London can be expensive, but in Bankside there are many options for a fun day out that don’t require a deep wallet. Visit iconic attractions, catch a show at a hidden gem of a theatre, taste gourmet produce or just take in stunning views.
Tate Modern is a world class must-visit gallery that makes a fantastic day out. You can spend hours enjoying the collections of modern art, one of the largest in the world, including pieces from artists such as Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso. Much of the gallery is totally free, including the spectacular Turbine Hall which often showcases grand scale installations.
There’s many more free galleries to add to your to-do list. Try a gallery crawl in Bankside visiting Purdy Hicks, Menier Gallery, Jerwood Visual Arts, Bankside Gallery and Contemporary Applied Arts for the ultimate dose of culture.
The Rose Playhouse offers affordable fringe theatre in Bankside. The Rose was built in 1587 and was Bankside’s first theatre, pre-dating Shakespeare’s Globe by 12 years. The Rose was re-discovered in 1989 and the site has been excavated for visitors to see the archaeological site where the original theatre once stood. Productions at The Rose are often works of Shakespeare and Marlowe with tickets for performances from £9. Tours of the site and visitor centre are free on Saturdays.
Foodies will never grow tired of Borough Market. London’s oldest market is full of stalls selling fresh fish, scrumptious bread and cakes, international cheeses, fruit, vegetables and everything in between. The market is a perfect place to stop for lunch, with a hot food served at very reasonable prices in the Green Market from gourmet goat to pie and mash. Make sure you arrive hungry and make the most of the samples offered by many of the traders.
Going for a stroll along the Thames is a pleasant way to pass an afternoon in Bankside. With beautiful views across the river, take in the sights of the City of London, St Paul’s Cathedral and other London landmarks. London Walks run ‘Along the Thames Pub Walks’ on Friday evenings. Join the guided tour for just £9 and learn some of the forgotten history of Bankside and London.
Hop on a Thames Clipper at Bankside Pier for a memorable ride with unique views of the city. With multiple docks along the river you’ll see some fabulous sights at a pocket friendly price. Use your Oyster Card to receive discount on fares.
For a lesser known but fascinating historical site, visit Cross Bones Graveyard on Redcross Way. Cross Bones was a burial ground for prostitutes in medieval times when the area was well known as a hub of crime and mischief. It was rediscovered several years ago and has been saved from redevelopment by a local campaign. Today the site is a memorial for the outcast dead and on the 23rd of every month at 7pm a candlelit vigil is held.
If you’re spending longer than a day in the area, there are several affordable hotels in Bankside, visit our guide to local hotels.