As a vibrant city brimming with historical and cultural significance, it comes as no surprise that London boasts one of the world’s most iconic skylines. The question, then, is how best to experience it?
With so much to see, it can be tempting to take the traditional tour bus, but these don’t quite offer the time to appreciate the view. Whether you’re a sightseer or just after a great Instagram post, here we list some of the best ways to get the most breathtaking perspectives – all from the point of a local.
One of the simplest means of getting a magnificent panorama is to go up, and fortunately, there isn’t a shortage of tall buildings in London! Whilst some may appear to be a bit tourist in nature, they offer some of the easiest ways to get a superb view of the city.
Those wishing to add a little education to their sightseeing might appreciate a trip to Tower Bridge. A spectacular scene over the Thames is coupled with the chance to visit the original Victorian engine rooms and learn of the lives of the bridge workers.
The London Eye is one of London’s most popular attractions, and for good reason. At 135 metres tall you can stand above some of the more well-known landmarks like Big Ben, and watch as London sprawls out before you, providing an astounding vista of the capital.
Last but not least is the Shard. London is home to many skyscrapers, but standing at a colossal 310 metres tall the Shard dwarfs them all. Its glass construction means you can benefit from 360 degrees of unobstructed views of London in all its glory. Best avoided if you’re afraid of heights though!
Off the beaten track
If you prefer to avoid the inevitable crowds of the tourist attractions, how about a hotel with a rooftop bar? Combine the necessity of somewhere to stay during your trip with the luxury of enjoying the beautiful cityscape in an altogether more relaxed environment. This also has the added benefit of experiencing the scenery by night, the illuminations of buildings throwing the big smoke into a new light.
Stepping down from the sky, there are plenty of options for those who would rather keep their feet on the ground as many of London’s parks offer excellent views of the city. Combining the contrasts of the busy city with open green spaces can be a refreshing way to enjoy the surroundings. Greenwich Park has some spectacular views from several vantage points. A personal favourite of mine being Observatory Hill which presents a stunning panoramic view extending all the way from east London to the Shard.
Richmond Park is worth a visit for its history and wildlife alone. King Henry’s Mound, in addition to allegedly serving as the point Henry VIII watched for the signal Anne Boleyn had been beheaded, offers a leafy view of St Paul’s Cathedral as well as a telescope for more up-close viewing.
So there we have it, some of the best spots for awe-inspiring views of London. Inevitably though there will be some hidden gems that I’ve missed. Leave a comment below with any suggestions for a terrific panorama shot.
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