Southbank Centre Essentials:
- What: The world's largest arts centre under a single management, operating concert halls, performance spaces, art galleries, cafes, shops and bars.
- Where: Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. On London's South Bank, between the The London Eye and The BFI Southbank
- Switchboard and overseas ticket buyers: +44 20 7960 4200
- UK Ticket Office: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., 0844 875 0073
- Nearest Underground Stations: Embankment (across the Thames) or Waterloo
- Wheelchair Access: Free tickets available for able bodied helpers of wheelchair users and ambulatory disabled people. Must be booked in advance.
- Visit their website
Arts, Culture and Entertainment at the Southbank Centre:
London's Southbank Centre is a multi-purpose performing and visual arts centre that operates 364 days a year. Events that take place include:
- Music - Classical, jazz, popular, folk and world music performed by international orchestras, ensembles, and soloists. Something for everyone.
- Dance and performance - All kinds of contemporary genre from ballroom to hip hop, tango and other urban styles. Circus arts, mime and unclassifiable performance art.
- Literature and the spoken word - Readings, talks, comedy, poetry
- Visual Arts International contemporary exhibitions (closed for renovations to May 2010)
The Southbank Centre regularly programs festivals and series that take place across the arts and throughout the center's different venues. In addition there are numerous free events, exhibitions, concerts and performances listed on the center's website.
And check the schedule for family events and performances ranging from children
's theatre, concerts and storytelling to educational programs with audience participation.
Venues at the Southbank Centre - The Royal Festival Hall:
Originally created after the post war Festival of Britain, in the 1950s, the Royal Festival Hall was extensively revamped between 2005 and 2007 at a cost of £91 million.
One of the world's great concert halls, it is home to two resident orchestras, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra and regularly hosts concerts by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and many other orchestras, ensembles and soloists.
The Royal Festival Hall the main auditorium seats 2,900.
Venues at the Southbank Centre - The Queen Elizabeth Hall:
The second largest concert hall on Southbank Centre site, the Queen Elizabeth Hall (QEH) hosts chamber orchestras, quartets, choirs, dance performances and opera. Contemporary music and gigs are regularly staged here as are special events such as the T.S. Eliot Poetry Prize Readings. It has 900 seats.
Venues at the Southbank Centre - The Purcell Room:
The smallest of the music venues at the Southbank Centre, The Purcell Room seats 390 and is used for chamber music, literature and spoken word events, as well as solo recitals and gigs. The Purcell Room is within the Queen Elizabeth Hall building.
Venues at the Southbank - The Hayward Gallery:
The Hayward, built in the late 1960s, is one of London's most striking examples of Brutalist architecture. You will either love it or hate it.
The gallery has no permanent collection. Instead it hosts several important temporary exhibitions per year. Although not limited to any particular era or style, exhibitions at the Hayward have a reputation for being didactic, occasionally political and often controversial.
Unlike the national art collections, the Hayward is not free. Ticket prices vary according to the exhibition. There are, however, usually free exhibitions dotted around the Southbank Centre.
Venues at the Southbank - The Saison Poetry Library:
The Arts Council's poetry collection, located within the Royal Festival Hall building, claims to be the most comprehensive and accessible collection of modern poetry in Britain. Poetry from the UK and Ireland as well as other English-speaking countries includes traditional forms as well as poetry by and for children, rap and concrete poetry and translations. Membership is free and audio and video facilities are available.
Eating and Drinking at The Southbank Centre:
In recent years, the Southbank Centre has become much more user-friendly by creating space for a very wide range of restaurants and cafes, to suit every taste. These include branches of popular restaurant chains - wagamama, the child-friendly Giraffe, Strada. The Festival Terrace, beside Hungerford Bridge, is lined with international restaurants offering French, Italian, South American, Chinese and Japanese food. Coffee, sandwiches and cakes are available in the QEH lobby and the Royal Festival Hall is home to several stylish restaurants and bars.
Check out Shop, Eat & Drink website
Shopping at the Southbank Centre:
Shops are located on the Festival Terrace, inside the Royal Festival Hall and at the Hayward Gallery. The focus is on design led gifts and toys as well as art, music, dance and photography related items.
Shop for books at Foyles on the Festival Riverside. This branch of London's famous bookstore carries at least 30,000 titles. Visitors can also buy CDs and DVDs along the Festival Riverside or dip into the daily second hand book market under Waterloo Bridge.