A cultural melting pot by day with glittering riverside views at night, London’s South Bank is one of the city’s most vibrant destinations. Best known for its proximity to so many of London’s prime attractions, South Bank is opposite the Houses of Parliament, a mere stroll from Covent Garden and the Tate Modern and home to the London Eye, the Imperial War museum and the renowned Royal Festival Hall. Despite the tourist hoards, this stretch along the Thames waterfront (an area running from Lambeth to Blackfriars bridges) maintains its laid-back London cool and makes for an idyllic stroll through the heart of the city. And with everything from music concerts to art galleries crammed into the area, the only problem is deciding where to go first.

1) Sightseeing

Running from Westminster bridge to Waterloo bridge, the aptly named Riverside Walkway is a good starting point, taking in the London Eye, County Hall, Royal Festival Hall and the National Theatre. Filled with arts venues, the stretch is a buzz of activities with numerous festivals, outdoor art exhibitions and markets taking place by day and a lively bar and restaurant scene filling up at night - all to a spectacular backdrop of old and new London. Close by, the bustling plaza of Gabriel’s Wharf, overlooked by the acclaimed Oxo Tower, offers great views of St Paul’s Cathedral alongside a network of popular eateries and art boutiques. You can also see the area for another angle if you opt for a river cruise or a London Duck Tour.

2) The Arts

South Bank is bursting with independent art galleries, especially around the Gabriel’s Wharf area, but the Gallery@Oxo, tucked away within the Oxo Tower, the Hayward Gallery at the Southbank Centre and the Skylark Galleries are some of the most impressive.

For entertainment: With several of the capital’s premier concert halls and theatres in the area, it’s no surprise that South Bank is awash with activity come the twilight hours. Movie buffs are spoilt for choice with the world-famous BFI Southbank, the state-of-the-art BFI IMAX cinema and the impressive on-site BFI Filmstore. If you prefer your entertainment live, the National Theatre, Royal Festival Hall and The Young Vic Theatre are great places to catch a show or take part in the numerous events and festivals that descend upon the area throughout the year.

For history: If all this entertainment leaves you craving something a bit more educational, there’s plenty to choose from in South Bank – pay a visit to the Florence Nightingale Museum or wander through The Old Vic Tunnels , a network of unused railway tunnels running beneath Waterloo Station and now home to local artists and music events. The Imperial War Museum is another impressive spot, crammed with fascinating World War relics, including a chance to experience a recreated WWI bunker.

Practical Info

The Southbank area can be reached by taking the London Underground to Waterloo on the same side of the River Thames or , Temple, Embankment, or Westminster on the opposite side and walking over.

Tours & Tickets

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London City Sightseeing Tour Including Tower of London and City of London

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 96 Reviews

Location: London, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes

From USD $82.66

Private Tour: London City Highlights

Location: London, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 hours

From USD $137.53

Photography Workshop Walking Tour of London's South Bank by Night

Location: London, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 hours

From USD $125.45

Crime and Mystery Walking Tour of London's Southbank

4.5 star rating: Recommended 4 Reviews

Location: London, United Kingdom
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

From USD $29.52

London Film Locations Walking Tour

3 star rating: Worth doing 2 Reviews

Location: London, United Kingdom
Duration: 2 hours

From USD $17.71

Small-Group River Thames Bike Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 14 Reviews

Location: London, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 hours

From USD $41.33

Private Tour: South Bank Photography Walking Tour in London

Location: London, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 hours

From USD $147.61

Photography Workshop Walking Tour of London's South Bank

Location: London, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes

From USD $125.45

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