Open House Festival

Lost & Hidden Architecture of South Bank Walk

South Bank, SE1 7ND

A 2.5 hour walking tour showcasing unexpected and hidden architectural landmarks, both historic and contemporary, of the South Bank area along a route from Lambeth Palace/Garden Museum to Bernie Spain Gardens. Held on 2 weekends.

Getting there





Additional travel info

WALK 1 - Friday 8th START POINT St Mary's Gardens SE1 7BT WALK 2 - Friday 15th START POINT St John’s Church SE1 8TY


Accessibility notes

The tour routes are mostly step free but have some changes of level.



North Lambeth was historically low lying, marshy and liable to flooding, making it unsuitable for extensive building. However, parts of the Medieval complex at Lambeth Palace and St Mary's, the parish Church of Lambeth, survive.

The area changed with the coming of the railway. The tracks had to be elevated over the swampy ground by the construction of a series of viaducts and arches. The new Station, completed in 1848, took its name from the Waterloo Bridge that connects to the north bank, and a short time later the use of ' Waterloo' as a district of London came into being. In the wake of the station's construction, churches, houses and places of entertainment were lost. However, in the 20th and 21st centuries these spaces were reborn and revealed again by a change of use and new purposes.

The South Bank area also has a history of health care and hospitals and while ground-breaking 21st Century Life Sciences develop in Waterloo, former hospitals await discovery along the route.

Now one of London’s best-loved destinations, the South Bank riverside attracts visitors seeking culture and leisure attractions on an area of land that was only a few decades ago the site of industries such as breweries, power stations and timber wharves. Beyond the world-famous arts venues, are sites that tell stories of the past and present and that also look forward to the future.

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