These top 5 London South Bank attractions may not be the most famous, but are well worth adding to your London bucket list.
London’s South Bank region winds along the Thames River, roughly between the Lambeth Bridge and the Millennium Bridge. It stretches inland to Lambeth Road and Blackfriars Road, boxing in some great London attractions suitable for the whole family.
The South Bank includes some well-known London attractions like the London Eye and Sea Life Aquarium, but there’s so much more to see and do in the area. We’re going to highlight five of the top London South Bank attractions without mentioning those familiar options. We want everyone to see what else the South Bank has to offer.
1. Old Vic and Young Vic Theatres
If you’re into live theatre, you can’t miss seeing a show at either the Old Vic or the Young Vic. The Old Vic is a lively entertainment venue that puts opera, comedy, live music, and other creative shows alongside stunning and sometimes provocative theatrical performances.
Operating as an independent, not-for-profit theatre, the Old Vic offers tickets for as little as £10 a seat. You can see what’s on and book your tickets online.
The Young Vic started as an offshoot of the Old Vic and is located close by on the Cut. It was intended as a temporary venue to provide a short series of approachable performances for the younger generations. It caught on quickly and went through a major renovation to create a permanent theatre. It now features small, intimate performance halls where inspiring productions hit the stage regularly.
The Young Vic also has open space where the public can visit, but the magic is in the performances. You can see what’s on and book your tickets online.
2. Southbank Centre Book Market
The book market hosted by the Southbank Centre is one of the most surprising London South Bank attractions for many. You’ll find it under the Waterloo Bridge, and it spreads along the river a little. You can shop an assortment of books while enjoying the open market experience outdoors. You don’t have to buy anything, but it’s a treasure trove for some book lovers.
The full Southbank Centre is a bit more inland and offers a variety of live performances, including literature and poetry. It’s home to the Hayward Gallery, National Poetry Library, Queen Elizabeth Hall, and other well-known attractions. There are also some restaurants and cafes plus a food market.
3. OXO Tower Wharf
As one of the most popular London South Bank Attractions, this entertainment complex and popular shopping destination is located toward the western edge of the South Bank close to Bernie Spain Gardens. The bottom three floors are the biggest attraction. They feature a variety of upscale stores and boutiques from leading designers plus restaurants with tables looking out to spectacular views of the river. There’s also an art gallery.
You can shop for everything from jewelry and fashion to home accessories, lighting, and interesting gifts when you explore more than 30 shops in the lower part of the tower. Some of the brands now occupying space there include Alan Vallis, Studio Fusion, Suck UK, and We Are We Wear.
4. Leake Street Arches
You have to go underneath Waterloo station to find this London South Bank attraction, but it’s well worth your time. You’ll walk through a series of railway arches that are elaborately covered in graffiti art. The arches connect to a longer tunnel filled with even more graffiti that celebrates the urban lifestyle.
The Arches is home to some of London’s most creative restaurants and bars plus some entertainment venues. It’s fun to simply walk through and look around, but this is also a great place to stop off for a meal or perhaps an adult refreshment or two.
One of the star attractions in this underground world is Draughts London. You can pick a table and play board games while waiting for your food to hit the table. The entertainment studio, bar, and restaurant known as 26 Leake Street is worth mentioning as is the Polish restaurant MAMUŚKA!
5. Lambeth Palace
This palace serves as home to the Archbishop of Canterbury and sits close to the river by the River Museum and Archbishop’s Park. Since it is a working and residential property owned by the Royal Family, you have to make reservations for a tour online. The palace’s gardens are also open once a month in the spring and summer months.
While you’re exploring the South Bank, take the time to simply stroll along the river. Some of the best views of the city are found on the edge of the water as you walk casually with those you love or perhaps on your own for a moment of peace. The Queen’s Walk is the best place to take a stroll. It will lead you from the London Eye and Jubilee Park to the Golden Jubilee Bridges.