district of London
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Europe > Britain and Ireland > United Kingdom > England > London > London/South Bank

The South Bank is on a sharp 90° bend of the Thames in central London and one of the city's cultural centres. It is a small area but it contains many artistic and creative sites, as well as an eclectic range of other attractions, boutique shopping and trendy food and drink places. The size of the district, as well as the pedestrianised area along the bank of the River Thames called "The Queen's Walk" (part of the Thames Path and the Jubilee Walkway) – casually, the London South Bank Walk – make it ideal for exploring by strolling around.

Location of the South Bank area in London

Understand edit

View of the London Eye at night

The South Bank has long been associated with the arts. In the Middle Ages, its position just south of the City of London, but outside the reach of its laws, made it an entertainment hub for the citizens, featuring everything from theatres to prostitution (both illegal in the medieval City). This waned for a time as customs changed but waxed again in modern times. In 1951 the "Festival of Britain" was held on this site, intended to give the nation a sense of recovery after the war, and the area was redeveloped to accommodate it. Much of the Southbank Centre dates from this event, as can be inferred from its brutalist concrete architecture.

Further around the curve of the Thames, almost directly opposite the City, is the area known as Bankside. This straightforward name is derived from the equally uncomplicated Middle English Banke syde. The same factors that shaped the South Bank were at work here and many mediaeval theatres stood here, including William Shakespeare's Globe (now marked by a replica working theatre). The rowdier neighbourhood also helped justify the Clink, one of the oldest prisons in England. Close by is Borough Market, which has been here in some form since at least the thirteenth century (and may even be Anglo-Saxon). Due to its position near the principal docks of the city, it became one of London's most important food markets in the nineteenth century and was known as "London's Larder". It retains a similar position now, although rather more fashionable and popular with "foodies" than would have been the case for its previous incarnations.

Shad Thames (also known by the names Butler's Wharf and London Bridge City) is the part of this district furthest to the east. In juxtaposition to the rest of the area, the history of this part is industrial. For example, it held the largest warehouse complex in Victorian London. Now, however, its proximity to The City, just across Tower Bridge, makes its population largely city workers and its property prices appropriately high. For the traveller, the restaurants and similar destinations here are also frequented by wealthy city workers and consequently somewhat expensive and upmarket. One of the area's more iconic industrial buildings, Bankside Power Station, was refurbished during the 1990s and reopened in the new millennium as the Tate Modern, which many believe outshines its older sister gallery further upstream, the Tate Britain.

The whole district is within easy walking distance of Covent Garden, Soho, Westminster and the City of London. It is the perfect location for a relaxing stroll and a spot of people watching. You can take in beautiful views across to the Houses of Parliament and St Paul’s, especially in the early morning and at dusk, and the packed programme of theatre, exhibitions, music, film and free events means there are plenty of inspiring things to see and do for all ages.

Get in edit

By tube edit

The district is serviced by the following tube stations, all in Zone 1:

  • Borough (Northern line). Convenient for the eastern part of the district and Borough Market especially.
  • Lambeth North (Bakerloo line). On the south west edge of the district, good access to Lambeth Palace and the Thames Path along the river.
  • London Bridge (Jubilee and Northern lines). Most convenient for the eastern end of the London South Bank Walk.
  • Southwark (Jubilee line). Near the heart of the district.
  • Waterloo (Jubilee, Northern, Bakerloo lines). In the heart of South Bank, perfect to access Riverside Walk. Also has the Waterloo & City line which directly connects to Bank (Bank of England) in the City of London.

On the north bank, with easy access to this district, all in Zone 1:

  • Blackfriars (Circle and District lines). Walk over Blackfriars Bridge to the eastern edge of Bankside.
  • Embankment (Bakerloo, Circle, District and Northern lines). Walk over the pedestrianised and renovated Hungerford Bridge to the Royal Festival Hall area. Beautiful views.
  • Monument (Circle and District lines). Walk over London Bridge to Bankside and Borough Market.
  • Tower Hill (Circle and District lines). Walk over Tower Bridge to Shad Thames.
  • Westminster (Jubilee, Circle and District lines). Walk over Westminster Bridge to arrive at London Eye and County Hall.

By rail edit

South Bank edit

Bankside edit

By boat edit

The district is serviced by the following piers:

  • Bankside (RB1 and RB2 river bus routes; Tate–Tate and Westminster–St. Katherine's tours)
  • Festival (Westminster–St. Katherine's tour)
  • London Bridge City (RB1 and RB3 river bus routes)
  • London Eye (RB1 river bus route; Westminster–Greenwich and London Eye tours)

The Tate Boat runs every 40 minutes between Tate Modern and Tate Britain (Millbank Pier), also stopping at the London Eye. It takes 20 minutes.

By foot edit

This district borders on several others and is easily accessible by walking, or similar, from these. (The southern districts, Lambeth and London/Southwark-Lewisham, are larger and walking from the further parts of these is not practical; otherwise, any point in the other neighbouring districts is within reach of South Bank.) The pedestrian Hungerford Bridge links Embankment to the South Bank Centre and all road bridges have pavements for pedestrians too. Additionally, the whole area can be reasonably navigated on foot or by wheelchair.

By bicycle edit

As above, the district borders several others and cycling from most parts of these districts to South Bank is reasonably early.

For travellers without personal bicycles, there is a London-wide Barclays Cycle Hire scheme run by Transport for London. These bikes can be rented for short or long periods using a credit or debit card at any docking station (if staying in London for a long term, special keys can be bought from Transport for London for use instead of a card, which can be cheaper over time).

See edit

Landmarks edit

South Bank edit

From west to east:

  • 1 Garden Museum, Lambeth Palace Rd, SE1 7LB (tube: Lambeth North  BAK  or Westminster  CIR  DIS  JUB ), +44 20 7401-8865, fax: +44 20 7401-8869, . Su–F 10:30AM–5PM, Sa 10:30AM–4PM. The first museum in the world dedicated to the history of gardening, based in the deconsecrated Church of St Mary-at-Lambeth. The exhibits cover everything from royal gardens to allotments. £5–7.50 (£4–6.50 seniors, £3.00 concessions, children free).
  • 2 Lambeth Palace, Lambeth Palace, SE1 7JU (tube: Lambeth North  BAK  or Westminster  CIR  DIS  JUB ). Only open to pre-booked guided tours. The official London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury since the 13th century and now a Grade I listed building. Tours must be booked in advance and tickets can be purchased via Ticketmaster. tours £10 per person + £2.50 booking fee (children free).    
  • 3 Archbishop's Park (tube: Lambeth North  BAK  or Westminster  CIR  DIS  JUB ). 7:30AM–15 minutes before sunset. This park used to be the grounds of Lambeth Palace but has been a public park since 1901. In addition to the green space it provides, it contains a range of sports facilities (booking required, except for the cricket nets) and a playground.
  • 4 The South Bank Lion (The Red Lion), Westminster Bridge, south east side (tube: Westminster  CIR  DIS  JUB ). This statue was once the mascot of the Red Lion Brewery and stood on its roof until the brewery was demolished to make way for the Royal Festival Hall. It was moved to Waterloo and then to its present position on the bridge. Keen students of biology may notice that the statue is missing certain male body parts. It used to be anatomically correct but was deemed too lewd and scandalous when placed closer to pedestrians' eye-level and was castrated so as not to cause offence.    
  • 5 County Hall, Belvedere Rd (tube: Westminster  CIR  DIS  JUB  or Waterloo  BAK  JUB  NOR  W&C ), +44 871 663 2501. The former seat of regional London government, now home to attractions such as the London Aquarium, the London Dungeon, and Namco Funscape.
    • 6 Sea Life London Aquarium, County Hall, Belvedere Rd (tube: Westminster  CIR  DIS  JUB  or Waterloo  BAK  JUB  NOR  W&C ), +44 20 7967-8000, . 10AM-7PM daily. One of the largest aquariums in Europe, it boasts a collection of 350 species of fish, from sharks to stingrays. From £19.44 (25% off after 3PM).    
    • 7 London Dungeon, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, SE1 7PB (tube: Westminster  CIR  DIS  JUB  or Waterloo  BAK  JUB  NOR  W&C ), +44 871 423 2240. M–W 10AM–5PM, Th 11AM–5PM, F 10AM–5PM, Sa Su 10AM–6PM (open until 6PM during school holidays). Brings to life the gorier elements of London's past, with faithful recreations of disaster, disease, and torture. Younger children may be scared. £25.20 (£19.80 child, £17.50 disabled), discounts for online booking.    
  • 8 London Eye, Westminster Bridge Rd (tube: Westminster  CIR  DIS  JUB  or Waterloo  BAK  JUB  NOR  W&C ), +44 870 990 8883, fax: +44 870 990 8884, . Jun-Sep 10AM-9PM daily, Oct-May 10AM-8PM daily (except 25 Dec and 3-8 Jan). An enormous, 135-metre-high observation wheel with 32 exterior glass-walled capsules. It offers incomparable views over central London and up to 40 km (25 mi) away on a good day. Tickets are sold for specific times, so if visitors wish to go on the London Eye at a specific time, they are strongly advised to book in advance, particularly in the summer. On a busy day, you can easily spend 1-3 hr queuing just to buy a ticket. However, you can also purchase tickets in advance online. Then you can collect your tickets at the London Eye in a separate queue, which takes a few minutes or less. Adult £24.95, child £19.95, free entrance under 3 years, 15% discount purchased online.    
  • 9 Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd (tube: Embankment  DIS  BAK  NOR  CIR  or Waterloo  BAK  JUB  NOR  W&C ), +44 871 663 2501. Large 1960s development on the South Bank. Built largely of concrete, views on its architectural merits vary considerably. Presents a varied programme of music, literature, dance, performances and exhibitions on contemporary art and culture at its venues the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and The Hayward. A host of new eateries and shops have now opened along the riverside and terrace. The Royal Festival Hall hosts almost daily classical music concerts throughout the year, tickets often available on the day. The Royal Festival Hall opened in 1951 and was substantially altered in 1964. Its 2007 renovation held true to its 1960s design. Free events are held daily, ranging from free music to festivals, interactive art installations to the popular slow food market.    
    • 10 Queen Elizabeth Hall (QEH) (tube: Embankment  DIS  BAK  NOR  CIR  or Waterloo  BAK  JUB  NOR  W&C ). Music venue hosting daily performances.    
    • 11 Undercroft, Queen's Walk (tube: Embankment  DIS  BAK  NOR  CIR  or Waterloo  BAK  JUB  NOR  W&C , near the South side of Waterloo Bridge). London's most famous and popular skateboarding area, situated partly underneath Queen Elizabeth Hall along Queen's Walk and the Thames. Also popular with graffiti artists, BMXers and so forth. Free.
    • 12 BFI Southbank, Belvedere Rd (tube: Embankment  DIS  BAK  NOR  CIR  or Waterloo  BAK  JUB  NOR  W&C ). Tucked under Waterloo Bridge, BFI Southbank, formerly known as the National Film Theatre, pitches itself as the home of film and has three screens showing classic (including silent), foreign language and less mainstream films. It has a new entrance on Theatre Alley, a shop dedicated to film, an interactive exhibition space and an excellent bar/restaurant at the back. Visitors can also access the Mediatheque - wind your way through the BFI's extensive film and TV archive for free. Cool bar and restaurant. Tickets are generally available on the spur of the moment.    
    • 13 National Theatre, Belvedere Rd (tube: Embankment  DIS  BAK  NOR  CIR  or Waterloo  BAK  JUB  NOR  W&C ), +44 20 7452-3000 (M-Sa 10AM-10PM), +44 20 7452-3400, fax: +44 20 7452-3030, . Three large auditoriums, the Olivier, the Lyttelton and the Cottesloe. The Olivier theatre is the largest with an open stage and a fan shaped auditorium around it. This ensures that all seats provide a good view. Most of the more 'popular' productions are put on here as the space provided is much larger than most theatres. The Lyttelton theatre is more traditional with a proscenium arc with good views from most seats. The Cottesloe is a small studio theatre, seating around 400. Some tickets will be available on the day, either day seats (arrive before 9:30AM and queue) or standby (arrive before 6PM and queue), or you can buy online. Popular shows, especially those around Christmas in the Olivier sell out months in advance. Tickets to The National Theatre are generally better value than most other theatres. There is also the '£15 Travelex' season in the summer (as of 2019) that provides a large number (over 100,000 seats a year) at £10. Booking in advance is required for these. There is also an exhibition space in the Lyttelton theatre foyer that frequently holds popular photographic exhibitions. Free jazz is often played in the evening in the ground floor foyer. During summer there is a free daily outdoor festival of performance, music, comedy and cabaret known as Watch This Space. Deckchairs (and artificial grass) are provided to watch on. Free exhibitions. Backstage tours £5.    
  • 14 BFI IMAX Cinema, 1 Charlie Chaplin Walk (tube: Waterloo  BAK  JUB  NOR  W&C ), +44 870 787 2525. Set back from the riverside is the BFI IMAX, the largest cinema screen in the UK at 26 m wide, 20 m high. Shows family-friendly 3D IMAX films as well as action films which work well on the huge screen. Also hosts special all-nighters such as the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
  • 15 OXO Tower. Home to designer-marker boutiques, selling everything from hats and homeware to wedding dresses and jewellery. Modern gallery on the ground floor which is free and open every day, various cafes, a florists and hairdressers here to. Upstairs there's the Tamesa Brasserie and Bincho Yakitori (Japanese tapas). Also contains a restaurant and bar on the top floor, giving you a great view over the Thames. You pay for the privilege through the food bill, though you can go up the tower and have access to a separate balcony for free. Interesting views of the surrounding South London area and great views of the Embankment.    

Bankside edit

The Golden Hind
The Shard
  • 16 Former City Hall, The Queen's Walk (tube: London Bridge  JUB  NOR ). Former offices of the Greater London Authority. A radically-designed glass fronted and rounded building, previously headquarters for London's Mayor and Assembly. City Hall has now be relocated to The Crystal, a building in Greenwich, near to the cable car. The old building is disused and not open to the public, but can be viewed from the outside.    
  • 17 HMS Belfast, Morgan's Ln (tube: London Bridge  JUB  NOR ). Mar-Oct: daily 10AM-5:15PM, Nov-Feb: daily 10AM-16:15. A historic boat, part of the Imperial War Museum. £7.20-10.30, child under 16 free.    
  • 18 Clink Prison Museum, 1 Clink St, SE1 9DG (tube: London Bridge  JUB  NOR ). A museum that tries to recreate the conditions of the original prison that used to be on this site from the 12th century until 1780, which was notorious the name of it has since become slang as a generic term for prison.    
  • 19 Winchester Palace, Corner of Clink St and Storey St (tube: London Bridge  JUB  NOR ). Ruins of the 12th-century palace which was the London residence of the Bishops of Winchester.    
  • 20 The Golden Hind (tube: London Bridge  JUB  NOR ). Full-size replica of Francis Drake's ship sits in a small closed dock to the west of Southwark Cathedral.    
  • 21 Southwark Cathedral, London Bridge (tube: London Bridge  JUB  NOR ). Not as popular with tourists as St Paul's north of the river, Southwark Cathedral has been the site of worship since the year 852. Literally in the shadow of London Bridge, the Cathedral is a shelter from the noise of the city. Next to the Cathedral is the Borough Market open Th-Sa with a wide range of speciality food to buy, a good area for lunch.    
  • 22 The Shard (The View from the Shard), 32 London Bridge Street, SE1 9SG (next door to London Bridge Station  JUB  NOR ), +44 344 499 7222 (General), +44 844 499 7111 (Bookings). Hours vary, but most commonly 11AM-7PM. Often closed M and Tu. Check website. Go up the tallest building in Western Europe to see the furthest panoramic view of London ever to have a price tag stuck on it. Entry is to a timeslot, but once you're up there you may spend as much time (and extra money on tea, cake or cocktails) as you want. Entry £32, with champagne £48. Fast track £10. Guidebook £3.    
  • 23 Millennium Bridge. This steel pedestrian bridge connecting Bankside with the City of London has all the lovely views of the Thames that you'd expect, but most of those who cross Millennium Bridge never notice its most distinctive feature. The bridge is dotted with hundreds of tiny paintings, so small that you'll probably miss them under your feet if you're not looking for them.    

Museums and galleries edit

View into the main Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern
Tate Modern

From west to east:

  • 24 Tate Modern, Bankside (tube: Southwark  JUB , Blackfriars  CIR  DIS ), +44 20 7887-8888, . Su-Th 10AM-6PM (last admission 5:15PM), F Sa 10AM-10PM (last admission 9:15PM). An enormous art gallery converted from the former Bankside Power Station, a visit to Tate Modern could easily take half a day. The gallery collects together contemporary and modern art from around the world, arranged thematically. The most stunning aspect of the building, is the enormous Turbine Hall, which plays host to a single piece of work commissioned for the space each year. An extension of the gallery has opened in a ten-storey building behind the existing power station. Permanent collection free but all donations welcome.    
  • 25 London Fire Brigade Museum, 94a Southwark Bridge Rd, SE1 0EG (tube: London Bridge  JUB  NOR ), +44 20 8555-1200, . M–F 10:30AM & 2PM. Admission by guided tour only, which must be booked in advance. The museum is housed in part of a Victorian fire station and its collections include fire engines and historical equipment. £5 (£3 concessions).    
  • 26 Topolski Century, Concert Hall Approach, 150-152 Hungerford Arches (tube: Waterloo  BAK  JUB  NOR  W&C , Embankment  BAK  CIR  DIS  NOR ), +44 20 7620-1275. M-Sa 11AM-7PM, Su noon-6PM. Painted between 1975 and 1989, Topolski Century is a unique, monumental work of a Polish artist Feliks Topolski (1907-1989) that presents a remarkable record of the key events and the iconic figures of the 20th century such as Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Pablo Picasso and Coco Chanel. 600 feet long and 20 feet high, Topolski Century is the artist’s eye witness testimony to the era that shaped our lives. It is global in its scope and is Topolski’s legacy to future generations. £2 (£1 concession).    
  • 27 Hayward Gallery, Belvedere Rd, +44 20 7921-0813, fax: +44 20 7401-2664, . Sa-M Th 10AM-6PM, Tu 10AM-8PM, W 10AM-8PM, F 10AM-9PM (except 24-27 Dec and 1-2 Jan). The largest public art space in the UK and the exhibitions showcase masters and young British and international artists, usually accompanied by outdoor installations that bring the area to life. The gallery often holds free exhibitions which can be enjoyed by all. Particularly strong on contemporary art exhibitions. Hosts a single temporary exhibition at any time. £7.50, child (12-16) £4, senior (60+) £7, student £6.    
  • 28 The London Bridge Experience, 2-4 Tooley St (tube: London Bridge  JUB  NOR ), toll-free: +44 800 043 4666. The London Bridge Experience and London Tombs are two scare attractions for one price. They were voted the UK's Best Year Round Scare Attraction for three years running. From £19.50.    
  • 29 The Old Operating Theatre (tube: London Bridge  JUB  NOR ). 10:30AM-5PM. Britain's oldest operating theatre is an unusual tourist attraction, located in the roof space of St. Thomas's Church along with the herb store originally used by St. Thomas's Hospital's apothecary. £6.50.    
  • 30 Fashion & Textile Museum, 83 Bermondsey St. Founded by veteran designer Zandra Rhodes.    

Do edit

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

Theatres edit

  • 4 Old Vic Theatre, The Cut, Waterloo (tube: Waterloo  BAK  JUB  NOR  W&C ). One of the oldest theatres in London, once under the artistic direction of Kevin Spacey.    
  • 5 Shakespeare's Globe, 21 New Globe Walk (tube: Blackfriars  CIR  DIS , Southwark  JUB ), +44 20 7401-9919, fax: +44 20 7902-1475, . May-Sep: daily 9AM-5PM, Oct-Apr: daily 10AM-5PM. Sam Wanamaker's largely authentic reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, built using traditional techniques, stages plays in the summer months. Around the year, there is an exhibition ending with either a tour of the theatre (in winter, and mornings in the summer), or a virtual tour (summer afternoons). Tickets for plays are often available on the day, particularly if you are prepared to stand in the yard.    
  • 6 Young Vic Theatre, The Cut, Waterloo (tube: Waterloo  BAK  JUB  NOR  W&C , Southwark  JUB ). Fab theatre on The Cut which is home to younger theatre artists, especially directors. Presents plays for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Lively bar and restaurant too.

Tours edit

  • Blackfriars Westminster Walking Music Project (tube: Southwark  JUB ), . Users can download an MP3 (22MB) that soundtracks their walk between Blackfriars Bridge and Westminster Bridge. The tailor-made music reflects the changing environment.
  • Frog Tour, +44 20 7928-3132. Along the Thames and through the streets of London in an amphibious vehicle. Operated by Capital Frogs Ltd, County Hall, on the south side of Westminster Bridge.
Tower Bridge at night from South Bank

Itineraries edit

  • London South Bank Walk. The walk along the South Bank of the Thames is a relaxing walk through central London, away (albeit only a short distance) from the traffic. Pedestrians can walk alongside the river almost the whole way from Tower Bridge to Lambeth Bridge, following the route of the Jubilee Walkway, a route through central London that takes in most of London's key attractions, which was developed for the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977.

Buy edit

  • 1 Borough Market (off Borough High St). W Th 10AM-5PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 8AM-5PM. One of London's favourite wholesale working food markets, on Fridays and Saturdays offering a general retail market with specialties sold directly from the producers, organic products, delicatessen, cheese, wines, fish and imported continental fare. Around the market are other excellent food shops, for a total food experience! Pick up some food and enjoy it under Southwark Cathedral. For market shopping, it's best to go in the morning, or after 2PM, since it starts to get very crowded by around 11:30AM when the lunch crowd comes in.    
  • 2 Gabriel's Wharf. An eclectic mix of shops and restaurants, the design shops at Gabriel's Wharf are exclusively run by small businesses who design and manufacture their own products, the majority of work available will have been made by the person selling it to you. If you can't find exactly what you are looking for it is possible to commission many of the designers directly. Shops to look out for include Bicha, Game of Graces and Anne Kyyro Quinn.
  • 3 Hay's Galleria (tube: London Bridge). A beautiful converted wharf on the Jubilee Walk which, since 1987, has been home to cafés, shops and traditional barrows. Originally a warehouse and associated wharf (Hay's Wharf) for the port of London, it was redeveloped as a visitor attraction in the 1950s and has lots of boutique shops.
  • 4 Southbank Book Market, Queen's Walk (under Waterloo Bridge). Daily 10AM–7PM. Second-hand book sale near the bank of the Thames. A nice place to just browse for books (classic and modern), maps and prints.
  • 5 Oxo Tower Wharf, Barges House St (tube: Waterloo). Huge galleria.

Eat edit

There is a great selection of cafes, bars and restaurants for all budgets, so make sure you take time to watch the world go by.

Street food edit

  • 1 Southbank Centre Food Market, Southbank Centre Square (behind the Royal Festival Hall). F noon–8PM, Sa 11AM–8PM, Su noon–6PM. Dozens of market stalls selling fresh food. Each trader at this market is required to produce both ethical and sustainable products.

Budget edit

Waterloo edit

  • 2 Marie's Cafe, 90 Lower Marsh, SE1 7AB (Behind Waterloo station), +44 20 7928-1050. M-F 7AM-10:30PM, Sa 7AM-4PM and 5-10:30PM. A favourite with locals, don't be put off by the shabby exterior of this greasy spoon/Thai cafe hybrid. The Thai menu is authentic and very tasty and service is quick. Very close to the Old Vic and around 10 minutes walk from the Southbank Centre. Mains £4-6, 'bring your own' alcohol policy.
  • 3 The Hole In The Wall, 5 Mepham St.
  • 4 Crust Bros Pizza Waterloo, 113 Waterloo Rd.
  • 5 Pizza Pilgrims Waterloo, 82 Lower Marsh.
  • 6 GoGo Pocha, 30 Lower Marsh. Korean
  • 7 The Crown & Cushion, 133-135 Westminster Bridge Rd.
  • 8 Mamuśka! Polish Kitchen and Bar, 9 Addington St, SE1 7RY, +44 20 3602 1898. Su M Tu noon-10PM, W noon-11:30PM, Th noon-11PM, F Sa noon-midnight. Large Polish restaurant.

London Bridge edit

  • 9 Padella, 6 Southwark St (entrance of Borough Market by Borough High St). M-Sa noon-3:45PM, 5-10PM; Su noon-3:45PM, 5-9PM. Daily fresh handmade pasta in a two-level restaurant right by the entrance of Borough Market. Watch the chefs prepare dishes in the open kitchen on the main floor. Listed as a Michelin Bib Gourmand (2020) since 2016. No reservations are taken and queues can start before doors open, so go early or near closing. Pasta £5-10 (Feb 2020).
  • 10 Franco Manca, 15 Winchester Walk.
  • 11 The Old Kings Head, King's Head Yard.
  • 12 Cafe Rossi, 57 Borough High St.
  • 13 Wasabi Sushi & Bento, 59-61 Borough High St.
  • 14 Shrigley's Moroccan Cuisine, 125 Borough High St.
  • 15 Chilango London Bridge, 90 Tooley St.

Mid-range edit

  • 16 Gabriel’s Wharf. Try a crepe here
  • 17 Lord Nelson, 243 Union St, SE1 0LR, +44 20 7207-2701, . M-Sa noon-11PM, Su noon-10:30PM. Small but unique burger restaurant and bar. Good student discounts. Good selection of burgers, and tastes great for the price. The restaurant has a lot of character, hosting memorabilia and knicknacks from the 1950s-modern.
  • 18 TAS Pide, 22 New Globe Walk, SE1 9DR, +44 20 7928 3300, . M–Sa noon–11:30PM, Su noon–10:30PM. Delightful Turkish restaurant specialising in "pide", boat-shaped flatbreads. Plenty of vegetarian options. Sample the free Turkish delights at the front desk.
  • 19 The Garrison, 99-101 Bermondsey St, +44 20 7089-9355, . M–Th 8AM–11PM, F 8AM–midnight, Sa 9AM–midnight, Su 9AM–10:30PM. Gastro-pub with fine-dining and cinema downstairs. Mains come in between £10-25.
  • 20 Ping Pong Southbank, Festival Terrace, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd. Dim Sum Restaurant

Splurge edit

  • 21 OXO Tower Restaurant Bar & Brasserie, 8th Floor, Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, SE1 9PH (tube: Waterloo), +44 20 7803-3888, . M-Sa noon-2:30PM and 6:30-11PM, Su noon-3PM and 6:30-10PM. Offers spectacular views and the complete dining experience with mouthwatering dishes and indulgent wines to match.
  • 22 Skylon, Belvedere Rd, Royal Festival Hall.

Drink edit

Pubs and bars edit

South Bank edit

The cultural centre on the western side of the district includes several notable drinking establishments.

  • 1 Doggett's Coat and Badge, 1 Blackfriars Bridge, SE1 9UD (near Blackfriars Bridge, on the south-west side), +44 20 7633-9081. M–W 10AM–12:30PM, Th–Sa 10AM–12:30PM, Su 10AM–11PM. A four-floored pub overlooking the Thames near Blackfriars Bridge.  
  • 2 Founders Arms, 52 Hopton St, SE1 9JH (tube: Blackfriars or Southwark; near Blackfriars Bridge), +44 20 7928-1899, . M–Th 9AM–11PM, F Sa 9AM–midnight, Su 9AM–11PM. Riverside Youngs' pub with an excellent view looking straight across the Thames at St. Paul's Cathedral and the rest of The City's iconic skyline.  
  • 3 The Hole In The Wall, 5 Mepham St, SE1 8SQ (tube: Waterloo), +44 20 7928-6196. M–Sa 11AM–11PM, Su noon–10:30PM. With a homey and comfortable decor, the appeal of the Hole in the Wall lies in its close proximity to the station and the excellent range of beers on the hand. Use to have a rep for being a spooks hangout due to it being close to MI6 at Vauxhall and is subsequently featured in several spy novels. The rattling of trains above the arches can be heard inside.  

Southwark edit

The non-riverside core of the district doesn't have quite as many drinking establishments as the other areas but there are places worth visiting.

  • 4 Roxy Bar and Screen (tube: Borough), +44 20 7407-4057, . M 11AM–midnight, Tu–Th 11AM–1AM, F 11AM–1:30AM, Sa 11AM–2:30AM, Su 11AM–midnight. Bar-cinema hybrid. Shows films every night except Friday and Saturday, when it is a normal bar. The back room is fitted with a high-definition projector and screens a range of films, acting as second-run cinema and a bar. Listings can include major sports events as well as mainstream and niche movies. Tickets from £3.
  • 5 Windmill Tavern, 86 The Cut, SE1 8LW (tube: Southwark or Waterloo), +44 20 7207-3984, fax: +44 20 7928-5300, . M–W 11AM–11PM, Th–Sa 11AM–midnight, Su 11AM–10:30PM. Friendly bar staff pouring chilled beers from a wide selection. Great pub food.
  • 6 The White Hart (Fuller's), 22 Great Suffolk Street, SE1 0UG, +44 20 7928-8265, . M–F noon–9:30PM, closed Sa Su. Really great pub with great mix of seating, specialist nights, interesting beers, great modern British pub food, and a nice outdoor area. Different nights including live music, quiz nights. Mixed crowd. Relaxed weekend day times, can get busy in the evenings. Decor is a mix of traditional, industrial/modern and quirky/shabby chic. Friendly staff.

Bankside edit

The area around Borough Market, directly opposite The City, attracts as many pubs as it does restaurants.

  • 7 Barrowboy & Banker, 6–8 Borough High St, SE1 9QQ (tube: London Bridge), +44 20 7403-5415, . M–Sa 11AM–11PM, Su noon–7PM. This used to be the first branch of NatWest bank in the UK and it maintains a lot of the old bank fittings, from pillars to marble floors.
  • 8 Brew Wharf, 14–16 Stoney St, SE1 9AD (tube: London Bridge), +44 20 7378-6601, . M–Sa noon–11PM, Su noon–8PM. This gastropub is part of Vinopolis but it is definitely beer-focussed—it even has its own microbrewery—with a large selection from around the world. Pint from £4.60.
  • 9 George Inn, 77 Borough High St, SE1 1NH (tube: London Bridge), +44 20 7407-2056, . This inn was built in 1676 after the original establishment was burned down in the Great London fire of 1666. The George is London's only surviving galleried coaching inn, and is one of the oldest pubs south of the Thames.
  • 10 The Hop Exchange building, 24 Southwark St, SE1 1TY (tube: London Bridge). It used to supply hops to the many breweries that were based in the area in the past. Two different sister pubs now occupy the site:
    • Katzenjammers (Basement), +44 20 3417-0196. M–Th noon–11PM, F Sa noon–midnight, Su noon–10:30PM. German theme pub sharing a building with its sister The Wheatsheaf in the basement of the Hop Exchange. Stocks Schnapps and German beer, some of which can be hard to find in London, as well as serving Bavarian cuisine.
    • The Sheaf (The Wheatsheaf) (Basement), +44 20 7407-9934. M–F 11AM–11PM, Sa noon–11PM, Su noon–10:30PM. Sharing a building with its sister Katzenjammers in the basement of the Hop Exchange. Several, constantly rotating guest beers are regularly on offer. (The original Wheatsheaf had to be moved due the Thameslink railway passing directly over it.).
  • 11 The Market Porter, 9 Stoney St, SE1 9AA (tube: London Bridge), +44 20 7407-2495. M–F 6–8:30AM and 11AM–11PM, Sa noon–11PM, Su noon–10:30PM. A real ale pub that offers "a beer festival every day of the week". It puts new and different casks on as the previous one sell out and can have several new beers become available within a single day. Uses it early morning market licence to open with the dawn on weekdays. No bar food served on Saturdays but the restaurant upstairs is still open (M–Th noon–3PM, F–Su noon–5PM).
  • 12 The Rake, 14 Winchester Walk, SE1 9AG (tube: London Bridge), +44 20 7407-0557. M–F noon–11PM, Sa 11AM–11PM, Su noon–10PM. Tiny pub that used to be a cafe, attached to Borough Market (it shares the gents' toilets) and owned by the market beer shop, Utobeer. Specialises in bottled beer, especially local and international craft beers.
  • 13 The Southwark Tavern, 22 Southwark St, SE1 1TU (tube: London Bridge), +44 20 7403-0257, . M–W 11AM–midnight, Th–F 11AM–1AM, Sa 10AM–1AM, Su noon–midnight.

Shad Thames edit

The area by Tower Bridge contains some of the best pubs in the city.

  • 14 Dean Swift (tube: Tower Hill), +44 20 7357-0748, . M–Sa noon–midnight, Su noon–11PM. Beer specialist, which often includes casks from the local Kernel brewery as well as further afield.
  • 15 Draft House, 206–208 Tower Bridge Rd, SE1 2UP (tube: London Bridge or Tower Hill, near Tower Bridge), +44 20 7378-9995, . M–Sa noon–11PM, Su noon–10:30PM. A branch of the small, local chain of American-influenced pubs which "aims to do for beer what our culture has done for food and wine".
  • 16 The Horniman, Unit 26, Hays Galleria, SE1 2HD (in Hays Galleria, near London Bridge), +44 20 7407-1991. M–Tu 10AM–11:30PM, W 10AM–midnight, Th–Sa 10AM–12:30AM, Sa 10AM–11PM.

Clubs edit

  • 17 Concrete, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX (in the Hayward Gallery). Open until 3AM. Free nightly music events. The best place to sample underground electro, indie, dub-step and more.

Sleep edit

Budget edit

Mid-range edit

Splurge edit

Connect edit

Free and paid Wi-Fi edit

Several places have free or paid Wi-Fi:

  • The Southbank Centre, the National Theatre, the Royal Festival Hall, the BFI Southbank and the BFI IMAX all have free Wi-Fi available.
  • The London Eye's ticket office, and the area immediately surrounding it, also have free Wi-Fi.
  • Waterloo Station offers fifteen minutes of free Wi-Fi (per 24 hours) after which you must register and buy additional access.
  • The Cloud provides pay-only Wi-Fi along the Festival Riverside (by the Thames, in front of the Southbank Centre).
  • London Marriott Hotel County Hall and the local Park Plaza hotels offer free Wi-Fi, with connection details available at their receptions.

Go next edit

Routes through South Bank
Leicester SquareCovent Garden  W   E  Southwark-LewishamEND
North LondonWestminster  W   E  Southwark-LewishamEast London
Leicester SquareCovent Garden ← Charing Cross branch ←  N   S  → Charing Cross branch → Southwark-LewishamSouth London
North LondonThe City ← Bank branch ←  N   S  → Bank branch → Southwark-LewishamSouth London
END  W   E  The CityEND

Routes through South Bank
The City  N   SW  LambethKingston-upon-Thames

This district travel guide to South Bank is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.