Your Guide to London South Bank
Where is South Bank?
Come to the South Bank to marvel at some of the finest scenery along the River Thames and make the most of spectacular panoramic views from the London Eye! The South Bank is one of the most popular tourist destinations in London, with fantastic attractions such as the London Aquarium, Dali Universe, Hayward Gallery and Royal Festival Hall drawing large crowds. You’ll find districts like Waterloo and Southwark close by, with ever popular Westminster, Strand and Blackfriars just across the River Thames. As you’ll be situated in zone 1 of the London Underground, with Waterloo Station close by, you’ll find it easy to get all over London from here; so much so that you won’t have to worry that this area sits within the congestion charging zone!
History of South Bank
The South Bank development began in 1951 as part of the Festival of Britain, and today stretches for two square miles along the banks of the River Thames. As one of London’s more recently developed districts, the South Bank has an amazing blend of stunning architecture and modern attractions. As part of the original festival in 1951 the Royal Festival Hall was established, and now that hall is part of the Southbank Centre. In the late 1960s the Hayward Gallery, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room were opened and then in 1976 the National Theatre was opened.
The local community managed to fend off extensive commercial plans in the 1970s and 80s, and in turn the renovation of the Oxo Tower and local housing developments lead to the regeneration of the community. In more recent years, The London Television Centre has been established on the South Bank and perhaps most famously, the London Eye was opened here to celebrate the millennium. Another very recent addition is the popularity of skateboarding on the South Bank. The popularity of this sport has increased so much in the area that there has been several ‘skateable’ sculptures built for the Southbank Centre’s ‘Moving Units’ project. The South Bank is currently London’s fastest evolving district and developments and attractions are continually improved and added to. All in all, this is one of the most interesting and buzzing areas in London and you’re going to love it!
The Positives of South Bank
South Bank really is a fantastic place to visit! There’s so much to see and do that you’ll never get bored exploring all that it has to offer. One of the best things about it is that as you’ll stroll along the South Bank you’ll have some of the best views of the London skyline, and can see most of the major landmarks from here, like Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. For the attractions you can’t see from river level, just climb aboard the London Eye and have a look from way above the capital! It’s not just about the views though, as you’ll want to visit as many of the attractions as you possibly can. Must-see places include the London Aquarium, National Theatre and South Bank Centre. For everything else you have the London Underground at nearby Waterloo Station, able to transport you to the far reaches of this magical city!
Need to Know South Bank
South Bank is densely populated with major attractions and as such it has thousands upon thousands of visitors each day. You may see this as a negative, but it really shouldn’t be. The amount of people create a huge buzz around the area, and if you really need to get out of the fast pace you always have your relaxing hotel room to return to! Another potential issue is that large crowds can mean that you may have to queue for attractions, but you can go at quieter times or just move on to one of the other great sites and come back at a later time. The only other problem really is the traffic congestion. As large parts of the South Bank are pedestrianised you can’t drive a car on them anyway. However, getting as close as you can to this popular district may well take time, but you’ll have some pretty impressive things to look at whilst you sit in traffic. There really aren’t many negative aspects of the South Bank and the positives more than make up for anything you might not like.