The South Bank, Somerset House and Covent Garden – three London landmarks that have seen spectacular change from their original uses. Although all are cultural destinations, their architectural responses are radically different. How did the buildings develop and adapt, and will they remain relevant in a changing world?
The Festival of Britain in 1951 sparked redevelopment of the South Bank, so our walk begins at Royal Festival Hall. We consider the brutalist institutions along the Thames before crossing Waterloo Bridge, with its panoramic views of the city. North of the river we discover Somerset House and some of the most fascinating buildings around Aldwych, before ending our journey at Covent Garden.
Please note that this tour includes some stairs at South Bank. Typically, buildings are viewed from the outside only but we are seeing many places so there is plenty to keep you interested.
When: Selected Fridays
Duration: 2 hours
Max group size: 10
The tour starts at the Nelson Mandela statue, which is on the south corner of Royal Festival Hall. The tour ends at Covent Garden.
It has been hailed as Europe’s largest urban regeneration project. Like it or loathe it, the transformation of Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea includes plenty of iconic architecture and urban planning. As building work continues, this is an ideal time to take a critical look at key developments in this area.