There are a few places in London which are beautiful both in daylight as well as during nighttime. One of those magical places that look probably even better in the dark is the South Bank. The views there at night are spectacular.
The South Bank is home to a few of London’s most famous landmarks, such as the London Eye, the Tate Modern and Tower Bridge. It’s not hard to imagine how crowded it can get on this path along the Thames. Especially during the day, tourists and locals alike, strut up and down the South Bank admiring the views, visiting the attractions, and enjoying a bite to eat in one of the restaurants.
The South Bank is the strip of footpath across from Big Ben, running up for about two miles to Tower Bridge. Actually, you can spend an entire day here: visit the new exhibitions at the Tate Modern, catch a play at the National Theatre, do some fresh food shopping at the Borough Market or visit Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre for a Shakespearean workshop. Along the pathway, there is a fascinating mix of historic and modern architecture, all blended in perfectly with London’s image. You could say that London’s history unfolds before your eyes, all in the span of just a few miles.
After you’ve observed the stunning views of St Paul’s Cathedral and Tower Bridge during the day, get ready for a different experience at night. Observe the sunset from one of the pods of the London Eye as you past the South Bank Centre, OXO Tower, Millenium Bridge and the HMS Belfast. Seeing Westminster Palace reflected in the river is an unmissable sight!
And fine dining with splendid views? Check! There’s Swan at the Globe, the restaurant and bar adjoining Shakespeare’s Globe, as well as the Sea Containers restaurant at the Mondrian London hotel. Many restaurants provide stunning views of Thames River and St Paul’s Cathedral, and have sumptuous food on offer. There are also bars aplenty if you would like to extend your stay and enjoy some light refreshments.
The pathway becomes undeniably quieter at night as people hit the West End and Soho for dinner and evening entertainment. But when the nights are hot and humid, there’s nothing better than catching that river breeze and admiring the lit-up buildings on the Thames. The vibe changes, becoming more relaxed, and the hectic feeling of a few hours before is completely gone.
Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the beautifully lit up buildings and bridges. Tip: if you don’t have a tripod, steady your camera by putting it on the ridge of the river fences or bridges. This way you will get sharp photos, even when shooting in the dark.
The South Bank is definitely worth spending the day AND the night!
About the Author: Maaike is from and based in the Netherlands. During her bachelor’s study in international tourism management she worked in London for a little while and instantly fell in love with the city. While looking for a job in London, she travels around Europe and writes about her travels and the city she loves so much on her blog: Travellous World.