I’m somewhat predictable when it comes to stomping about in London outside of my SE23 home patch.
If we’re going out and you ask me where we should meet, you’re pretty much always going to get the same answer - The Southbank (which may be annoying, sorry about that).
In my eyes The Southbank can do no wrong. It’s London in all its finest glory – from the lure of the Tate Modern and The Globe to the heaven of Prosecco-binging at the BFI and fish finger sarnie-scoffing at Canteen.
The walk from London Bridge or Tower of London is gorgeous when it’s not chucking it down and what I love most is that although it can be chockablock in the sweaty summer months, if you take a daytime or early evening stroll, you can actually breathe without being trodden on by a mass of commuters or tourists.
On your travels, I’d recommend these pitstops along the way:
Take a walk over the Millennium bridge from the north side of the river and pause for a mo to do a little spin and catch St Pauls behind you, The Shard to your left and The Oxo tower in the distance.
- Wander past The Globe – bonus points for top notch hot chocolates served in the Swan bar.
- Get arty at The Tate Modern – it’s free, you’d be silly not to.
- Have a sneak in the window of the new Mondrian hotel in the renovated Sea Containers building. The Den is on my checklist of hangouts to blag a babysitter for – lots of posho seating and trendy lighting with snacks and champagne on hand.
- The National Theatre has had a makeover and I’m loving it. In fact we pretty much live there every Sunday. The Kitchen has a great range of cakes, sandwiches and hot treats (Thai curries, pasta, fish dishes) and isn’t stupidly pricey. And they sell Prosecco. The book shop is a handy place to nab unusual presents too – I have no use for a ruler made out of copper, but I want one. Obviously you might want to watch a play too – we recently saw A Curious Incident of A Dog In the Nightime, which transferred from the NT and it was bloody brilliant.
- The BFI building probably has me captured on its restaurant CCTV more times than I care to think. My overdraft is mostly thanks to this place – another handy hangout to meet friends, see a good film, do some “working from home” on the many cosy sofas..
- If you have a mini person then the Royal Festival Hall is a brilliant space as there’s an abundance of room on all floors for them to wreak havoc in a fairly-contained area. There are highchairs, children’s meals and more often than not there is some sort of musical activity going on to hold their attention for all of a few seconds. There’s also a bar – this makes it all the more appealing – Mini B gets to have fun and Mum gets to have a tipple in a licensed area! Skylon on the second floor is a lovely place to watch a sunset in the summer with a cocktail (although methinks kids are frowned upon in there, as are tracksuits and Reebok classics).
And if you really want to go all out on the tourist front, part with £50 in the blink of an eye and really enjoy a queue, then of course there’s the London Eye and the Aquarium.
You're not likely to see me there though - they don't sell Prosecco.
Royal Festival Hall image © stargreen.com Swan at Globe image © Tripadvisor