Places to see in London Waterloo
Waterloo crams some of London’s best artistic venues into a very small space, and also offers vantage points of some of the best views of the Thames you’re likely to find, so by staying here you can while away your city break in luxury without breaking the bank. Here’s what we recommend you spend your well-earned time off doing:
Recommended Attraction in Waterloo
We could recommend the London Aquarium, or the London Eye, or the London Dungeons, or any one of the many tourist attractions at the Waterloo end of the South Bank, but instead we’re going to go for something a little more culturally interesting. Get yourself down to The Cut (that’s a road, not a venue), which plays host to the Old Vic and Young Vic theatres. The former underwent a Renaissance in recent years thanks to the work of the famous American actor Kevin Spacey, who is still artistic director. However, he steps down next year, so we’re recommending the theatre so you make it to one of the plays that he either stars in or directs for his final couple of seasons in his hugely successful tenure.
Just a few doors down the road is the smaller, more hip Young Vic theatre, which is a leading name in world theatre and contemporary dance. The tickets are also considerably cheaper than at her big sister. This is much more “arty” but nonetheless will provide a mind-blowing evening of theatrical entertainment, as well as playing host to an informal but gourmet café bar split over two levels. The nearby pubs and bars cater to a similar clientele, so you’d be around London’s theatrical bright-young-things for an unforgettable night.
Alternative Things To Do in Waterloo
Sticking with the theatrical theme, we strongly advise seeing a play at the National Theatre, where tickets can be bought at a ludicrously cheap price, and which provides world-class entertainment from the world’s best stage performers in its three impressive auditoriums. Or if theatre’s not your thing, we still recommend getting a glass of wine and heading up to one of the balconies for un-paralleled views of the Thames.
Alternatively, there’s the British Film Institute next door, which is the home of British cinema and has a fantastic terrace bar on the Thames which opens out onto the famous second-hand book market. Next door is the Southbank Centre, one of the UK’s largest multi-arts venues, and tucked away behind that during the day is the Real Food Market, possibly the best place to get a cheap, gourmet take-away lunch. Further west downriver you have the tourist hotspots of the London Eye and the London Aquarium, or to the south there’s the Waterloo East Theatre, a tiny but nonetheless exceptional venue specialising in musical theatre. There’s the famous IMAX cinema, which promises incredible visuals and exclusive films on its gargantuan screen, and the OXO Tower houses a delightful little photography gallery for those just passing through. There are some fantastic pubs in the area, including Doggett’s with its stunning Thames views.
Attraction List in Waterloo
With all of this on offer within half a mile (if that), there doesn’t seem to be much reason to stay anywhere else. Happily, we have a fantastic selection of cheap and budget hotels in this very area, so get yourself to our Waterloo hotel booking service to check out what’s on offer for your cultural excursion of a lifetime!
A significant part of the history of Waterloo and a really important link is the Waterloo Bridge. The bridge was built in 1815 and is placed on a specific bend on the River Thames. As a result you’ll get some of the finest views of London when you take a stroll across it.
Address: London Borough of Lambeth, SE1
Everyone loves the cinema, but for a truly unique cinematic experience you should head for the IMAX. Watch the latest films on the largest screen in the UK, over 20 meters high and 26 meters wide, and you’ll feel like you’re actually in the movie!
Address: Thames Embankment, London EC4
Phone: 020 7606 3030
Come to the South Bank Centre and you’ll be able to visit not one but four attractions! Royal Festival Hall, The Hayward, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Saison Poetry Library are all housed here, and this is another place you really don’t want to miss.
Address: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
Phone: 0844 875 0073
Waterloo Train Station dominates the district and is one place you’ll find difficult to avoid. Use the station to get to all parts of London and beyond, and whilst you wait for your train to arrive just kick back and enjoy a snack in one of the many cafés.
Address: Waterloo Road, London, SE1 8SW
Phone: 0845 711 4141
The Old Vic is one of London’s most well loved and classical theatre spaces. This famous theatre is, and has been, home to huge productions and famous plays and you’ll definitely be entertained here!
Address: 103 The Cut, London SE1 8NB
Phone: 0844 871 7628
The younger sibling of the Old Vic is the Young Vic! It also shows classic plays but prides itself on helping new talent to evolve. You’ll also get the chance to catch a really obscure or forgotten show at the Young Vic, so it’s definitely worth checking what’s on.
Address: 66 The Cut, London, SE1 8LZ
Phone: 020 7922 2922
For a taste of the current art scene in Waterloo, you should head for the Llewellyn Alexander Gallery. The gallery has a large collection of original oils, watercolours and pastels from living British artists, and in the summer holds its popular ‘NOT the Royal Academy’ show.
Address: 124-126 The Cut, London, SE1 8LN
Phone: 020 7620 1322
For restaurants, bars, cafes and shops you should go to Lower Marsh. The name Lower Marsh stems form the original name for the area, Lambeth Marsh. This was long before Waterloo and the South Bank were established, and yet the name remains for a tiny area and street in the district. You should visit Lower marsh market whilst your here!
Address: London Borough of Lambeth, London SE1 7AB
If you fancy getting on to the water of the River Thames, you should take one of the fun London Duck Tours. You’ll get a unique whistle stop tour of the surrounding districts on a DUKW – a boat come truck that was used for delivering troops for the D-Day landings.
Address: 55 York Road, London, SE1 7NJ
Phone: 020 7928 3132
Visit the London Aquarium and take in the spectacular displays of aquatic life! The aquarium has one of the largest collections of aquatic species in Europe and is a really great place to visit for anyone young or old!
Address: County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7PB
Phone: 0871 663 1678
The Dali Universe is housed in County Hall and is a permanent exhibition that displays the works of Salvador Dali. This is a must see for anyone who has an interest in art, and for everyone else it is definitely an eye catching experience.
Address: Riverside Building, Westminster Bridge Rd London SE1 7PW
Phone: 0870 744 7485
Perhaps the most famous of all modern London attractions is the London Eye. You’ve got two options here: one, just come and marvel at the amazing architecture of this 135 metre ferris wheel; or two, get a ticket and climb aboard for the most amazing views of London and the surrounding counties.
Address: Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7PB
Phone: 0871 781 3000
County Hall is the large building directly opposite the London Eye and houses the London Aquarium and Dali Universe amongst others. You can also come here for a tour or just come for a bite of lunch in one of the restaurants.
Address: County Hall, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 7PB
Phone: 0871 527 8648
For a really interesting visit you should try the Florence Nightingale Museum. The museum will give you a real insight into the life and work of the ‘Lady with the Lamp’ and is a really inspiring experience.
Address: 2 Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7EW
Phone: 020 7620 037
Get a taste of the wars this country has been involved in over the last century at the Imperial War Museum. With six floors chronicling great battles, famous people, planes, tanks and other war memorabilia, this museum will give you a real insight into how conflict has shaped our lives over time. Best of all, it’s free!
Address: Lambeth Road, London SE1 6HZ
Phone: 020 7416 5000
The British Film Institute (BFI) enjoys both a spectacular location and a phenomenal reputation. Like BAFTA, it’s ostensibly a members venue, however anyone can wander into either of their expansive café-bars and make the most of the book and DVD shops. The venue is enormous, and we can confirm that the interiors of the cinemas are also stunning!
Address: Belvedere Road, South Bank, London SE1 8XT
Phone: 020 7928 3232
As a relatively new addition to the London theatre scene, the Waterloo East Theatre has gone from strength to strength. Housed under a Waterloo railway vault and having been recently refurbished, this young, brave venture offers a fantastic alternative to other entertainment options in London. It’s an intimate venue, and while it favours musical theatre, it does offer the full gamut of dramatic performance!
Address: Brad Street, Waterloo, London, SE1 8TG
Phone: 020 7928 0060
There is, perhaps, no better venue to view the Thames from than the rooftop bar of Doggetts, off Blackfriars Bridge on the South Bank of the Thames. Sadly, the rooftop bar is only open to private hire, but once in a blue moon this does get extended to the public. The rest of the bar is a good, though slightly commercial brewery-run pub in a great location.
Address: 1 Blackfriars Bridge, Waterloo, London, SE1 9UD
Phone: 020 7633 9081