#2 South Bank
Leake Street to St Pauls
Duration: 5 - 6 hrs
Style: Street, Urban, Street Art
Start Point: Lambeth North Tube Station
End Point: London Bridge Station
Walking Difficulty: Easy some steps
Weather: Needs to be dry
This walk will take you through some of Londons most popular tourist locations to pick up famous landmarks and street photography.
Through the "grungy underground urban art space of Leake Street to the iconic image of Tower Bridge.
This is a long shoot and a long walk and will be better for some people to split this into two trips
Feel free to go off plan its about adventure and discovery as well as following a set route. Take good care of yourself and you possessions at all times.
With this walk it is very difficult to give specific location for shots as its so changeable. There are a million photo opportunities along this walk and its never the same twice so its worth repeating at a later date.
Read the article on
before you go
on the walk
Overground Rail Link
Underground Rail Link
Lambeth North Tube Station
Get the Tube to Lambeth North Tube station on the Bakerloo Line and exit the station onto Westminster Bridge Road. The walk to Leake Street is an uneventful walk.
Leake Street is an underground passage way running under Waterloo Station. This space has been turned over to street artists with fantastic results and great images to capture. The artists in this space are engaging and proud of their work. For detailed information on Leake Street see the location article. This can be a dark and high contrast space (may need to up your iso or take a flash)
The entrance is not easy to spot at first !
You will exit Leake Street onto York Road and as you exit head to the left
You will arrive a a large roundabout that contains the Park Plaza Hotel an interesting place to people watch and get some modern architecture.
This will take you to one of the famous London shot locations.
As you approach London bridge you will see a garden area on the left.Continue along the left had path to Westminster bridge until you see a flight of stairs to your left and head down these to the embankment whee you will see an entrance to a passage and it is from here you can shoot an iconic image of the palace of Westminster and Big Ben (currently being renovated)
Continue to walk under Westminster Bridge along the embankment
The next section will get very busy with people so if you want shots in this area it is best to be in this zone early in the morning
As you approach the London Eye you will get great views of the Palace of Westminster Big Ben and Westminster Bridge.
Don't use tripods in this area as the security services are generally not happy about this and you may get questioned
From location 4 this is a walk along the banks of the Thames and feel free to cut in land from the bank-side at any point and explore as you may find a hidden gem. Its always easy to get back to the riverbank and pick up the route again. Keep an eye on the opposite bank as there are many famous landmarks on the other side of the river. Lots of eating places along here and lots of people photo opportunities
Location 5 - 6
From location 5 if you head across the jubilee gardens towards Belvedere Road you can get some interesting shots of the London eye.
Head back to the bank-side and along to the next point passing under Hungerford Bridge and Golden Jubilee Bridge. Its worth taking a detour up onto the bridge to get some good abstract shots of the bridge, shots of the palace of Westminster and London eye. Take some time to look at the river traffic as they can give some good shots
After heading under the bridge you will reach the Royal Festival Hall a large concrete lump of a building. As you can see it is a space that constantly changes and the contsrasts that are generated in this area can generate some great shots. Be aware that the area up the steps in front of the festival hall is a no photography area and security will ask you to stop. You ware however ok from the bank-side
Just before you reach Waterloo bridge you will see the skate park on your right. This is an amazing location where skateboarders and bmxers do their thing. You will get some great shots and they are happy to have shots taken. You also get dancers and fashion shoots in this location
We reach the National theatre another large grey concrete lump but again a fantastic piece of architecture to photographer or as a backdrop for street photography
You will reach the IBM building on your right and it is worth heading round the space between this and the National Theatre as its a good place for IT and theatre people to hang out
Gabriels Pier and Wharf worth a wander into here and a good place for a break
Location 10 - 11
On route from 10 to you will pass through the OXO building and half way along on your right is a doorway to an old courtyard area that is worth a visit. If the Tide is out on the Thames you can get some great shots of the exposed shoreline and you can also get down to the river in several place but beware its very slippery and sludgy
Pass under Blackfriars bridge which is a good opportunity for some abstract shots
You can take a detour at this point and go up onto Blackfriars bridge and head away from the river again for some good architecture. Its only about a 1000m along and is worth the detour . Then retun to the riverbank
We reach Bankside gallery which is well worth a visit as admission is free
If you take a sharp right after the bankside Gallery it takes you to an interesting square with some great buildings
Now the highlight of the walk in my opinion and we head to the Tate Modern an old power station.
this is one of Londons top photo locations in its own right and you could spend a day in here. Great location if its raining
If we enter from the square in location 13 you will enter
The Engine Hall
A massive open space with a high level walkway across it the floor and the walkway being great for shots.
Book shop, Cafe and balcony
These are located on the 4th floor on the left had side of the engine hall and are grat for shots of the millennium bridge, the river and St Pauls
To the right of the engine hall under the walk way is the old oil storage area and the spiral staircase again some amazing shots to be had here.
Take the lifts up to the top floor for amazing free panoramic views of London but be sure to walk down as there are hundreds of photo opportunities in this area.
They are happy for you to take shots and again some great images can be captured. A large amount of the exhibitions are free but some specials require an entry fee
Leave the Tate modern from the riverside exit and head up the ramps to the Millenium Bridge a great place to shoot from the Tate side as you get a splendid view of St Pauls at the other side. This is a place that is best visited at unsociable hours to get a view without people.
As we head up the walk way to St Pauls again some great shots of St Pauls but also an oppertunity to shoot down the river or back to the Tate. When you get to St Pauls it worth walking all the way around it and through the park areas.
St Pauls is well worth going into
Worth reading their photography policy
Great views from the roof as well
Head to Blackfriars where we finish the walk and you can pick up the Circle and District lines