The area south of the river between Lambeth Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge is called South Bank, and beyond Blackfriars Bridge as far as London Bridge it is called Bankside. Both had long historical associations with the lower end of the cultural spectrum, but the changes to these areas over recent years have been incredible.
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre opened in 1996; Oxo Tower Wharf in 1997; London Eye and Tate Modern in 2000; the Millennium Bridge in 2000; the new Hungerford Bridge walkways in 2002; and new facilities for the National Film Theatre and a facelift for the Royal Festival Hall in 2007.
In 2008, over 20 million people walked along the water's edge between London Eye and Tate Modern not just as a convenient way of getting from one attraction to another but for the pleasure of walking beside the river.
Have you heard...?
Victoria Embankment was constructed partly in answer to London's sewage problem. The answer was to bury the pipes at the river's edge and then cover them by building out over the foreshore.
There were new roads at ground level, new public parks at Victoria Embankment Gardens and other advantages too. The embankments cleared riverside factories and slum dwellings and added a flood defense mechanism. It was urban redevelopment on a massive scale.
Victoria Embankment was completed between 1864 and 1870. It not only helped to clear the horrendous smell from the Thames, it also provided a place to promenade beside the river as new city centre views of the river were opened up for the very first time.
Did you know...?
At low tide, in several places in central London a foreshore is exposed and in 1934, a pioneering local vicar, the Reverend Tubby Clayton, made a beach in front of the Tower of London by laying 1,500 tons of sand over the shingle.
King George V opened it promising ‘free access for ever' and it proved to be immensely popular, despite the somewhat polluted quality of the water. In fact it was such a success that between 1934 and 1939 over half a million people visited.
Today, there are sandy areas in central London by the Festival Hall, the National Theatre and by Oxo Tower Wharf.
Discover great places to visit between London Eye to Tower Bridge