There’s a grand programme of free attractions across the site this summer, paying homage to the landmark 1951 Festival, described at the time as “a tonic to the nation”.
With this weekend’s theme, “Seaside with Southend-on Sea”, you can enjoy a day at the seaside without leaving London. The South Bank has been decorated with a 70-metre urban beach, complete with a giant seagull eyeing the proceedings sternly. On Saturday evening, visitors can dance to music from the 20s to the present day at an outdoor tea dance – looking back to one of the most popular features of the 1951 festival.
Free music and poetry will be performed by Southend-on-Sea artists throughout the weekend, while you can play crazy golf in the Clore Ballroom, support the teams competing in a traditional beach regatta or enjoy the alternative end-of-the-pier show taking place in and around the brightly-coloured beach huts along Queen’s Walk.
Picture: Mark Dion's Mobile Gull Appreciation Unit. Photograph: Belinda Lawley