Summer on the Southbank is a wonderful thing.
This summer, if you have come to London on a theatre break, give yourself some time to cross the river and explore this exciting area of London. Whether you go during the day to take in the views from the London Eye or later in the evening to discover the delights of the Udderbelly, summer on the Southbank really is a unique attraction for visitors to London.
In the second of our Insights series we look at what the Southbank has to offer visitors to London.
In a matter of little more than a mile you can go from the timber-framed Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, past the cement brutalism of the National Theatre to a purple cow!
Each will offer you a very different theatrical experience, but I am sure that even William Shakespeare would approve!
The Udderbelly season runs until 17 July 2016.
Next door is the Spiegletent where, from 5th May, London Wonderground will return to the Southbank. It is bawdy, glitzy and not a little outrageous. The electrifyingly atmospheric of a Coney Island bar hangs over the magnificent Paradiso Spiegeltent, where the country’s very finest cabaret acts, circus performers, alternative comics, kids shows come to entertain all who dare enter.
With the Thames rolling past and the London Eye whirling ahead it is often difficult to remember to look at your feet, but if you do happen to glance down, you will find some pleasant surprises!
If you are looking for a more in depth read than the pavements can offer then stop by the bookstalls under the bridge just outside the Royal Festival Hall.
Or if you fancy something a little more enigetic and you have remembered to bring your skateboard and knee pads, then the skate park underneath the Southbank centre, famously saved by Boris Johnson when developers wanted to move it to another part of London, should be your preferred destination.
But whatever you do, don’t forget to enjoy a bite at one of the many restaurants and street food stalls that cover this area. My favourite is the Mexican Street Kitchen. I don’t have favourite Mexican food: do you?
I am lucky, where I live. Coming in by rail, the train stops at Blackfriars station which, uniquely, gives you the option of getting off on the north bank of the Thames to explore Theatreland or the south bank of the Thames to explore this wonderful area. Sometimes I don’t know which I will choose until I get there! But whenever I cross the Thames I always take the opportunity to glance up and down the river at the wonderful views – whether they are illuminated by a summer’s day or the neon lights of a London night.