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A Short Guide to the Southbank Centre

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The Southbank Centre

Location – Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX

The Southbank Centre is one of the premier Art and Culture venues in London, it is located on the South Bank of the Thames. The centre consists of three main venues (the Royal Festival Hall, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Hayward Gallery. It also has a number of smaller performance spaces such as the Purcell Room and Poetry Library.

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Bust of Nelson Mundella at Southbank Centre

The Southbank Centre has its origins in the 1951 Festival of Britain which was built on this site, however a large number of buildings were only temporary, a notable exception being the Royal Festival Hall. Other buildings were added in the 1960s and 1970s until it was decided in the 1980s to rename the complex the Southbank Centre. The Centre is a favourite of many Londoners despite its concrete and rather grey exterior. Recent changes have included a wide range of restaurants and a number of outside exhibitions which has added to the attraction of the Southbank has a meeting place and social hub even if you are not attending one of the events in the centre. It is one of the most visited artistic venues in London with over three million visitors each year. It puts on over a thousand performances of Music, Dance and Literature annually and an amazingly wide range of performing arts. One of the more unusual aspects of the centre is the Skate park situated in the undercroft, although this has developed independently of the centre it has become a mecca for Skateboarders in London.

sb skate

For the visitor to London, the Southbank not only offers a wide range of attractions but is ideal to sit in the large foyers with a coffee and watch the world go by.

Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery closed on 21 September 2015 for two years of essential repair and maintenance.

During this time, Southbank Centre’s classical programme continues at Royal Festival Hall with chamber performances taking place at St John’s Smith Square

To find out about the wide range of events at the Southbank Centre visit their website here

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