Schools visits at Southbank Centre

Schools are always welcome at Southbank Centre, and we offer a variety of term-time activities for schools to take part in.

Whether you’re participating in an event or project or just picnicking with your class, please have a read of these frequently asked questions to get the most out of your visit and avoid disappointment.

I'm attending an event or project with a class. Do I need to complete any paperwork?

Yes. Southbank Centre has a safeguarding policy for working with children and vulnerable adults. We require that all schools read this and return a signed copy of the Safeguarding Information for Schools form to Southbank Centre before bringing your group on site. The completed form should be returned to Southbank Centre as part of your booking process once your booking has been confirmed.

 

view Safeguarding information for the Schools form

I'm not attending an event. Do I need to complete any paperwork?

No, you do not need to complete any paperwork. Southbank Centre’s foyer spaces are open to the public and therefore can be used by schools during opening hours, but visiting groups should exercise due caution and be respectful of others as you would in a park, museum or other public place. If you want to say hello or need any help while you’re here, come to the Welcome Desk, Level 2, Royal Festival Hall.

Can we visit without booking?

If you are visiting our site you do not need to book in advance, but please check the website for any building closures or major events. Southbank Centre’s foyer spaces are open to the public and therefore can be used by schools during opening hours, but visiting groups should exercise due caution and be respectful of others as you would in a park, museum or other public place. 

 

We are a very busy arts centre with thousands of events each year and we can’t guarantee that there will be space available for your class, so please have an alternate plan when you visit to avoid disappointment. If you want to say hello or need any help while you’re here, come to the Welcome Desk, Level 2, Royal Festival Hall.

Please check the website and venue opening times to avoid disappointment on the day.

opening times

 

If you’re attending an event or project booking is essential. You can do this via the event listing page.

find out more

 

Can we visit Hayward Gallery without booking?

Booking your visit in advance is highly advised. If you bring a group to the Hayward Gallery without an advance booking, you won’t be entitled to receive the discounted group rate, or to free entry for local schools.

 

Exhibitions at Hayward Gallery are often very busy, and without an advance booking we can’t guarantee entry for a large group. To avoid disappointment and get the best price, please book your visit in advance.

I’ve booked for a ticketed event. Will you send us our tickets in advance?

If you’re attending an event or project: You will receive an email confirmation of your booking with all the essential payment and safeguarding information. Once you’ve paid and your booking is complete, you only need to bring a mobile or printed copy of your confirmation so that we can check you in upon arrival. No other tickets are required. 

 

If you are visiting the Hayward Gallery: Once you’ve booked and paid, tickets will be left for collection at Hayward Gallery Ticket Office on the day of your visit. Please check beforehand that payment has been received.

What can we do on site?

Any time during opening hours, and without a booking, schools can:

 

  • Visit the National Poetry Library
  • Join drop-in hours at the Archive Studio
  • Visit the The Story of 51 open exhibition
  • Explore the site with one of our downloadable trails
  • Have a picnic
  • See the London skyline from up high

 

Southbank Centre has a number of self-guided trails and activities that you can download in advance to assist in exploring the site. These trails are available on our downloadable resources pages.

teachers resources

Is there a maximum group size?

If you’re attending an event or project: Capacity vary depending on the project. Please check the relevant event listing for details.

 

If you’re visiting Hayward Gallery: Tickets for all visitors to Hayward Gallery are issued for timed entry in hourly slots. For group visitors, there is a maximum of 30 people for each hourly entrance time. If you intend to bring a group of more than 30 people, you may be asked to split the group to stagger entry times.

How many adults should we bring?

It is important that there are enough adults to supervise visits by under-16s. Adult supervision of students under 16 is required at all times, and we ask you to use the following ratios:

 

1:5 for under-5s

1:10 for under-11s

1:15 for ages 11 – 16

1:20 for ages 16 – 18

 

We reserve the right to refuse entry to our venues for safety reasons if there are not sufficient adults to supervise your group. Teachers and group leaders are responsible for students’ behaviour while on site.

Where can we eat our lunch?

You can bring your lunch and eat on site in the public foyers of Royal Festival Hall during opening hours. Opening hours are subject to change for special events; please confirm opening hours in advance of your visit. 

What do we do when we arrive?

If you’re attending an event or project: Projects and events take place in various locations in Southbank Centre. Check your booking confirmation for your starting location, or stop by the Welcome Hub on Level 2 of the Royal Festival Hall building to see where you’re meant to be.

 

If you’re visiting the Hayward Gallery: your group leader needs to register at the Hayward Gallery Ticket Office.

 

If you're not attending an event: Southbank Centre’s foyer spaces are open to the public and therefore can be used by schools during opening hours, but visiting groups should exercise due caution and be respectful of others as you would in a park, museum or other public place. If you want to say hello or need any help while you’re here, come to the Welcome Desk, Level 2, Royal Festival Hall.

Can we take bags into Hayward Gallery?

Large bags, rucksacks, coats or other articles of luggage are not allowed in the gallery. A cloakroom and provisions for groups to leave such items before entering are available for booked groups.

Can we take sketching materials into Hayward Gallery?

Students are welcome to sketch in the gallery using pencils. Please help keep the gallery tidy for other visitors by taking any materials with you after your visit. Paint, charcoal, pens, crayons, and pastels are not allowed and further restrictions may be in place for certain exhibitions. Please check with the Ticket Office before you enter.

What kind of behaviour is unacceptable in the Hayward Gallery and shops?

We want your group to feel free to enjoy and discuss the artworks. For the safety of the artworks, and other visitors to Hayward Gallery, please remind your groups of the following:

Inside the gallery, please don’t run, touch, lean, shout, eat or drink. 

Please do look, listen, debate, think, and discuss and be aware of people around you.

To avoid congestion in the shops, please ensure pupils visit in small staggered groups and are supervised at all times.

How do we get to Southbank Centre?

Southbank Centre is centrally located with numerous school-friendly transport links.

find out more

Where can we go if we need help with something on site?

If you want to say hello or need any help while you’re here, please come to the Welcome Desk, Level 2, Royal Festival Hall, and our Visitor Experience team will be happy to help you.

What if I still have questions?

If your question isn’t answered here, email us at schools@southbankcentre.co.uk and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

 

We look forward to welcoming you to Southbank Centre soon!

contact us

If your question isn’t answered here, email us via the link below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

We look forward to welcoming you to Southbank Centre soon!