The South Bank is one of my favourite parts of London. Whenever friends visit from abroad I take them for a walk along the river from Borough Market to the collection of cultural hotspots that are the National Theatre, Royal Festival Hall and the Hayward Gallery. At the moment there are lots of new additions to the area with a Wahaca housed in containers on a concrete level between the Hayward and Royal Festival Hall, an oversized sandpit with rainbow coloured sand by the water and some enormous technicolor fabric sculptures. The National Theatre has set up a great cafe, Propstore, built from parts of sets and scenery and full of props. The sides of the cafe are made from set walls with a transparent covering stretched between them for a roof. The bar has set plans and elevations arranged under the glass and everywhere you look there is a prop from part of a snooker table to an army rucksack, a bicycle, a typewriter and even severed limbs from Frankenstein. All the props have brown paper tags hanging from them labelling which production they are from. There are lights suspended from fragments of mirrors stuck to the roof. It’s such a great idea to reuse relics from productions to make a quirkily dishevelled but charming spot for a riverfront drink, meal or coffee.
Propstore is open Monday to Thursday from noon to 11pm, Friday and Saturday noon to 2am and on Sunday from noon to 6pm.