Best views in London : London surely doesn’t disappoint when it comes to perspectives throughout the city. Whether you’re up for sitting out in a park watching the sun go down, or traveling to the observation deck of one of Europe’s tallest buildings, there are lots of possibilities.
What’s fantastic about London is that you’ll discover both free and charged overlooks and many of them give stunning views of the skyline. So, get your camera ready. Here are some of London’s top perspectives.
.Where to find the best views in London
The undulating greens of Greenwich Park offer wonderful viewpoint places, with the Greenwich Maritime World Heritage Site, National Maritime Museum and Old Royal Naval College all in close vicinity. The view over the river towards Canary Wharf is magnificent, with the Walkie Talkie skyscraper and Salesforce Tower standing out to the left too. It’s also home to the Greenwich Observatory; the park is one of the greatest spots for stargazing in the city.
Greenwich, SE10 8QY, royalparks.org.uk
Would you like a stunning view with that? Fenchurch Restaurant in the Sky Garden on level 37
The Fenchurch rooftop restaurant and the Darwin Brasserie at Sky Garden promise some of the greatest meals with a view in London, and a drink of fizz in the Sky Pod bar is always a good decision. It’s directly in the heart of the City, with some of London’s most spectacular skyscrapers in close proximity. It’s the view of the Shard across the river, though, which is most mesmerizing. Keep a look out for the seasonal events here too – their Halloween, Christmas and New Year parties are usually fantastic fun.
20 Fenchurch St, EC3M 8AF, skygarden.london
This crowded Peckham rooftop pub doesn’t do fancy – it’s an endearingly simple set-up, with long wooden seats filled with punters during the summer. It illustrates that sometimes, the sights, the company and something cool to drink are all you need. The city’s most iconic landmarks are all stretched out over the horizon, with lots of trees and foliage to break up the view nearby.
Bold Tendencies, 7th-10th Floor Multi Storey Car Park, 95A Rye Ln, SE15 4ST, boldtendencies.com
You’ll come for the sophisticated French food at the brasserie in Bank, but you’ll stay for the views. Do bear in mind that you can’t see a great deal from the restaurant’s terrace; instead, it’s the spot to take in the skyline with a drink of something excellent.
1 Poultry, EC2R 8EJ, coqdargent.co.uk
It’s often packed here on sunny summer weekends, but Parliament Hill boasts one of the most iconic vistas anyplace in the city. Featured in various films and TV series along the years — including Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Notes On a Scandal and most recently in Netflix’s Turn Up Charlie – there’s little wonder fans come back time and again. If you haven’t visited this legendary London landmark, put it at the top of your list.
Heath Lodge, Hampstead, NW5 1QR
Sure, views from skyscrapers are amazing, but have you ever viewed the city from the river, in your swimming suit, and with a glass of fizz? HotTug has been putting on fun, drunken cruises throughout the city, inviting groups of friends to hop in a hot tub and float downstream for a couple of years now. Sure, you could get on the ferry, or take a tour boat, but this really is a unique sightseeing excursion that you won’t forget in a hurry.
16-35 Graham St, N1 8JX, hottuguk.com
Anish Kapoor’s Orbit design was contentious when it became the UK’s tallest sculpture in 2012, but there’s little doubt it’s one of the most important additions to the city’s skyline in years. The views of east London from the summit are top quality, but they disappear very fast as you’re speeding down to the bottom. It’s a terrific site to observe firework shows too.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, 5 Thornton Street, E20 2AD, arcelormittalorbit.com
As if the Tate Modern was short of things to marvel at, the 10-storey Switch House building inaugurated in 2016 provides spectacular vistas over the city. The observation level on top of the Blavatnik Building has 360-degree views, and is absolutely free.
Bankside, SE1 9TG, tate.org.uk/visit/tate-modern
Head out on your own adventure of discovery with Go Boat, which conducts the only self-drive boating activities in London. Up to eight passengers at a time have the opportunity to see sights of the city from completely new viewpoints, traveling through London’s canals and rivers at their own pace.
Galvin at Windows
Galvin @ Windows provides Michelin-starred French gourmet cuisine, with 28th-floor views over Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Wembley Stadium and the London Eye. Found on top of the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane, the venue is also home to an amazing bar offering lip-smacking drinks.
22 Park Ln, Mayfair, W1K 1BE, galvinatwindows.com
One of London’s most Instagrammed restaurants, Sushisamba is housed on the 39th floor of the Salesforce skyscraper, originally the Heron Tower. The pub is regularly filled to the rafters with city employees trying to blow off a little steam, and provides one of the loveliest outdoor terraces anywhere in the capital. The region surrounding the tower is rather crowded with skyscrapers, and you come face to-face with some of the tallest structures in the city as you stare out—not least of which is the Gkerkin, a mere stone’s throw away. The Duck & Waffle upstairs is a constant favourite with diners too, and the cocktail bar is one of the best destination drinking locations in the city. The beverage pricing will put a few off, but the vistas are well worth paying a little extra for.
110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY, sushisamba.com
It can be a difficult climb to the hill, but a trip through Alexandra Park to the Palace is rewarded with one of the most stunning panoramas in the city. It’s a popular with families and dog-walkers during the day, while music aficionados attending events can stare out across the lights of the city on their way home too.
Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY, alexandrapalace.com
Whether it’s the Shangri-La Hotel, restaurants Aqua Shard, Hutong and TĪNG, or bars Oblix, Bar 31 and Gong, there are spectacular views to be experienced at every turn at the Shard. Our selection would have to be Gong, which is placed on level 52 and represents the highest hotel bar in western Europe. It’s so high, in fact, that vertigo patients may want to seek treatment elsewhere. If you can stand it, however, getting up there for a beverage may be a great thrill.
32 London Bridge St, SE1 9SG, the-shard.com
Bokan is placed on the 37th-39th level of a Novotel in Canary Wharf, and the chef here offers up a sophisticated mix of pan-European meals highlighting fresh ingredients. The cozy dining room and the calm drinking patio are also terrific locations to spend time. The views looking out over the river and up towards the city are very stunning, too.
40 Marsh Wall, Isle of Dogs, E14 9TP, bokanlondon.co.uk
Ibiza-style parties are very rare to come by in London, but Radio Rooftop on the Shard is about as near as you’re going to get. The opulent bar, positioned 10 stories above in the ME London skyscraper, routinely holds DJ nights and adds a bit of Mediterranean flair to the city, all with a gorgeous background.
336-337 Strand, WC2R 1HA, melondonhotel.com
The Bussey Building
Rooftop film club events at the Bussey Building are worth going for the 360-degree views alone. Film buffs may nerd out to their heart’s content with the skyline in full view, and the location gives a fantastic chance for the gram.
133 Rye Ln, Peckham, SE15 4SL, busseyrooftopbar.com
The London Eye
Of all of London’s tourist traps, the London Eye is one that’s absolutely worth doing. The views are beautiful, as you’d imagine, and the total experience – which is surprisingly peaceful, considering the tension of the crowds – more than compensates the wait periods, which may be a drag at peak times. Splash out on a private booth with a Champagne experience ticket if you’re feeling fancy.
Lambeth, SE1 7PB, londoneye.com
Emirates Air Line
‘Scenic’ isn’t often a term you’d connect with London’s public transit — the views on the Tube mainly consist of close-ups of people’s armpits, rather than stunning sun-lit panoramas. The front of the DLR is fantastic fun, to be honest, but it doesn’t come close to the Emirates Air Line, which operates services from Greenwich to the Royal Docks, carrying passengers up to 90 metres over the Thames and the O2.
The rooftop bar of Sea Containers, originally the Rumpus Room, is one of the greatest spots to have a beverage and watch the sun set over the city. The restaurant itself and Lyaness below are two of the most picturesque sites along the river, coupled with the OXO Tower next door. The riverbank site is the ideal position to take in views of the City and out towards north London.
20 Upper Ground, South Bank, SE1 9PD, seacontainerslondon.com
You don’t necessarily have to be 40 stories up to admire the city. In fact, a stroll across the river is typically one of the greatest ways to observe it. Take the trek millions of Londoners have made before, and reconnect with the city with the sights from Tower Bridge. The Shard towers tall to your right, with views down towards Greenwich on your left, and the view of the bridge raising to make way for massive ships is breathtaking in its own right.
Tower Bridge Road, towerbridge.org.uk