journey Planner' above. 
 
- By Underground
Waterloo Station          Jubilee, Northern, Bakerloo & Waterloo and City lines. The Waterloo & City line is open during business hours Monday to Saturday incl. Not open Sundays.
Southwark Station        Jubilee line.
London Bridge Station   Jubilee and Northern lines.
 
- By Ferry
There are ferry piers at:      For:
Waterloo Millennium Pier     London Eye
Festival Pier                       Festival Riverside & Terraces, Southbank Centre, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Hayward Gallery, Purcell Room and the Royal Festival Hall.
Bankside Pier                     Globe Theatre, Millennium Bridge.
For ferry timetables and Travelcard zones, go to Transport for London website link above, or whilst in London, Tel: 020 8921 5786
 
- By Walking
Walk across the Thames from the northside to South Bank and Bankside by the following bridges:
- Westminster Bridge
- Hungerford Footbridges
- Waterloo Bridge
- Blackfriars Bridge
- The Millennium Bridge (Footbridge)
- Southwark Bridge
- Jubilee Footbridge
- London Bridge

Google Maps - Southwark