Earlier this week I was one of a group of people invited onto a promo tour of the wonderfully various and mostly free events, exhibitions and attractions along the Southbank.
I will cover these in more detail in later posts, but here's a whistle-stop tour...
1. A tour of The National Theatre including a peek backstage to learn all about the new renovations taking place this year – the entrance door will be re-sited, a glass area will be added at the back near the Haywood Gallery and a walkway will be installed so that visitors can look down into the props department.
2+3. A spin on the London Eye hearing about all the optional extras available (mostly in conjunction with champagne and other alcoholic drinks!). But what a view – the rotation just doesn't last long enough for me.
4. Then for a guided tour of the free events and attractions in and around the Southbank complex.
5. A colourful exhibition underneath the Queen Elizabeth Hall celebrating 75 years of the Beano
6. Up into the fabulous gardens on the roof of the same building. I had no idea the gardens were so extensive and so damn good – there's a bar up there too!
7. The 'Festival of Neighbourhood', encompasses all the events, bringing together our gardens, our homes and various London boroughs and explains all those disjointed words and phrases that are on flags and banners in the vicinity.
(It's worth mentioning here that there is a great exhibition on at the Haywood at the moment – Nek Chand's wonderful mosaic people made from broken crockery and other found items are on show until August 26th – this is not free)
8. Along the river's edge are a series of free-standing allotments each managed by a different group/borough.
9. Large 'topiary' sculpture of the lady who started clearing up after the riots on 2011. Look out also for a similar one of neighbours chatting over a fence.
10. Once a hired feature, the popular fountains are now secured as a permanent feature.
11. The tour finished with lunchtime drinks and nibbles in the Park Plaza Hotel at the end of Westminster Bridge. The glass building is not to my to my taste... 12, ...but the view is wonderful.
What a great morning... thanks guys!