Tag Archives: Southbank Centre

Step Twenty-Six: Southbank Centre Christmas market

29 Nov


Southbank. One of my favourite parts of London. Not just for the views, the beautiful sunsets, the cultural buzz but also the Christmas market.

When I first started my blog, the aim was to do 52 Steps in 52 weeks. It’s been a year since I wrote about the market for the first time, when I was on Step Seven, and although I’m only half way through my Steps and haven’t exactly reached my target, it means I get to revisit the topic again.



We pretty much did the same fail-proof routine.

Walk up the market, listen to the buskers, ooh and aah at St Paul’s lit up, get into the festive spirit, warm up with some Bailey’s hot chocolate, walk back down the market, touch all the soft Alpaca jumpers and not buy any because I already have five, watch the chimney cakes being made, drink the first mulled wine of the season, pick and try some cheese, take selfie photos in front of the Eye, watch the carousel swing round and finally, the main reason I go to Christmas markets, stuff my face with German food.






The details:

Location: Queen’s Walk, Southbank. Tube: Waterloo.

Opening times: Mon-Fri, 11am-10pm, Sat-Sun, 10am-10pm.

Prices: drinks from £3, food from £4.

Open until 24th December.


Step Seven: get some German sausage at Southbank

19 Nov

Ali: a very happy sausage.

Until last weekend, I hadn’t really felt the festive Christmas mood, just a freezing cold mood. So I decided a trip to Southbank Christmas market would sort me out.

Quite a few winter markets have opened, or are due to, but for me Southbank has always been one of the best as it’s one of my favourite parts of the city. Wooden huts line the river, Christmas lights weave through the trees and walking past the hog roasts and German bratwurst, you know you can’t leave without biting into a sausage. Ali and I did exactly that, followed by sipping a Baileys hot chocolate, followed by sampling all the cheese from Snowdonia, followed by trying to get perfect shots of Southbank.

At five in the afternoon it was already packed, so you’ll have to fight your way through the crowds. But it’s still worth wandering up and down the market to soak in the festive mood.

Food on offer: hog roast (around £6), German sausages (around £5), noodles (yes, noodles), cheese, chocolate, churros, fudge, sweets, gingerbread and an odd pretzel-like cake called ‘chimney cake’.

Drink on offer: beer, cider, mulled wine and hot chocolate (around £3) of all varieties.

Gifts on offer: smelly soaps, woolly hats, wooden ties (yes, my dad did always want a wooden tie), personalised prints and photos, hand-made leather notebooks, etc. etc.

Open now until 23rd December.

Monday to Friday, 11am-10pm; weekends 10am-10pm.

Side step: view the best photojournalism of the year

10 Nov

Rebels battle for Ras Lanuf in Libya. Credit: Yuri Kozyrev.

It’s that time of year again. No, not Christmas (not quite anyway). But the time to put everything into perspective.

Two years ago I was on my year abroad in Paris and stumbled across the annual World Press Photo Exhibition. It was a harrowing collection of photos taken from around the world that documented the year’s landmarks, be it disasters, scandals and contemporary issues that were captured by award-winning photojournalists.

The experience was so moving I went back twice. It shakes you out of your routine and puts everything into perspective.

This year’s collection focused on those hard-to-forget moments of 2011, with disturbing images that included demonstrators in Tahrir Square, Colonel Gaddafi’s corpse on a mattress, the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, and butchered victims of Mexico’s drug cartels, abandoned on the side of the road.

Not all photos are ‘doom and gloom’. There are some light-hearted ones, but the majority tell a depressing story and fall into the category, ‘see it to believe it’.

The exhibition just opened at Southbank Centre in London yesterday, and will stay until 27th November before touring other countries. It may not be the cheeriest of visits, but definitely worth going to, to admire the work of courageous photojournalists (some of whom died doing their work), and to remember and reflect.

As expected it wasn’t appropriate to take photos, so I don’t have any of my own to post, but click here to view more.


Location: Royal Festival Hall, Southbank.

Price: free admission.

Opening times: daily from 10am-10pm.