6 things you need to do around the South Bank
Just a few steps away from the bright lights of the West End, the South Bank is a vibrant cultural centre of London, with the Southbank Centre alone welcoming over six million attendees each year. Right beside the River Thames, tourists and locals can walk past some of the largest theatres in the capital, as well as smaller, cabaret productions that take place as part of the Underbelly Festival. With plenty to see and do close by to the river, don’t miss out on your chance for a live experience like no other on the South Bank.
South Bank activities you need to experience
See a show at the National Theatre
A beating heart of the artistic nation, productions at the National Theatre are at the cutting edge of theatre today. With a regularly-changing line-up of shows throughout the year, there really is something for everyone at the National.
Circus 1903 at the Royal Festival Hall
Experience the weird, wild and wonderful at Circus 1903, returning to the Southbank Centre this Christmas. From contortionists and high-wire trapeze artists to jugglers and puppet elephants. Turning the Royal Festival Hall into a big top for just three weeks at the end of 2019, don’t miss your chance to see this circus production coming into town once more, with dangerous acts from all corners of the globe coming to London.
The Light in the Piazza at Royal Festival Hall
This summer, the Southbank Centre will be home to the London premiere of The Light in the Piazza, offering audience members the chance to step into the warmth and bliss atmosphere of 1950s Florence. Starring Renée Fleming and Dove Cameron as Margaret and Clara Johnson, follow the mother and daughter pair as they holiday in the idyllic Italian city, later meeting Fabrizio Naccarelli, a young, local heartthrob who falls in love with Clara. But, Clara isn’t all that she appears, leaving the pair and Fabrizio to confront secrets which have been hushed for years. With a limited engagement of just 20 performances, come out of the South Bank shadows and head to the Southbank Centre to see The Light in the Piazza, featuring live accompaniment from a 45 piece orchestra that’s sure to wow audiences.
Witness for the Prosecution
The first production to be staged inside the unique setting of London County Hall, Witness for the Prosecution is one of two Agatha Christie whodunnits in the West End, along with The Mousetrap. As you take your ringside court seat in the specially-designed auditorium, you’ll follow the trial of Leonard Vole as he’s charged with the murder of Emily French. When Leonard’s wife takes to the stand, will she testify for or against her husband? Filled with unexpected twists and turns, decide whether Leonard Vole will walk free at Witness for the Prosecution and see if you can crack the case.
Underbelly Festival South Bank
For six months of the year, the South Bank comes alive with some of the world’s greatest cabaret acts, entertainers and comedians at the Underbelly Festival.
Located by the River Thames and the Southbank Centre, the festival brings an unparalleled atmosphere to the capital that’s upbeat. With 2019 marking the 11th year of the festival, head to the Underbelly, join in on the action and soak up the festival atmosphere right in the heart of the capital.
With a regularly updated list of shows available at the Underbelly Festival, we recommend regularly checking our website to see which productions you can head to. However, with so many acts performing during the festival, we’ve highlighted a few productions showcasing the variety of on-stage talent.
West End shows are given the child makeover treatment at The Showstoppers Kids Show, where any suggestion can become part of a one-off musical! Children can decide the setting, characters and a potential storyline, as audiences are in total control of what they see in front of them. See how the Showstoppers bring anything that’s suggested to life, and let the imaginations of young ones run wild at The Showstoppers Kids Show, where the wildest thoughts could become the next theatrical smash-hit.
Planning on taking young children to the theatre? Perhaps it’s their first time going to see a show? Read our complete guide of tips and tricks to make sure everyone has the best experience at the theatre.
Coca-Cola London Eye River Cruise
As well as the variety of shows and events available, the South Bank is also home to some of the country’s famed and most recognisable attractions, including the London Eye. Offering passengers the chance to see a panoramic view of up to 25 miles from central London, see the capital from great heights. Once you’ve stepped off the London Eye, see the city from the River Thames onboard a river cruise, with a tour guide providing insightful knowledge and commentary about the city’s history, geography and culture. If you’re wanting to fill a trip to the South Bank with adventure and excitement, you’ll want to go on a Coca-Cola London Eye River Cruise.
Want to spend even more time cruising down the River Thames? Check out our guide that’s filled with the best ways to see London while on the water.