Opening Times & Directions

Monday to

8AM – 8PM

9AM – 7PM

The Sidings,
Waterloo Station,
London SE1 7BH

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Ultimate Christmas Guide for the South Bank

28 November 2023

We recently told you all about the great activities going on at Leake Street Arches this festive time, which got us thinking – there is actually loads of cool stuff happening around the South Bank this Christmas, so why don’t we tell you all about them!

On The Side Art Exhibition

We have to start with one of the most exciting art exhibits in London, right here at The Sidings. From 2nd December until the end of January, a unique exhibition is showcasing the talents of 43 different artists from diverse backgrounds.

Alongside the amazing collections, a different guest exhibitor will be on show each week, meaning you could visit regularly in the lead-up to Christmas and have a different experience every time.

There are almost too many highlights for us to pick any one thing out, but we’ll try! We have the painting pig sensation, Pigcasso (you read that correctly), professional doodle artist Frankie Curtis and renowned sneaker artist Stella Stockbridge. 

If you are looking for something completely original for a loved one, then you can purchase original canvases or if you are looking for some print artwork, then head along to Caps and Cans to get a limited edition print that is available whilst stocks last.

The Heelers Come to Life

For any parents with younger children, the announcement that Bluey is coming to the Royal Festival Hall for its first live theatre show, makes visiting a must-do event. Bluey’s Big Play sees the much-loved animation programme come to life with a brand new story by original creator Joe Brumm.

Starting on 20th December, the show is running four times a day, giving everyone a chance to catch a performance that will make your kids Christmas. As early presents go, we think this will be top of most Santa lists.

Christmas Actually

Don’t worry, that’s not our terrible pun above but the title of another unique show happening as part of the Winter Festival at South Bank. Curated by the legend that is Richard Curtis, this evening of festive fun includes a line-up of Sanjeev Bhaskar, Jaybe Adams, Flo & Joan, as well as Miriam-Teak Lee. 

It’s an evening of live music, Christmas stories, poetry and of course lots and lots of comedy. It’s a collection of merriment that celebrates what Christmas is all about and will run from 7th to 11th December at the Royal Festival Hall – book early as tickets won’t be available for long.

A Christmas Light Show, Like No Other

One final idea from the Winter Festival that we had to highlight, is the incredible Winter Lights that were turned on 13th November and will be illuminating the South Bank until 7th January. 

We are not talking about a few rubbish lights on the Christmas tree here, there are over 10 artists that have created unique light exhibits and they are freely available for everyone to see all around the South Bank. Come along for an evening meal and take in one of the best, free light shows in London this Christmas.

THE Christmas Market

Yes, we know it’s a big claim and we are biased, but we still say that the Winter Market on South Bank is the best in the country! The annual market on Queens Walk is always a joy and this year is no different. As always, not only do they have an array of alpine-inspired pop-up stalls selling the best food and Christmas gifts, but this year they have curling and snow globes…

When we say the best food, we mean it. Why not try the Truffle Burgers or some Duck Wraps? If you have slightly hotter tastes, then there are spicy Thai dishes to grab your attention or maybe you’d prefer the Lebanese flavours they have available. If you just want a snack, the classic Molten Cheese Toasties will be your destination, although those looking for desserts have just as big a selection, including Dutch Pancakes and the ever-popular Choco-Fruit.

A selection of pop-up bars by Beltane & Pop and The Thirsty Farrier will help that lovely food go down. One of our personal favourites is ‘Fire and Fromage’ where you’ll be eating lots of cheese in your personal snow globe! If it’s an apres-ski party you are after, then head to the Curling Club, what a way to end the night.

Yet More Christmas Fun

Please can I have some more sir? Unlike The Master in Oliver Twist, here at The Sidings, we won’t turn your request away. In fact, as film lovers ourselves we are going to suggest you check out all the lovely Christmas movies that will be showing at BFI Southbank, we challenge you not to find one to your tastes.

And finally, check out the London Eye, the tourist icon really does dress up well for Christmas. The wheel lights up with festive colours and I’m not sure you’ll find a better place to see the wonderful Christmas lights that are on across the whole of London.

Time For Shopping?

After all those delightful treats, we must remember Christmas is about giving. Fortunately, we have all your last-minute gift plans covered under one roof here at the Sidings.

Is anyone ever disappointed to open a gift of chocolates? It seems unlikely, but when you also consider those chocolates are from the inventors of praline, you are definitely on to a winner. Neuhaus is the world famous chocolatier and they have an amazing selection for you to find the perfect Christmas gift.

For the person in your life who likes to take good care of themselves, then we want to point you in the direction of Kiehl’s, the luxury cosmetics retailer that has all your needs covered for skin, body or hair. Go on, spoil that special someone.

Ok, we said everyone loves chocolate for Christmas, but very few would argue with a nice bottle of something either! Nip into Sainsbury’s and pick up some cracking wine and champagne offers today.

Finally, the art of a great Christmas card is not lost on us at The Sidings, we love opening a funny or touching note from a loved one and there is no better place to pick up a special card than WHSmiths and you might even find the perfect story for that bookworm in your life.

So there we have it, loads to do, places to visit and gifts to buy. As always, we have everything you need here on the South Bank. Get on down, enjoy the festive fun and tell us all about it!

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