Together with the Royal Festival Hall and the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Hayward Gallery makes up the largest centre for the arts in Europe, collectively known as the Southbank Centre. Its stark 1960s concrete architecture may not be to everyone’s taste, but what the exterior lacks in aesthetic or visual appeal, the arts agenda makes up for in imagination and sheer blockbuster potential.
A project centre showing works by emerging artists alongside exhibitions from more established contemporary figures, the Hayward doesn’t house a permanent collection of its own but instead acts as the base for the Art Council’s national touring exhibitions. Perhaps this is what keeps it feeling fresh – never one to play things safe, the gallery’s off-beat curatorial approach and embrace of multimedia make it our go-to destination for a cultural wake-up call.
Don’t miss the spectacular light-filled pavilion designed by Dan Graham and, if you’re there after sundown, check out Concrete, the café that morphs into a cool bar and music venue in the evening.
The café-bar-club Concrete has great views of the river, and the friendly bar staff will whip you up a tasty cocktail or suggest a great wine. You can also enjoy a tasty lunch or an evening meal. Concrete has really grasped the idea of making an art gallery a centre for culture and socialising and often has art installations and DJ’s. It’s usually buzzing but not busy so you should be able to get a seat.
Many of this edgy shops’ items are limited edition artworks produced by the exhibiting artists. Other books, postcards, and so on are linked to the programme of the Hayward and the history of the gallery. The calibre of exhibits means that its merchandise will not disappoint, and the shop occasionally becomes a space for designers and artists to sell their work, so don’t miss such an opportunity.
+44 (0) 20 7960 4200
Monday – Wednesday 10.00 – 18.00
Thursday – Friday 10.00 – 20.00
Saturday – Sunday 10.00 – 18.00
Determined by exhibition.
Tube: Waterloo (Bakerloo Line, Jubilee Line, Northern Line), Embankment (Bakerloo Line, Circle Line, District Line, Northern Line)
Train: London Charing Cross, Waterloo