Summer on the South Bank: outdoors at London’s tourist-trap


Visiting London this summer? You are? Great! In that case, you’ve got to, at some point, make the trip to the South Bank. A tourist-trap that’s simply unrivalled throughout the city, this Thameside stretch of family-friendly attractions (pop-up food and entertainment stalls, street performers and book fayres) and high-culture venues (the Southbank Centre, the National Theatre, the BFI the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe theatre) is also home to some world-class restaurants and eateries – as well as patches of park space – that are simply perfect for al fresco and picnicking. Here are some of the best examples…

Gabriels wharf in London

Gabriel’s Wharf

A highly popular hive of colourfully and boldly fronted cafés and restaurants, Gabriel’s Wharf a wonderfully appealing locale for an outdoors lunch on a sunny day or a summer snack, while you might alternatively choose to relax on the lawns at Bernie Spain Gardens, located right on the banks of the Thames. Moreover, visitors to the vicinity might also be taken with the idea of having a stroll along the Queen’s Walk, a leafy promenade that’s absolutely ideal for photo ops and, of course, ‘Look-I’m-in-London’ selfies.

Waterloo Millennium Green

The lawns and wildflowers of Waterloo Millennium Green ensure it’s irresistible for picnicking families and tired office workers in need of a refreshing lunch break. Located today in the wake of the magnificent London Eye, the green originally opened way back in 1977 to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee. It was redeveloped in 2012 to also comprise a sustainable park, new flowerbeds, trees, granite pathways and a contemporary playground.

OXO Tower Rooftop Terrace

Pricey it may be but this fantastically well admired restaurant venue’s a must if you’re smart enough to save money on your London trip by taking advantage of London hotel offers. And, don’t doubt it, the OXO Tower’s rooftop terrace is a fabulous place to soak up the perfect panorama of the city that the South Bank offers on a gloriously warm, balmy, sunny day – or, indeed, of the night-time neon-tastic view of the Thames through Central London to be savoured on a warm summer’s evening after sundown. Be sure you book in advance, though, of course!

Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden

The Southbank Centre is, as mentioned, a fine cultural venue in itself but its ‘secret garden’ located on its roof is another open-air spot to be enjoyed, not least for the pristine views it proffers up and down the Thames. Indeed, it’s ideal to pop up there for quick liquid refreshment or a snack before enjoying a fantastic event and/ or performance in the centre downstairs.

London Eye

Yes, the unavoidable 21st Century icon of the Central London skyline, the London Eye is also a terrific venue enjoyed by millions of visitors to the UK capital every year. And, should you have chosen for yourself the wonderfully well-appointed, comfortable (relatively) and nearby accommodation for your stay that’s The Montcalm Chiswell Street, what better way to top off your visit than indulging you and yours with the London Eye’s Cocktail Hour Experience? Just the thing romantic liaisons or just a great night out, it enables you to savour expertly crafted cocktails in a capsule all to yourself as view the bright lights of the city all around you, aboard the world’s largest cantilevered observation wheel. Special, indeed!