Top 10 things to see & do

Want to get the most out of your trip to Southbank Centre? Read on for some of our top tips for visitors.

Enjoy a great view of the Thames

From Southbank Centre you can take in the Thames all the way from the Houses of Parliament in the west to St Paul's and beyond to the east. For the best view, try the Level 5 Balcony at Royal Festival Hall or, during the spring and summer months, the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden. Members can also get an excellent view from the Members' Cafe-Bar on Level 6 of Royal Festival Hall.

Hear talented musicians give performances – for free

Don't miss our much-loved Friday Lunch and Friday Tonic events. They're on most weeks and feature everything from string quartets and jazz ensembles to DJ sets, with a good helping of folk and world music thrown in.

view free events at Southbank Centre

Discover our brilliant line-up of festivals

Our heritage dates back to the 1951 Festival of Britain, and we put festivals at the heart of what we do, so you can immerse yourself in great art and culture and stimulate your mind. There are festivals for all ages, they can take you around the world and back – and there are always loads of free events to join in.

see current & upcoming festivals


Explore our programme of events

Comedy, literature, contemporary music, fascinating debates, circus, cabaret, dance, genre-defying performances – and that's just the start of it. We produce thousands of events every year, so when we say there's something for everyone we mean it. Why not investigate further?

find out what's on


See one of the country's best orchestras in action

We've got four brilliant Resident Orchestras here and many of their performances feature tickets for as little as £10. If you've never heard a live orchestra, it's truly a special experience. And don't worry if you've never been before, we've got some helpful advice about concert etiquette.

get first time concert tips

view upcoming classical events

Learn more about Southbank Centre on one of our tours

If you're interested in the buildings, we suggest you join an Architecture Tour. Or if you'd like to find out what goes on off-stage, try the Behind the Scenes Tour. No two tours are identical – and they're suitable for everyone aged 8 and up.

book tickets for a tour

Join National Poetry Library

Discover a world of poetry when you visit this great collection, located on Level 5 of Royal Festival Hall. Our experienced team of librarians can help you discover something new, find a poem suitable for a special occasion and sign you up as a member.

find out more and join the library 

Grab a bite with friends

You'll never be short of eating and drinking options at Southbank Centre – we've got everything from cafes and sandwich shops to fine dining, as well as bars and a weekly food market selling street food, drinks and fresh produce. Watch out for our pop-up venues – oh, and you can even bring your own food and soft drink if you want to make your own picnic in the Royal Festival Hall foyers!

view our cafes, restaurants and bars

Find exclusive designer homeware

Southbank Centre's shops have a carefully curated selection of gifts and homewares – many of which have been designed especially for us, based on our iconic buildings or our festival programme. Don't forget to pop in and check out the latest ranges while you're here. You can also see a selection of what's on offer on our website.

online and on-site shopping

Make a day of it and enjoy a walk along the South Bank of the Thames

Westminster Bridge to London Bridge is just over 2.6 km (1.6 miles) and features some of London's great attractions from the London Eye to Tate Modern and Borough Market. Don't forget to pop in and say hello to our neighbours at the National Theatre and the British Film Institute, just to our east along the river front.