LONDON: EAT SEE PLAY SHOP SLEEP TIPS OUT OF TOWN

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The Southbank Roof Garden and Food Market

Southbanks Centre roof garden Southbank Centre roof garden bar   Southbank Centre roof garden orange and purple flowers   Southbank Centre roof garden flowers Southbank Centre roof garden tables Southbank centre roof garden stairs

We call it the Southbank Secret Garden and if it weren’t for the bright yellow staircase leading up you’d be forgiven for never noticing it was there. On a sunny day you’ll find this picturesque spot brimming with Londoners, young and old, grabbing a quiet moment with a book, enjoying drinks, picnics and stunning river views from this rooftop oasis above the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Originally built in 2011, the garden was developed in partnership with Cornwall’s Eden Project and Grounded Eco Therapy – a group of volunteers who have experienced homelessness and mental health issues. For many this brilliant initiative has helped them turn their lives around. The result is a lush, secluded hideaway amongst the crowds and stark concrete architecture of the Southbank.

With a wildflower meadow containing over 150 species of flowers, an allotment, fruit trees, woodland garden and picnic lawn, there are plenty of pretty spots to pitch up and take a break. There is also a café/bar run by Company of Cooks, which serves a good barrista style coffee, a handful of snacks, salads and sandwiches and a selection of summery drinks. The garden is open to the public every day from March until late September.

Just below the roof garden is Jeppe Hein’s brilliant Appearing Rooms  aquatic sculpture. Watch the panes of water rise and fall, creating ever changing rooms. If you’re feeling brave and you get your timing right you can navigate the fountain without getting drenched – or not in our case!

Southbank Centre fountains

If you are looking for a quick bite to eat or for some tasty picnic supplies head down the steps behind the Royal Festival Hall to the Southbank Centre Square – Food Market. Here you will find a great selection of street food stalls ranging from Paella, curries, and wraps to fair trade coffees, crepes, ice creams and our favourite – the giant cookie stall. The market is open from noon Friday to Sunday and on Bank Holiday Mondays.

Southbank food market Southbank food market food van Southbank Food Market cookies Southbank food Market sharing cookies   Southbank food market gelato  Southbank food market salami

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1


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