The CBRE Residential Guide to Student Living in the Southbank

In the summertime, there are few better places to spend your time than in the wonderful area on the south side of the River Thames known as the Southbank. Widely regarded as one of the capital’s leading entertainment districts, as well as being home to a number of commercial sectors, the Southbank is a hub of wide-ranging activities with pop-up and permanent bars, restaurants and night spots attracting people from all over London.

As a student living in London there are few places that compare to the Southbank in terms of what is on offer. Sure, areas such as Soho and Covent Garden might be the prime locations where you’ll find something going on whatever time of day or night you visit, but living in student rentals close to the Southbank means that you have the entertainment hotspots on your doorstep and you can look out across the hustling, bustling areas of London like Westminster and the City from the relatively more peaceful properties on the south of the river.

The Southbank area is widely regarded as the cultural centre of London with a number of theatres and concert halls, and tourism is a key part of the local economy. There are a series of pedestrian and road bridges over the Thames connecting the Southbank area with Westminster, the Northbank and the City providing access for those on both sides of the river to key landmarks and locations such as The Eye and National Theatre.

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What’s it like to be a student living in the Southbank?

Stretching along from the Blackfriars Bridge in the east to the Westminster Bridge in the west, the Southbank developed at a slower rate than the Northbank but it has now become the place to be. The areas that used to become waterlogged in the winter when the Thames was higher have been adapted to stop the water from damaging the ground and that areas has now become the thriving commercial and entertainment district that we know today.

Student rentals near the Southbank offer short walks or commutes to some of London’s main University campuses, while the numerous bridges across the water enable you to head over to the other side to enjoy a night out, grab a bite to eat from one of the many pop-up and full-time restaurants and eateries, to see the sights or to take in a show.

From the Southbank the closest major University in the city is King’s College London on the Northbank with the University of Westminster and LSE also quite close. Both are on the north side of the river but are quickly and easily accessible on foot or by public transport, with a number of different tube and bus options available on both sides of the Thames throughout the day and night.

In terms of student lettings near the Southbank, CBRE Residential has a collection of student properties in the most popular areas. We’ve got student lettings in Soho, Covent Garden, Holborn and Bloomsbury. A lot of the student properties in Covent Garden are just a short walk from King’s College London and the Waterloo Bridge over the Thames into the Southbank.

Student lettings near King’s College London and the other Universities in the capital are highly sought after with some students preferring properties that are right beside their campuses, while there are also a collection of student properties that will require a commute and this is often the case for those who prefer to choose their student accommodation based on student life in the area.

Those who choose to live in student lettings near the Southbank will find a range of new developments and recently upgraded properties featuring some of the very latest interior designs and furnishings, ensuring that these student rentals are unlike any kind of student accommodation you could imagine or may have seen before and are finished to the highest of standards.

Many of our newly developed properties have assets including panoramic views over the city or the river, fitted wardrobes, fully furnished kitchens with the latest high-end appliances, well-lit and spacious living areas, balconies, private roof terraces and even their own gyms and saunas on site.

To find out more about our range of student rentals in London and those close to the Southbank area of the city, or to learn more about buying a student property and letting to students, contact CBRE Residential today.

Nightlife and live entertainment on the Southbank

As one of London’s leading areas for live entertainment and culture, the Southbank area has a lot going on throughout the year. The majority of live entertainment is based around the numerous theatres in the area while there are plenty of great restaurants and venues to visit in the evenings too.

The Southbank Centre is a popular arts and events district in the Southbank made up of three main venues – the Royal Festival Hall, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and The Hayward Gallery – which attract more than 6 million visitors each year between them. Between the venues at the Southbank Centre there are around 2,000 different musical, dance and literary performances each year.

Beside the Southbank Centre are the National Theatre and BFI (British Film Institute) Southbank, which are not a part of the Centre, but help to pull in more guests to the local area who then come back to take in a show at the other venues.

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is another leading venue in the area, even if it is just outside the eastern border of the Southbank area. The venue itself is a replica of the original building used to stage some of the famous playwright’s performances and has a capacity of around 3,000 with many able to stand at the foot of the stage to get up close and personal with the actors and actresses.

The OXO Tower restaurant, bar and brasserie is the leading venue in the Southbank to have dinner, enjoy a cocktail or grab a fantastic lunch with friends and colleagues. The restaurant itself is on the eighth floor of the building providing incredible views over the city and river Thames and even has its own garden terrace for the ultimate in high-end al fresco dining, combined with a number of shops and boutiques.

Across the Waterloo Bridge is the beautiful Somerset House, a neoclassical building in the Northbank that features a fantastic LED-lit fountain display throughout most of the year before transforming into an ice rink in the winter months. There is also a wonderful gallery inside the building that is open to the public for you to take a look around, and the outdoor area of Somerset House is turned into an outdoor cinema in peak summer.

Transport Links on the Southbank

The Southbank owes a lot of its development over the years to the public transport systems in the capital. With so many people looking to cross the River Thames to experience a day or night in the Southbank the new pedestrian and road bridges, combined with the Underground, have helped to make the area accessible and there are a number of the capital’s leading National Rail stations are within walking distance.

For passengers on the London Underground there are as many as eight different stations in the area. Underground stations here cover all the major lines helping you to get to and from the key tourist areas and landmarks as well as the Universities, shopping streets, train stations, airports and popular student districts of Soho, Camden and Covent Garden.

The Southbank is also within close proximity of four of London’s major National Rail stations. London Waterloo, the busiest of them all, is on the Southbank while Charing Cross, Blackfriars and London Bridge are accessible by taking the Underground. From here passengers can head right across the country, or to some of London’s other mainline terminals such as Paddington, Euston, Kings Cross and St Pancras International.

Thames Clipper services provide another highly valuable form of public transport in the area. Passengers can board a boat at The London Eye Pier, Festival Pier or Bankside Pier and you can then travel down the Thames towards the City to the east or Westminster, Putney and Vauxhall to the west.

There are also a significant number of London bus services are also available to passengers in and around the Southbank. Many of these cater to students living in London and pick-up and drop-off in key areas around the various University campuses and student lettings in London.

Full details on how to plan your journey and the various bus routes can be found on the Transport for London website; and payment for the majority of bus, Overground and Underground services can be made by contactless cards or prepaid Oyster Cards.

Shopping on the Southbank

Gabriel’s Wharf is the leading shopping district in the Southbank. The area is home to a wide range of different branded and independent stores, bars and restaurants helping to create a unique shopping community. Stores here range from high-end fashion and designer jewellery to an eclectic mix of unique creations, artwork and fair-trade furnishings.

By jumping on the Underground from the Southbank you can visit the popular central London shopping street of Oxford Street, the famous Covent Garden market and piazza, or even the UK’s leading department store, Harrods. 

Landmarks and Tourist Attractions on the Southbank

The Sea Life London Aquarium is one of the capital’s leading attractions with a wide range of beautiful fish to marvel at. Entry fees vary but there are student tickets available and it’s an opportunity to see tropical and deep sea creatures that you may only get to see on documentaries otherwise. It is situated between the London Eye and Westminster Bridge, close to another of the capital’s leading attractions, the London Dungeons.

The London Eye was opened in time for London’s Millennium celebrations and has remained in place on the riverside ever since. The giant Ferris wheel is 135 metres high and gives passengers a ride with some incredible 360-degree views out across the city from the 32 “capsules”, and attracts almost 4 million visitors each year.

To the side of the Eye are the Jubilee Gardens, a brand new green space which was recently reopened by The Queen in 2012 to mark the Jubilee celebrations. It was originally opened in 1977 to mark The Queen’s Silver Jubilee and was recently renovated in time for the latest celebrations with new lawns and flowerbeds.

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament are also within easy walking distance of the Southbank; just cross over the beautiful Westminster Bridge and you’ll see the huge clock tower and home of the British government right ahead of you.

Carrying on with the cultural theme around the Southbank area, the Tate Modern gallery – perhaps one of London’s most famous – is in the east of the area close to Shakespeare’s Glove and right opposite the Millennium Bridge.


There are several gyms and fitness centres in the Southbank area. Many of these are chains or private spas and health clubs which accept monthly and annual memberships where you will then be able to work on your health and fitness with the help of personal trainers, nutritionists and dieticians.

As touched upon earlier, there are also a number of gyms and saunas in many of the new student properties available in the CBRE Residential collection. These state-of-the-art fitness areas are available for use by residents only and have been fitted out with the very latest machines and equipment to help you to hit your goals without having to leave home.  


St Thomas’ Hospital close to Westminster Bridge is a leading NHS teaching hospital in the Southbank. Founded way back in 1100 by Florence Nightingale it is one of London’s largest hospitals with more than 800 beds and an accident and emergency department should you ever need it. As a teaching hospital there are often a lot of roles filled by medical students and St Thomas’ is affiliated with Kings College London.

If you’re thinking of studying medicine in this area of the capital then it may be worth looking at student rentals near Kings College London so that you can travel to and from the University and the main campus whenever you need to, avoiding a long commute across the city which can be difficult or congested at peak times.

To find out more about any of our student rentals in London, click here and speak to a member of the CBRE Residential team today.