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Best View of London: A Comprehensive Guide to the City’s Top Panoramas

London, a city brimming with history, culture, and architectural marvels, is a sight to behold from numerous vantage points. Whether you’re seeking an iconic view from the city’s famous landmarks or a peaceful observation from its lush parks and hills, the breathtaking panoramas of the capital are guaranteed to leave you in awe. As you explore London’s best viewpoints, you’ll also have the opportunity to delve into its vibrant rooftop bar and restaurant scene, where you can enjoy exquisite cuisine while marvelling at the city’s skyline.

Venturing beyond the popular tourist destinations, you’ll also find stunning views from lesser-known spots, including various bridges and river transport services. This balance of frequented and off-the-beaten-path locations ensures you’ll have a well-rounded experience, capturing unforgettable sights of London from every angle. As you embark on this visual journey, you’ll undoubtedly have a multitude of questions – the following key takeaways aim to help you make the most of these captivating experiences.

Key Takeaways

  • Explore a variety of viewpoints, from famous landmarks to tranquil parks and hills, for a comprehensive appreciation of London’s beauty.
  • Immerse yourself in the city’s charming rooftop bar and restaurant scene for a blend of culinary delights and remarkable skyline views.
  • Venture off the beaten path to uncover hidden gems with breathtaking panoramas and lesser-known attractions for some of the best views in London.

Read on below for more info!

Iconic Views of London from Vantage Points

London’s skyline offers some breathtaking views, and there are many vantage points from which you can soak in the beauty of this historic city.

The View from The Shard

The Shard is not only London’s tallest building, but it also offers some of the best panoramic views of the city. Ascend to the viewing platform 800 feet above the ground, and you’ll be rewarded with a stunning 360-degree vista of the London skyline. From this vantage point, you can take in famous landmarks such as Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the London Eye.

– Buy your tickets in advance to secure your preferred time slot
– Check the weather forecast to ensure clear visibility
– Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the incredible view

Tour Guide Top Tips
Photo of the shard and tower bridge over the river Thames in London cityscape

Sky Garden

Often regarded as London’s highest public garden, the Sky Garden offers an incredible view of the city from 525 feet above the ground. Located at the top of the Walkie Talkie building, this unique vantage point offers both indoor and outdoor viewing areas, as well as a vibrant garden bursting with greenery.

It’s also worth noting that some parts of the garden may have restricted access during private events.

Tickets get booked up very quickly so plan ahead of your visit!

– Free entry
– Tickets are released on a rolling 3 week cycle, so you can book up to 3 weeks in advance
-If tickets are sold out, try the Darwin Brasserie or Fenchurch Restaurant for food with a view!

Tour Guide Top Tips

The Garden at 120

The Garden at 120 is a lesser-known gem, offering a great alternative for those who prefer a less crowded viewing experience. This public rooftop garden provides fantastic views of iconic landmarks such as the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, and the Gherkin. Best of all, entry is free and you don’t need to book a visit in advance.

– Free entry
– Open from Monday to Friday, 10am to 6:30pm
– No booking required

Tour Guide Top Tips

One New Change

Situated just a stone’s throw away from St. Paul’s Cathedral, One New Change offers a unique perspective on one of London’s most iconic landmarks. Head to the roof terrace on the sixth floor, and you’ll be rewarded with a view of the cathedral framed by the contrasting modern skyline.

Remember that while the roof terrace is open to the public, it may be limited during private events or due to adverse weather conditions.

Observation of London from Parks and Hills

Primrose Hill

Located in North London, Primrose Hill offers a fantastic perspective of the city’s skyline. From this vantage point, you can admire famous landmarks such as the London Eye and iconic structures along the River Thames. Make sure to bring your camera, as the panoramic views you’ll witness from this spot are truly remarkable.

Greenwich Park

Greenwich Park in South-East London is another excellent place to take in the beautiful scenery that the city has to offer. As you stroll through the park, make sure to head to the top of the hill, where you’ll find breathtaking views of the Thames, Central London, and the distinctive shape of the London Eye. Greenwich Park also boasts a fantastic viewpoint of the Greenwich Peninsula and Royal Docks, which are just across the river.

greenwich skyline

Parliament Hill

For a slightly different perspective of the capital, venture to Parliament Hill in North London. This spot allows you to immerse yourself in unobstructed panoramic views of the city, stretching from West London to East London. Iconic landmarks and monuments, such as St Paul’s Cathedral and The Shard, can be easily spotted from this vantage point. Whether you’re visiting in the morning, afternoon, or evening, the beauty of London’s skyline will undoubtedly captivate you.

Remember to take some time to explore these wonderful parks and hills, as they offer some of the best views in London. With their unique and stunning perspectives, you’ll gain a newfound appreciation for the city and its iconic landmarks.

Rooftop Bars and Restaurants with a view of London

London, the bustling capital city with its famous landmarks and the majestic Thames, offers a plethora of rooftop bars and restaurants for you to enjoy. With panoramic views of iconic spots like the London Eye and Covent Garden, these venues provide a unique experience that perfectly combines delicious cuisine, refreshing drinks, and breathtaking scenery. Here are some of the top rooftop dining options in London, carefully selected for their popular ambience, mouth-watering menus, and stunning views.

Sushisamba and Duck & Waffle

Sushisamba is located on the 38th and 39th floors of the Heron Tower, which makes it one of the highest rooftop restaurants in Europe. This sophisticated venue offers a remarkable fusion of Japanese, Brazilian, and Peruvian cuisines, allowing you to embark on a culinary journey while enjoying a 360-degree view of the city.

Just one floor up, you’ll find Duck & Waffle, a 24/7 high-end dining experience where you can savour the taste of modern British and European fare. The floor-to-ceiling windows offer stunning panoramic views of London that are sure to enhance your dining experience.

the view from duck and waffle

Oxo Tower

The Oxo Tower in Mayfair boasts of a fabulous rooftop restaurant and brasserie, offering exceptional sights of the Thames and the London skyline. With a varied menu catering to different tastes, you can indulge in afternoon tea, lunch, or dinner while taking in the spectacular views of the cityscape.


For a contemporary dining experience, head over to Bōkan, located in Canary Wharf. This modern rooftop venue spans the 37th, 38th, and 39th floors, offering a stylish restaurant, a bar, and a trendy terrace. Here, you can enjoy an inventive European menu while feasting your eyes on the panoramic views of the capital city.


Finally, don’t miss out on Madison, situated near St. Paul’s Cathedral in the vibrant area of Covent Garden. This popular rooftop bar and restaurant delivers a New York-inspired menu, ranging from steaks to seafood dishes, complemented by an extensive drinks selection. The outdoor terrace, with its stunning vantage point overlooking St. Paul’s, is the perfect spot to unwind and appreciate the beauty of London’s skyline.

Attractions with a View of London

Tower Bridge

As you approach the iconic Tower Bridge, make sure to take in the breathtaking view of the River Thames and the city of London. From the bridge’s walkway, you’ll be able to spot many famous landmarks, such as the Gherkin and London Bridge. The panoramic views from the bridge are undoubtedly stunning and worth the trip.

View of Tower Bridge from the banks of the River Thames

St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral serves as both an architectural masterpiece and a fantastic viewpoint from which to admire London’s skyline. Climb to the top of the dome and enjoy incredible views that include famous landmarks like the Thames, the London Eye, and more.

The London Eye

The London Eye is a must-visit attraction for anyone looking to capture the stunning views of London from above. This 135-metre rotating observation wheel offers 360-degree views over the city, allowing you to see as far as the Royal Observatory. The capsules are comfortable, and the slow-moving wheel offers ample time to take in the sights.

view of the the houses of parliament from the london eye

The Monument

A lesser-known but nonetheless brilliant spot to enjoy exceptional views of London is The Monument. Built to commemorate the Great Fire of London, it stands tall in the city centre. Climb the 311 steps to the top, and you’ll be rewarded with a unique perspective of London’s skyline, including St Paul’s Cathedral and Tower Bridge.

Tate Modern

For art lovers and sightseers alike, the Tate Modern offers a brilliant chance to admire London from above. Head to the Switch House on the tenth floor, and you’ll find a spacious viewing terrace that showcases the cityscape, the Thames, and even the distant ArcelorMittal Orbit. It’s a wonderful location for both art appreciation and London skyline admiration.

ArcelorMittal Orbit

Finally, don’t miss out on the ArcelorMittal Orbit, an outstanding viewpoint situated in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Rising to an impressive 114.5 metres, it offers an unparalleled, panoramic view of London. Not only can you see iconic landmarks such as the Gherkin and St Paul’s Cathedral, but you’ll also have the opportunity to witness the city’s Olympic legacy firsthand.

Enjoy your time exploring these incredible vantage points across London, and make sure to take plenty of pictures as you soak in the mesmerising views of this fascinating city.

olympic park in london

London views from Bridges and River Transport

Emirates Air Line

Experience a unique perspective of London from the Emirates Air Line, a cable car system that soars over the River Thames. As you glide through the air, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of surrounding landmarks and the iconic skyline. The journey on this cable car spans from the Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Victoria Dock, offering not only fantastic views but also a convenient mode of transport between these two attractions.

River Thames

The River Thames is the heart of London, and there’s no better way to appreciate the city’s beauty than by taking a relaxing cruise along its waterways. Hop aboard a tour boat or public transport river services, such as the Thames Clipper, to explore London from a fresh vantage point. As you sail along the Thames, you’ll marvel at the stunning architecture of famous sights such as the Tower Bridge, the Shard, and historic riverside buildings. Besides, a river cruise will provide you with a unique opportunity to learn more about London’s storied past and the essential role the Thames has played in its development. So, embark on a river journey to truly capture the essence of London.

Magnificent London Views without the Crowds

Lift 109 at Battersea

Have you ever imagined enjoying a stunning view of London without the hustle and bustle of the crowds? Look no further than Lift 109 at Battersea. This unique vantage point allows you to appreciate the city’s skyline from a peaceful atmosphere. Take a moment to revel in the sights of the Thames River, the London Eye, and the iconic Tower Bridge. Make sure to bring your camera, so you can capture the essence of London’s beauty. With fewer people around, you’ll take in every detail without any distractions.

The Great Pagoda at Kew Gardens

Another fantastic option without the masses is the Great Pagoda at Kew Gardens. Nestled within the botanical splendour of the gardens, the Pagoda offers you a serene location to take in the city skyline. Climb to the top of this historical structure, and your eyes will be greeted with a breathtakingly panoramic view across West London. Don’t forget to explore Kew Gardens while you’re there, as this World Heritage Site is a must-see attraction in itself, bursting with vibrant colours and captivating flora.

The view from your airline seat

Lastly, don’t underestimate the exhilarating view from your arrival by plane. As you descend into London, your airline seat is transformed into a front-row seat to capture a bird’s-eye view of this magnificent city. As you look out of your window, you’ll see the sprawling urban landscape stretching out below. Iconic landmarks such as the Shard, the Tower Bridge, and the River Thames come into focus as your plane descends. Moreover, you’ll even catch a glimpse of the smaller, charming details that make London truly unique.

the view from an airline seat of central london

Remember to heed these suggestions for unparalleled views of London without battling the crowds. Whether it’s the Lift 109 at Battersea, The Great Pagoda at Kew Gardens, or simply the view from your airline seat upon arrival, your experience will be enriched by their less-crowded environments. Enjoy the rare opportunity to immerse yourself in London’s beauty on your own terms.

We hope that’s given you some top tips for about London’s best views, check out our London Travel Guide series for plenty more ideas about what to see in London.

If you’d like a guide to take the lead for you, we can show you London! Check out our London Tours or contact us for help.

Best View in London FAQs

Where can I find the best view of London for free?

You can visit the Sky Garden atop the Walkie-Talkie building for a fantastic free view of London. This indoor garden offers a panoramic view of the city and its surroundings. It’s essential to book a free ticket in advance.

Tour guide tip: Tickets are released on a rolling 3 week in advance cycle, they get booked up quickly!

What are the top viewpoints in London at night?

At night, top viewpoints in London include the Shard, the London Eye, and the OXO Tower. Each location offers a unique perspective of the city illuminated against the night sky, allowing you to appreciate famous London landmarks.

Which rooftops offer stunning views of London?

Several rooftops in London offer stunning views, including Madison, Radio Rooftop Bar, and Boundary Rooftop. These locations not only provide a picturesque vantage point but also serve as ideal social hubs for enjoying drinks and company in a chic atmosphere.

What are some secret viewpoints in the city?

For less well-known viewing spots, consider visiting Hampstead Heath’s Parliament Hill, Alexandra Palace, or Primrose Hill. These locations give you a more tranquil setting to take in London’s landscape, away from the typical tourist crowds.

What are some famous London skyline viewing spots?

Some well-known spots for iconic London skyline views include the London Eye, the Shard, and the Tate Modern. These locations offer panoramic vistas capturing many famous landmarks and the city’s architectural beauty.

Which hills around London provide great panoramas?

Hills offering great panoramas around London include Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath, Greenwich Park’s Royal Observatory, and Richmond Park’s King Henry’s Mound. From these vantage points, you can appreciate an expansive view stretching across the city and its surrounding areas.

About the author

Denisa holds the highest UK qualification for tourist guiding, the Blue Badge. She also holds a Management in Tourism degree and a National Tour guiding certificate for the Czech Republic. Denisa’s employment history has covered many roles within the tourism sector, she couples this with the ability to speak several languages. Denisa runs our customer-facing business, she frequently enjoys days spent guiding clients and authors our blogs.

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