Where to Get the Best Views in London
London is one of those built up cities that looks incredible from high up. The famous skyline of England's capital is made up of tall skyscrapers, famous landmarks such as the London Eye, the River Thames that cuts through the city and several iconic bridges which all contribute to London being one of the coolest city skylines in the world. We’ve rounded up the best places to get panoramic views in London - because did you really visit the Big Smoke if you didn’t take a cityscape shot? From swanky rooftop bars, sky high attractions to panoramic views that won’t cost you a penny, check out the 10 best viewpoints in London…
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Starting with one of the best views in London, the Sky Garden in the heart of the city provides an incredible perspective of the concrete jungle below. At the highest floor of the building, you will gain an uninterrupted 360 degree view for free. All you have to do is book your slot online. Try and time your visit on a clear, sunny day so you can benefit from the best views of the whole city. If you do, London from high up will take your breath away. When you’re up there, treat yourself to a cocktail and enjoy the views from what is only known as London’s highest public garden; the Sky Garden is essentially a massive greenhouse at the top of the building. Turns out the best things in life really are free.
Nearest tube station: Monument
The Shard - Hutong
Instead of paying £32 for The View from the Shard experience (the highest point of the Shard), we recommend heading a few floors down to Asian restaurant Hutong where the views are still incredible but it’s free to enter. Just get yourself a table by the window, order a nice drink and a couple of nibbles and make the most of one of the best views in London. Hutong lies on the 33rd floor, so you’re still pretty high. Book a table first or head there on a quiet day when locals will be busy at work. This is a pretty expensive restaurant so if you’re on a budget, refrain from ordering a whole lunch/dinner and stick to a light bite.
Nearest tube station: London Bridge
St Paul’s Cathedral
To experience the breathtaking views from the top of St Paul’s Cathedral, you have to climb the dome which is over 500 steps to the top. The exercise is well worth it though when you reach the top and see London in all its glory below. St Paul’s lies on the highest point in London, Ludgate Hill and to enter the Anglican Church you have to pay a fee of £17 online (£20 at the door). From the dome viewpoint you will be able to see the Shard, London Eye and Big Ben. Not to mention you can say you climbed this beautiful Grade 1 listed building.
Nearest tube station: St Paul’s/Mansion House
Duck & Waffle
This is one of the best bars in London that stays open until about 5am - the perfect place to continue the night once everywhere else in the city closes - this place even serves food 24/7 at any time of day. Duck & Waffle in Bishopsgate is located on the 40th floor of the building boasting an epic view of the city. The best time to go is during sunrise (where you can enjoy the signature duck & waffles for breakfast) - or sunset where you can sip on a sweet cocktail and watch the sun go down behind the skyscrapers.
Nearest tube station: Liverpool Street
The London Eye
Perhaps London’s most iconic attraction, the Coca Cola London Eye is up there when it comes to incredible panoramic views of the city. For £27 if you book online, you can enjoy a full 30 minute ride going around the London Eye wheel. Located 135m high, from one of the capsules you can enjoy some of the best views over London - just don’t go on it if you’re afraid of heights. Expect long queues to get on the London Eye, even if you’ve pre-booked your tickets.
Nearest tube station: Waterloo/Westminster
Bokan is a sky high bar close to East London’s business district, Canary Wharf, where bankers and accountants spend their days busy bodying and making money. From the 38th floor experience views while enjoying the luxurious rooftop bar that overlooks the whole of London. In the summer, make the most of the large outdoor terrace where views won’t let you down while you tan.
Nearest tube station: Canning Town
Emirates Airline Cable Car
If you’re in London in search for the best views in the city, then do not miss the Emirates Airline Cable Car where you will see London like never before. This is the only moving viewpoint in the city that takes you from one side of London to the other on a gondola. On the way you’ll pass some of the city’s most famous landmarks and get close up views of them including the 02, the Globe Theatre, Canary Wharf, Cutty Sark, The Thames Barrier and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. You will get to see different views from different perspective from different locations for just £10.70. For the best photos, go on a clear, sunny day.
Nearest tube station: North Greenwich
To find a great view in London’s West End is a little more difficult (because there are less skyscrapers around). However Radio Rooftop on the 10th floor of the ME Hotel ticks all the boxes. If you’re looking for a rooftop bar in the summer to relax and take in the best of London’s cityscape from the city’s theatre district, this is the place for you. While drinks are on the pricier side here, you won’t regret coming because the music is always chill and the bar interior itself is impressive. Grab a sofa on the outdoor terrace and let the view do all the talking.
Nearest tube station: Temple/Covent Garden
Need a bed in London? Check out our 8 London hostels
Article by Shereen Sagoo
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