Saturday, 17 October 2009

On the South Bank of the Thames

The South Bank of the River Thames houses one of the great collections of cultural and artistic meeting- places in London. The complex consists of The National Theatre, The Royal Festival Hall, The Hayward Gallery, The Queen Elizabeth Hall, and the Purcell Room.

A trip to the South Bank Centre is best approached on foot across the Waterloo Bridge.The view from the bridge is absolutely spectacular; on one side, there is the Palace of Westminster, wherein are The Houses of Parliament, as well as the world-famous London Wheel.
The Royal Festival Hall , one of London's premier concert venues, has been in existence since 1951.Like the rest of the South Bank complex, the building is in the style of the-then-fashionable "brutalist architecture" of the post-war period.Opinions are divided as to its aesthetic worth, but I believe it is now a listed building.
During the day, it is common to see buskers and other street musicians around the concourse .Around the side of the building, there is a large bronze bust of Nelson Mandela, as well as various cafes and eating places.There are plenty of seats and benches on which to sit , and drink, and to watch people go by...In fact, it would be possible to spend an entire day in the Complex--starting at a contemporary art exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, the visitor could then go to sit and eat at one of the cafes or restaurants. Those who enjoy a spot of reading can pop into a bookshop  or the Poetry Library( Level Five of the Festival Hall)...

There are often free recitals of classical music , as well as photographic exhibitions in the foyer of the Festival Hall. During the summer, there is a great book market along the river bank, with a large number of vendors with their stalls in front of them.

After visting the art gallery, the free concerts , and other attractions, the visitor might like to end their visit by attending the National Theatre to take in one of their productions.This is the home of some of the most-acclaimed heavyweights of British theatre.

A visit to the South Bank is a" must-do" for the visitor to London.It is a family-friendly and relaxed day out, especially in view of the pedestrianised nature of the complex, and the picturesque backdrop of the River Thames.There is bound to be something there for everyone.

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