The Southbank is a great destination in London if you want to head out with your camera for the day and the perfect place to start our photowalk guide. It has a little bit of something for everyone; with great views from the river and plenty of opportunity for street photography; you won’t really know where to point your camera first. If you’re prepared to put up with the crowds in certain places, it is actually a pretty nice walk too.
When photowalking the Southbank, we usually kick things off at Westminster. Now, we know what you might be thinking; Westminster – so far, so cliched, right? Well, you’d be right if you were thinking Houses of Parliament (although there are plenty of opportunities to shoot it), but there is lots of other stuff here to warm your camera up for things to come. For starters, Westminster tube station is one of the most photogenic out there; its sleek and modern design making it the ideal place to perfect those quirky and abstract architectural shots. Incidentally we really do love taking pictures on the tube; there are some really visually stunning stations out there and plenty to keep your camera occupied. Tip: If the weather isn’t so hot, it’s a great way to get some solid shots in your library without squelching around above ground (as we have done on occasion; it ain’t so fun after a while).
If you’re prepared to venture above ground here then be ready; it is pretty crowded up there, day or night. Not only are there herds of tourists here, but they’re also all looking in one direction; up, usually with a shiny little (read: massively off-putting) iPad clutched in their hands. But hey, each to their own, no judgement here.. unless you use an iPad to take pictures in which case shame. Shame. On. You.
You can get some interesting shots of the Houses of Parliament if you wander around a bit on both sides of the river. Trouble is they absolutely will have been shot before by someone else. You just have to accept that pretty much all the good angles have been done to death and that’s just the way it is, sorry. We recommend taking this as an opportunity to get some postcard perfect shots into your photo library; the kind that make everyone else ooh and ahh at how great you are (we like those). If you’re there after dark you can also line up with the other photographers hoping to get ‘that shot’. You know the one we mean..
Anyway, navigating through to the other side of the river from Westminster tube station can be pretty tricky here, so either sharpen your elbows and dive in to the ensuing bedlam or, alternatively if you’re less worried about shooting Big Ben et al then walk along to the next bridge down (the Golden Jubilee bridge) and cross there.
Once past the Aquarium and London Eye the crowds start to thin a bit and you can get back to looking for your next shot. This stretch of the river, all the way down to the Tate Modern is great for street photography; there are street performers dotted all the way down this stretch, along with the skaters down by the Southbank Centre who always attract a pretty sizeable crowd of photographers. We also really love the southbank Book Fair down by the BFI, where you can great some great shots of people and.. well, books (come on, what were you expecting, lion taming?!).
By this point in the day, we’re usually pretty hungry (although this is pretty much a common theme no matter what the time of day) and there are plenty of well known places down here to grab something quick and easy; our personal favourites being Wahaca (we *love* a Wahaca, we do), Giraffe and Yo! Sushi (still puzzled to this day as to why the Yo! in Yo! Sushi is said with such vigour – answers on a postcard, please).
If you’re feeling adventurous (and we often are) you can continue your walk all the way down to St. Paul’s or even Tower Bridge, and we’ll cover these in future posts. For now though, the Southbank really is the perfect starting point no matter what your preferred field of photography; we ourselves ventured out here on our very first blog outing *cue wistful staring into the distance and waves of nostalgia*.. Ahem. Anyway, we have digressed. With both tube and national rail stations dotted all around the area you should find it pretty easy to get to no matter which direction you’re travelling from.
Patches & Flash