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Walking London’s South Bank

2012 is London’s year.  Last year’s royal wedding still fresh in everyone’s mind, the diamond jubilee celebrations barely over, all eyes will again focus on London this summer – the 2012 Summer Olympic games are soon to begin.  Aong with the athletes, it is London’s turn to shine.  Immerse yourself in London – there is no better way to get to explore and see the city than by walking the streets of London’s South Bank.

South Bank of London

County Hall, the Festival of Britain, the Hayward Gallery, the National Theatre, Tate Modern and the London Eye have all contributed to the cultural renaissance of a once active and industrial riverfront which fell into decline during the twentieth century.  Walking the South Bank of the River Thames is now a destination unto itself where Londoners and tourists alike can enjoy a stroll down this historic stretch of the Thames.

The London Eye lends a carnival atmosphere to the South Bank with the iconic giant ferris wheel providing the most spectacular views of the city.  On a clear day one can see 40 kms in all directions!  A very popular tourist destination, it is well worth it to buy your tickets in advance as the lines can be long.

The heritage of shakespeare lives on in the Globe Theatre – Completed in 1995, Shakespeare’s Globe theatre is a reconstruction of the original Elizabethean thatched-roof, wooden Tudor theatre of 1598–9 which burned down in 1613.  Built close to the original site in as authentic a manner as possible by the architects Pentagram Design, this is the place to experience both the atmosphere and the rudimentary comfort afforded by the Shakespearian playhouse….wander back in time and see the fascinating exhibit of the Globe’s history.  Catch a matinee, or perhaps watch the theatre under the stars with the limited engagements of midnight matinees.

London's South Bank

Tate Modern – Having been left empty for years, the Tate Modern is yet another success story from the Millennium Project.  Now a fundamental part of the London tourist bucket list, this huge steel-framed building with a central tower/chimney 325 feet (99 metres) high, directly opposite St Paul’s Cathedral, it was not until Herzog and de Meuron transformed the empty building from its original function as an oil-burning power station that most people knew it was there. The successful reinvention of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s monolithic masterwork of 1947–63 in 2000 that the Tate Modern became known as the premier national gallery of modern art.  The Tate Modern, an aesthetic beacon on the South Bank, is worthy of a visit, not only for the art that is housed within its walls, but for the stunning architectural features, including the dramatic entrance space that was once the turbine hall.  Accessibility and visibility have been greatly improved by walkways along the South Bank and across the river on the Millennium Bridge.

The iconic Tower Bridge, recognized the world over .  Built in 1894, the neo-Gothic towers and amazing suspension bridge captures the imagination of visitors.  Bring your camera and enjoy the stunning views of London from the walkways high over the Thames River.  For the curious, visit the Victorian Engine Rooms to learn about the inner workings of the Most Famous Bridge in the World.

Yeoman Warders

Tower of London – while my time in London was short – it was the Beefeater tour of the Tower of London that really captured my imagination.  The Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London, and Members of the Sovereign’s Body Guard of the Yeoman Guard Extraordinary, popularly known as the Beefeaters.  They are the ceremonial guardians of the Tower of London. In principle they are responsible for looking after any prisoners at the Tower and safeguarding the British crown jewels, but in practice they act as tour guides and are a tourist attraction in their own right.

World Heritage Site

Today the Tower of London is one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions. It is cared for by the charity Historic Royal Palaces and is protected as a World Heritage Site.  Founded towards the end of 1066, the peak period of the castle’s use as a prison was the 16th and 17th centuries.  The Tower of London is also well known for the beheading of Anne Boleyn, one of the wives of Henry VIII, and the start of England’s break from the Roman Catholic church.

So much walking is sure to build up an appetite.  Be sure to stop and enjoy some traditional pub fare, or perhaps finish with a river cruise to relax the feet and view the city from a different perspective.

Walking London’s South Bank – you are only just scratching the surface!

About Anita Mac

The bucket list just keeps growing! The more I cross off - the more exciting new destinations and activities I find! I have been fortunate enough to travel a considerable distance over the years. My love of many things, including travel, cycling, kayaking and photography fit together like hand and glove. I have to keep asking myself....where to next? I am happy to share my travels and photography through my blogs: http://traveldestinationbucketlist.com and http://anitamacphotos.wordpress.com Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! On to the next adventure!


23 thoughts on “Walking London’s South Bank

  1. GORGEOUS pics,my friend! 😀

    The DC

    Posted by disabledcyclist | June 22, 2012, 12:32 pm
    • Thanks. Had such a great time on the South Bank – would love to have had more time to really check out the Tate Modern, or even go in to the Dali Universe, next to the London Eye. Next time!

      Posted by Anita Mac | June 23, 2012, 9:18 am
      • I’ll most likely never see there with my own eyes,so I’m just enjoying seeing it through yours 😉 I hope you get to have more time to enjoy next triip,too my friend 🙂

        Posted by disabledcyclist | June 23, 2012, 11:15 am
  2. Great Post – loving your photos – Happy Friday:) Have a Wonderful Weekend!

    Posted by cravesadventure | June 22, 2012, 1:37 pm
  3. Cool! I think its one of the best bits of London – you can walk from Westminster, past the London Eye, right up to the Take Modern and beyond and take in so much history! For me, the best time is a summer evening, probably a Friday, in the mid summer sun – just gorgeous! it actually feels a bit like a southern European city with everyone promenading up and down. Its been years since I’ve been there, which now I think about it, feels kinda odd, seeing as I used to walk down there almost every day!

    Posted by Charlie | June 23, 2012, 10:51 am
  4. London is one of my favorite cities. Great post and images. 🙂

    Posted by Robin | June 23, 2012, 11:16 am
  5. I recently did the South Bank walk and your beautiful photos are bringing back wonderful memories 🙂

    Posted by Annette | June 23, 2012, 11:49 am
    • I must admit, reading some of your posts brought back memories for me too! While no photos of pubs and mushy peas and pies, my time in London was short – your posts brought me back to the places for which I did not have photos!

      Posted by Anita Mac | June 23, 2012, 3:03 pm
  6. Did this about two decades ago!! High time I went back 🙂

    Posted by Madhu | June 25, 2012, 5:18 am
  7. ….and for those on a budget, there is a ton of stuff in London that costs very little or nothing. Take a look at: http://londonforfree.net/

    Posted by Frank Burns | June 26, 2012, 6:14 pm
  8. Anita, nice article. I miss London and hope can be back as soon as possible. Tower bride always my fav and it look awesome at day and night…on the other hand, do read or comment my London blog if you free http://letsgo-travel.com/my-blog-london/

    Posted by Ken | July 22, 2012, 9:57 pm
  9. I have been fortunate to have explored London many times, getting to see most of the sights to see. However, when I last saw the Tate Museum it was in its riverfront position on the other side of the Thames. It was a small museum but I loved it then. So now, with its new location (I have been to London since, but on business so no time to sightsee), I have a sight to see that I haven’t yet! Always good to have an excuse to go back!

    Posted by ilivetotravel | June 25, 2013, 7:28 am
  10. London is such a great place to visit! The culture and architecture is unique and the history is fascinating! This is a great guide for anyone traveling there! And personally I think everything is better with a British accent! 😉

    Posted by Lola DiMarco | June 25, 2013, 11:12 am
  11. Sigh. One of my favorite cities. This post was enough to convince me that I need to go back!

    Posted by The World Wanderer (@TheWrldWanderer) | June 25, 2013, 4:24 pm


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