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Your South Bank Area Guide

South Bank

The South Bank is where tourists and Londoners alike gravitate when they want to feel like they’re in the heart of things. Cultural landmarks line the bank like the National Theatre, Royal Festival Hall and the Southbank Centre.

It has great links across the country – Waterloo station is the busiest in Britain.

But behind all that (and in between), it’s a hive of industry. In recent years, we’ve seen advertising agencies and news corporations take up space here, putting the South Bank firmly on our map as a core business district – not just a place to ogle the London Eye.

Highlights and hidden gems

No one expects the pub at Shakespeare’s Globe to be any good – tourists will always drink there anyway. But the Swan at the Globe is secretly a great place to become a regular. Take clients from out-of-town to the restaurant upstairs to woo them with the views, or have your brainstorms at the long benches in the downstairs pub. Or, there are private meeting rooms for more formal meetings, and the staff are as helpful with tech as they are with snacks. Right by Borough Market, The Market Porter is a brilliant green-and-brick London boozer – a good one for spilling out on to the pavement when the sun shines.  

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In 2017, Kraft Heinz relocated from Hayes in Middlesex and opened a new European HQ in The Shard. The American IT company IBM is based in a South Bank office building designed by Denys Lasdun, who was also the National Theatre’s architect. News UK (publishers of The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun) crossed the Thames from Wapping to London Bridge in 2014.

We’ll grab a Caravan coffee pretty much whenever we see (and sniff) one, but Caravan Bankside is a particularly good spot to know. Just behind the main South Bank drag, the space has high ceilings and natural light and you’ll eat way better here than you will at most of the chains on the river. If you’ve got a big, motley team to feed with all different dietary requirements, this covers all bases. There are lots of great spots on Bermondsey Street, too (tapas at Jose, rice bowls at Omoide, steak and roast potatoes at Casse-Croûte), but we find nothing hits the spot for a working lunch like Franco Manca. The pizzas are fantastic and the prices are unbeatable – it’s a team lunch crowdpleaser.

Coworkers will tell you about the rainforest showers and shiny copper lockers (and probably post them on Instagram) but 1Rebel is definitely not style over substance. You can book classes online with trainers at the top of their game (some of whom are Insta-famous themselves). Classes come in three shapes: Reshape (high-intensity classes across treadmills and benches), Rumble (boxing fitness) and Ride (spinning), with plenty of pre and post-workday options. Or, if you fancy something floatier, 3Tribes Borough offers hot yoga, barre and floatation therapy.

South Bank area prices



Private office


Fixed desks


Hot desks

Guide prices are per desk per month. Correct as of March 2019.

Amanda Lim

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Did you know?

  • The Prince of Wales once described the layered concrete, Brutalist masterpiece that is the National Theatre as "a clever way of building a nuclear power station in the middle of London without anyone objecting". (He didn’t like it.)
  • The Shard was designed in 2000 by architect Renzo Piano, who drew his initial design on the back of a napkin. The building uses 11,000 glass panels, enough to cover eight football pitches. 95% of the materials used to build it were recycled.
  • In the 19th century, penny gaffs were all the rage – short, theatrical performances that took place wherever space allowed. The south bank didn’t have the censorship of north London, so the theatres of the marsh (as the South Bank was known) were quite experimental. The Old Vic was established out of this tradition in 1818.

Nearby areas

Want to see what the wider neighbourhood has to offer? Why not read our guides for the nearby areas.

Amanda Lim

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