Today’s expedition sees the Tehbus venturing north from Camberwell all the way up to London Bridge in readiness to traverse the expanse that is more commonly known as the Southbank. My intention is to make my way all along the Southbank, taking in all the delights it has to offer, setting off from London Bridge and ending up in Westminster. This covers the first half of the trip, London Bridge to Waterloo.
1. Borough Market - A "must visit" destination for anybody who has even a fleeting interest in food. Be wary, it is only open on Thursday-Sunday, but even if you’re in the area on any other days, there are numerous shops and stalls which are open for your perusal. Packed with fresh veg, oils, breads and pretty much every other comestible under the sun. Most stalls offer little tasters, you will probably fill yourself up before you head for something more substantial, like the venison burgers or authentic German sausages. Notable places to visit include the Ginger Pig (for all your meaty requirements, a great traditional British butchers), Tapas Brindisa (top notch authentic Spanish tapas, try the jamon iberico) and Monmouth Coffee. With my latte from Monmouth in hand, I proceeded west and continued up the Southbank.
2. The Globe Theatre - This theatre is a faithful recreation of Shakespeare's Globe and is somewhat a homage to all things Shakespeare. It’s a great place to experience a Shakespeare play, with a highly unique space and is split between standing and seating. About half the tickets are standing tickets and are dirt cheap. At the moment, they are showing "As You Like It" and "Troilus and Cressida" so catch them whilst you can.
3. The Tate Modern - Continuing west along the Southbank, the next prominent building you will come across is the Tate Modern. Directly opposite St Pauls (and linked via the "wobbly bridge" or the Millennium Bridge as it is better known), the Tate Modern is housed in a disused power station and its main tower stands out along the London skyline. As its name suggests, it houses a plethora of examples of modern art, ranging from lesser known British artists to the more well known such as Picasso and Dali. The main space is what is known as the Turbine hall and is normally dominated by one main exhibition piece. At the moment, this is full of bunk beds with books on them, a dinosaur and a big spider, courtesy of Dominique Gonzales-Foerster. Up to the 3rd floor finds you on the first real exhibition floor and at the moment, the themes are "Material Gestures" and "Poetry and Dream". I wandered around these exhibitions, easily passing a few hours and immersed myself in works from artists all over the world. The expert description next to each piece of art really helps you immerse yourself in the work. Real thought provoking stuff.
After this, I was all cultured out and hungry, so decided to leave the Tate Modern for now and revisit this at a later date. Other current exhibitions include "Rodchenko and Popova" and "Roni Horn aka Roni Horn".
4. The OXO Tower - By this stage, I was starving so I attempted to locate some food. Now don’t get me wrong, the Southbank has an abundance of restaurants and cafes. The OXO Tower is no exception. Housing various shops and restaurants, the piece the resistance is the restaurant located on the 8th floor. So, optimistically, I thought I would head up there and check it out. I knew it would be pricey, but I couldn’t justify forking out £33 on the set lunch. It wasn’t a wasted journey however, as there is a viewing platform affording fantastic views over London. My quest for food continues.
5. Gabriels Wharf - So my next stop was Gabriels Wharf. Having stayed in halls during my uni days on nearby Stamford Street, I used to visit this place fairly regularly. Home to a variety of little craft shops and places to grab a bite to eat, it’s a nice little oasis just off the Southbank. I ended up in the House of Crepes, it just being after pancake day and all, had my food for under a fiver and was on my way.
6. The National Theatre - My final stop is located right next to Waterloo Bridge and is a big grey lump of concrete. I say that disdainfully and in all honesty, this building has the potential to be one of London’s ugliest buildings. However, clever lighting actually makes this place look good, especially at night. Anyway, I digress. What’s important here is what this concrete block houses. Here you will find three theatres, not to mention various bars, shops and restaurants (although they detract from the main feature). These theatres are host to various plays originating from all over the world. Well worth checking out if you have the time. Also, if you book early enough, Travelex run a £10 ticket promotion which is an absolute bargain.
Anyway, after all this walking, I was pretty knackered and ready to go home. I set off for the bus stop located outside Waterloo and headed off home via Somerfield for some pig for dinner.
For more pictures, please feel free to visit my flickr page here.
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