Experience the nightlife, relax amid pockets of greenery and peruse exhibitions at independent galleries in this Thames-side area.
Set on the south bank of the River Thames is Vauxhall, a laidback and unassuming district by day and a vibrant nightlife center by night. Visit Vauxhall for pretty gardens, art galleries, riverside pathways and pulsating bars.
Head to Vauxhall Park on a sunny day to enjoy its children’s playground, model village, rose arbor and sports courts. In the 18th-century Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens was the go-to place for leisure and outdoor entertainment in London. Today it’s a popular spot for picnics and sunbathing. Partake in urban horticulture and rural recreation at Vauxhall City Farm and admire the flower displays at Bonnington Square Garden.
A flourishing arts scene developed in the area after contemporary British artist Damien Hirst opened his Newport Street Gallery in 2015. The gallery draws from Hirst’s private collection, which includes works by Banksy, Picasso and Tracy Emin, among others. Watch artists at work in the studios at Gasworks. The Cabinet Gallery puts on changing exhibitions by contemporary painters, sculptors and visual artists.
The Thames Path is a great place for a stroll in a riverside setting. There are excellent views from here of Vauxhall Bridge and its eight huge statues of allegorical figures. Look for the statue that represents architecture, which holds a model of St. Paul’s Cathedral in its hand. At the bridge’s south entrance, the colossal SIS Building is the headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service and a filming location for several James Bond movies.
Make your way to Kennington Lane and the arches of Vauxhall railway station to experience a flamboyant nightlife scene. This is a hub for London’s LGBT community and features cabaret bars, raucous nightclubs and after parties. Attend drag and variety shows at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern. Gin fans can learn about the history and secrets of a 150-year-old gin on a tour of the Beefeater Gin Distillery London.
Travel to Vauxhall by taking underground and overground trains to Vauxhall station. It’s just a 5-minute journey from both Victoria and Waterloo stations.