London’s South Bank: Part 1
The South Bank is one of London’s finest places: it is a diverse collection of cafes restaurants, cinemas, theatres, tourist attractions, historical and modern architecture, museums and galleries. In fact, there is so much to do, multiple trips are often required.
The best place to start your South Bank experience is from Westminster Underground Station (Circle, District and Jubilee lines) which coincidentally, has won a number of awards and was nominated for the Stirling prize for outstanding architecture. Although not on the South Bank, Westminster is only a short walk across the bridge, and when you come out of the station, you are greeted with an up-close and personal view of the Houses of Parliament (a blog post about that at a later date!).
Once you have taken your photos, walk across the bridge, towards the famous London Eye (pictured). The first city wheel of its kind, the Eye was built in 2000 with the expectation of it lasting no more than 5 years. 11 years on, and it’s going nowhere any time soon. From the eye you are given unrivaled views across the city and the chance to relax as you float above the crowds of the South Bank Below. The best time to hop on the London Eye would be in the Autumn or Spring, when the nights are not too early, so as you go up you get to see London in the Light, and as you go down, you get to see London in the dark. The journey takes approximately 30 minutes.
From the London Eye, head east and you’ll come across the Royal Festival Hall (which is part of the Southbank Centre): A concert venue playing live music every night, with a small gallery on the lower level. There is a wide selection of restaurants for you to choose from when it comes to dining out, from chains such as Las Iguanas to the Skylon Restaurant, named after the Skylon installation which was part of the Festival of Britain- the festival which sparked the development of the Southbank.
Outside of the Southbank Centre, under the bridge is a large book market which is open daily. It features a large range of cheap second hand books and selection of historical maps from London, the UK and Europe. There’s nothing like buying your book, heading to the bar and ordering a glass of wine, and sitting outside reading your new purchase as the people bustle by.
If you take a right after the book market, you’ll find the UK’s largest cinema screen, housed in the IMAX. Continue your journey along the river and you’ll pass the National Gallery, where part 2 of our South Bank Tour shall commence!
Image taken from: http://unpics.com/get/5166/