Six fun free things to do at Southbank Centre

Thursday, September 12, 2019 - 14:51

Whether you’re visiting Southbank Centre for an event or a performance, or just meeting someone on our terrace, get the most out of your visit with these fabulous freebies.

Enjoy a great view of the Thames

Members Bar Views
Royal Festival Hall Level 5 and the view out to The Thames

Everyone loves to take a moment and marvel at a great cityscape, and here at Southbank Centre you can take in a River Thames vesta that stretches all the way from the houses of Parliament in the west to St Paul’s and beyond in the east. The best way to take in the view is from Royal Festival Hall’s Level 5 Balcony, where you can take a seat and watch the world and river roll by.


Hear performances from up and coming musicians

Friday lunch in The Clore Ballroom

At Southbank Centre we’re committed to delivering cultural experiences that everyone can enjoy, which is why fifty percent of our events programme is free. On Fridays this includes live music performances from up and coming musicians as part of our Friday Lunch and futuretense gigs series. Taking place at lunchtime and early evening respectively, you can enjoy jazz ensembles, string quartets, DJ sets, incredible vocalists and everything in between, all live and absolutely free.


Grab a bite to eat

Image of people sitting at Hayward Cafe
Hayward Gallery Cafe

You certainly won’t go hungry on a visit to Southbank Centre with cafes for coffee and light bites in each of our three venues, including the Concrete Cafe in Queen Elizabeth Hall and the hidden gem of Hayward Gallery Cafe. Each weekend, from Friday to Sunday, you’ll find a great range of street food from around the globe at our Southbank Centre Food Market, or you can sample one of the many restaurant chains that call our site home. And, if you want to keep it free you’re welcome to bring your own food and soft drinks and enjoy them in our foyer spaces, or out on our terraces.


See amazing art and exhibitions

Thabiso Sekgala in HENI Project Space [Photo: Pete Woodhead]

Across Southbank Centre you can take the opportunity to draw inspiration from the work of leading artists. Hayward Gallery’s HENI Project Space regularly hosts free exhibitions by artists from across the globe, whilst the annual Koestler Exhibition can be found in Royal Festival Hall every autumn. We also have a number of notable sculptures across our site, including William Pye’s Zemran on our Queen Elizabeth Hall terrace, and the fascinating Spirit of ’51 exhibition in Royal Festival Hall which celebrates the 1951 Festival of Britain.


Take a riverside stroll

Riverside at the Southbank Centre
Drop down onto the Queen's Walk

The South Bank is one of the top destinations for London visitors and it’s easy to see why. As well as our own site – which is itself one of the top five visitor attractions in the UK – the one and a half mile walk from Westminster Bridge to London Bridge includes the iconic London Eye, Tate Modern and Borough Market. A stroll along the river is a great way to see the city, and you can even pop in and visit our near neighbours, the British Film Institute and National Theatre.


Relax in a tranquil roof garden

Relaxing in Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden

If you want to take a moment to yourself, or hang out with friends in a relaxed setting, then our Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden is the perfect spot. Overlooking the Thames, and featuring its own cafe-bar, the Roof Garden is lovingly maintained by the expert gardeners from Grounded EcoTherapy, offering a perfect serene oasis in the middle of the city.



Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre and one of the UK’s top visitor attractions, and it is also available for private hire. Discover how you can host your event in one of our many unique spaces, or book a site visit by speaking to one of our team.

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