Make It Your New Year's Resolution To Explore South Bank

By Londonist Last edited 34 months ago
Make It Your New Year's Resolution To Explore South Bank

Forget diets and treadmills — make your New Year's resolution a positive one, by heading to the South Bank.

Dose up on culture

What with the National Theatre, The Old Vic and the BFI Southbank all within spitting distance of each other, there's oodles of shows to see in South Bank.

On stage, there's Damon Albarn's Alice-inspired musical Wonder.land and Dr Seuss's sassy The Lorax. Plus you can catch As You Like It with up to £20 off tickets.

Film-wise, see everything from the new Star Wars on Europe's biggest screen to a season of French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard via the inimitable works of a certain Mr Tarantino.

Go somewhere new

We're willing to bet you've been to the South Bank many times, but have you seen all of it?

Theatre-lovers can come face-to-face with props, stage sets and workshops on a Backstage Tour at the National Theatre, while The Old Vic's stage manager takes people round on personal Ned's Tours of one of London's most venerable institutions.

You can also go on architecture and behind-the-scenes tours of the iconic South Bank Centre as a whole, or for something completely different find out the secrets of Sea Life with aquarist guides where you'll learn all about the breeding, research and conservation that goes on here.

And you could spend hours browsing the Lyttleton Lounge's exhibition space and digital archive of interviews, prompt scripts and early recordings. Otherwise sit at a BFI's Mediatheque viewing station, choosing from thousands of hours of footage.

Cocktails can be virtuous at OXO Tower.

Spend time with family

Take young'uns to The Lorax — a show squarely aimed at adults and kids alike — and they'll eat free at the snazzy Skylon restaurant at the Royal Festival Hall. For other delicious bargains, kid’s eat free at Gillray’s Steakhouse and Bar.

Or you could head far far away with a well-known ogre-donkey duo at Shrek's Adventure, with a handy 30% off online bookings.

And we love the sound of the Grandparents Fun Day at the Florence Nightingale Museum, where grandchildren get to take their deserving grannies and granddads along to see the exhibits for free, as well as getting creative with some cross-generational arts and crafts.

Save money

There's loads to do at South Bank that doesn't cost a penny, from walking along the beautiful riverfront and admiring the views, to free exhibitions, shows, films and events.

Enjoy not one but three free entry exhibitions at the IWM London, films at the House of Vans Free Cinema from February and the Lyttleton Lounge and Mediatheque (mentioned above) are both completely gratis, too.

For stonking great value, head to the Coin Street neighbourhood centre film club. A fiver gets you into its Silent Visions of the Future programme, a series of shorts from the 1910s, 20s and 30s, accompanied by a live jazz band, and including popcorn, wine and soft drinks.

Do health and fitness goals the fun way

Did you know there's a spa inside County Hall? We'd like to be there right now being massaged, scrubbed and all-round chilled-out, please and thank you. There's another spa round the corner at the Park Plaza, as well as a gym that's enticing us with its sauna and steam room.

And you can get some exercise without even noticing you're doing it at the Bump Rollerdisco — don some sequins for your skate and it'll be impossible to get the January blues.

Cool down after all that scrubbing, steaming and skating with a virtuous non-alcoholic cocktail at OXO Tower or a cold-pressed juice at Mondrian.

Londonist is proud media partner to South Bank London: Heart of Winter.

Last Updated 08 January 2016