Southbank Centre

An aerial view of London's South Bank

Southbank Centre consists of the Royal Festival Hall (newly reopened after its two-year transformation), the Hayward Gallery, Queen Elizabeth Hall (containing the Purcell Room), and the Saison Poetry Library. We also manage the Arts Council Collection and organises the National Touring Exhibition programme in venues throughout the UK.

Situated on the south bank of the River Thames next to the popular BA London Eye, Southbank Centre is at the heart of an arts quarter stretching from the Royal National Theatre and National Film Theatre to Tate Modern and Shakespeare's Globe.

Venue Type:

Library, Gallery

Opening hours

Royal Festival Hall: 10am – 11pm every day except Christmas Day. Free entry.

The Poetry library will remain open on all dates with access from the Artist’s Entrance.

Queen Elizabeth Hall: Open times vary but usually open 90 minutes before events start and open all day in the summer.

Hayward Gallery: Open daily Mondays 12 - 6pm, Tuesdays – Wednesdays 10am – 6pm, late nights Thursdays and Fridays until 8pm

Admission charges

Free access to building, events may be charged

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

Rego Retold – An exhibition by Owen Lowery and Paula Rego

  • 17 March — 3 May 2015 *on now

This exhibition shows three original works by Paula Rego with poetic responses from Owen Lowery.

On show from the Arts Council Collection are Minotaur Slicing Goat, Girl by Swimming Pool and Aberystwyth for which Lowery has written new poems to accompany the pieces. Lowery’s new collection Rego Retold has just been published by Carcanet and includes over 50 works in response to Rego’s art.

This exhibition brings together one of the most striking new voices in contemporary poetry alongside an artist widely celebrated as one of the most distinctive and compelling in contemporary art.


Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

Changing Britain 1945 – 2015

  • 30 January — 9 May 2015 *on now

This festival interrogates the last 70 years of British history, focussing on society, culture and politics, inspired by historian David Kynaston’s acclaimed books that are part of a series Tales of a New Jerusalem on the social history of England from the end of World War Two.

The festival asks if we still believe in the values of the 1951 nationwide Festival of Britain created to give Britons a feeling of recovery and progress following the Second World War and explore themes including equality, fairness and social justice since then.

Changing Britain 1945-2015 begins with a series of BBC Concert Orchestra concerts accompanied by a supporting programme on 30 January, 7 February and 22 March, and a major exhibition, History is Now: Seven Artists Take On Britain in the Hayward Gallery from 10 February to 26 April.

The festival builds up to three concentrated festival weekends of talks and debates (18 - 19 April, 25 - 26 April and 2 - 4 May) ahead of the General Election on 7 May.



  • 15 — 25 May 2015

Alchemy, Southbank Centre’s festival of South Asian culture and the relationship between the UK and this part of the world returns for the sixth year with its mix of music, dance, literature, film, fashion and design.

It has grown to become the largest festival of Indian and South Asian culture outside India. 2015 will see Alchemy tour for the first time. Additional support from Arts Council England has supported Southbank Centre to work with Oldham Coliseum (Doncaster), Cast (Doncaster) and Black Country Touring to build a tour of regionally instigated work inspired by Alchemy themes.


Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

Poetry Explorers

Join the band of intrepid Poetry Explorers every Wednesday at 16.00. Parents and children are welcome at this free reading club for families in the newly refurbished Poetry Library.

How to obtain

Email for more information.

Southbank Centre
Belvedere Road
Greater London





0871 663 2501

Ticket office

0871 663 2500

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.