Opening Times & Directions

Monday to

8AM – 8PM

9AM – 7PM

The Sidings,
Waterloo Station,
London SE1 7BH

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Art on the South Bank

8 February 2024

For the last eight weeks, we’ve been privileged here at The Sidings to have welcomed the ‘On The Side’ exhibition, a series of works from 43 eclectic and emerging artists. Our mission has always been to create a space for everyone; these art exhibitions certainly fit that ethos. 

That got us thinking, we are in a wonderful part of London for anyone looking to get more art into their lives, so it seemed the ideal time to look for the best places for art in South Bank.

Hayward Gallery

It is almost impossible to start a blog about art galleries on the South Bank without starting with Hayward Gallery, one of the most world-renowned galleries in London. Famous for the art it exhibits and the building that houses it, it was a brutalist architecture landmark before that was a popular or even acceptable thing.

The gallery has a year-round programme from some of the most adventurous and influential modern artists. Right now you can see the new exhibit “When Forms Come Aive” a collection of contemporary sculpture from the last 60 years and is a perfect example of what the Hayward Gallery is all about.

Skylark Galleries

From such a massive and world-recognised gallery we travel to a place on a completely different scale, but no less intriguing. The Skylark Galleries are an incredibly popular local attraction because it brings together a collection of 30 artists.

It allows visitors to meet and connect with these artists in the lovely setting of Gabriel’s Wharf, so not only can you purchase from an extensive set of original art, prints and sculptures but the experience is a fresh and unique one, which will delight the true art lover.

Topolski Studio

When we showcase local attractions, we like to give you a variety of options to fit your varied tastes, so next we’ve picked a studio that’s dedicated to just one artist, Feliks Topolski, a man who spent most of his career working out of the studio in South Bank. It’s now been converted by his family into an archive space and regularly hosts both art events and classes.

We want to point you in the direction of the Saturday morning guided tours led by his grandson. He’s incredibly knowledgeable and alongside seeing the amazing artwork, you’ll hear fascinating stories about the man who still now has a painting hanging in Buckingham Palace that depicts the coronation of Elizabeth II.


Switching to a completely different type of gallery again, this time we are heading over to the Gallery@OXO, this is a quirky little gallery based in the ground floor of the iconic Oxo Tower Wharf. 

It specialises in pop-up exhibitions, so we’d always recommend keeping an eye on what’s happening there because it’s a varied programme that changes frequently, sometimes weekly. They don’t have any set genres or topics, but it does have a leaning towards emerging artists, so if you like to stay current with what’s happening in the art scene, it’s a very good option.

Whilst we are talking about exhibitions at Oxo Tower Wharf, we’ll add a bonus venue that only opens for special events and exhibits, Bargehouse. It’s based in the same building and caters to a mixed level of artists, from students to more experienced artists, we suggest you keep a close eye on what’s on in case it’s something that grabs your attention.

World Famous Graffiti Art

If your muse is more contemporary, we definitely have an interesting option for you, namely the best graffiti in the country – welcome to Leake Street Arches. To the uninitiated, it might not look too much from the outside, even uninviting, but be assured it’s an amazing venue full of ever-evolving art.

The arches are a celebration of urban art, with the walls constantly changing as new artists come and build on what was there before – if you went for two weeks in a row, you’d be surprised by how different it was each time. You’ll find some great dining and drinking options on location too, so you can make an afternoon or evening out of the visit.

Mason Newman

Closer to home, we have our own exciting exhibition, with the trailblazing artist Mason Newman doing his first solo exhibition during February right here at The Sidings. You can find him on the lower floor, opposite Nando’s and have the opportunity to snap up works from the debut collection of one of the UK’s most exciting new artists.

His reputation is growing fast thanks to his recent collaboration with Ed Hardy, where he became the first-ever artist to appear on his clothing, so don’t miss out, as he’s already sold half the collection on the opening night!

Tate Modern

I bet you thought we’d forgotten Tate Modern! It’s undeniably the crown jewel in the South Bank art scene and one of the stars for the whole of London – so we thought we’d leave it to the end to ensure you read all the way through…

Simply put, some of the world’s most exciting modern and contemporary art is on display at Tate Modern, in one of the most impressive buildings for art you’ll ever find, right on the doorstep of the River Thames. The gallery is completely free to visit and contains works from artists pivotal to the art world as we know it, from Picasso to Matisse.

No better way to end really, so that’s more than enough from us, over to you now. Get out and about in South Bank and let us know all about your cultural days out.

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