Enjoy Spring/Summer days in the Southbank and a Shakespeare play for a fiver.
Are you in the mood for a day of theatre and sightseeing but your budget is quite limited? No worries! Even expensive London offers you the possibility to enjoy something you will talk about to friends for months, while spending only a few pounds!
If the weather is fine, head straight to the Southbank Centre.
Created in 1951 for the Festival of Britain, the Southbank Centre has grown as a festival site, with art and activities inside and outside.
It’s a lovely and lively area, Europe’s largest centre for the arts and the largest single-run arts centre in the world, including the Royal Festival Hall, the Saison Poetry Library, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery.
There are often free music and artistic events going on!
Take a bite at the Southbank Centre Markets, which offer a delicious range of street food and fresh, quality produce for all tastes. And don’t forget to take a look at Southbank Centre Book Market and Southbank Skatepark!
BANKSIDE’S CULTURAL QUARTER, THE TATE GALLERY AND SHAKESPEARE
Stroll along the river Thames, and enjoy the breathtaking views and architecture; you’ll soon reach Bankside’s Cultural Quarter, which welcomes thousands of visitors every day. The location is again spectacular, on the south side of the river opposite the City of London, with the South Bank and London Bridge as its neighbours.
Stop by at the Tate Modern for some modern art and breathtaking views.
The Tate Modern will not cost you a penny, the artistic display is awesome, the interiors futuristic and, even if modern art is not your thing, you can head straight to the top terrace for some breathtaking views of St. Paul, the city and Bankside.
The Tate Modern, a former power power plant from the 50s, now houses one of the largest and most important collections of contemporary art. With its open-space areas, it’s a superb example of industrial archeology. It overlooks the south bank of the Thames, and is located just opposite St. Paul’s Cathedral.
The interior was completely renovated to make the most of its dizzying height and its large spaces. The exhibition galleries, spread over five floors, preserve masterpieces by Giacometti, Beuys, Picasso, Miro, Kandinsky and many others.
The architecture is worth a visit in itself: you can wander around the galleries in total freedom, take a rest on the chairs, play with the interactive touch-screens, and enjoy the breathtaking view from the rooftop bar of St. Paul’s and the Millennium Bridge.
AN EVENING WITH SHAKESPEARE AT THE GLOBE THEATRE.
Only 5 minutes walk from the Tate Modern is Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, where you will spend the modest sum of £ 5.00 for a show.
Built in 1599, this iconic example of Elizabethan architecture was destroyed by a fire caused, 14 years later, by a fireworks display.
The renovation took place in 1997, thanks to Sam Wanamaker, American actor and director, who found donors to invest in the reconstruction project.
Today, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is a circular arena of 30 meters in diameter, built using six hundred oak logs, straw and plastered bricks, and preserving every aspect of the original theatre.
You may be surprised by the yard, the stalls area with a capacity of seven hundred places, all standing! The theatre mirrors the original theatre model, so there is no roof to cover the structure; this means that if the weather isn’t great, you need to dress accordingly; you will not be permitted to use an umbrella inside.
The theater season begins in late April and ends in October and the program always includes the major works of Shakespeare.
In winter, you can visit the interior of this magnificent architecture following the guided tour in English, which starts every half hour from the main lobby. However, since the prices for the tour are higher than those you would spend for the show, it’s always better to take advantage of the warm season so you can enjoy the show and soak up the atmosphere of this wonderful theatre for half the price of a guided tour.
Performances are usually in the afternoon and in the early evening and you can buy your ticket online.
If you have some extra cash in your pocket, you can book at the nearby Sam Wanamaker Playhouse for a concert by candlelight.
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