Monday, 9 May 2011
Southbank - SE1
I have waxed lyrical about the Southbank precinct before, when I reviewed Canteen some time ago but I decided that this wonderful area of London needed its own post. As the weather gets warmer I tend to walk from Waterloo in to Soho rather than take the tube (particularly as recently the Crossrail ....grrrrr.... project means the Northern Line doesn't stop at TCR for another thousand years). Often there is a temporary market in the space behind the Royal Festival Hall, right outside Canteen and the other day it was a Tea & Coffee Festival (pictured). Maybe I was in a good mood that day but I suddenly got all misty-eyed and sentimental about the Southbank and the fact that hidden behind it was this cute little mini-festival celebrating tea & coffee, with passionate producers and distributors touting their wares. Combine that with all the great cultural venues on offer within a short stroll - the National Theatre, the BFI Southbank, the Hayward Gallery, great places to eat and drink plus the joy of the south bank itself - the second hand bookstalls under Waterloo Bridge, the promenade, the people watching - what a place! Here I go getting misty-eyed again, but please, please, if you have never been to the Southbank Centre or any of the surrounding areas or you haven't been there in a long time or you just don't know it that well, spend some time there. Summer is a wonderful time to visit - there is always something going on. Case in point, the other day as I wandered across the footbridge from Embankment I came across Billy Bragg playing outside Festival Hall - that pretty much sums it up for me.