Many of us know the South Bank for its great summer entertainment: free performances at Watch This Space, the street performers, or just enjoying a walk along the River Thames. But did you know there's loads to see and do along the South Bank over the Christmas season?
1. London Eye
This winter the EDF Energy London Eye is bringing back Eyeskate so guests can glide across the ice under the silhouette of one of London's most iconic landmarks, where they can also opt to experience the London Eye or the London Eye River Cruise to enjoy the best of London's Christmas offerings.
Please don't think that the London Eye is only a summer attraction. I love taking a flight in the winter as London is lit up and the view is so different from a summer's day. I've always enjoyed the evening flights for that reason. The London Eye opens daily except on Christmas Day (25 December) and during its annual maintenance period from 7-18 January 2013. Find out more: www.londoneye.com.
2. South Bank Shopping
- Southbank Centre Christmas Market (16 Nov – 24 Dec)
80 wooden chalets with festive music and a carousel.
- Real Food Christmas Markets 14-16 & 20-23 Dec
A host of scrumptious foodie treats.
- Christmas Chocolate Festival (7-9 Dec)
Discover the goodness of fine artisan chocolate.
- Oxo Tower Wharf & Gabriel's Wharf
Buy direct from over 50 designer-makers, from stunning jewelry to home design.
- Check out the Southbank Centre's gift shops for up and coming talent.
- For culture aficionados pop by the National Theatre Bookshop and the BFI Filmstore.
3. South Bank Dining
- Try the comforting Xmas menu at Canteen or warm your cockles at Pie Minister with their special Christingle pie.
- For maximum indulgence, and the best views, you can't beat Skylon, OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar & Brasserie, or the newly opened Brasserie Joel at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge.
- Giraffe is always a winner with the kids whilst festive sandwiches at EAT or a stop off at Strada keep teenagers happy.
- Try cocktails at benugo bar & kitchen at BFI Southbank, The Cut Bar & Restaurant at Young Vic, Primo Bar at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge featuring live music nightly.
The Young Vic aims to create and present great productions of the great plays of the world to audiences of all ages and backgrounds; to nurture the talent of younger theater professionals; to develop a love of theater amongst young people and to achieve this they always keep their prices low.
Going Dark is on 4-22 December 2012.
7. South Bank Hotels
Of course, with so much to do, it’s worth staying over.
- The London Marriott County Hall is a luxurious 5-star retreat with fantastic views, afternoon teas and pampering spa.
- Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London's newest landmark hotel features over 1000 guest rooms, spa, restaurants and free live entertainment every night.
- Park Plaza County Hall offers contemporary 4-star studio rooms, complete with living rooms and kitchenettes.
- Park Plaza Riverbank London has deluxe rooms overlooking Parliament and an excellent bar/restaurant, Chino Latino.
- Plaza on the River Club and Residence is an exclusive 5-star hotel offering chic, comfortable suites with spectacular views.