Our list of what to do in this U.K. powerhouse.
Originally Appeared on Condé Nast Traveler
Tell me: What’s this place all about?
The South Bank is one of the London’s best bits. Generally located between the Westminster and London bridges, it offers about two-miles of excellent, largely state-funded arts and entertainment venues alongside breezy, traffic-free views of a succession of city landmarks (Big Ben, St. Paul's, the Tower of London) that lie on the north bank. No wonder it attracts over 14 million people per year.
What’s it like being there?
It’s a landmark a minute on the South Bank, and every one’s a winner. From the viewing room at the top of Tate Modern’s Switch House extension or the capsules of the London Eye seeing London from on high gives you an insight into the city old and new. Walking along the river, taking in the booksellers and street performers, the skaters and pubs it feels like all of London is happening right here.
Who comes here?
Londoners and tourists, everyone comes to the South Bank because it's so pleasant. Even if you're not coming for a show, or stop off at the Sea Life Aquarium just before Westminster Bridge, come here for good walk with plenty of green spaces, a playground or two and lots of benches to stop off at along the way.
Did it meet expectations?
Very much so. With so much to see and do on South Bank spending the whole day here is easy enough. Taking in a show at the Festival Hall, be it part of the regular and varied programs on offer or a singular gig, or seeing a classic movie at the British Film Institute, there’s something for everyone. Tate Modern is unbeatable, the grand Turbine Hall installations, which are free, always breathtaking. You'll want to come back and spend two or even three days exploring.
So, then, what, or who, do you think it’s best for?
With limited time in the capital South Bank is great because it has everything (including a selection of good restaurants and street food offerings). Every venue on the river's edge is worth visiting. But it is packed so if crowds are not your thing then give it a miss.