For years the main entertainment along this part of the Thames was the Royal Festival Hall, which opened in 1951, and not a lot else. But how times change for the South Bank has become a tourist destination itself.
There is so much to do, you’ll need all day and many of the attractions have sprung up in the past 20 years. Perhaps the most visible is the Millennium Wheel, also known as the London Eye. Its construction made an interesting sight for tourists and people who work along the South Bank, too.
Sections of the wheel were ferried along the Thames by barge and then assembled flat on its side laid out across pontoons/barges on the Thames. Once the structure was assembled it was winched to the upright position – or nearly.
It made the national news that day when it became stuck at an angle and was clearly visible on the skyline lurching.
Another much heralded new structure at nearby Bankside on the south side of the Thames, that had officials and engineers red-faced was the Millennium Bridge, which spans the Thames from the Tate Modern (more of that later) and St Pauls.
It’s a half-hour walk east from the Millennium Bridge and opened on 10 June 2000, only to close again two days later due to the fact that it started to sway inexplicably. It didn’t reopen fully again until two years later after engineers had rectified the problem.
The Tate Modern is surely another MUST destination on your sojourn from any conferences in south London. This building used to be Bankside Power Station, which closed in 1981. Now the gigantic turbine hall now houses a fantastic array of modern art.
It remains the most visited modern art gallery in the world with 4.7 million visitors per year. The story goes that when members of the public first gained entry to the massive turbine hall they were so impressed that they stood and applauded.
If you love Shakespeare plays walk a little bit further on and you come to Shakespeare’
If you want to stand watching a play in front of the stage better take a rain mac if you know it’s going to pour as the Globe is designed to be open to the elements in the centre – there’s a massive ole in the roof!
Once you’ve tired yourself out by taking in some of the cultural sites and walking your socks off you might want to stop for a bite to eat. It won’t be hard to find somewhere to sit down to fill your stomach, your problem will be choosing where to eat. Enjoy your day before heading back to the South London Conferences.
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