If you’re in the Capital and fancy culture crawling with the bubbas, you should definitely put the Southbank Centre on your check list.
Recently I took the babes to the British Film Institute for a special kids workshop followed by a screening of Wall E. Sadly we were too late to join in (pre-booking is advised!), but that didn’t stop us from having a fab day out by the river.
A stroll along the pier outside the Royal Festival Hall offers not only cool sights for little ones including Big Ben and the London Eye, but a range of street performers and vendors. It’s like Covent Garden with a more attractive backdrop and an equally buzzy atmosphere.
After watching the skateboarders under the bridge, we made our way past the picnickers on the green to the adjacent playground so Ezra and Jed could burn off some energy. Then we grabbed ice creams and headed back to the centre itself to see what was on offer.
There’s always a full programme of events, including stuff aimed at families and free activities. We were just in time to catch the last days of Festival Brazil which included the outdoor installation Project Morrinho, colourful bricks stacked together in imitation of Brazilian slums or favelas.
Another popular installation still running is Jeppe Hein’s Appearing Rooms, a series of water jets that shoot out to create ‘rooms’. The trick is to run in and out of these rooms without getting drenched – although of course most of the fun is in the soaking.
There were adults jumping in and out but mostly kids, many in their swimming costumes. Ezra stripped off and dashed through but had a minor meltdown when he got trapped in one of the fountain ‘rooms’. He soon calmed down once I’d dried him off!
One of the unexpected highlights of the Southbank Centre for parents is the Clore Ballroom in the Royal Festival Hall. Here grown-ups can sit down for a bite or a drink, or even browse with free wi-fi, while the kids let loose.
With so much on offer, including babe-friendly restaurants on site (Giraffe, Eat, Wagamama and more), Southbank Centre is one of our top all-weather destinations.
Check out the Family section at the Southbank Centre web site