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The South Bank Summer Guide

May 31st, 2022 | by Tom Harrow-Smith

Summer Guide to South Bank

Nothing says summer in London quite like South Bank... We've rounded up some quintessentially summer activities and events that will be taking place only in South Bank in the coming months. From outdoor activations at Southbank Centre, live theatre by the river at the National Theatre and plenty of foodie pop ups wherever you look.

  • River Stage 2022

    For the first time since 2019 the National Theatre’s River Stage festival will return to the South Bank. For those not in the know, the River Stage sees leading arts and performance companies from across the UK takeover from a scenic open air theatre outside the NT on the banks of the Thames. Over five weekends, the best of British culture will be celebrated, including performances from drag artists, dance performances, live streamed theatre and plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy. From 15 July to 14 August, this year’s take-over partners are: The Glory, HOME Manchester, Hackney Empire Young ProducersHofesh Shechter Company, with the final closing party brought to you by the National Theatre

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  • Chandon Garden Terrace at OXO

    Every summer OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie go all out in decorating their iconic rooftop and this year is no different, undergoing a lush botanical transformation making it THE place to be when the sun is shining.  Find yourself nestled amongst a lush array of citrus trees whilst sipping on this summers hottest new cocktail, the Chandon Garden Spritz -  a blend of sparkling wine and a unique bitters recipe crafted with Valencia oranges, macerated with dry orange zest, herbs and spices. Now that's the taste of summer!

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  • The Appearing Rooms

    Delighting children of all ages since 2007, it wouldn't be summer without Jeppe Hein's Appearing Rooms fountain.This interactive sculpture is the brainchild of Danish artist Hein, whose combination of architecture and technology produces sculptures which are joyful, engaging and playful. His Appearing Rooms fountain shoots jets of water into the air, creating rooms that disappear as quickly as they emerge. The design is meant to be interactive, so children are encouraged to cool off amongst the fountain, which is certainly welcome on the warmer days. This summer is the first time the installation has 'appeared' since 2019 and it will be sure to be a popular hit once again for families looking to cool off!

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  • Between the Bridges

    Who doesn't want to head to London's biggest beer garden? That's right, South Bank can boast to having the best outdoor drinking area in the capital thanks to the wonderful pop up Between the Bridges which, as the name suggests, can be found in the area between Hungerford and Westminster Bridges. next door to Jubilee Gardens. BTB was a smash hit during 2021 on South Bank thanks to boasting London's largest outdoor drinking area, sensational street food, mini golf, the Colombian throwing game Tejo, themed markets, Drag Brunches and live music events featuring legendary DJs. And once again, it will be the perfect place to while away a sunny weekend or make the most of a sun filled evening after work.

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  • Limin's Summer Menu

    You can't get more summer vibes than Limin' Beach Club on a sunny day. Serving up a range of rum cocktails and delicious Caribbean food from Trinidad and Tobago from their sandy beach in Gabriel's Wharf. Their new summer menu has something for everyone, as many traditional Trinidadian dishes are naturally vegan, such as the star of the show, the classic street food Doubles - 'two fried flatbreads with spiced chickpeas nestled between them, topped with cooling cucumber, tangy tamarind, sweet mango jam, spicy scotch bonnet sauce and mango pickle' - YUM. Owner Sham is a great character who will make everyone feel welcome, watch out for summer parties and rum tasting sessions throughout the coming months too.

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  • Southbank Centre's Secret Garden

    Nestled on top of Southbank Centre's Queen Elizabeth Hall is the ultimate summer hideaway. From the outside, you can see the foliage from this rooftop garden spill over the roof of Queen Elizabeth Hall and during the summer months, visitors are allowed to while away a few hours in this tranquil spot in the centre of London. The garden, originally a scheme designed in partnership with The Eden Project, is home to 200 native plants and a luscious lawn, plus views of the river and beyond. With a bar serving coffee, beer, cocktails and soft drinks, it makes for a great place to swing by after work on a warm day to make the most of those longer evenings. Or, you could simply chill on your lunch hour with a packed lunch and a good book. The garden is open Thursday to Sunday, so make sure you check the day before deciding to head on up!

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  • Jimmy's BBQ Club

    Now in its 11th year of serving up sumptuous culinary delights on the Queen's Walk, Jimmy's BBQ Club is synonymous with summer on the South Bank. Open from Wednesday to Friday alongside their daily street food offering is the Cabana, where you'll be treated to a 6-course menu that serves the freshest seasonal ingredients, which means that the food on offer changes regularly to ensure you're getting the best. And introduced this year are 'Slow Sundays' where you'll enjoy a slow roasted leg of lamb, which has us salivating just thinking about it...

    Priced at £55 per person, these tables are often booked up in advance, so make sure you act now to ensure your summer weekend spot. And if you fancy something more impromptu, their street food terrace and bar is open 7 days a week from midday to 11pm, just rock up, but on busy days you may have to wait for a table.

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  • Summer of KERB

    More street food, pop-up goodness, this time at the National Theatre where renowned London market traders KERB are making a comeback after a crowd pleasing debut last summer. And this time there's even more stalls that stretch to the riverside, such as Bong Bong's who serve up Filipino flavours and were voted Time Out's #2 food trader in London! Plus, there's great burgers from Gamekeepers or some bold middle-eastern flavours from Moorish and much more! This mouth-watering curation is paired with beers by Gipsy Hill and the ever-creative spirits and cocktails from East London Liquor Co.

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  • Outdoor Art Installations at the Hayward Gallery

    There's something growing on the Hayward Gallery terrace... this summer sees an immersive outdoor sculpture from artist Jyll Bradley adorn the concrete architecture of the Southbank Centre complex. The Hop is inspired by a piece of overlooked local history: where up to the 1960s, every year thousands of working class families from Lambeth travelled away from the pollution of London for a working ‘holiday’ in the Kentish hop fields. This structure takes the form of a luminous public canopy almost four metres high grows from the side of the Hayward Gallery. Also returning this year are Klaus Weber's Thinking Fountains which proved a popular hit during the summer of 2021, complete with a cascading waterfall fountain from the Hayward Gallery roof!

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  • Free Art at Oxo Tower Wharf

    Be inspired and excited by innovative design and original art from leading art and design universities across the UK. Oxo Tower Wharf's annual New Creative Season returns once again for a two month long celebration of the best graduate works from the country's renowned creative universities and colleges - including Brunel, Royal College of Art and Cambridge. With eight free shows in total at gallery@oxo and Bargehouse, this is a fantastic opportunity to see what the future of British art and design looks like and where it may take us. 

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