Blow Away The Winter Cobwebs On South Bank

By Londonist Last edited 47 months ago
Blow Away The Winter Cobwebs On South Bank

Photo: Neil Macwilliams

Back at work, feeling like Christmas never happened? Next holiday not even visible on the horizon yet? We hear you.

Taking a riverside stroll along South Bank is a lovely way to blow away a few cobwebs and beat the winter blues. Enjoy the great outdoors, surrounded by the comings and goings of the famous cultural venues, and views to St Paul's Cathedral and beyond. Not only that, but plenty of places in the area have brilliant things to see and do, ideal for chasing away the January gloom. See the full South Bank Winter guide here.


The film awards season's coming up, so get caught up on all the latest films at the new Curzon Mondrian Cinema — upcoming screenings include the epic final instalment of The Hobbit trilogy. For an intensive cinema experience, BFI Imax near Waterloo station houses the largest screen in Britain, so you can get yourself really clued up on this year's Oscar nominees (and no-hopers).

There's still time left to catch BFI Southbank's season dedicated to Dame Maggie Smith. See flicks as diverse as Harry Potter, Tea With Mussolini and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, all featuring the acting legend (until 31 January).


Treasure Island's on at National Theatre until April — see Robert Louis Stevenson's well-known tale retold on stage with a spectacular set. Why not take the family along for a February half term treat? Other stage offerings include an immersive production of Philip Pullman's Grimm Tales at OXO Bargehouse — packed full of dark fairytales for young and old alike — and Daniel Kitson's Tree, which is a masterclass in theatre (we gave it five stars).

Alternatively, get your culture vulture hat on and take a backstage tour at National Theatre. Visit normally off-limits parts of the building and get an insight into how shows are made, from the creation of costumes to seeing rehearsals in full swing.

Imperial War Museum's First World War Galleries reopened in 2014, telling the story of that epic conflict through the lives of those who experienced it. The building also houses the largest exhibition of world war art seen for almost 100 years, and an insight into Afghanistan in 2014.

If you're loving the latest David Attenborough series, head to Southbank Centre for a screening of specially-edited footage from The Blue Planet, accompanied by live soundtrack from Philharmonia Orchestra (22 January), and then get up close to the stars of the show (no, not the orchestra members) at the SEA LIFE London Aquarium.

For those of you who have still got some pennies left from Christmas, pay a visit to the National Theatre Book Shop for books, plays and posters. If it's just a January read you're after, Southbank Centre Book Market nestles under Waterloo Bridge, where you can while away an hour or more digging through crates of second hand books.


Wanting to eat a bit more healthliy this year? The new Sea Containers restaurant, inspired by the golden age of transatlantic travel, sources produce from the local Borough Market, so you can rely on whatever you order being locally produced, seasonal and tasty. (If your healthy eating is coupled with a desire to be a bit more flexible this year, don't miss Yoga with a View). There's an affordable, express lunch menu too, so you don't have to wait for a special occasion.

OXO Tower Bar offers a non-alcoholic cocktail menu, perfect for those sworn off booze for the forseeable. Choose from six options, made from unusual ingredients such as avocado oil, Siberian ginseng or guarana. If you've got the kids in tow, don't head for the nearest chain restaurant — OXO Tower offers a three course children's menu, so the whole family can dine in the iconic building.

Get out and see London

Lived in London for ages but never really been to much outside your own neighbourhood? Make it your new year's aim to pack your map and compass smartphone and get out and about and explore London in 2015. South Bank is a great starting point: head up The London Eye to admire the views across the capital and start to plan where to have your next adventure — on a clear day you can see to Wembley and beyond.

Once you know where you're heading, Thames Clippers offers a hop-on, hop-off service up and down the river. The River Roamer ticket offers unlimited travel all day, so you can explore each area piece by piece, or simply take in the views from the water. If you're sticking to South Bank then this handy walking guide will ensure you see all the sights, with a few necessary pitstops to take in the highlights along the way.

Whatever your interests and budget, there's plenty to do on South Bank London this January, whether you're passing an hour, or looking to take the family out for the day.

Londonist is proud media partner to South Bank London, helping you to make the most of a South Bank Winter.

Last Updated 09 January 2015