Enjoy a range of cultural events on show by the River Thames at one of the largest centers of art in the world.
The Southbank Center sits on the lively south bank of the River Thames and is one of the most significant centers devoted to the arts in Europe. It claims to be one of the largest arts centers of its kind in the world, boasting three vast buildings. The complex consists of the Hayward Gallery, the Royal Festival Hall and the Queen Elizabeth Hall among other important spaces. Thousands of performances ranging from theater and music productions to literature readings take place in these halls annually. There are many temporary art exhibitions throughout the year.
See theatrical events in one of the halls. Listen to live music and watch dance displays. Some of the activities are free for the public and ticketed events usually offer special prices for children. Watch one of the events for kids, such as junior comedy clubs, singing time and magician shows.
Peruse the Hayward Gallery, which is home to small exhibitions by budding artists throughout the year. Have a look around the Saison Poetry Library and its special collection of children’s books.
Buy a snack at the Real Food Market, which is on from Friday until Sunday every week. Dine at one of the many restaurants and cafés around the center.
The complex dates back to the Festival of Britain in the 1950s. The event was designed to showcase the country’s recovery from World War II. The Royal Festival Hall is still standing from the original festival. The center now attracts about 22 million visitors each year. The halls open in the morning and close late at night every day.
You can find the Southbank Center in the middle of the South Bank area by the River Thames. Take the London Underground to Embankment then cross the Hungerford Bridge or make the 5-minute walk from Waterloo Station. Nearby attractions include the London Eye and the Sea Life London Aquarium.