Tourist Information Guide

London's Hayward Gallery on the Southbank

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Entrance to the Hayward Gallery
Entrance to the Hayward Gallery
Finding your way to the Hayward Gallery through the maze of buildings that make up the Southbank Centre is part of the overall experience. You will wind through exposed brick walkways and crowds of culture vultures and eventually arrive at the unassuming entrance to the Hayward Gallery. Here you will see its floor to ceiling windows nestled amongst the imposing minimalist lines of the surrounding buildings. Entering the foyer area is a clue to the contemporary tastes of the gallery's curators - there is white marble flooring, and the abundance of glass allows natural light to stream into the building. The simple white-walled exhibition spaces act as a blank canvas for the art that takes centre stage.

London Southbank Hayward Gallery overview: what makes the gallery special

The Hayward Gallery is an intimately sized art gallery (there are two floors with five gallery space) that specialises in contemporary art. The exhibitions at the Hayward Gallery are temporary. There is no permanent collection. The exhibitions change four to five times each year - you can return to the gallery throughout the year and see something completely different every time.

The gallery has a reputation for exhibiting the work of British and international popular contemporary artists. Recent exhibitions have included a Tracy Emin retrospective and an Anthony Gormley exhibition.

The Hayward Gallery building is known for its 'brutalist' style of architecture. Brutalist architecture refers to a style of architecture that flourished between the 1950s and the 1970s - buildings tend to be angular and concrete in the main material used. Its exterior is made from exposed concrete. It also has a distinctive bright yellow staircase that winds up the side of the building. If you have a particular interest in different schools of architecture (in this case the brutalist one), it is worth coming here to see the building itself. The gallery opened on 09 July 1968. It was designed by a group of architects called Higgs and Hill. It was built to form part of the Southbank Centre arts complex (the other parts of the complex are the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Poetry Library).

It is worth having a look at what will be on there during your visit as the exhibitions change on a regular basis - check out the Events page on the Southbank's Hayward gallery website.

How to get tickets

If you want to see an exhibition at the Southbank Hayward Gallery, you will need to buy a ticket - none of the exhibitions are free. However, you can generally buy them on the day of your visit. To book tickets for the Southbank Hayward Gallery, you have a number of options:

Box Office: You can buy tickets at the venue itself. The box office is open for the same hours as the building itself (see times below).

Website: Head to the events sections of the official website (see link below) and book online. Choose the event that you would like to attend and click on it, which will take you through to a separate page for booking.

Telephone: You can book over the phone using the telephone number below.

tip You have to pay for the exhibitions at the Hayward Gallery. In general, you will not need to buy tickets in advance. However, if there is a particularly popular show it is worth booking in advance in the last week of the show - this will allow you to come at a particular time as you will be given a time slot.

Website: Official Events and Tickets page on the Southbank Hayward Gallery website

Hayward Gallery booking line
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3879 9555

Gallery opening times

The Operating hours of the Southbank Hayward Gallery:

Month Day Time
January - December Monday - Tuesday Closed
Wednesday - Friday 10:00 - 18:00
Saturday 10:00 - 20:00
Sunday 10:00 - 18:00

Thursdays and Fridays
Close time: 18:00

Contact details

Southbank Hayward Gallery
Belvedere Road

Tel: +44 (0) 20 3879 9555

Website: Official Southbank Hayward Gallery Website

Closest tube

Tube Tube: Waterloo (Black Line / Northern Line, Brown Line / Bakerloo Line, Grey Line / Jubilee Line, and Pink Line / City Line)

On exiting Waterloo tube station you will be in the main Waterloo train station building (to find out more about the train station, see our Guide to Waterloo Train Station in London).

Once you are in the main station building, you will see signs for the Southbank - follow these. Leave the building via the stairs that you will be directed to. At the bottom of the stairs, cross a main road called York Road and walk straight ahead. The Royal Festival Hall will be in front of you. To the right of the Royal Festival hall you will see the Hayward Gallery. There are some steps that you will need to head up to. At the top of the steps you will find the entrance to the Hayward Gallery.

Restaurants nearby

The cafe in the Hayward Gallery
The cafe in the Hayward Gallery

When you are at the Southbank Hayward Gallery you will find yourself surrounded by places where you can get something to eat - everything from informal cafes to upmarket restaurants. In the Hayward Gallery, there is a small café and bar called Concrete. It is a distinctive space with pink neon light features juxtaposed against the minimalist concrete walls. They call themselves a 'Day Night Café Bar'- it is a different space depending on what time of the day you visit. During the day the space is a café where you can buy toasties, cakes, salads and coffee. At night the space becomes more of a bar - cocktails are served, and there is a DJ spinning records at the weekend.

If you don't mind taking a bit of a stroll outside of the building, you will find a selection of eating options in easy walking distance of the galley. Some of the closest and best include:

Canteen Restaurant, Strada Restaurant, Ping Pong and Giraffe Restaurant.

All of the above can be reached within less than five minutes from the Hayward Gallery.

Also, it is worth taking a stroll around the rest of the area of Waterloo - the area in which the Southbank is located. Areas like The Cut and Lower Marsh are about ten minutes' walk from the gallery. These parts of town are worth walking to if you fancy trying somewhere a little bit different - they throw up a number of independent restaurant options. To find out more about Waterloo's dining options, see our Guide to Restaurants in Waterloo.

Parking in the area

The closest car park to the Hayward Gallery is at the neighbouring National Theatre. To find out more about the parking options, including opening times, location and prices, see the National Theatre Official Website Car Park page.

The Hayward Gallery makes up part of the Southbank Centre complex (the Southbank complex is an indoor and outdoor centre of arts comprising of the gallery plus the Royal Festival Hall and the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the areas surrounding them) - you can head here for the day and make a trip to the Hayward Gallery part of a day out in the area. You could team it with a classical concert at the Royal Festival Hall, a film at the BFI Southbank or a stroll down the banks of the River Thames.

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