a citizen’s guide to London South Bank

say ‘hello’ to South Bank

Looking for an urban adventure that’s one part culture, two parts history and a whole lot of fun? Meet South Bank— London's favorite riverside neighbourhood. From its bustling promenade to iconic architecture, this borough is cool as a cucumber. The cherry on top of the cake? Our urban chic citizenM London Bankside hotel, right in the middle of everything. So hop on board citizens, we'll guide you through the finest spots in our neighbourhood!

South Bank, nestled in Central London, sits on the southern edge of the river Thames. Tucked between Westminster Bridge and London Bridge, South Bank is just a stone's throw from iconic landmarks like Tower Bridge and The Shard.

South Bank, Bankside, Southwark – what's the deal?

Don't let the lingo confuse you. Southbank is part of the borough of Southwark, which also includes Bankside. While Bankside is home to the marvellous Tate Modern and Shakespeare's Globe, South Bank boasts landmarks like the London Eye and Southbank Centre. A heads-up, the cool London locals love to bundle them all under the Southbank umbrella (just like us). It’s a bit confusing, but hey, that's the Big Smoke for you!

How to get to South Bank

South Bank is an easily accessible district. The quickest route in? Tube – take it to Southwark Station or Waterloo. In the mood for a stroll? Take the Jubilee, Southwark or Waterloo Bridge over the Thames.

Sights & attractions

South Bank London is a treasure trove of delights waiting to be discovered. Begin at the tranquil Jubilee Gardens, a green retreat nestled amidst the city's frenetic core, boasting stunning views of the river Thames and iconic London Eye.

Then, make your way to the bustling Gabriel's Wharf, a hotspot for independent shops, alfresco dining and riveting street performances. Let the buzz of the city wash over you as you enjoy all the fun this lively enclave has to offer.

Step up to the Observation Point, where London's skyline unfurls in all its panoramic glory. Iconic landmarks dot the horizon – they’re even more magnificent at sunset, FYI. Still not enough? Elevate your experience at the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden, a peaceful rooftop paradise with incredible views, right in the heart of the city.

Complete your South Bank adventure with a splash of culture. Stroll over to Bankside and delve into the world of Shakespeare at the Globe Theatre or take in a performance at the Royal Festival Hall. What could be better than a night of music, dance and literature against the mesmerising backdrop of the Thames?

shopping in South Bank

Designer boutiques await discerning shoppers at Oxo Tower Wharf – a go-to destination for the fashion-savvy. This iconic landmark has unique brands for every kind of (chic) shopper. From high-end collections to artisanal creations, it's the definition of retail indulgence. Here’s to treating yourself!

Don’t think we’d forget about you bookworms! Just a brief stroll away, under the historic Waterloo Bridge, you’ll find the Southbank Centre Book Market. It’s a reader’s paradise – home to vintage prints, antiquarian volumes and second-hand books of all kinds – and never fails to delight.

concerts & theatre

Love live music? Theatre that tells a tale? Soaking up the atmosphere at a riverside bar? Well, you're in luck! South Bank has it all – and then some! Experience the splendour of the stage at the Old Vic or Young Vic, where classic meets contemporary, or feel the buzz at the National Theatre – it’s full of surprises.

Best beer gardens in South Bank

As the sun sinks into the Thames, there's only one thing on any Londoner’s mind: it's beer o'clock. If the weather is more shine than rain, why not swap the stuffy pub scene for a breezy outdoor haven? Here are our favourite spots for al fresco drinks:

1. The Hole In The Wall
A hidden gem in the hustle and bustle of Southbank. Here, friendly chit-chat blends beautifully with the clinking of beer mugs and everything feels that little bit better. The people are a little friendlier, the beer tastes a little bit better – but sadly, the prices are not a little lower. It is London, after all.

2. Doggett's Coat And Badge
Step into Doggett’s Coat and Badge, four charming floors where each pint tells a tale and the walls whisper stories of old London. The cosy garden is loved by beer aficionados – and maybe you too, soon. See you there?

3. Rose & Crown
For those who like a touch of tradition, try the Rose & Crown. It’s a perfect blend of old and new – historic charm with modern style. This garden gives a hearty nod to the British love of beer, with a selection of pints as diverse as Southbank itself.

4. Flat Iron Square
Less of a beer garden, more an urban sanctuary. Expect quality beer, yes, but also music, food and a fantastic atmosphere. Pull up a seat and watch the world go by with a cold one in hand. Cheers to that.

5. The Rake
Small but mighty, The Rake is a true beer lover's dream. The eclectic space, with its vibrant murals and vast selection of craft beers, brings a whole new meaning to the term 'beer garden', promising a flavourful adventure in every sip.

6. The Mudlark
This is where you go to escape. Tucked away under London Bridge, this quaint beer garden feels timeless. Order a beer and let the conversation flow, no cares in the world. 

7. The Wheatsheaf
Thanks to a rustic aesthetic, The Wheatsheaf feels like a slice of country life right in the city. Think of it as an oasis of calm, where time slows down with every sip. Worth having one more, no?

8. London Bridge Rooftop Bar
For those seeking a more elevated experience, head to London Bridge Rooftop Bar. This sky-high garden serves up a stunning panorama, where the city lights twinkle as brightly as the conversation (hopefully).

Food markets in South Bank

A global buffet is on your doorstep at South Bank! Get ready for mouth-watering aromas, fresh local produce and unique culinary delights… these are our must-visit food markets on walking distance from our citizenM London Bankside hotel

1. Borough Market
Under the railway viaducts between the River Thames and Borough High Street you’ll find a food lover's paradise – Borough Market. It’s home to a diverse mix of vendors selling everything from organic meats and specialty cheeses to artisan breads and global street food! 

2. Southbank Centre Food Market
A short stroll along the Thames brings you to Southbank Centre Food Market. Watch talented traders prepare dishes on the spot, from fragrant Indian curries to creamy Italian gelato. It's like taking a journey across the globe (just without the expensive plane ticket). 

3. Metropolitano Market
Venture a little further east and you’ll find Metropolitano Market. With a lively atmosphere all week long, this market is as much a place to meet as eat. Choose from dozens of bars and international food stalls. There are no bad choices here!

So, there you have it! South Bank's best food markets – a culinary world tour, right in the heart of London. 

Best restaurants in South Bank

Still hungry? You're in luck! We've got the low-down on seven incredible restaurants guaranteed to sate those cravings. Put on your stretchy pants and let's get going.

1. Buongiorno, La Barca Ristorante
This unpretentious trattoria serves the best homemade pasta in Southbank. Delicious pappardelle, spaghetti, tortelloni, minestrone – don’t get us started on its divine tiramisu. La Barca delights even the fussiest eaters. 

2. Strada Southbank
Want dinner with a view? Strada has a fantastic outdoor seating area overlooking the Thames. The menu is all about authentic Italian food with a modern twist. If you're a fan of stone-baked pizza or perfectly cooked risotto (who isn’t?), it's a must-visit!

3. Caravan London Bridge
High on every ‘London’s best restaurants’ list, Caravan London Bridge. Their all-day dining concept is perfect for those craving eclectic brunches, heartwarming dinners or artisan coffee in an industrial chic setting. 

4. OXO Tower Restaurant
Gives you the best of both worlds – an extraordinary culinary experience with panoramic views of London. Whether you stop by for a cocktail at the bar or a sit down dinner from their contemporary British menu, you're sure to have a wonderful time.

5. Bala Baya Israeli Restaurant
For an exotic foodie escape, look no further. From its bold, sunny interior to its fantastically spiced dishes, Bala Baya perfectly encapsulates the vibrant energy of Tel Aviv.

6. O Ver Borough
Takes seafood to a whole new level. Its menu is based on a healthy Mediterranean diet, with dishes made from fresh, high-quality ingredients. The raw bar is especially delicious – a real treat for seafood lovers.

7. Hawksmoor Borough
Looking for somewhere a little more intimate? Try Hawksmoor Borough. Its chic interior is home to some of the best steaks and seafood in London, while its extensive wine list (not to mention, outstanding service) complete the perfect dining experience.

Each spot offers a unique taste of South Bank. Pick one or better yet, try them all! You won't regret it.

Where to stay in South Bank London

With so many hotels on South Bank, citizens like you are spoiled for choice! But even with so many worthy contenders, our sleek and sassy citizenM London Bankside hotel stands out from the crowd. Urban chic design, friendly folks, modern tech and an XL bed that guarantees deep sleep.

The cherry on top it all? The location. Our hotel is smack-dab in the centre of it all. We're just a quick stroll away from Borough Market, Tate Modern and all your business pow wows. Pretty neat, huh?

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