10 free activities at Coin Street this Autumn

An image of the riverside walkway on the South Bank with the Oxo Tower in the background.

Autumn is here and we know that the cost of living crisis is challenging for families looking for fun, free activities.

Along with the variety of shops, restaurants, and cafés that we have to offer across Oxo Tower Wharf and Gabriel’s Wharf, there’s also a wide range of free activities and exciting days out available across our sites. Visit a free exhibition, relax in our gardens, or visit our designer-maker studios and see what they’re creating.


Read on to find out what you can do on London’s iconic South Bank this autumn – without having to break the bank.

Image of someone walking past art on the wall in gallery@oxo.

1. Visit our upcoming free exhibitions at gallery@oxo and Bargehouse

At Oxo Tower Wharf, we have two galleries on the busy South Bank riverside walkway: gallery@oxo and Bargehouse.

Our galleries showcase a new and exciting exhibition almost every week, including art, design, photography and architecture shows from various artists and design festivals.

Best of all, most of our exhibitions are completely free!

At gallery@oxo, we are currently exhibiting ‘Latitude: Wildlife photographs from across the globe’. ‘Latitude’ is an exhibition by wildlife photographer Roger Hooper, who is passionate about wildlife and the environment.

To find out more about ‘Latitude’ and our other upcoming free exhibitions, visit our What’s On page.

Image of 3 people walking through Bernie Spain Gardens.

2. Bask in the sunshine at Bernie Spain Gardens

Bernie Spain Gardens are a hidden, green oasis at the heart of the South Bank owned by Coin Street.

Since 1988, Bernie Spain Gardens have been offering a quiet place for residents, workers, and millions of visitors to enjoy and escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

Having access to green space in the middle of London can significantly improve our wellbeing, and Bernie Spain Gardens give people a rare chance to enjoy nature in one of London’s busiest areas.

If you’re passing by Bernie Spain Gardens on the South Bank this autumn, why not pop into the gardens and bask in the sunshine?

Bring along your family, friends and kids for a peaceful picnic and catch the last few summer rays in our gardens!

An image of two people walking along the riverside walkway.

3. Enjoy a stroll down London’s iconic South Bank

London’s South Bank area, right alongside the river Thames, is one of the most vibrant and bustling areas of London. Hundreds and thousands of people pass by on the riverside walkway every day.

A dynamic area at the heart of London’s cultural scene, the Southbank Centre, National Theatre, and the BFI are all just a stone’s throw away, with many free activities to get involved with. The Southbank Centre has a variety of free art exhibitions and installations on display throughout the summer – for more information, visit their page.

The riverside walkway is also lined with a number of restaurants, shops, and historic pubs for visitors to enjoy.

An image of the Oxo tower at night.

4. Visit the free public viewing gallery on the 8th floor of Oxo Tower Wharf

Stunning views of London’s skyline don’t always come with a price tag.

Visit the free public viewing gallery on the 8th floor of Oxo Tower Wharf, the same floor as the Oxo Tower Restaurant, to take in the breathtaking views of London. The viewing platform is completely free, and it’s a great place to grab a selfie with family and friends.

To access the public viewing gallery, take the lift to the 8th floor of the Oxo Tower and ask a member of the restaurant staff to direct you to the platform.

An image of Grace Lane London holding a dress in her studio.

5. Watch our designer-makers create inspiring crafts in walk-in studios at Oxo Tower Wharf

If you’re looking for another fun and free activity relating to art and design, why not pop over and say hello to our designer-maker community at Oxo Tower Wharf?

Spread out across two floors of the Oxo Tower, we have a talented community of designer-makers who all create a range of products, ranging from jewellery to ceramics, to leather shoes and bridal dresses.

As their studios are walk-in studios, our designer-makers would be more than happy to welcome anyone with a friendly face interested in seeing their work!

An image of Ernie's Beach.

6. Make sandcastles on Ernie’s Beach

Did you know that central London has its very own beach?

Ernie’s beach, located just next to Observation Point on the South Bank, is a sandy beach right next to the river Thames. It’s a perfect location for families and kids looking for fun and relaxation in central London.

Ernie’s beach is also named after local Waterloo resident and community activist John Hearn MBE (known as Ernie). Find out more about his inspirational story in our blog here.

A soothing beach escape in the hustle and bustle of the city, Ernie’s Beach is an ideal spot for a family day out, making sandcastles together and relaxing in the autumn sun!

An image of three people sat together in Gabriel's Wharf.

7. Have a picnic in Gabriel’s Wharf

Gabriel’s Wharf offers various restaurant options for visitors to the South Bank, and it’s also a lovely spot for a picnic on the benches in the middle of the Wharf.

If you’re looking for the ideal location to chill out and relax with your family and friends, Gabriel’s Wharf offers you a quiet space to have a light lunch, surrounded by the independent shops and trendy shoppers visiting the South Bank.

An image of a man lifting weights in Colombo gym.

8. Free one week pass at Colombo Gym

Looking to get fit this autumn without breaking the bank?

Colombo Gym is offering a free one week pass so you can get a flavour of the gym and all its facilities and classes before committing to a membership.

If you love the one week free trial and are desperate for more, Colombo Gym offers a reduced membership price of only £15.95 per month – what a bargain!

Colombo Gym is one of the only gyms in central London with outdoor facilities and green spaces, which is perfect for fans of tennis and football. What’s more, as a non-profit gym, all membership costs go back to the local community.

To sign up for your one week free pass, visit Colombo’s page here.

An image of Laura gardening with a participant in the session.

9. Gentle Gardening sessions at Bernie Spain Gardens

Are you a fan of gardening, and looking to take part in a free gardening activity this autumn?

Coin Street run free Gentle Gardening sessions at Bernie Spain Gardens every week, so you can get your gardening fix without going over budget.

In our Gentle Gardening sessions you can meet new people, learn about growing vegetables, herbs and plants, and take part in trips to local gardens. Free teas, coffees, and healthy lunches are also provided – what’s not to love?

The Gentle Gardening sessions take place every Tuesday, 11:30am – 2pm.

If you’d like to get involved, please contact Laura Reynolds at l.reynolds@coinstreet.org.

An image of Matt Foster working in his studio.

10. Pop in and browse through the shops and galleries at Gabriel’s Wharf

You may be feeling the squeeze on your finances this year, but who doesn’t love a bit of window shopping?

Gabriel’s Wharf on the riverside walkway boasts a diverse range of retail shops and galleries for people to explore.

Ranging from art galleries and printmakers to jewellers, knitwear shops and skincare boutiques, the opportunities are endless for browsing through independent retailers and exploring the handmade items on sale.

All our designer-makers at Gabriel’s Wharf create individual, bespoke pieces, and they’re more than happy to say hi and speak about their work with anyone dropping by.

If you’re feeling the financial strain this autumn and you’re still looking for interesting activities to do, be sure to visit us at the Coin Street site and explore all we have to offer.

Arts and crafts lovers can drop by our exhibitions and designer-maker studios, those looking to relax can rest in our gardens, and fitness fanatics can have a go at trying out a new gym.


There’s something for everyone here at Coin Street this autumn!