Elias Pelcastre

Exploring Southbank, London

Walking down the south bank of the river Thames through Central London is one of the most cultural, exciting and diverse things to do in the City.

It’s a hub of buzz and activity and introduces some of the real gems in London, from Shakespeare’s Globe, the Clink and the London Eye to the many pubs, bars, street food stalls and restaurants dotted all over. These take varying forms, my favourite being a summer themed cocktail bar outside city hall which included deckchairs, summer themed cocktails and obviously – blankets. (We are currently averaging about 15 centigrade at the moment)

The area around Tower Bridge is an exciting place as it truly benefits from the very best of the old and the new. The Tower of London is a pinnacle of the history of the UK and control of it has often translated into control of the whole city and even country. As well as this, the medieval castle is a 900 year old fortress and the building itself is impressive. The backdrop to this includes many iconic London buildings, 20 Fenchurch Street and the Gherkin to name a view. This is without a doubt one of the best views from the south of the river in London.

Hays Galleria is a grade two listed structure which comprises office buildings, restaurants, shops and flats. As well as this there are stalls open every day which sell goods such as designer clothes and jewellery. The building is enclosed by a glass roof and has a ship called the Navigators in the middle which made it stick in my mind, but my favourite thing I saw was a bowls tournament taking place in a sandpit which attracted many flashy looking competitors. Definitely a good place to go for an after work drink.

The cultural aspect reaches its peak around the Tate, with fairy lights, exhibitions and buskers complimenting the art museums in the area. Here, people take picnics, lay out blankets and spend time watching the world pass. This cultural area continues by the Oxo Tower Wharf which is filled with art, galleries and designer shops after its regeneration in the 1980’s. The exhibition on show as I walked through was Opera by the River which was the work of Edmond Terakopian and documents all of the elements which make an opera a success, from design meetings to stage building.

Finishing up in the heart of Southbank offers diverse opportunity, from drinking in bars, buying a new vinyl or book from the thousands laid out on tables, skateboarding in the skate park or just chilling on a bench in Jubilee Gardens taking in one of the most iconic areas of London. For the best views of Westminster head up the London Eye, take in the panoramic views and enjoy being in one of the most influential, important and culturally diverse cities in the world.

Photos by Kitty Busz