The Best Affordable Views in London

Follow this guide for the best affordable views in London, perfect for the budget traveler on the hunt for the best perspectives of the city.

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  • 29 April 2024
  • • 4 min read

Regularly ranked as one or the most visited cities in the world, the UK attracts thousands of travellers each year, all looking for the best affordable views of London. Here are some of our top picks for visitors wanting to enjoy the city skyline but avoid the crowds during their visit.

Sky Garden

An important part of any trip to London is a visit to its, arguably, most iconic viewpoint. Located on the 43rd floor of the Fenchurch Building, more commonly known as The Walkie-Talkie, a well-known part of the London skyline, Sky Garden offers views across the city. Opposite the Thames from the Shard, you can enjoy a similar view without the high price point. Entry is free, but it’s highly recommended to book online in advance in order to ensure entry. Less budget-friendly, the venue is also home to the Larch Restaurant and Sky Garden bars , which can be booked separately but have walk-in slots available on the day. 

Emirates Cable Car

An underrated activity for all to enjoy is the Emirates Cable Car which operates from the Royal Docks to the Greenwich Peninsula, across the Thames. The trip is an efficient and, most importantly, beautiful method of crossing the Thames, offering panoramic views across the city from a unique perspective. Even more impressive during sunset, riding the cable car is an affordable but exciting way of seeing the city. Travellers can have the experience of riding the DLR (Docklands Light Railway), which is a driverless train, from Tower Gateway to Royal Victoria, crossing the river on the Cable Car, and then exploring the O2 arena on the Greenwich Peninsula. The cost of the Emirates Cable Car is sufficient for most budget travellers, costing £6 one way per adult. 

Primrose Hill

Only a 15-minute walk from Camden Market, Primrose Hill is the perfect picnic spot after a day exploring the market. Enjoy your sweet treats from the market (or for those on an ultra-budget, pick up a meal deal on your walk), and wander through the classic London streets until you reach Primrose Hill. Once arriving, be sure to sit towards the top of the hill for the best views of London’s iconic skyline. There will usually be a crowd to follow until you can find your spot on the grass. Visit during sunset on a summer day for the best experience of witnessing the glowing orange sky over the city and crowds gathering to enjoy the views, have a beer and socialise. The viewpoint is now notorious for its views so it can get rather busy at times, but all with people looking for the same incredible experience.

Tate Modern 

Finally, Tate Modern is a contemporary art gallery on the banks of the Thames. Entry to the gallery is free, however, certain exhibitions do require paid tickets. Not only does this gallery host some of the most innovative art pieces in the world, but its advantageous riverside location enables visitors to benefit from its impressive views across the Thames and the city. Thankfully for budget travellers seeking excellent views of London, Tate Modern has a free viewing platform available for its visitors, on Level 10 . With the best views of St Pauls cathedral, you can enjoy options of drinks or food, or simply enjoy the free view from the top floor of the well-known building.

Horizon 22

Newbie on the block of viewing platforms in London, Horizon 22 opened on 27th September 2023 as not only London’s highest free viewing platform but the highest free viewing platform in Europe. Despite it being free, tickets need to be booked online (book a ticket here - make sure to book at least a few weeks in advance). With views from the 58th floor, Horizon 22 rivals that of the Shard, but at no cost. Although it is a beautiful view any day, it is recommended to visit on a clear day to witness London at its very best and observe how far you can see from the 58th floor of 22 Bishopsgate. 

Parliament Hill, Hampstead Heath

Another famous view of London’s skyline, Parliament Hill is at the centre of activity on Hampstead Heath. The Heath itself is one of the highest natural points in London, accounting for its incredible views, and is home to an abundance of tennis courts, a croquet lawn, a cafe and walking trails. This makes the Heath a perfect spot to spend a day outside the hustle and bustle of the city, enjoying walks and beautiful views. Parliament Hill itself is the highest point of the Heath, attracting travellers to experience the relaxing atmosphere and widespread views. 

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