South Bank

The South Bank of the Thames has a distinct character, much like the ‘left bank’ of the River Seine in Paris. although in recent years ‘the South Bank’ has grown somewhat.

Traditionally the South Bank described the area south of the River Thames between Blackfriars and Waterloo bridges, it was the site of the ‘Festival of Britain’ on reclaimed marshland in 1951, Britain’s post-war celebration. 

festivalofbritain

Of that festival, now only the Royal Festival Hall remains (it’s a prestigious concert venue). The site now additionally houses the National Theatre and the National Film Theatre.

nationaltheatre

Despite its lofty intentions, it’s not terribly popular, the ‘brutalist’ concrete slab architecture is uninviting and the subways towards Waterloo station are a haven for vagrants and feel unsafe after dark.

In recent years, however,  the regeneration of the land’ south of the river’ and the opening of a riverside walk has meant that effectively the ‘South Bank’ now stretches from Tower Bridge to Westminster.

londoneye

This means the ‘South Bank’ now encompasses the Design Museum (slightly east of Tower Bridge), Hays Galleria (between Tower Bridge and London Bridge), Borough Market (south of Southwark Cathedral), the recreation of Shakespeare’s ‘Globe’ Theatre, the Tate Modern art gallery, and the London Eye (adjacent to Westminster Bridge).