The South Bank

Beside the Thames at the northern tip of Lambeth is the cultural centre known as the South Bank. Part of it dates from the aftermath of the second world war, when the Royal Festival Hall was built as part of the Festival of Britain. Together with the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Purcell Room, the National Theatre, the National Film Theatre, the Hayward Gallery, the Museum of the Moving Image, the South Bank arts complex represents the highest concentration of cultural real estate in Britain. The National Theatre was completed during the 1970's while the MOMI, the newest feature of the South Bank, came into being sometime around 1990.

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The riverbank walk adjacent to the National Theatre

The Festival Pier and the Royal Festival Hall. Waterloo Bridge and the London Television Centre are prominent in the background.

Adjacent to the Charing Cross rail bridge is the Hungerford Footbridge, connecting Charing Cross with the Royal Festival Hall. In 2002 the existing footbridge on the east side of the rail bridge was replaced with a pair of new bridges, on each side of the rail bridge. The new structures echo the design of the nearby London Eye, with clean lines and white structural elements. The new bridge retains the legendary views downstream to St Pauls and the City.

Views of, and from, the new Hungerford footbridge

Charing Cross;  support mast;  view of the City

The London Eye from the riverside path

Next to the South Bank sits County Hall, until recently the seat of London's administration. It is in private hands now, though part of it is home to the London Aquarium. Hanging over the riverside at the north end of the building is the London Eye (also known as the Millennium Wheel),  the world's largest Ferris wheel and currently London's newest tourist attraction. The London Eye has a separate page on this website. Also nearby is the cylindrical glass structure that houses the IMAX cinema, housing one of Britain's largest screens, built within a traffic island that was formerly the haunt of skateboarders and homeless people. To complete the arts theme the London Television Centre (formerly the headquarters of LWT) stands nearby. The large office building nearby is the Shell centre, the headquarters of a multinational oil company; it used to boast a public viewing gallery on its top floor but sadly this closed some years ago.

The bankside walks give splendid views across the river and are part of the Thames Path from the Greenwich flood barrier to the source of the river at Cricklade, Gloucestershire.

County Hall

Two views of the Palace of Westminster across the river

The London TV centre and the London Eye from York Road, Waterloo; the IMAX cinema

An IMAX cinema portfolio

Back to Borough of Lambeth index page


    The South Bank Centre website
   The London Aquarium
   British Film Institute IMAX site
   Map of the South Bank and aerial photos by

This page last updated 16th March 2003