It is no surprise that the place almost all of the families who book their Shoots In the City sessions with me choose to start or end their London photoshoot on the Southbank.
This stretch of the Thames hosts the most iconic views in London from the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben to St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London (and Tower Bridge) as well as breath-taking views over the city and the river.
And to make things even better there is always loads going on. I absolutely guarantee that you’ll be able to find something fun to do for the whole family here at any time of the year.
The London Eye is the perfect place to start your visit
Even if you don’t book a ride on the giant wheel to get your ‘views of London’ fix, you could easily while away a morning in this part of the Thames alone - no matter what the weather is like.
The London Aquarium, an endless supply of buskers and street performers, a carousel, a skate park, outdoor sandpit, water fountains for children to play in, pop up food stalls and markets mean there is always an energetic buzz about the place.
Jubilee Gardens is a lovely spot to picnic and often hosts any number of festivals throughout the year, like the Underbelly Festival in the summer.
And VITALLY, for parents who have children of a certain age, it also has a playground.
The South Bank Centre has lots to offer children of all ages
Further along you have the South Bank Centre (which includes the Royal Festival Hall) which is a godsend on rainy days - and is usually well worth popping into even when the weather is good. As well as exhibitions, you’ll often find workshops, screenings and interactive performances on (an example is the Imagine Children’s Festival, which is on over half term this February). And the best thing about all this? Quite a few of the workshops are completely free.
Oh and there is a handy cafe with lots of space for children to run around in while you enjoy a well-deserved coffee break!
A river trip along the Thames is the best way to see the London sights
You can while away a good few hours walking along the Thames Path from Waterloo towards Tower Bridge and beyond, but if you have little people who are liable to tire easily (or declare, rather dramatically that their LEGS ARE BROKEN, like my daughter) then making part of your trip via boat is an easy and exciting option.
Thames Clippers run the frequent and reasonably priced (for London at any rate) river ferries along the Thames. You can hop on one at Waterloo Pier and ride all the way to Greenwich (another absolutely excellent spot to spend a day).
I like to jump off at Blackfriars Pier and head over the Millennium Bridge to the Tate Modern (a surprisingly excellent place to take small children), the bridge is also the BEST place to get gorgeous views of St Paul’s Cathedral.
Or stay on the boat until you hit Tower Bridge where you can visit the Tower of London (an absolute MUST if you come to London), the London Dungeon or simply wander around City Hall and enjoy the various pop-ups and impromptu festivals and performances that often occur in that area.