I must begin this text with an apology, as a result of in reality, there are two locations I at all times go to when I’m in London, not simply the one. One is the Marylebone Neighborhood, however I’ve already written about this favourite neighborhood of mine. The opposite is South Financial institution, and I’ll let you know extra about it right here.
Each locations are very completely different from one another, with Marylebone being extra shopping-orientated, whereas South Financial institution is all about having fun with the proximity of the River Thames. And whereas there are such a lot of sights to see alongside the Thames, I’m at all times drawn to the southern facet of the river, which invitations you to stroll, in addition to cease off in so many locations.
Bursting with the whole lot from artwork to meals, from walks to historical past, South Financial institution stretches formally between Lambeth Bridge and Lambeth Palace — the official seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury — previous the London Eye to Blackfriars Bridge. That mentioned, I have a tendency to incorporate the subsequent two bridges, and for me, South Financial institution ends at both Millennium Bridge or a number of steps on at Southwark Bridge. I hope that works for you.
This stretch of the town provides a lot, and you’re sure to finish up including it as certainly one of your selection spots in London as properly.
Listed below are my favourite issues to do alongside London’s South Financial institution — considerably prolonged in measurement for this author’s functions.
1. The View Throughout To Westminster Palace
One of many causes I really like South Financial institution is the views. There’s clearly the River Thames with its ships and boats, ferries, and water taxis. There are the bridges, starting from previous to newer, crossed by pedestrians, vehicles, iconic purple double-decker buses, and trains. There’s the sometimes grand London structure, from the Palace of Westminster with Massive Ben to Lambeth Palace, from the big white buildings alongside the Strand on the other facet of the river, to St. Paul’s Cathedral. Then, slowly rising as you stroll, you’ll see the extra fashionable additions to the London skyline, a few of which already simply as iconic because the older buildings, such because the Gherkin, the Cheesegrater, and the Shard.
All of the views unfold as you stroll, however there may be additionally one other method of catching them multi functional go: from the London Eye. Whereas not an excellent fan of those “eyes” which have been popping up in almost each metropolis, I do suppose everyone ought to go on them as soon as, simply to get a distinct perspective that you just in any other case merely couldn’t get.
Professional Tip: I’m an excellent fan of having fun with a grand view with a glass of one thing particular in my hand. Right here you may have choices: You possibly can guide the Champagne Expertise on the London Eye or pop as much as the Queen Elizabeth Corridor Roof Backyard simply behind the Eye, which, with its beautiful backyard and dwell music, is especially beautiful on a heat afternoon.
2. The Southbank Centre And Hayward Gallery
Once I was in London as an au pair, half a lifetime in the past, the Southbank Centre (not a spelling mistake, the Southbank Centre is spelled as one phrase, nevertheless it stands on the South Financial institution), with its Brutalist structure, was my second dwelling. On the Southbank Centre, not solely was there a shelf of free books, but in addition a cinema membership that was free, or actually low-cost, I overlook.
In the present day, the British Movie Institute’s cinema remains to be on-site. And whereas the free books should have moved elsewhere, close by is now the Hayward Gallery, which holds common and very good exhibitions, such because the Louise Bourgeois, one which simply completed. Sadly, this gallery will not be free, and at £15 per particular person ($18.87), I’ve to confess that I typically merely transfer on to the Tate Trendy as a substitute, except there may be an exhibition I’m determined to see.
Professional Tip: Should you come on the weekend, you possibly can take full benefit of the Southbank Centre Meals Market, a number of stalls providing you the whole lot from Asian road meals to sizzling canines, from truffle-infused burgers to crêpes, and from espresso to wine and beer. Include an empty abdomen.
3. Leake Road Tunnel
Simply by Waterloo Railway Station lies the Leake Road Tunnel, and the Leake Road Arches. For anyone concerned about road artwork and skillful graffiti, this can be a must-see. In comparison with Brick Lane, most likely essentially the most well-known space for city artwork, that is simply nearly as good, if not higher. The distinction right here is that the graffiti is authorized and has been for years, and it’s all achieved in a restricted area. An outlet for road artwork with out the specter of being punished for it has attracted many artists through the years, and the continuously altering shows are merely beautiful. From Leake Road, the artwork spills over into the Leake Road Arches, eight former railway arches. The general ambiance is fabulous, with the younger and previous(er), professionals and households, vacationers and locals strolling by way of the realm appreciating the ever-changing canvas it offers.
Professional Tip: Cease off at Banh Bao Brothers for beautiful, recent Vietnamese road meals.
4. Winter Market
This can be a little bit of a seasonal must-do, because the so-called Winter Market is in reality a conventional Christmas market that gives all of the belongings you’d count on from continental Europe in winter: loads of wood chalets and twinkle lights, stalls promoting items and Christmas decorations, and, in fact, food and drinks. As a German, after I can’t make it to Germany earlier than Christmas and discover myself in London as a substitute, I have a tendency to move straight to the German bratwurst stand. Give me sausages from the grill with a facet of fries and mayonnaise, all washed down with a heat spiced wine, and I’m in pre-Christmas heaven. The market spreads exterior the Southbank Centre and tends to open in early to mid-November and stays open till simply earlier than Christmas.
Professional Tip: Should you do end up in London earlier than Christmas, additionally head to Hyde Park and the Winter Wonderland, which is a cross between a conventional Christmas market and a enjoyable truthful. It stays open over Christmas into the New 12 months.
5. OXO Tower
The enduring OXO Tower was once a former energy station, similar to Tate Trendy (see under), and offered energy just for the Royal Mail. Within the Twenties, the constructing was bought by the corporate well-known for making the OXO Beef Inventory Cubes, which you’ll discover in each English grocery store. The corporate wished to promote not solely the repurposed constructing’s renovation within the beautiful Artwork Deco model, but in addition its merchandise, however was refused to take action by the town. So, the architects constructed three home windows into the tower with two spherical designs, and two crossed between them, that, when illuminated, spelled OXO. (Very intelligent certainly.) In the present day, the tower is a vacation spot in itself, with nice outlets, artwork galleries, and very good eating places and cafes.
Professional Tip: E-book your self an area on the terrace of the OXO Tower Bar on the eighth flooring, the place you possibly can sit exterior and luxuriate in cocktails, with London unfold out under you. It’s significantly beautiful at sundown when the town begins to glitter.
6. Tate Trendy
Tate Trendy is palms down my favourite up to date artwork area in London. I really like the area itself, a former energy station, which has been reimagined, taking one thing very industrial and making it into one thing that’s good for displaying artwork — not in contrast to the Zeitz MOCAA in Cape City. Then, there are the wonderful exhibitions, however the truth that this is among the many free museums in London can be very helpful if you simply need to pop in for a repair of artwork. And although its 5.7 million guests a yr reportedly make it one of the visited artwork galleries and museums on the earth, the area is so monumental and properly organized that it by no means feels cramped. When you’re “achieved” with the artwork, you possibly can both mirror whereas sitting on a swing downstairs, or store within the very good bookstore and museum store.
Professional Tip: For distinction, however nonetheless underneath the identical umbrella, stroll to the Tate Britain, simply previous Lambeth Palace on the opposite facet of the Thames, for a extra conventional setting and extra conventional artwork.
7. Millennium Bridge
I really like all of the older bridges in London, I imply, what’s to not love about Tower Bridge, or Westminster Bridge? However Millennium Bridge, a hypermodern metal development, and “solely” a footbridge, might be my favourite. Constructed by architect Norman Foster and appropriately opened within the yr 2000, it’s vastly photogenic, particularly if you add a black and white filter. It is usually vastly helpful: connecting Southwark, or what I nonetheless name South Financial institution, with the Financial institution district and St. Paul’s Cathedral. In truth, you get a singular view of the cathedral from the center of the bridge. Also known as the Wobbly Bridge, its preliminary wobble issues have been shortly mounted and it’s now regular, regardless of the customarily slightly gusty London climate.
Professional Tip: You’ll acknowledge the bridge from movies similar to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and James Bond’s Spectre.
There’s an abundance of actions to discover exterior of South Financial institution in surrounding London: