Exploring Southbank Center

I needed to get out of the house today — I may or may not have been up until 3am launching my Facebook page and email list (check out the form in the sidebar!) — so I took a jaunt down to Royal Festival Hall and Southbank Centre.

Royal Festival Hall
Not my best work.
Hungerford Bridge
Right next to the Hungerford Bridge on the south bank.
(God it’s all so effing greeeeeyyyyyyy)

(Here’s where I admit to you that I didn’t realize that the Southbank Centre is a legit arts centre, with lots of stuff going on daily, monthly, etc. I just thought it was, like, a repurposed Sprint Center. Hashtag-such-a-n00b…)

The center/centre itself is … unstructured? I walked in and found myself in a very open, rather eclectic space. Half of a photo exhibit (see below!) is set up in the foyer, which leads to a large dance floor (currently set up with tables, chairs and benches and hosting what appears to be a well-attended toddler play date), which is next to a bar-slash-ticket-sales area, and by now we’ve made it to the other side which is home to the other half of the photo exhibition. The level below me was, at that time, full of break dancers. I think it’s also a large event venue because they made announcements about doors opening at a certain time.

Woman views photos at World Press Photo Contest
World Press Photo Contest 2015. So good.

Break dancer break dances
Break dancing happening right below me!

For being in London, it felt very chaotic!

However, I did find the fifth and sixth floors, and they are perfect for working. They’re very open and feature lots of trendy tables, chairs and floofy couches. It’s a blogger’s haven: barista at-the-ready, free wifi and a balcony view over the Thames.

Southbank Centre fifth floor terrace
That little bit of red on the far end is the London Eye.

I went specifically to view the World Press Photo Exhibition (“on” through 29 November if you’re in London before then) and I wasn’t let down. I’m fascinated by photo journalism — it is intimate and real, and a stunning presentation of history, current events, pop culture, life — and these are the best submissions from 2015 form all over the world. Several topics were featured, from the Ebola outbreak to online dating profiles. I was really moved by this series of photos by Arash Khamooshi.

But the best part is the elevator.

Yes. The elevator.

(I mean the lift. Whatever.)

It sings to you!

At the very end of the video below, a very high voice sings, “Le-vel Six.” When I showed this to Britton he said that I had found “my elevator soulmate.” ACCURATE. (Here’s another video that shows more of the singing.)

I will be back to see what Southbank has in store in the coming months, and I highly recommend a stroll through if you’re in the area, especially if the weather is gross and gray.

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