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london & menstruation

November 19, 2023

Free Toilets on London’s Southbank

You’re in the centre of London, walking along the Thames doing some top-tier sightseeing, and you don’t want your period to ruin your stroll. Here are some spots that you can nip into, if you find yourself in a tight spot.

1. Waterloo Station

Not strictly on London’s Southbank, but only a 2 minute walk away is the busy and bustling train station, Waterloo. Train stations in the UK occasionally charge the public to use the facilities. However, the restrooms at Waterloo Station are currently free.

The toilets

The station has a few different restrooms to choose from, and they are clearly signposted. The cleanliness in the stalls is not guaranteed, and they occasionally don’t have toilet roll, so you might need some tissue.

The products

The toilets have product machines available in the female changing rooms. Additionally, the main station area has a few Marks and Spencer’s shops and a Boots pharmacy to buy products from. There is also a Sainsbury’s local on the lower ground floor—follow the signs for The Sidings.

2. Southbank Centre

You are on London’s Southbank, yet many people forget about The Southbank Centre. This is partly because it is easiest to access The Southbank Centre by going up the stairs to bridge level to get inside. If you are not sure where to go, look out for the yellow stairs. They are attached to the South Bank Centre.

The toilets

There are quite a few different toilets in the South Bank Centre. They have male, female and gender-neutral toilets, and these are clearly signposted. The ones that are the closest to the entrances get the most traffic and so are not as clean.

The products

There are not products in every one of toilets. So, if you need to buy products, it is probably a better idea to go to another restroom.

3. BFI

The British Film Institute (BFI) has a restaurant that opens out onto the South Bank. However, if you go down the side of the BFI you can access a café, library, bar and ticket area, from here you can access the toilets.

The toilets

There are a few different toilets in the venue. They are different sizes, and they are basic, but for the most part they are clean.

The products

Not all of the toilets have sanitary products available for sale in them. So, if the first toilet you go in doesn’t have a machine.

4. National Theatre

Just next to the BFI is the National Theatre. You will have to have your bag checked to enter the building, but once you are inside you will be able to use the facilities.

The toilets

The toilets are immaculately clean. Male, female and gender-neutral toilets are also available in the venue.

The products

There were no sanitary product machines in the venue toilets at the time of writing.

5. The Tate Modern

Further along the South Bank, edging towards Borough Market, is the Tate Modern. The museum is dedicated to modern art and hosts a plethora of free exhibitions. If you do go inside, it’s worth a look around.

The toilets

Presumably, due to the heavy footfall, the toilets are not always the cleanest, and there is occasionally a shortage of toilet roll.

The products

There are sanitary product machines in the toilets in the Tate.

Other options

There are plenty of cafes, pubs and restaurants all along the South Bank, so even if you don’t want to nip into one of the venues above, you’ll be able to use the facilities in one of these. Although, if travelling to the UK, note that it’s customary to buy a drink or snack, if you are going to use the restroom.

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Rebecca Clifton

Rebecca is a writer and editor working in print and online. She’s passionate about travelling, and there’s nothing she loves more than exploring somewhere new—especially if it involves a long walk with a few pitstops for coffee.

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