Things To Do in Bankside, South Bank and London Waterloo …

There’s a wealth of heritage and innovation dotted along the south side of the Thames. Bring the whole family for a day of theatre, art, adventure, gourmet food and much more.


Just across the river from the Houses of Parliament, the South Bank area of London was energised during the 1951 Festival of Britain by the iconic modern architecture of the Southbank Centre, featuring the Royal Festival Hall, Hayward Gallery, the Purcell Room and Queen Elizabeth Hall.

This area stretches between Westminster and London Bridges on the south side of the river, and is a perfect location for a sunny day’s stroll.

There is always a special event going on, as well as a fantastic range of entertainment, arts and dining venues to discover. For a more high-adrenalin sightseeing tour, you can even whizz down the Thames on aspeedboat and take in the spectacular views.

Things to see and do in London Waterloo

If you head towards the river from London Waterloo, you will find the Florence Nightingale Museum, the SEA LIFE London Aquarium, the Coca-Cola London Eye, the Southbank Centre, the BFI Imax and The London Dungeon.

Venturing south instead, will take you to theatregoers’ favourites the Old Vic, the Young Vic as well as the shops and market stalls along Lower Marsh.

There are plenty of great dining options in this area, from riverside dining at Skylon to dim sum at Ping Pong, or gastro-pub grub at the Anchor and Hope. If that’s enough to tempt you into an overnight stay in the area, there are plenty of hotels close to Waterloo.

East of Waterloo Bridge on the South Bank

The riverside walkway is perfect for people watching, spending lazy afternoons in a pavement café or browsing in one of the area’s many book and art shops or regular markets.

Catch a show at the National Theatre, browse the designer boutiques in the Oxo Tower and Gabriel’s Wharf, or enjoy family fun at BFI Southbank.

You’ll also find a range of Italian and French cafés at Gabriel’s Wharf; while the National Theatre’s Terrace Bar is perfect for a relaxing drink.

Things to see and do in Bankside

East of Blackfriars bridge, the area becomes known as Bankside. This is one of the oldest parts of London – entrepreneurs, artists and revellers have flocked here for almost 2,000 years. Bankside is also one of London’s most vibrant areas, with a heady mix of culture, foodie delights, attractions and architecture.

Situated along the Thames, Bankside is dominated by Tate Modern, one of the world’s finest art galleries. The quirky streets around Tate Modern are perfect for exploring on foot – with galleries including Bankside Gallery and Jerwood Space, and the trendy shops and restaurants of Bankside Mix waiting to be discovered.

Playwrights have gathered here since Shakespeare’s time, and the area remains a centre for creativity. Shakespeare’s Globe exhibition and tour is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture of the Bard’s time, and the converted Menier Chocolate Factory offers world-class productions. It’s also a great area for an immersive historical experience: try the Golden Hinde ship or the Clink Prison Museum.

Markets, Bars and Restaurants on the South Bank

Time for a drink? Historic pubs such as The George and The Anchor have long been favoured by famous Londoners – from Charles Dickens to Samuel Pepys – or search out The Rake, London’s smallest bar. If you’re looking for a cocktail, head to Mondrian London’s destination bar, Dandelyan, which mixes unusual creations with sweeping views of the Thames.

Bankside was once known as London’s larder. It’s a title that lives on today in the fresh produce of Borough Market and the wealth of fine restaurants, pavement cafés and outlets surrounding it.

For more information about this great destination, look at Visit Bankside or download the excellent free app from Southbank London.

Trains to London Waterloo

London Waterloo train station is convenient for access to the South East of England by train. Destinations to and from London Waterloo include Bournemouth, Southampton, Exeter and Weymouth.

Book your train tickets in advance with and save money.

Travel to Bankside, South Bank and Waterloo

Bankside, the South Bank and Waterloo are easy to access: use London Bridge, Waterloo, Blackfriars, and Southwark stations, or take one of the numerous buses that travel to the area. London Waterloo is served by the Jubilee, Northern and Bakerloo lines on the Tube.

If you’re going to be in London for more than a day, it’s worth buying a Visitor Oyster Card in advance. The Visitor Oyster Card is delivered to your home before you arrive in London. It is one of the easiest ways to get around London.

If you do not have a Visitor Oyster Card, but still plan to travel around London for more than a day, buy an Oyster card at the Tube station. Learn more about Oyster Cards.

You can also take a river cruise along the Thames from Waterloo Millenium Pier next to the Coca-Cola London Eye with City Cruises.




Diverse, fun-loving and never quiet, Soho attracts a wide mix of people. Its history, venues and atmosphere make it a must-see for tourists, and Londoners flock here too.

Soho in Central London is a great place to find live entertainment, interesting food and pulsingnightlife. Browse the boutique shops, relax in Soho Square, or treat yourself to a West End show, a meal and a delicious cocktail.

Soho is also known for its risqué vibe. This is where you’ll find many of London’s sex shops, burlesque shows and gay and lesbian bars.

Other interesting London areas within walking distance of Soho include Chinatown, Covent Garden,Piccadilly Circus and Mayfair.

Travel to Soho

Soho is situated in the heart of London’s West End. The area covers roughly one square mile (2.6 square kilometres), so it’s easy to explore on foot. Soho is bordered by Oxford Street, Regent Street,Leicester Square and Charing Cross Road.

Travelling to Soho is easy. Catch a London bus, or get the London tube. London tube stations near Soho include:

If you’re going to be in London for more than a day, it’s worth buying a Visitor Oyster Card in advance. The Visitor Oyster Card is delivered to your home before you arrive in London. It is one of the easiest ways to get around London.

If you do not have a Visitor Oyster Card, but still plan to travel around London for more than a day,buy an Oyster card at the Tube station. Learn more about Oyster Cards.

Things to do in Soho: Shopping

No visit to the capital would be complete without a Soho shopping day. Some of London’s most interesting boutiques can be found along Berwick Street, Carnaby Street and in Kingly Court.

For flagship fashion and electronics stores in Soho, you’ll find the best shopping along Oxford Streetand Regent Street.

Soho is also home to famous stores such as Hamleys, the toy shop; Liberty, the mock Tudor department store; Agent Provocateur, where you can shop for top-quality lingerie; and Paul A Young, where you can choose from a selection of mouth-watering chocolates.

Things to do in Soho: Theatre

London’s theatre scene is primarily focused around the West End. A number of Soho theatres – such as the Prince Edward Theatre and the Prince of Wales Theatre – have been entertaining visitors for a very long time. From big-budget musicals and classic plays, to quirky cabaret and stand-up comedy, there is a Soho show to suit every taste.

For example, you can book tickets to see Stomp at the Ambassador Theatre, Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre or Thriller at the Lyric Theatre, which are all in Soho.

Find more shows in Soho and book tickets.

Things to do in Soho: Bars and Clubs

Soho is at the heart of London’s live music and clubbing scene, but you can also find everything from casual pubs to secret bars. Popular bars such as The O Bar and Bar Soho provide plenty of cocktail opportunities on a night out in Central London. If it’s a late night coffee you crave, Bar Italia is a lively place to hang out.

Soho can claim to be London’s major hotspot for the gay and lesbian scene, with a high concentration of gay clubs and bars. Soho is also a hub for the Pride in London celebrations each year.

Jazz also came to the UK via Soho. Clubs such as Ronnie Scott’s still offer great jazz nights. Alternatively, you can do it yourself at the Lucky Voice karaoke bar!

Things to do in Soho: Restaurants

The Soho dining scene, much like the area, offers both the quirky and traditional, the opulent and down-to-earth. Snap up cheap snacks at Yalla Yalla; do brunch at The Breakfast Club Soho; dine on colourful Indian cuisine at Imli Street, Masala Zone and Cinnamon Soho.

Soho also caters for indulgent fine dining. For some of the best food in London, book a table atGauthier Soho, or one of Soho’s Michelin-starred restaurants, Yauatcha, Arbutus, and Social Eating House.

Small sharing portions are popular in London, and you can enjoy this trend at Soho restaurants likeBarrafina, Polpo and Blanchette.

In recent years, meat has also become more prevalent on restaurant menus across London. To get your fix of steak, burger, or chicken in Soho, check out Mash, Honest Burgers, or Clockjack Oven.

Search for more Soho restaurants.

Hotels and Hostels in Soho

Accommodation in Soho ranges from luxurious hotels to more affordable options.

If you’re booking a trip of a lifetime and want nothing but the best, Soho’s hotels include the modern W Hotel, the boutique Sanctum Soho Hotel and the elegant Café Royal Hotel.

For those visitors coming to London on a budget, the Central London YHA hostels offer excellent value for money right in Central London.