The London Eye, County Hall, River Thames and Houses of Parliament.
British actor Tom Hiddleston had an impressive year in 2011, portraying both the mythological villain Loki in Thor and literary hero F. Scott Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris. He currently stars in Steven Spielberg’s War Horse and will reprise the role of Loki in this spring’s highly anticipated blockbuster, The Avengers. Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Hiddleston calls London home and is eager to return to the South Bank after acting has taken him abroad.
“I must have walked up, run along and strolled down the South Bank in excess of a thousand times in the course of my life,” Hiddleston says. “It is one great community of color, carnival and culture all year long. The view east from the middle of that bridge is, to my mind, the most beautiful cityscape in the world.”
“I was going through a phase of rising before dawn to run. It cleared my head and made me feel as fit as a butcher’s dog,” he says, referring to a time he lived near the bank. “It was 4 a.m., there was ice floating in the Thames and snow on Big Ben. I had the South Bank all to myself.”
Hiddleston says the National Theatre is where “long before they were the mythical wizards of Tolkien and Rowling, I saw Sir Ian McKellen run riot as Captain Hook in Peter Pan and Sir Michael Gambon play Falstaff in Shakespeare’s Henry IV.”
“Next door is the British Film Institute, a monument to the history of film and British cinema. I had an unforgettable first-time viewing of 2001: A Space Odyssey, reclining back into what are frankly the most comfortable seats in any movie theater in the world.”
“There is also a skating park of sorts. It’s an area of municipal architecture behind the BFI parking structure now forever taken over by boarders and bladers whose graffiti plasters the gray walls with color. It’s a fantastic institution of rebellion,” Hiddleston says.
“On the west side of the bank is the London Eye, a huge Ferris wheel that was put up to celebrate the passing of the millennium,” Hiddleston says. “And yet, the Eye has already become an indelible part of London’s iconography.”
More to Explore
Running along the shores of the River Thames, the South Bank is home to enduring cultural institutions and carnivals alike.
- OXO Tower. Barge House St.
- He confesses he’s never stayed there, but Hiddleston says the London Marriott County Hall is known for offering the “height of luxury.” Westminster Bridge Road
- The promenade outside of Southbank Centre. Belvedere Road
- Hiddleston recommends Studio Six for “a perfectly grilled sirloin steak.” 56 Upper Ground