Walks with views: Tate Modern to the London Eye
A sunset stroll along the South Bank affords an array of stunning vantage points
By Tom Barnes
We kick off at Tate Modern’s Café 2 (S), which offers a grand view over river and rooftops, and on into the Square Mile. It’s the perfect perch to take in the City along with a Tate smoothie. From here, St Paul’s Cathedral dominates, its beauty unperturbed by the uniformly grey buildings framing it.
Finish your drink and wend your way down through the gallery itself – maybe popping in to one of the current exhibitions en route.
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Following the Jubilee Walkway west along the river, head under Blackfriars Bridge and towards the Oxo Tower (1). Inside, the prices at this eighth-floor Harvey Nichols brasserie are not for the faint-hearted but even on a budget it’s worth popping up for a quick drink. My tip: demand a tap water with a slice of lemon. If you’ve got the chutzpah for this, you’ll have earned one of the best views in the capital. (Don’t worry, you can get a proper drink at nearby Gabriel’s Wharf (2), where Studio 6 offers decent international cuisine with fish dishes a speciality, plus a good selection of international beers.
Back on to the promenade, press on to the Southbank Centre. whose mish-mash of walkways and terraces always makes for an enjoyable wander. If there’s a concert about to start in the Royal Festival Hall (3) (and there’s almost always a concert about to start), scamper up the stairs to level 5, where you’ll be able to buy a plastic cup of wine at the bar and wander out on to its wide, strollable balcony for one of the most romantic vistas in town, with Trafalgar Square and the West End dead ahead and the Houses of Parliament peeking in from the left. Hang around till the show starts, and you’ll have it all to yourself...
Follow the river-bend in the direction of Westminster Bridge. Before you get there, join the queue for the capital’s finest manmade view: yes, it’s expensive (£17.88; £16.09 if you book ahead online), yes, the queues are long (after 7pm on a weekday is your best bet), but on a clear evening a slow rotation on the London Eye (E) is as exhilarating as ever.