How to holiday on London's South Bank

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The nearest station is Waterloo/ Waterloo East served by mainline trains and the Northern, Bakerloo & Jubilee underground lines. Follow the signs to Royal Festival Hall or Royal National Theatre.
The South Bank is also served by BUS ROUTE RV1
This runs every 10 minutes between 7am and midnight. From Covent Garden, over Waterloo Bridge, through the South Bank and Bankside and over Tower Bridge to the Tower, connecting 47 attractions. Standard bus fare or Travelcards, Bus Passes and Freedom Passes are valid.

A SANDY BEACH can be reached from steps by Festival Pier but is only revealed at low tide.
The Thames is tidal to Teddington. High and low tides occur twice daily and the difference between the two is about 21' (7m).
Tide tables for the whole year can be purchased from Ocean Leisure, 11-14 Northumberland Avenue (by Embankment tube station). A 7-day predicition is available online [
click here] or you can telephone the PLA on 01474 562 200.

There are also access points to the foreshore at Gabriels Wharf and the OXO Tower.
More information on various aspects of the River Thames can be found on
this page.

If you would like to try a foreshore SCAVENGER HUNT the following objects should be available
(suggest you limit the size of objects!)
piece of chalk / piece of coal / oyster shell / another shell / piece of coloured glass / piece of patterned china / a leaf / a feather / piece of clay pipe / piece of pottery / a bent nail / a plastic object / a piece of wood / a piece of bone
Or go TREASURE HUNTING - the foreshore changes with every tide so your chance of finding a bronze spearhead, a Roman coin or a Medieval brooch is as good as anyones!

The Thames is one of the cleanest urban rivers. However it is advisable not to take food onto the foreshore. Avoid hand to face contact whilst on the foreshore and wash hands afterwards. Ensure any wounds are covered.

If you pick up a large stone near the waterline you may well see small SHRIMPS. Replace the stone when you have had a look.

A number of SEA BIRDS can be observed on the Thames.
Cormorants eat only fish of which they can consume more than their own weight per day. They spread their wings to dry themselves, often perching on posts or jetties to do so. The Herring Gull (pictured) is a large bird with yellow bill and pink legs. The Black Headed Gull is a smaller species. It has red feet and bill and loses its black head colouring in winter. They eat almost anything and the abundance of edible refuse attracts large numbers.

Walking QUEEN'S WALK (left) is as good as a stroll along the prom and the Golden Jubilee (Hungerford) footbridge (right), with good views up and down stream makes an ideal pier substitute.
There are also accessable jetties downstream of Gabriels Wharf and the OXO Tower.

From Festival Pier you can take BOAT TRIPS [click here].
There is a hop-on, hop-off circular service between 6 piers every 40 minutes from 11am. Boats have toilets, refreshments & live commentary.There are fare reductions for Travelcard holders.Tel :020 7936 2033 or see
A fast 'Tate to Tate' service links Millbank (Tate Britain), Waterloo (London Eye) & Bankside (Tate Modern). Boats have toilets & refreshments.There are fare reductions for Travelcard holders.Tel :020 7977 6892 or see

Ride the BIG wheel. BA's LONDON EYE operates daily 9:30am - 10pm. Flights in the glass capsules last half an hour and from the top you can see 25 miles - on a clear day! Bookings can be made by telephone on 0870 5000 600 or on the website.
For a free view over London take the lift to the 8th floor of the OXO Tower which has viewing galleries on both sides.
See some BIG fish and other aquatic creatures from around the world at the LONDON AQUARIUM in the County Hall building. Open daily 10 - 6. Details on the website. There are other exhibitions to visit at County Hall (charges apply).




The popular Film Cafe by Waterloo Bridge has tables available outside Bernie Spain Gardens alongside Gabriel's Wharf are ideal for a picnic There is usually an icecream van by Festival Pier

Free LUNCHTIME ENTERTAINMENT is often staged in the Queen Elizabeth Hall and at the Royal National Theatre (pictured). Call in for a programme or check out their websites. [RFH] [RNT]. Coin Street FESTIVAL activities also take place throughout the summer [website]. Visit the OXO Tower for information, shops, exhibitions etc.


There are speciality shops at Gabriel's Wharf and craft shops at OXO Tower. Several second hand booksellers operate on the River Walk near Waterloo Bridge. The Royal National Theatre has a more specialist bookshop.

Break for TEA at the Royal National Theatre which serves good value pots of tea and calorie-laden cakes!


Check out performances at the Royal Festival Hall complex and Royal National Theatre or films at the National Film Theatre and IMAX which houses the largest screen in the country.

As the sun goes down the lights come up. London is beautifully lit and looks completely different in the evening. Try crossing Waterloo Bridge to Somerset House (pictured) with its River Terrace and Fountain Courtyard (open until 11pm).


Take a picnic
Go on the bus trip rather than the boat - Travelcards valid which are good value
Check out the free entertainment and exhibitions
Look for special offers on
Go window shopping or browse the second hand bookstalls
View London from the OXO Tower rather than the Eye
Walk through the County Hall building where some of the exhibits from the chargable exhibitions spill out
Take binoculars to view the birds and boats
Check the tides to make use of the foreshore
Explore on foot - get the Walk this Way booklet for ideas (see below)
Print your own
souvenir bookmarks

Enjoyed your day?
Then do it all again another day and bring your friends or direct them to this webpage.
Any comments? Please use my

More information on the area is available on the Walk This Way website and in the companion leaflet available in local outlets or from a 24 hour order line Tel: 020 7928 2442. 2005