9 reasons to visit Southbank Centre this summer
Summer has reached London. All available furniture has been moved outside and everything and anything is being served over ice. Whether you’re looking to make the most of the sun, or want to shelter from an unseasonal downpour, you’ll find plenty going on at Southbank Centre as we celebrate Summertime.
Enjoy a post-work Pimms on the terrace
If you wanted to encapsulate a London summer, enjoying a jug of Pimms within view of the Thames would be hard to top - it certainly beats a sweat-drenched journey on the Central line. Thankfully you can shake off the nightmare visions of the latter, by relaxing with the former on our Riverside Terrace. The perfect place to unwind after work and watch the world go by, our terrace bars offer cocktails, prosecco and champagne by the glass.
Soak up sounds in the sun
Amp up your summer weekends with the aid of free music and performance on our Riverside Terrace. From 22 July, our outdoor stage offers up live gigs every Saturday and Sunday between 12 noon and 6pm. From old-school funk and soul to the sounds of the sea you’ll find free music for every taste throughout Summertime.
Gig with a difference
Enjoy a very different kind of musical performance, until 23 July, with KlangHaus: 800 Breaths. An immersive gig-going experience, music is provided by The Neutrinos, who move between a series of different spaces within the roof of our Royal Festival Hall, inviting the audience to follow them. Each performance is backed with the mesmerising colour and light of Sal Pittman’s visual art, giving a unique multi-sensory experience in an often unseen corner of Southbank Centre.
Relax in our rooftop garden cafe-bar
Can’t decide between enjoying the summer sun from a garden, or a city rooftop? At Southbank Centre, where you’ll find the best of both worlds atop our magical yellow staircase. Designed with the Eden Project and maintained by volunteer gardeners as part of the Grounded Ecotherapy programme, our award-winning Roof Garden at Queen Elizabeth Hall is a blooming marvel, complete with allotments, fruit trees, wild flowers and beautiful riverside views. Make the most of your visit at the garden’s cafe-bar, which offers a range of sandwiches, wraps and salads as well as homemade cakes, plus tea, coffee and a great range of alcoholic summer drinks.
Dive into the dance of music videos
If you prefer your evenings with a little more vigour, join us in The Clore Ballroom to dive into the hyper-sexualised physical language of the music video. Artist and choreographer Holly Blakely addresses ideas of connectivity, gender and class in Some Greater Class, a contemporary dance performance set in the Garden of Eden. Created in collaboration with musicians Gwilym Gold and Darkstar, it can be seen at Southbank Centre on 29-30 July.
Grab a cold coffee (or something stronger)
OK, there’s no shortage of places to find an iced latte this summer, but how many coffee shops are adorned with the colourful handiwork of acclaimed street artist Shuby? Beany Green - part of Australian collection Daisy Green - serve up great Aussie coffee and homemade banana bread from their custom shipping container beneath Hungerford Bridge. Grab one to go, or settle in on one of their decorative deck chairs. And if you prefer something stronger, they’ve a range of draught craft beers, not to mention cocktails on tap. Heaven.
Embrace the day with rooftop Yoga
If a caffeine-fix isn’t your preferred morning pick-me-up, why not invigorate your body and mind at one of our rooftop yoga sessions? With the river skyline offering a stunning backdrop, these one-hour classes take place in our picturesque roof garden. Sessions are available on Saturdays throughout Summertime, offering you a peaceful and invigorating route into your weekend.
Feast like a Swede
Every August, the people of Sweden head outdoors for a traditional crayfish party, enjoying the best of their seasonal seafood. As part of Nordic Matters - our year-long celebration of Nordic culture and arts - we’ll be joining them on 19-20 August with our own summer feast for the senses. A long-table banquet featuring traditional fayre of crayfish, Swedish cheese and sourdough bread is accompanied by craft-making, live music and performances - all overlooking a natural Fjord. OK, it’s the Thames, but we did what we could.
Scope out The Sunbathers
Long presumed lost, Peter Laszlo Peri’s The Sunbathers returns to the South Bank, sixty-six years after it was first unveiled at The Festival of Britain. The much-loved sculpture, which was tracked down and restored by Historic England, is now back on public display in Royal Festival Hall. And once you’ve marvelled at the peri’s handiwork, you could always try and recreate it with a spot of sunbathing of your own on our summer beach.