Places to see in London Bankside
Bankside has arguably more to do per square metre than the rest of London, so picking one thing over all else is a challenging prospect. But that’s what we’re tasked with, and among the theatres, concert halls, street entertainment, free live foyer music, great river views and museums, we’re going to opt for something a little less flamboyant.
Recommended Attraction in Bankside
Tucked away behind the Southbank Centre (previously the Royal Festival Hall) is the Real Food Market. A delicious spread of global, organic cuisine is laid on for you to tuck right into on the spot, and all at reasonable prices. Spend under a fiver on an organic steak burger that will knock you off your feet, or plump for a Ghanaian goat curry to get experimental; it’s all fantastic fare and the prices mean you can spend more on going to that concert.
Bankside Attractions List
Bankside is a fantastic place from which to explore the capital, and if you stay here you’ll find multitude of top London attractions (including the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre) on your doorstep. Take a quick look at the itinerary below to see just how much is on offer in Bankside, and then use our Bankside hotel booking service to book an affordable Bankside hotel today!
This is the London Millennium Footbridge. It’s a pedestrian-only steel suspension bridge that links Bankside with The City. Construction began in 1998 and it was the first new bridge across the Thames in London since Tower Bridge in 1894. Londoners nicknamed it the ‘Wobbly Bridge’ after crowds of pedestrians felt an unexpected swaying motion on the first two days after the bridge opened!
Address: Thames Embankment, London EC4
Phone: 020 7606 3030
You’re now at Bankside Gallery which is the home of two historic art societies - the Royal Watercolour Society and the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers. Since the beginning of the twentieth century both societies have shared the Gallery which has inspiring mixed exhibitions of both watercolours and prints.
Address: 48 Hopton Street, London SE1 9JH
Phone: 020 7928 7521
This is the stunning Tate Modern art gallery which opened in 2000 (the building was originally Bankside Power Station). There are three levels of galleries enclosed by a spectacular two-storey glass roof that gives fantastic views of London. The gallery pays homage to art from 1900 to the present day. It’s full of vibrant contemporary art, but also offers iconic twentieth century artists, from Matisse to Moore, Dali to Picasso. It’s justifiably the most popular art gallery in Europe and one that you can’t afford to miss!
Address: Bankside, London SE1 9TG
Phone: 020 7887 8888
If you love art then you’ll also love Purdy Hicks. This is a bright gallery and it’s committed to exhibiting the best contemporary international art by established and emerging artists.
Address: 65 Hopton Street, London SE1 9GZ
Phone: 020 7401 9229
If you fancy a drink then you should definitely pop in here. The Founders Arms has spectacular river views. You can sit outside no matter what the weather because the pub will even supply blankets!
Address: 52 Hopton Street, Bankside, London SE1 9JH
Phone: 020 7928 1899
You might find this an odd place to visit, but here on Southwark Street (under the rail bridge near Blackfriars Road) you’ll find the spectacular forty-eight metre long stripe painting called ‘Poured Lines’ by Ian Davenport. It’s well worth a look!
Address: Southwark Bridge, London
You’re now in Benbow House Bear Gardens. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, this was the site of an infamous bear-baiting animal fighting pits. The bear pit was finally closed in 1682.
This is Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, which is 200 metres from where the original Globe Theatre stood before it was demolished in 1646. It was built in 1997 as a replica, and if you watch a play here you’ll be sitting in a gallery or standing in the yard just as they would have done 400 years ago. Shakespeare's Globe Exhibition is also unmissable. It’s the world’s largest exhibition devoted to Shakespeare and the London in which he lived and worked.
Address: 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DT
Phone: 020 7902 1400
This is The Anchor - one of the oldest pubs in London. It dates from 1775 and now features a great fish & chip shop. If you have a drink in the huge outside seating area you get great views of St Paul's Cathedral and Tower Bridge.
Address: 34 Park Street, Southwark, London SE1 9EF
Phone: 020 7407 1577
This, the Rose Theatre, was Elizabethan Bankside’s first theatre, which opened in 1587. Until the foundations were discovered in 1989, it was thought that none of the Bankside playhouses had survived. Along with the nearby reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Globe, the Rose Theatre brings alive an important era of English theatrical history.
Address: 2 Rose Alley, City of London, SE1 9AS
Phone: 020 7261 9565
You’re now at the Clink Prison Museum. This is near the site of the original Clink Prison and the museum’s atmospheric displays tell the story of the criminals imprisoned here from the 1100s until it was burned down in 1780.
Address: 1 Clink Street, London SE1 9DG
Phone: 020 7403 0900
This is the remains of Winchester Palace which was the London residence of the Bishop of Winchester for over 500 years. Completed in the 1140s, many important visitors were entertained here. King James I held his wedding banquet at the Palace and it‘s thought that Henry VIII may have met Catherine Howard, his fifth wife, there. The building was destroyed by fire in 1814, although you can still see the spectacular rose window today.
Address: London Bridge, Southwark, London SE1 9DA
If you’re a wine lover (or if you just fancy a tipple) then Vinopolis is a must. You’ll find out about the history and culture of wine and you get to try different types of wine from the world’s most famous grape-producing regions. Whisky and beer lovers are also catered for in the Still Room and Brew Wharf. Vinpolis also has great restaurant and bar if you’d like to stay longer and sample some more!
Address: 1 Bank End, London Borough of Southwark, SE1 9BU
Phone: 020 7940 8300
This is the wonderful Borough market – a food-lover’s paradise. Nestled in-between Borough High Street, Bedale Street, Stoney Street and Winchester Walk it’s also known as ‘London's Larder’. It’s London's oldest food market and has traded for over 2,000 years. There’s a mouth-watering range of fresh food stalls: from Italian cheeses, Morecambe Bay shrimps, to sumptuous organic meats and Spanish foods. Atmospheric, lively and mouth-watering – this is definitely a must on a Saturday morning.
Address: 8 Southwark Street, London SE1 1TL
Phone: 020 7407 1002
This is Southwark Cathedral – it’s used by many thousands of people each year and is the setting for a wide variety of services and events. Highlights that you should visit include Roman excavations and the Shakespeare Memorial in the South Aisle. The main structure of today's church was built between 1220 and 1420.
Address: London Bridge, London SE1 9DA
Phone: 020 7367 6700
You’re now on the Thames Path and this is The Golden Hinde – a replica of the galleon used by Sir Francis Drake. There are fantastic daily tours where you can learn about the golden age of exploration.
Address: Pickfords Wharf, Clink Street, London SE1 9DG
Phone: 020 7403 0123
The London Dungeon isn’t for the faint-hearted! Beheading, plague and murder are the main 'attractions' at this museum that delves into the darkest parts of British history. You can try out the newest features including a 'Traitor Boat Ride', and a terrifying gallows-themed sudden drop ride called 'In Extremis'.
Address: Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, City of London SE1 7PB
Phone: 020 7403 7221
This is HMS Belfast. It’s a World War Two cruiser with nine decks to explore. You can pop into the Captain's Bridge and then head down to the massive boiler and engine rooms. On the outbreak of war in September 1939, HMS Belfast patrolled Northern waters as part of the Royal Navy's efforts to impose a maritime blockade on Germany. The ship officially retired in 1963 and was turned into a floating museum that opened to the public on Trafalgar Day (21 October) in 1971.
Address: The Queen's Walk, Tooley Street, London SE1 2JH
Phone: 020 7940 6300
This is the UK’s leading historic visitor attraction. The Tower of London is an ancient fortress founded by William the Conqueror and almost 1,000 years of British history have been played out within its walls. It was here that Anne Boleyn was executed; Guy Fawkes was interrogated and Richard II and Elizabeth I imprisoned. You can marvel at the breathtaking Crown Jewels, stand on the site where three English queens were beheaded and explore the myths and legends that make a visit here unbeatable.
Address: London EC3N 4AB
Phone: 0844 482 7777
Music from all genres and all over the world collects under the roof of this music Mecca, and it is arguably one of the world’s most highly respected cultural venues; indeed, it’s Europe’s largest centre for the arts, comprising as it does the Royal Festival Halls, the Haywood Gallery and the Queen Elizabeth Hall. With no fewer than four resident orchestras (including the London Philharmonic) and as many as 1300 ticketed and free performances over the course of a year, this is a part of London that cannot be overlooked.
Address: Belvedere Road, Waterloo, London, SE1 8XX
Tucked away behind the Royal Festival Halls component of the Southbank Centre, and open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, the Real Food Market offers you an opportunity to eat gourmet food straight from the producers themselves! Best of all is that you can forget the restaurant price-tag; these exquisite delicacies will typically come in at well below a tenner for a meal, and you can carry what you buy over the bridge to the river and enjoy the stunning Thames views and second-hand book market of Waterloo Bridge while you munch.
Address: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX
Phone: 020 7370 8627