In honor of Time For A Cuppa Day 2013 we have created a cafe guide, giving you the low down on the best spots on South Bank for teas, coffees, smoothies, a glass of tap water, whatever you like. Read our recommendations then try them for yourselves!
FOR A BIT OF LUXURY TRY
Afternoon Tea at Marriott County Hall: Served in the Library Lounge, you will be surrounded by beautiful, hand carved book cases. Sit amongst the hundreds of books and gaze out of the window, taking in the spectacular vista, across the river to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. Choose from a variety of teas, sandwiches and delicate homemade cakes to compliment what will be an unforgettable afternoon, served by the impeccable Marriott staff. Increase the luxury-factor by adding a glass of Champagne!
Not Afternoon Tea at OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar, and Brasserie: Sample the exquisite delicacies of ‘Not Afternoon Tea’ at OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar, and Brasserie. Their cakes and pastries are like works of art – a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds. Based around themes such as ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’ and ‘Hot & Sticky,’ there are four luxurious menus to choose from. The added perk? Each menu comes with a free cocktail!
FOR SMALL BUT COSY TRY
Gabriel’s Wharf: This little plaza, just metres from the riverfront, is like another world – you could almost forget you were in central London. Nestled amongst the independent and unique retailers, there are some hidden cafe-gems, run by locals and supplying gastro treats such as crépes, pies, and Greek specialities – not all on one plate of course! Lose yourself in this enclave of crowd-free calm.
FOR LAID-BACK ARTSY COOL TRY
The Cut Bar at the Young Vic: As much a local hang-out spot as it is a pre-performance pit stop, The Cut Bar at the Young Vic is an oasis of casual cool minus the usual clusters of intimidatingly-fashionable cool kids (ok there are a couple of them)! With a mix of urban and rustic features (think wooden counter tops, exposed brickwork, lampshade-less light bulbs, and flower pots on the tables) you can feel at the heart of London’s cultural quarter, and in a Scandinavian-cool coffeehouse all at the same time.
Benugo at BFI Southbank: With buckets more character than your local pick ‘n’ mix strewn multiplex foyer, Benugo at BFI Southbank is another chilled out cafe-come-bar. In a similar style to the Young Vic, it has a scattering of miss-matched (in a good way) furniture and low level lighting creating an atmosphere that is both chic and relaxed – the way all film venue foyers should be, right?
FOR BARGAIN BUYS WITH THE BEST VIEWS TRY
Festival Terrace at Southbank Centre: They call it London’s living room, and you can see why. Grab a spot amongst the families with their picnics, students and freelancers with their laptops, people watchers and concert goers, all going about their business or admiring the view across the Thames. The Royal Festival Hall is a space where everyone and anyone is welcome. Best of all, every Friday afternoon there is free live music in the foyer spaces, for all the revelers to enjoy.
National Theatre: Both the Olivier and Lyttleton theatres have their own cafes, perfect for a pre-performance tipple, a relaxing coffee watching the world go by, and light meals – prices as cheap as £6.50, what a bargain! The Olivier Cafe even has a balcony so you can take in a panoramic view of the South Bank. Our top tip – watch out for The Prop Store, the National Theatre’s summertime pop-up bar.
For more info on all the cafes, restaurants, and bars on South Bank head to our website www.southbanklondon.com