Exploring London South Bank Area: Things to do in SouthBank & Waterloo

Southbank is part of the beating heart of London! It’s a lively and bustling hub of culture with plenty to see and do!

Located along the banks of the River Thames, South Bank offers a plethora of attractions, cultural sites, historical landmarks, and delicious food and drink options.

Whether you’re a tourist visiting London for the first time or a seasoned city dweller, South Bank has something to offer everyone.

In this article, we’ll explore the top things to do in South Bank and why it’s a must-visit destination.

squiggly line

  1. Best Cheap Eats – Wahaca – Mexican eatery serving up market-style small meals and beverages to a lively backdrop.
  2. Best Fine Dining – Oxo Tower – A contemporary option featuring a brasserie with a worldly flavour and a garden terrace offering breathtaking city views.
  3. Best Cafe / Coffee Shop – The Black Penny – a cozy establishment serving brunch items like hash, eggs, toast, and small platters.
  4. Best Bar / Pub – The Understudy – A relaxed pub serving artisan beer, drinks, and a small plates bar menu has seats along the river.

squiggly line

The Shard

aerial view, Shard building

Standing tall at a height of 309.6 meters, the Shard is an architectural marvel and the tallest building in the United Kingdom.

Offering stunning views of London, visitors can admire the cityscape from the Shard’s observation deck or enjoy a drink at one of its upscale bars and restaurants.

📍32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG, United Kingdom

HMS Belfast

Large ship, water.

For history buffs, a visit to the HMS Belfast is a must. This historic warship, which played a significant role in World War II, is now a floating museum.

Visitors can explore the ship’s decks and learn about its fascinating history during the war.

📍The Queen’s Walk, London SE1 2JH, United Kingdom

Tate Modern

Large building, bridge, body of water.

As mentioned earlier, the Tate Modern is a must-visit attraction in South Bank.

With its vast collection of contemporary art, including works by famous artists such as Picasso and Warhol, the Tate Modern is a haven for art enthusiasts.

The museum regularly hosts special exhibitions and events, ensuring there’s always something new to see.

📍Bankside, London SE1 9TG, United Kingdom

London Eye

London Eye, sunset

The London Eye, with its iconic Ferris wheel, is a symbol of South Bank.

Offering unbeatable views of the city, a ride on the London Eye is a must-do activity for anyone visiting London.

Especially during the evening, when the city lights up, the London Eye provides a truly magical experience.

📍Riverside Building, County Hall, London SE1 7PB, United Kingdom

SEA LIFE London Aquarium

located on the South Bank of the River Thames, offers an enchanting aquatic adventure right in the heart of London.

Explore various ocean-themed venues and look at unique and captivating marine life that will surely make you feel closer to nature.

📍Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, London SE1 7PB, United Kingdom

The London Dungeon


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The London Dungeon (@londondungeon)

The London Dungeon is an enthralling and immersive attraction that takes you on a journey through the darker side of London’s history.

Step back in time and witness the chillingly amusing characters of the city’s ‘bad old days’ as they vividly come to life before your eyes.

It’s an unforgettable experience that will transport you to London’s perilous past like no other.

📍Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, London SE1 7PB, United Kingdom

Thames Rocket Speed Boat Tour


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Winnie Lam (@winniefoodiemoments)

Embark on the adventure of a lifetime with Thames Rocket Speed Boat Tour, a thrilling sightseeing experience on the River Thames.

Departing from the iconic London Eye Pier, this 50-minute speedboat tour will whisk you past renowned landmarks like Big Ben and Tower Bridge.

Capture stunning moments with ample photo opportunities as you soak in the mesmerizing beauty of London from the water.

📍Boarding Gate One, The London Eye Millennium Pier, London SE1 7PB, United Kingdom

Uber Boat Thames Clippers

Cell phone, boat.

Experience London in a unique way with Uber Boat Thames Clippers. Operating the London River Bus service on the Thames, these boats offer more than just transportation.

With an onboard bar and unmatched views of the capital, it’s one of the most enjoyable ways to navigate London.

You can conveniently hop on and hop off at 24 piers, allowing you to explore top attractions other parts of London. 

📍London Bridge City Pier, London Bridge Walk, London SE1 2QP, United Kingdom

Sea Containers London

An artist's rendering of the London skyline at dusk.

Nestled on the South Bank of the Thames, Sea Containers London offers a luxurious riverside experience like no other.

With a riverside restaurant featuring outdoor seating, a chic cocktail bar, a rejuvenating aqua spa, a rooftop bar, and a terrace offering breathtaking panoramic views of London, this hotel has it all. 

📍20 Upper Ground, London SE1 9PD, United Kingdom

Lyaness cocktail bar

people, bar

Lyaness cocktail bar is located at the Sea Containers London hotel in South Bank, London.

The bar offers a unique and innovative cocktail experience with its impressive menu curated by award-winning mixologist Ryan Chetiyawardana, also known as Mr Lyan.

The menu at Lyaness is constantly evolving, showcasing a range of creative and daring concoctions that are bound to intrigue even the most discerning cocktail enthusiasts.

📍20 Upper Ground, London SE1 9PD, United Kingdom

12th knot cocktail bar

night, rooftop

Stunning views coupled with a cocktail bar, located on the twelfth floor of Sea Containers London, is a stylish spot overlooking the panoramic views of the River Thames.

With its contemporary decor, expert mixologists, and an extensive menu of innovative and classic cocktails, this bar is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy a drink with friends or colleagues

📍20 Upper Ground, London SE1 9PD, United Kingdom

Thames Beach

river, skyline

Exploring the foreshore along the South Bank of the Thames is one of central London’s finest free experiences.

Here, you’ll gain a fresh perspective of the city, feel connected to nature, and escape the bustling traffic and crowds.

Moreover, you’ll uncover the rich history of London as you encounter remnants of old jetties and see old industrial buildings. 

📍London SE1 9PP, United Kingdom


Shrek’s Adventure London

Somebody once told me that Shrek’s Adventure was gonna roll me.

Shrek’s Adventure London offers a whimsical journey filled with 10 hilarious live shows, iconic sets from the Shrek movies, enchanting storytelling, a thrilling 4D ride, and mind-blowing special effects featuring DreamWorks animation.

On this adventure, you’ll cross paths with beloved Shrek characters, navigate a magical mirror maze, brave a smelly swamp, experience powerful spells, and even enjoy a cheeky DreamWorks Game Show.

📍Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, London SE1 7PB, United Kingdom

Southbank Centre

A towering edifice with numerous steps.

The Southbank Centre is a cultural hub, comprising several performance venues, including the Royal Festival Hall, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, and the Purcell Room.

Visitors can enjoy a wide range of performances, from music concerts to theater productions, and even free events on the outdoor terrace overlooking the river.

📍Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX, United Kingdom

Summer Water Fountains | Jeppe Hein’s Appearing Rooms

A grand fountain adorning a prominent building.

During the summer months, the South Bank comes alive with interactive water fountains and installations.

One of the most popular attractions is Jeppe Hein’s Appearing Rooms, an interactive artwork consisting of jets of water forming temporary rooms that appear and disappear.

It’s a fun and refreshing way to cool off on a warm day.

📍Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX, United Kingdom

Southbank Book Market

people, books

For book lovers, the Southbank Book Market is a treasure trove of literary delights.

Located underneath Waterloo Bridge, the market features a wide range of books, from classics to contemporary literature. I

t’s the perfect place to find a unique read or simply browse through the shelves.

📍Waterloo Bridge, London SE1 8TX, United Kingdom

Southbank Skatepark

Southbank Skatepark is a mecca for skateboarders and BMX riders.

A historic skateboarding spot, it has become an iconic location for skateboarding culture.

Even if you’re not a skater yourself, it’s still worth a visit to watch the impressive tricks and soak up the vibrant atmosphere.

📍337-338 Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XT, United Kingdom

The National Theatre

British Museum, dusk

The National Theatre is one of the most prestigious performing arts venues in the United Kingdom.

With its diverse program of plays, musicals, and other performances, the National Theatre offers something for every theatre enthusiast.

Whether you’re interested in classical Shakespearean dramas or contemporary productions, the National Theatre has it all.

📍London SE1 9PX, United Kingdom

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

Crowd, auditorium.

Step back in time and experience the magic of Shakespeare at the Globe Theatre.

This reconstruction of the original Globe Theatre, where many of Shakespeare’s plays were first performed, offers a unique and immersive theatrical experience.

Catch a performance of one of the Bard’s plays or take a guided tour to learn more about the history of this iconic venue.

📍21 New Globe Walk, London SE1 9DT, United Kingdom

Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden

People, grass.

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city at the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden.

This hidden gem offers a tranquil oasis with stunning views of the river and the London skyline.

Take a leisurely stroll through the garden, relax on one of the deck chairs, or enjoy a refreshing drink at the rooftop bar.

📍Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX, United Kingdom

Watch Graffiti Artists At Work On Leake Street

Graffiti-covered tunnel.

Leake Street, also known as the “Banksy Tunnel,” is a vibrant and ever-changing graffiti art space.

Located under the railway arches, this legal graffiti zone allows street artists to showcase their talent.

Take a walk along Leake Street and admire the colorful artworks created by both established and emerging artists.

📍Leake St, London SE1 8SW, United Kingdom

Winchester Palace Ruins

London, England - bustling metropolis.

For history enthusiasts, the ruins of Winchester Palace are a fascinating sight to explore.

Once a magnificent medieval palace, it now stands as a reminder of London’s rich heritage.

The remaining ruins give a glimpse into the opulence of the past and offer a peaceful spot to relax and reflect.

📍Winchester Palace, Pickfords Wharf, London SE1 9DN, United Kingdom

Florence Nightingale Museum

A museum showcasing various historical artifacts.

The Florence Nightingale Museum is dedicated to the life and work of the iconic nurse and humanitarian.

Located within St Thomas’ Hospital, the museum tells the story of Nightingale’s pioneering work in nursing and her contributions to modern healthcare.

Discover the impact of her work and learn about the history of nursing in an engaging and interactive way.

📍2 Lambeth Palace Rd, London SE1 7EW, United Kingdom

Menier Chocolate Factory

If you have a sweet tooth, a visit to the Menier Chocolate Factory is a must.

This unique theatre and restaurant is housed in a former chocolate factory, adding a touch of nostalgia to the experience.

Indulge in a delicious meal or catch a performance in this charming and intimate venue.

📍53 Southwark St, London SE1 1RU, United Kingdom


people, sitting

Bankside is an area located just across the river from the City of London.

It offers a mix of historic sites, modern developments, and cultural attractions.

From the iconic Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre to the contemporary art at the Tate Modern, Bankside is a vibrant neighbourhood with something for everyone.

📍Bankside, London SE1 9DT, United Kingdom

Tower of London and Tower Bridge & London Bridge

Keywords: Tower, London, River Thames.

No visit to London is complete without marveling at the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.

The Tower of London holds centuries of history within its walls and is home to the Crown Jewels. Take a tour to learn about the tower’s dark and fascinating past.

Tower Bridge, with its distinctive design and spectacular views, is a true landmark of the city.

📍London EC3N 4AB, United Kingdom

Gabriel’s Wharf

Cloudy, sky.

Located on the South Bank, Gabriel’s Wharf is a hidden gem that offers a mix of independent shops, cafes, and restaurants.

With its picturesque riverside setting and vibrant atmosphere, it’s a great place to relax and enjoy a meal or a drink.

You can also browse through unique shops and pick up souvenirs to remember your trip to South Bank.

📍Upper Ground, London SE1 9PP, United Kingdom

The Clink Prison and Museum

For those interested in the darker side of London’s history, a visit to the Clink Prison and Museum is a fascinating experience.

This museum is located on the site of the original Clink Prison, one of the oldest prisons in England.

Learn about the harsh conditions and gruesome punishments that prisoners endured during the medieval era.

📍1 Clink St, London SE1 9DG, United Kingdom

National Poetry Library

National, poets, library

Located inside the Royal Festival Hall, the National Poetry Library is a haven for poetry lovers.

It houses one of the most extensive collections of poetry in the world, with over 200,000 items.

Whether you’re a seasoned poet or just starting to explore the world of poetry, the National Poetry Library is a must-visit destination.

📍Level 5, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London SE1 8XX, United Kingdom

BFI IMAX / BFI Southbank

Night, building, people.

If you’re a film enthusiast, a trip to the BFI IMAX is a must.

As the largest cinema screen in the UK, the BFI IMAX offers a truly immersive movie-watching experience.

Catch the latest blockbusters or enjoy a classic film in stunning clarity and surround sound.

📍0 Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XT, United Kingdom

The Oxo Tower & Oxo Tower Wharf

London Oxo Tower.

The Oxo Tower is an iconic building on the South Bank, known for its unique design and stunning riverside location.

It houses a vibrant mix of restaurants, shops, galleries, and design studios.

Explore the Oxo Tower Wharf and discover innovative design pieces, handmade crafts, and delicious food and drinks.

📍Barge House St, London SE1 9PH, United Kingdom

Borough Market

London market

Borough Market is one of London’s oldest and most popular food markets.

With over 100 stalls offering everything from fresh produce to gourmet street food, there’s plenty to tempt your taste buds.

Sample delicious cheeses, pastries, and international delicacies as you wander through the market.

📍Borough High St, London SE1 9AH, UK

Southbank Centre Food Market

Large building, ferris wheel

Located outside the Southbank Centre, the Southbank Centre Food Market is a haven for food lovers.

Here you’ll find a wide range of food stalls selling a variety of cuisines, from traditional British dishes to international street food.

Enjoy a delicious meal while soaking up the lively atmosphere of the market.

📍Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX, United Kingdom

Thats The Long List of Things to do in SouthBank

South Bank is undoubtedly one of London’s most vibrant and exciting destinations.

With its stunning views of the city skyline, iconic landmarks, cultural and historical sites, and delectable food and drink options, South Bank offers a truly unforgettable experience.

Whether you’re interested in art, history, theatre, or simply enjoying the picturesque surroundings, South Bank has it all.

So next time you’re in London, make sure to add South Bank to your itinerary and immerse yourself in the vibrant heart of this incredible city.


Buy tickets

Booking Widget Heading

You can add some descriptive text here too if you'd like to give users a little more info.