Where to Get the Best Views of London (17 Viewpoints!)

London is my all-time favourite city. From fascinating landmarks, rich history, plenty of tourist attractions, incredible markets, and a fantastic public transport system, what’s not to love? What makes it even more special are the amount of places and experiences that offer the best views of London.

From parks to attractions and unexpected spots dotted around the city, London has no shortage of vantage points to soak in amazing views of the skyline.

Ready to discover the best views of London? This list of 17 viewpoints offer lots of diversity, all while seeing unique sights across the city!

where to find the best views of london

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1. London Eye

The London Eye may be an obvious choice for where to get the best views of London, but it’s well worth doing, especially on clear sunny days. It’s one of the most iconic London attractions!

Did you know the London Eye is the world’s largest observation wheel?

You’ll reach heights of 135 metres/442 feet and will be able to see London 25 miles across on clear days, which means the views from up there are fantastic and you can see pretty much everything. The views of the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, and Big Ben are the best from the London Eye.

Rides on the London Eye last 30 minutes and the pods can accommodate up to 25 guests. Tickets are best booked in advance with a pre-selected time slot, or you can upgrade to fast-track tickets to skip the queue.

If you don’t want to wait in line for very long, try to book one of the first time slots of the day. There are 32 pods available and lines can be as long as 45 minutes during peak times.

If you want to enhance your experience, you can rent a private pod with fast-track boarding and optional add-ons like alcohol and food! Or, if you want to plan something special like a proposal or anniversary surprise, packages are available for two guests which includes champagne and chocolates.

The London Eye operates daily (except Christmas Day) from 10:00 am – 8:30 pm during the summer and 10:00 pm – 6:00 pm on weekdays/10:00 am – 8:30 pm on weekends during the fall, winter, and spring.

👉 Book your tickets for the London Eye!

2. Tower Bridge

Spanning the Thames River, the Tower Bridge is an iconic landmark of London and the city’s oldest river crossing. While you can cross the bridge for free, paying admission to tour the structure provides magnificent city views.

You can purchase tickets online by selecting a time slot or at the venue. Admission costs GBP 12.30 for adults, GBP 9.20 for seniors, and GBP 6.20 for children aged 5 to 15. Since the bridge gets very busy, advanced ticket purchases will guarantee your time slot and eliminate waiting.

Mornings are best for visitation to avoid crowds and provide better daylight photography conditions.

A ticket gives you access to the twin towers, bridges between the buildings, and the engine room. During a two-hour visit, you’ll learn the bridge’s history, see the engines which lift the bridge, and walk a glass floor on the west walkway.

You’ll enjoy views of The Shard, HMS Belfast, Walkie Talkie Building, Gherkin, and the nearby Tower of London from the west walkway.

From the east walkway, the views are mostly of the commercial areas fronting the River Thames. However, the glass floor provides the highlight for tourists. With a mirror on the ceiling, you can lie on the floor and take a selfie with the bridge traffic passing below.

Recommended by Forever Karen

👉 Book your tickets for the Tower Bridge!

3. Battersea Power Station

While many of the best views of London can be seen from the rooftop bars that have popped up on the top of London’s tallest buildings, there is a new place in town that deserves a visit.

Battersea Power Station might seem an unusual place to head for a glimpse across the Thames and over the capital’s rooftops, but it has a secret.

Recently reopened after many years of closure, this listed building with its four iconic white chimneys, once powering all of London, has now been re-designed as an entertainment centre housing restaurants and shops.

But its crowning glory is the Willy Wonka-styled glass chimney lift that rises 109 metres inside one of the art deco chimneys and surfaces when it gets to the top to give visitors a 360-degree panoramic view of London.

The ride to the top is incredible in its own right, with flashing lights and music and is perfect for all the family.

The tickets to ride the glass lift, known as Lift 109, are priced between £16 and £20 for adults depending on the time of visit; children’s tickets are between £16 and £20. Buying tickets online before visiting is wise as it is very popular; however, walk-ins are sometimes available at off-peak times, like mid-week.

The views are fantastic at any time of the day. Head there at dusk to catch a glimpse of the sun setting over London or at night to see the dazzling lights of London’s buildings light up the landscape.

If you want a unique place to view London, head to Battersea Power Station. It’s one of the best places around.

Recommended by Where Angie Wanders

4. St Paul’s Cathedral

The highest point in the city of London is Ludgate Hill and at the top of Ludgate Hill is the glorious St Paul’s Cathedral.  St Paul’s was, from 1710, until 1967, the tallest building in London and continues to provide stunning views over London. 

The best place for London views at St Paul’s is from the Whispering Gallery and those galleries at the top of the Cathedral. 

Adult tickets cost £20.50 if you buy online (it’s a few pounds more to buy in person when you arrive), and they do include access to the Whispering Gallery. Tickets also include a fabulous audio tour – which explains much of the history of this Grade I listed building, whose architect was Sir Christopher Wren.  Wren is interred at the cathedral, with the words “If you seek his monument look around you” inscribed on his tomb. 

Getting the best views at St Paul’s involves hiking up the steps to the galleries (there’s no lift), but there are great views in all directions from St Paul’s, which is 111 metres high, and was designed and built after London’s Great Fire of 1666. 

Recommended by A Social Nomad

👉 Book your tickets for St Paul’s Cathedral!

5. Primrose Hill

Primrose Hill offers an unparalleled perspective of London’s skyline. At the very top of Regent’s Park, Primrose Hill is an elevated spot from which you can see all of London from above. As it’s part of a public park, Primrose Hill is absolutely free.

The panorama of London is especially magnificent at sunset if you can make it during a sunny day in London. Early morning is also a lovely time to visit Primrose Hill for the beautiful colour that lights up London and makes it perfect for photographs.

Accessible by foot, tube, or bus, getting to Primrose Hill is convenient for both locals and tourists. A leisurely stroll through the picturesque streets of Primrose Hill leads you to the summit, where an unobstructed view awaits. 

Don’t miss out on enjoying the colourful streets of the Primrose Hill neighbourhood, with streets such as Chalcott Square offering a photogenic walk past candy coloured houses.

After enjoying Primrose Hill, take a leisurely stroll down the hill to enjoy Regent’s Park or head to nearby Camden for some delicious street food.

Primrose Hill is a popular picnic spot, but not in a crowded or obnoxious way. There will be plenty of Londonders here enjoying the evening, playing frisbee or having a picnic. It’s a perfect place to feel relaxed while also being immersed in London’s skyline.

Recommended by Art Distance

6. Parliament Hill

In the beautiful neighbourhood of Hampstead and within the park, Hampstead Heath, you’ll find Parliament Hill. It is one of London’s most exceptional viewpoints, the hill offers unobstructed panoramas of London. 

You’ll see the iconic dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral,  the soaring Shard, and the historic Tower Bridge. This picturesque spot is also a quiet escape from the busy tourist spots in London. Hampstead Heath’s expansive green space provides a peaceful sanctuary amidst the city’s hustle and bustle. 

You can visit at any time of day really. If you’d like to see a pink sky against the beautiful backdrop, then head over just before sunset. The best part of it all is that the view is free. Additionally, the adjoining Hampstead Heath Bathing Ponds offer a unique opportunity for swimmers to take a refreshing dip while being surrounded by nature. 

After a day of taking in the sights and, perhaps, enjoying a swim, you can explore the quaint neighbourhood of Hampstead. It is renowned for its cozy local pubs serving traditional British fare and drinks. In essence, Parliament Hill in Hampstead stands out as the perfect hidden gem to enjoy London’s most beautiful skyline.

Recommended by Jou Jou Travels

7. The Shard

For the highest and most expansive views of London, head to the top of The Shard, one of London’s most iconic buildings. This landmark, located at London Bridge, towers above all the surrounding buildings.

At 310 metres high, it’s almost twice as high as any other viewpoint in London and offers 360-degree views stretching as far as 40 miles into the distance. This is the only place in London where you can see the whole city all at once!

From the viewing platforms, you will be able to spy London’s most famous landmarks, including the Tower of London, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Wembley Stadium, the Olympic Park and Battersea Power Station.

The unparalleled views can be enjoyed from the viewing platforms on levels 68 and 69. Or, for more of a thrill, head out onto the open-air sky deck on level 72, where you can feel the elements in the sky. You can even enjoy a drink while you take in the view, as there are bars located on both levels 69 and 72.

Tickets are required to visit The Shard, and general entry costs £32 per person. Although there are discounts available for larger groups, and premium tickets available as well.

The Shard is open from 10 am until 10 pm daily, except in winter, when it closes at 8pm from Sunday to Wednesday. The best time to visit is during the late afternoon and early evening. This way you will get to see the view of London in the daylight, the sparkling city lights at night, and a spectacular sunset.

Note – Due to some required maintenance, The Shard is currently temporarily closed and due to re-open later this summer. In the meantime, you can buy open tickets to visit anytime this year, once it re-opens.

Recommended by Chasing Chanelle

👉 Book your tickets for the Shard!

8. Sky Garden

One of the best views in London is from the Sky Garden, located on the 43rd floor of the Walkie Talkie building. And the best part? It’s free! With floor-to-ceiling glass windows, the Sky Garden offers 360-degree views that include all the London landmarks. Walking around the gardens, you will have a unique birds-eye view of the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, the Thames River, the Shard, and so much more!

While tickets are free, space is limited in the Sky Garden. Tickets are available to book online and can be reserved up to three weeks in advance. While there is potential for walk-in visitors, tickets are usually in high demand and it is strongly recommended to book your ticket ahead of time.

Another way to visit the Sky Garden is to make a reservation at one of the two restaurants or bars. For those wanting to visit during sunset, a restaurant reservation is one of the best ways to accomplish this as the free ticket hours usually end before the sun sets.

Once inside this urban garden, visitors can relax in the gardens or head outside to the open-air terrace for an unobstructed view of the London skyline. 

It is important to note, however, that security may close the terrace at any time due to inclement weather conditions, which in London happens quite frequently.

Overall, Sky Garden is a unique spot in London that offers one of the most spectacular panoramic views of the city!

Recommended by Toronto to Anywhere 

9. One New Change

One of London’s most beautiful viewpoints is the roof terrace of One New Change shopping centre.

If you wonder how to save money in London, then this attraction is for you because it’s completely FREE!

In the One New Exchange shopping centre you will find a rooftop restaurant and bar with a stunning terrace with panoramic views of the London skyline. From this observation deck, you can enjoy views of the City area and the iconic St. Paul’s Cathedral.  

In addition to the fact that this observation deck is free of charge, you can also use the free transparent elevator to get to it.

Often before sunset and on Friday and Saturday evenings, there is a line to get to the elevator to the observation deck. So if you want to take beautiful photos without crowds of tourists and just enjoy the view in silence, it is better to come here on weekdays and in the morning. You will have the feeling that this is your private balcony.

You can also grab a snack and a coffee or cocktail at the bar or restaurant located on this terrace. The rooftop of One New Change will be great for a date or meeting with friends.

Recommended by The Alternative Travel Guide 

10. Greenwich Park

Greenwich Park is one of the best spots in London to get a view of the iconic London skyline. Although the park itself isn’t next to a tube line, you can easily get the bus from North Greenwich or take the DLR to Greenwich station.

When you arrive in Greenwich, head to the Royal Observatory, situated near the centre of the park. From here you’ll be able to enjoy an unobstructed view of the wonderful Canary Wharf – London’s financial district!

If it’s summer, grab a picnic blanket and head to the green hills of the park to enjoy the views with a snack in hand. In the autumn you’ll find park-goers sipping on hot chocolates and coffee whilst enjoying the autumn foliage and in the spring the cherry blossoms come alive!

While on your day out to Greenwich Park, visiting the Old Royal Naval College and National Maritime Museum are a must! These are both situated on the North side of the park, and both are free to enter.

If you’re feeling hungry after seeing the best panoramic views of South East London, be sure to pop into Greenwich Market to indulge in street food from many cuisines.

Recommended by The Sunrise Dreamers

11. Tower of London

Visiting the Tower of London is on the top of most visitors’ bucket lists, given the fortress is one of the oldest buildings in the city and has a long and storied history, from a medieval royal residence to its more gruesome past, as a prison and execution site. 

You’ll have plenty of cool things to look at inside the Tower, including the Cullinan I diamond, which is one of the 23,000 gemstones that make up the Crown Jewels and is the largest clear cut diamond on the planet, weighing in at 530.4 carats. 

However, if you’re looking for cool views of London itself, the Tower delivers, giving an excellent juxtaposition of a variety of architectures. For example, standing on its ramparts, you’ll be able to see the Tower’s stone wall, which dates back to the 13th century; the city’s iconic Tower Bridge, built in 1886; and the sleek and ultra-modern The Shard, constructed in 2009, all along the Thames River. 

This is a great example of the patchwork of styles that make up the London skyline, that uniquely combines historic sites with modern design.

Just be sure to get to the Tower of London as soon as it opens (9 AM on Tuesdays through Saturdays and 10 AM on Sundays and Mondays), so you can enjoy it—and the view—without the crowds!

Recommended by Uprooted Traveler

👉 Book your tickets for the Tower of London!

12. The Garden at 120

The Garden at 120 offers some of the best free views of London. This beautiful garden is on the 15th floor and has green spaces, flowers, a water feature, and plenty of seating.

It’s located only about a 5 minute walk from the Sky Garden, so if you had your heart set on seeing London from above and couldn’t snag tickets for the Sky Garden, make your way to the Garden at 120!

Reservations aren’t needed and it’s completely free on a first-come, first-served basis. The public garden on the rooftop offers amazing views of London’s skyscrapers, London Bridge, and many other landmarks. 

The Garden at 120 is located at 120 Fenchurch St and is open weekdays 10:00 – 9:00 pm during the summer, making it a beautiful place to catch the sunset. During the winter, you can access the garden from 10:00 – 6:30 pm.

 Credit: Mark Percy Licensed for reuse Creative Commons

13. The Monument

For one of the less popular places to visit for the best views of London, head over to the Monument, which is short for the Monument to the Great Fire of London. This iconic landmark is a reminder of the Great Fire of 1666 – one of London’s most significant events in history.

The Great Fire began in a bakery in September of 1666 owned by the King’s baker, Thomas Farriner, 202 feet from the site of the Monument today. Heat from the oven created sparks which set Thomas’ house on fire.

Most buildings in London were made of wood at the time, and combined with the dry late summer heat, flames spread throughout the city and decimated 86% of London. 130,000 people lost their homes.

311 steps lead you up a 202 foot column (notice anything here?) to the top to enjoy panoramic views across London. You’ll get a chance to soak in 360 views of the city and see some of the most famous attractions.

The Monument is open daily from 9:30 am – 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm. Tickets can be purchased at the Monument. Visitors are limited to accommodate space inside, so there may be a short lineup if it’s busy. Tickets for adults are just £6.00/$7.76 USD and children are £3.00/$3.88 USD.

14. Mezemiso Restaurant

If you are looking for an exclusive, wonderful place to get stunning views of London, look no further than Mezemiso, a Lebanese and Japanese-inspired restaurant and bar. You will find it on the 14th floor of the Hyatt Regency London Albert Embankment hotel – the bar and restaurant is open to external guests too, and also used for special events such as wedding receptions.

The hotel is located in Vauxhall, an often overlooked area of the British capital – yet one of the top locations to stay if you only have a few days in London. The nearest underground station to the hotel is Vauxhall, on the Victoria Line. From there, it’s a 10 minutes walk to the hotel.

You will first get a glimpse of the view as you ride the panoramic elevator to the bar. Once you are there, head to the terrace for stunning views of the Thames River, the Big Ben and Houses of Parliament.

The restaurant is open throughout the day, but visit in the later hours if you care to catch the sunset, or at night if you want to admire the city at night and beautifully illuminated. 

Recommended by My Adventures Across The World

15. IFS Cloud Royal Docks – London’s Cable Car

For views more off the beaten path and a unique experience in London, IFS Cloud Royal Docks is a cable car that crosses the River Thames. This aerial adventure gives you a different perspective of London and is perfect to do at night when the city comes to life after dark. You’ll be able to see places like St. Paul’s Cathedral, Thames Barrier, and the Gherkin.

The location is a bit out of the way but the views make it worthwhile and is just a 5 minute walk from the North Greenwich tube station. Plus, it gives you an excuse to explore London’s East End! Traverse the Thames 300 feet in the air from the Royal Docks to the Greenwich peninsula with a one-way (£6 for adults) or round-trip ticket (£12 for adults). 

Since the cable cars run daily and arrive every 30 seconds, booking ahead isn’t necessary. IFS Cloud Royal Docks is open from 7:00 am -10:00 pm weekdays (11:00 pm on Fridays), 8:00 am – 11:00 pm Saturdays and 9:00 am – 10:00 pm Sunday. Each cable car can accommodate 10 people. One-way trips take approximately 10 minutes.

👉 Book tickets for IFS Cloud Royal Docks (+ Uber Boat Cruise!)

16. Up at the O2 – the O2 Arena

Feeling adventurous? If you’re a thrill-seeker, some of the best views of London can be found from the top of the O2 Arena. This unique landmark in London offers an exhilarating experience: climbing on the roof!

As one of London’s most popular entertainment venues, this huge stadium can hold about 20,000 people. There’s a suspended walkway on the roof 170 feet in the air.

With a climbing suit, harness, and guide, you’ll be able to walk across this extraordinary structure and enjoy panoramic views of Canary Wharf, Olympic Park, Tower Bridge, the Shard, and Greenwich. On clear days you can even make out Big Ben!

It’s recommended that the Up at the O2 experience is booked in advance online. Allow 1.5 hours to walk across the O2. You can choose to do the tour throughout the day, or during the evening and even at night. You can enhance your experience by adding champagne to your package (liquid courage, amirite?) 😂

👉 Book your tickets for Up at the O2!

17. ArcelorMittal Orbit

Another unexpected place for the best views in London is the ArcelorMittal Orbit, world’s longest and tallest tunnel slide and the UK’s highest freefall abseil. At 375 feet in the air, the ArcelorMittal Orbit gives you the opportunity to explore London’s famous skyline. This unique sculpture is made of 2000 tons of steel made by ArcelorMittal.

The slide takes you on a 40 second journey and loops 12 times around the ArcelorMittal Orbit through gentle curves, a tight corkscrew, and thrilling drops at a rate of 15 miles an hour as you make your way 262 feet back to the ground.

If you want more of a thrill, take on the challenge of completing the freefall abseil! It’s one of the best ways to see London’s skyline. Spanning 20 miles in every direction, this adrenaline-fueled activity allows you to see iconic buildings like St Pauls, Wembley Stadium, and Canary Wharf.

If the slide isn’t your thing, the observation deck is a must to enjoy some scenic views of London. Get some incredible views from a birds-eye-view through floor-to-ceiling windows.You can opt to take a gentle 1150 foot-long staircase down to the ground, which takes an average of 12 minutes!

Choose to ride the elevator up to the observation deck for £15/Adults on weekends or £20 on Fridays-Sundays, or purchase a ride-the-slide combo ticket for £25 weekdays/£30 weekends.

Visit the ArcelorMittal Orbit daily from 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm on weekdays and 10:00 am – 6:00 pm Fridays-Sundays.

👉 Book your tickets for the ArcelorMittal Orbit!

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