Wednesday 29 November 2023

Let's draw the Christmas Market at the South Bank on either Saturday 9 or Sunday 17 December 2023


The Southbank Centre Food Market
Sketch by Robin Wang

In December we're sketching festivities at the Southbank Centre, with an almost unrivalled range of opportunities for urban sketching, of buildings, people, the River Thames and its bridges.


Southbank Centre   London   SE1 8XX

[John Swanson writes]

The Southbank Centre extends roughly from the Hungerford Bridge round to the National Theatre, encompassing the Royal Festival Hall, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Hayward Gallery, the National Film Theatre and the National Theatre, plus, of course, the glorious walk along the riverside.

If you are a member of the Urban Sketchers London Facebook group, do join the Facebook Messenger chat for whichever December sketchwalk you plan to attend, so we can alert you if there are any last minute changes of plan. 

The day is free of charge, no need to book, just turn up with your art kit. And don't forget to wrap up really warm! 

⚫  On Saturday 9 December the day is led by Sasala Wickramasinghe and John Swanson, and our meeting place is the entrance lobby of the National Theatre.

⚫  On Sunday 17 December the day is led by Sasala Wickramasinghe and Alison Gardiner, and our meeting place is the Level1 foyer of the Royal Festival Hall.

Scroll down to find details of meeting points and timings for each day.  



If this is your first sketchwalk with us, welcome to Urban Sketchers London 

Every sketchwalk has a leader, a meeting point at the beginning, a gathering place in the middle and another one at the end, when we ‘throw down’ our sketchbooks and pose for a group photo. Sketchwalk leaders know the area and are there to help you feel at ease and give you some ideas about what to sketch. Please note there is no tuition during the sketchwalks. We all draw what we wish, following the Urban Sketchers manifesto and sharing our drawings at the end.

We look forward to seeing you! 





Key times and meeting points



As it is the festive season, the Southbank Centre will be bustling, and -- heads up! -- we have two different meeting points for Saturday the 9th and Sunday the 17th. Here's a handy downloadable map that shows the layout of the area.


The National Theatre seen from Waterloo Bridge
Sketch by John Swanson


Saturday 9 December - National Theatre entrance lobby

The entrance is on the river side of the building, where the information desks are located. You are welcome to venture further into the building to sketch, but be ready to have your bags searched.


11 AM We will gather for a short briefing.


1 PM We will meet in the same location for a throwdown and group photo. 

3.30 PM We'll convene once more in the same location for the final throwdown and group photo at the end of the sketching day.

Afterwards For those who would like to chat – and draw – for longer, we can stay in the bar area of the National Theatre.


Sunday 17 December - Royal Festival Hall (RFH)

We will meet in the Royal Festival Hall Level 1 foyer. If you use the entrance opposite the Hayward Gallery, you will find yourself in the Level 1 foyer. If you enter the building from the river side of the RFH, take the stairs down to Level 1. You can see the different levels of the Royal Festival Hall in this Southbank Centre access diagram

11 AM We will gather for a short briefing. After the briefing you are welcome to venture further into the building to sketch, but be ready to have your bags searched.

1 PM We will meet in the same location for a throwdown and group photo. 

3.30 PM We'll convene once more in the same location for the final throwdown and group photo at the end of the sketching day.

Afterwards For those who would like to chat – and draw – for longer, we can stay in the bar area of the Royal Festival Hall.


View of the South Bank
Sketch by Anthony Mark Peters

Options for drawing


The Southbank Centre architecture is spectacular, especially if you like concrete Brutalism, but there is much more. The Royal Festival Hall provides an elegant contrast, as do the bridges: Waterloo and Hungerford. The Christmas Market will be open, with stalls set up along the riverside selling Christmas gifts and food and drink, while under Waterloo Bridge you’ll find a large second-hand book market.

In the other direction there is the London Eye and the Jubilee Gardens, and of course there is always the River Thames, with views to the north bank, and the elegant lamp posts with leaping dolphins.

If it’s wet there is still plenty to draw, with public foyers in the Royal Festival Hall, 
the National Theatre, and the National Film Theatre/British Film Institute (BFI) -- all offering the chance to draw architecture and, especially, people.

Statue of Lawrence Olivier at the National Theatre
Sketch by John Swanson

Practical information


Travel

The Southbank Centre is three minutes’ walk from Waterloo Station, which is well served by mainline and Underground services. Alternatively, it’s a short walk over the footbridge from Charing Cross or Embankment stations.

Food and drink


There are many options for both. All the main venues -– the Royal Festival Hall, the National Theatre and the National Film Theatre -- have bars and caf├ęs. The Christmas Market along the river has stalls selling takeaway food and drink, and on the Belvedere Road side of the Royal Festival Hall the Southbank Centre Food Market offers an enormous variety of hot food and drink.


Toilets

Public toilets are available in all the main venues. There are also public toilets on the riverside by the Jubilee gardens (the 'Jubiloo'), behind the children’s fairground merry-go-round.

Health and safety

Urban Sketchers London follow current health and safety guidelines, and we count on all our sketchers to do the same. As always, we keep an eye on developments concerning Covid, and even though restrictions have been lifted, we think it's sensible to do everything we can to keep ourselves and fellow sketchers safe when we're together. The risk of infection for outdoor events is low, but basic guidance still applies:
  • Please do not attend if you feel unwell
  • Wear a face covering when you're close to others
  • Give people space
  • Practise good hand hygiene. 
Hashtags

Remember to tag us when you post your sketches on social media! And do be polite when posting online. We may be biased, but we think kindness comes naturally to urban sketchers -- so don't be shy, show your social media politesse at its best.

#urbansketcherslondon #usklondon


Location map



See you at the Christmas Market!


 

Coming soon: the Urban Sketchers London programme for 2024 -- watch for it!





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