This section of our London, England City Guide describes the best
places to visit along the south bank of the River Thames. The areas
we cover are known as the South Bank and Bankside sections of
London. Blackfriar's bridge separates South Bank from Bankside to
We cover the Tate Modern (art museum), the London Eye,
the Imperial War Museum, the
Globe Theatre and the unique city
hall that is the home of the Greater London Authority.
Housed in a renovated power station, the Tate Modern is,
an appropriately named museum of modern
art. Its collection dates from 1900 to present and includes works by Dali,
Picasso, Matisse and Warhol, among other noted modernists.
Visit the Museum's web site
for information on opening hours and exhibits
If you have the nerve, you can cross from St. Paul’s to the Tate
Modern via the narrow, three football fields long, pedestrian only,
Millennium Footbridge, the first new footbridge built to cross the
Thames in more than a century.
The Bridge was closed shortly after its opening in 2000
due to unusual shaking of the structure. It was
reopened in 2002 after being retrofitted with additional
safeguards that successfully resolved the unanticipated
movements in the structure that had scared most pedestrians
The London Eye was built as part of the UK's Millennium
Celebration and has turned into one of London’s most popular
attractions. It is the world’s largest observation wheel and the
passenger "compartments" are constructed to allow maximum
The observation cars seat 25 and the ride is a great way to
"see" London from a new perspective. The ride takes a slow,
elegant thirty-minute rise, approximately 450 feet' into the
air, providing fantastic views of London by day and spectacular
views by night.
official website of the London Eye for more
An interesting break from walking after visiting the Eye
is to take the London Eye River Cruise from the adjacent dock to
view Parliament, St. Paul's Cathedral, the Tower of London and
other sights from the Thames River.
and Castle, Lambeth North, Waterloo, Southwark
The concept of a war museum sounds "wrong" but the curators of
the Imperial War Museum have worked hard to make the Museum
informative in a very positive manner. The Museum provides a
balanced view of war and warfare. Given the United Kingdom’s history
in World Wars I, and II, it seems somehow appropriate to provide a
venue that thoughtfully dissects war, its equipment and
The museum has a number of permanent galleries focused on the First
and Second World War, as well as its Large Exhibits Gallery where
samples from its weapons and vehicles collections are displayed.
The museum host a series of rotating exhibitions throughout the
year, often focused on unusual aspects of war. For more information
on opening hours and current exhibits, visit the Museum's web site.
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House, Blackfriars, Cannon Street, Southwark
The Globe Theatre, constructed near the site of Shakespeare's
original theater in London, is an excellent place to visit if you
are a fan of the Bard of Avon. The building is an almost perfect
reconstruction of the original theater with minor variations made
for public safety and building codes.
Tours are given throughout the
year, except when performances occur. The tours are frequent,
approximately every half-hour, and worth taking if you want to know
more about the details of the theater and how performances are
staged here (and were staged in the original building).
For additional information about visiting the Globe Theatre or
attending a performance, see the see the
Globe Theatre website
Some of the views across the river are quite interesting. The photo
below captures a newer building (located at 30 St. Mary Axe) on the right
that has been affectionately called the "Gherkin", by some, the "Bullet" by
others, and the Cucumber by still others. Other names we have heard
are not fit to print!
Located near the Tower Bridge and across from the Tower of London, you will
find the new development called "More London" that includes the unusual
building, without front or back, that serves as the City Hall of London.
Celebrated for its being "green", the facility is environmentally
friendly and uses solar power.
You can find details of the building and its interesting
features at the
official website of the Greater London Authority.
Next: Other sections of our London Guide
Or, Return to our list of
Best Places to Visit in the