Travelling to the South Bank
In the first of our London Theatre Guides series, we gave you all the info you need to travel to – and navigate – the West End. Now, here are some transport tips for London’s South Bank.
What is the South Bank?
As the name suggests, it’s an area running along the south bank of the Thames – roughly between Westminster Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge, opposite the City of Westminster.
Culture buffs should get to know it well, as venues in and around the South Bank include the National Theatre, Southbank Centre, Royal Festival Hall, Old Vic, Young Vic, Menier Chocolate Factory and Shakespeare’s Globe – plus all kinds of riverside entertainment in the warmer months.
Travelling to the South Bank
If you’re coming from further afield, there are major railway terminuses nearby: Waterloo, Charing Cross and Blackfriars.
These also offer numerous Tube lines, though if you’re travelling to either of the Vics, you might want to opt for Southwark instead of Waterloo at peak commuter times, since the latter will be packed.
Either Southwark or London Bridge are convenient for the Menier (which sees many of its productions, particularly musicals, transfer to the West End – get a closer and more affordable view here first if you can), and Waterloo is closest to the National and Southbank Centre.
It’s a pleasant stroll along the river to Shakespeare’s Globe from stations like Blackfriars or London Bridge. If you walk to the theatre from the latter, you’ll encounter interesting landmarks like the Golden Hinde (a replica of Sir Francis Drake’s ship), Borough Market and Southwark Cathedral.
Approaching venues like the Globe or the National from either direction riverside also affords fantastic views over the Thames to the City of London.
There are plenty of other choices, including multiple bus routes in the area, taxis, and for cyclists both bike racks and bike hire docking points.
For the full riverside experience, you can also travel by boat. The MBNA Thames Clippers serve numerous London piers, including Bankside (close to the Globe), Embankment and London Bridge.
Transport for London can you help plot the most suitable and convenient route.
North to south
As well as easy routes actually on the South Bank, you might find your best transport option is heading to a spot north of the river and then walking over a bridge.
Check out north bank stations like Embankment, Temple, Blackfriars, Monument, Bank or St Paul’s, and then it’s an easy walk over bridges such as the Millennium Bridge or Waterloo Bridge – with the added bonus of amazing views of the London skyline (historic and modern) in both directions.
If you can, leave plenty of time for photo ops and enjoying the journey!
Got questions about transport – or any other element of the London theatregoing experience? Tweet us @BroadwayWorldUK