16 Of The Absolutely Best Views Of London (Paid And Free!)

London is one of the most visited cities in the world and one of my absolute favorite places in the world. The city is huge and there’s so many different things to see and do including some of the best landmarks in London and some great unique things to do in London. One of my favorite things to do when visiting city is finding a great viewpoint to see the skyline from and of course London is no different. I’ve split this list up by the best free views of London and the best paid views of London so read on for all the best views of London you could possible need to visit!

Best Free Views of London

Parliament Hill Viewpoint, Hampstead Heath

Closest Tube Station: Hampstead Heath Overground Station (10 minute walk) Gospel Oak Overground Station (15 minute walk)

Hampstead Heath is a giant park in North London that happens to be one of the highest points in London which of course means great views. There are trails, ponds, playgrounds and so much more for you to enjoy in the park as well.

The highlight (and its purpose on this list) is of course the Parliament Hill Viewpoint. From here you can see a whole lot of London including many of the major central London landmarks.

Hampstead Heath is open 24/7 as there are no gates that closes the park down. Specific parts of the park (Golders Hill Park, Hill Garden and Pergola) have specific hours but Parliament Hill is viewable at all times.

One of the best views of London is the one at Parliament Hill at Hampstead Heath

Tate Modern Observatory

Closest Tube Station Station: Southwark Station (8 minute walk) and Blackfriars Station (9 minute walk)

Located on Bankside, by the Millennium Bridge, you’ll find Tate Modern. The observatory at Tate Modern is located on the 10th floor of the Blavatnik Building. The viewing platform is accessible by elevator from floor zero (below the main lobby). There’s a little snack bar where you can get drinks and a small snack.

The view from the observatory wraps around the entire building and so it offers a 360 degree view with landmarks like St. Paul’s Cathedral, Millennium Bridge, the Shard and so much more.

The observatory is open between 10am and 5:30 pm between Sundays and Thursdays and between 10am and 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Last admission is 30 minutes before closing.

While it’s free to enter Tate Modern, donations are encouraged and you can drop your change in the cash boxes in the main lobby.

Viewing Platform of the Roof of One New Change

Closest Tube Station: St Paul’s Station (1 minute walk) and Mansion House Station (5 minute walk)

The rooftop of One New Change is one of the newer views of London but it’s a stunning one. You can find the shopping center at 1 New Change (aptly named). To access the rooftop you have to take the elevator all the way to the top (it’s the elevators located in the middle of the shopping center). There is a restaurant/bar on the rooftop as well but the free viewing platform is to the left once you exit the elevators.

You’ll get a great view of the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral in addition to a beautiful view of the skyline.

The platform is open between 6am and 12am every day of the week.

One of the best views of London is the one at the rooftop of One New Change One of the best views of London is the one at the rooftop of One New Change

Alexandra Park

Closest Tube Station: Wood Green Station (23 minute walk but you can also take bus W3 up the hill)

Alexandra Park (associated with Alexandra Palace) located in North London, is another park with absolutely stunning views of London.

The park is open 24/7 so you can visit any time you want!

Primrose Hill

Closest Tube Station: Camden Town (20 minute walk) and St. John’s Wood (20 minute walk)

Also located in North London, you’ll find the well known Regent’s Park. Located just north of the park you can find Primrose Hill. The climb to the top is definitely a workout but it’s so worth it for the views.

This place used to be a local’s secret but the word is definitely out so expect to share the space with crowds. There are a few benches at the top but expect them to fill up fairly quickly.

Primrose Hill doesn’t have a set hour that it closes (with the exception of on New Year’s Eve and during the Bonfire Night period when it closes at 9am).

Primrose Hill is one of the best views in London

 

Sky Garden

Closest Tube Station: Monument Station (4 minute walk)

Sky Garden is located in the Walkie-Talkie building at 20 Fenchurch Street and is open 7 days a week between 10am and 6pm Mondays through Fridays and between 11am and 9pm on Saturdays and Sundays (and Bank Holidays).

Sky Garden is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the highest garden in London, surrounded by a viewing platform that gives you some absolutely stunning views of London.

You do need to pre-book your tickets in order to visit. The tickets book up weeks in advance so I’d definitely recommend booking it as soon as you know which day you want to go on. Tickets are available up to 3 weeks in advance. The official Sky Garden website states that they have a limited number of walk-in tickets available between Monday-Friday but that they’re given out at the discretion of the staff. Personally, I wouldn’t take the risk and would book it online ahead of time.

One Tree Hill Vista Viewpoint

Closest Tube Station: North Greenwich Tube Station (35 minute walk or you can take bus 188 to the entrance of the park which shortens the walk by approximately 30 minutes)

The One Tree Hill Vista Viewpoint is one of the two viewpoints in Greenwich Park. This one frames the city in trees but it’s a nice perspective change from the Royal Observatory viewpoint. It also has the benefit of being way emptier than the one right beside the Royal Observatory.

Greenwich Park opens at 6am every day and closes between 6pm and 9:30 pm depending on the month.

The view from One Tree Hill Vista Point The view from One Tree Hill Vista Point

The Point at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich

Closest Tube Station: North Greenwich Tube Station (35 minute walk or you can take bus 188 to the entrance of the park which shortens the walk by approximately 30 minutes)

Located right beside the Royal Observatory in Greenwich is a platform that provides a stunning view of London. It’s a really popular spot given it’s proximity to the Royal Observatory but it’s well worth the crowd.┬áThis view should stay pretty intact for the future as no buildings are allowed to obstruct the view of the park.

Greenwich Park opens at 6am every day and closes between 6pm and 9:30 pm depending on the month.

The view from the Royal Observatory

King Henry’s Mound, Richmond Park

Closest Tube Station: Richmond Tube Station (33 minute walk but you can also take bus 371 to get closer to the park which shortens the walk to 11 minutes)

Like Greenwich Park, a law was passed that nothing can be built to obstruct this view so you should have a pretty good chance of getting a great view here.

The view is tree framed and there’s a telescope that gives you a great view of the Thames and all the way to St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Richmond Park is open 24/7 except for in November and February during the deer cull when they’re open from 7:30 am to 8 pm.

Fun fact is that the lore behind the viewpoint and hill being called King Henry’s Mound is that supposedly King Henry VIII stood there on May 19, 1563 and watched a rocket being fired from the Tower of London. This was supposed to signify that Anne Boleyn (his current wife) had been executed for treason and he would be free to marry Lady Jane Seymour. It’s been disproved apparently but it still makes for a good story!

Cutty Shark River View

Closest Tube Station: North Greenwich Tube Station (36 minute walk but you can also take bus 188 to the Maritimes Museum and then you only have to walk 4 minutes)

This view is specific to east London and Canary Wharf, but once you exit the pedestrian tunnel on the Greenwich side head over to the riverside for a pretty great view of Canary Wharf.

Cutty Shark view of East London

Best Views of London That Cost

When discussing some of the best views of London in this post, I’ve purposefully not listed restaurants with great views because let’s be honest, these restaurants are typically really pricey and I don’t think they’re accessible or super realistic to most travellers. In the name of providing accurate information however, I will note that some of these restaurants with great views include: Helix and Iris at the Gherkin, SushiSamba, Oblix at the Shard, Bokan, Frank’s Cafe, Galvin at Windows, Aviary Rooftop, Peckham Levels, Radio Rooftop, Duck & Waffle, OXO Tower Restaurant and many more!

The Shard

Closest Tube Station: London Bridge (2 minute walk)

The Shard has one of the best views of London

The Shard has one of the best views of London

A newer London landmark, the Shard stands tall in the sky and is quite recognizable in many skyline views. If you’re looking to get as high as possible then the Shard is the place for you.

The building is almost 310 meters high and has multiple floors for views. The open air one (slightly scary!) is on the 72nd floor. The two indoor floors are on the 68th and 69th floors.

There are a variety of tickets available for purchase starting from 25 pounds. You can pre-order your tickets online which is the cheapest option but you do have the ability to buy them in person as well.

In the summer months (April to October), the Shard is open 7 days a week between 10am and 10pm with the last entry at 9.30pm April to October.

In the Winter (November to March), the Shard closes at 8pm Sunday through Wednesday (otherwise the hours are the same).

Please note the hours can change and they do close for events occasionally.

 

London Eye

Closest Tube Station: London Bridge (2 minute walk)

While the London Eye doesn’t have a particularly high view, it does have a great one of Big Ben and Houses of Parliament and is definitely one of the best London landmarks to explore. Expect a fair amount of line-ups as the London Eye is one of the more popular tourist attractions in London.

Tickets start at 27.50 pounds (31 pounds in person). This gives you a specific 15 minute window for entry. For 37.50 pounds you can get a fast track ticket as well. I’d recommend booking your tickets online ahead of time to save some money and guarantee your sport.

The London Eye typically opens around 10am and closes anywhere between 6pm and 8:30 pm but the opening hours vary during the year so I’d highly recommend looking into the hours as opposed to just walking up!

The London Eye has one of the best views of London

Emirates Cable Car

Closest Tube Station: North Greenwich Station (5 minute walk)

The Emirates Cable Car is one of the more unique views on this list (and also one of the cheapest paid views!). You can take the cable car from the Greenwich Side to the Emirates Royal Docks on the other side.

The cable cars run between 6am and 8pm Monday through Friday. It runs between 8am and 8pm on Saturdays and runs between 10am and 8pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Tickets to the Emirates Cable Car cost 4.50 pounds if you’re paying in cash but if you’re using an oyster card the ticket is only 3.50 pounds. Travel is actually free between opening and 9:30 am Mondays through Fridays (excluding Bank Holidays) so definitely worth a ride!

It takes approximately 10 minutes to cross from one station to the other but in rush hour (between 7am and 9am) they speed up the service and it only takes about 5 minutes for the entire ride. After 7 pm the ride takes 12-13 minutes so you can enjoy it more.

ArcelorMittal Orbit

Closest Tube Station: Stratford Tube Station (11 minute walk)

The ArcelorMittal Orbit was created for the 2012 Olympics and is the UK’s tallest sculpture. It also offers a great view from East London and if you’re inclined you can ride down the slide as well!

Advanced tickets cost 11.50 pounds while tickets on the spot cost 12.50 pounds. You can also buy a combination ticket for the slide for 5 additional pounds.

The sculpture is open Monday through Friday between 11am and 3pm, Saturday between 10am and 7pm and Sundays between 10am and 6pm. The slide opens 30 minutes after the attraction does.

St. Paul’s Cathedral

Closest Tube Station: St. Paul’s Tube Station (2 minute walk)

St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most famous London landmarks and expect it to be as busy as the other London landmarks.

Online tickets cost 17 pounds and if you purchase tickets on the day of they cost 20 pounds. The audio guide is part of the price.

St. Paul’s Cathedral is open Monday through Saturday. The doors open at 8:30 am for sightseeing and access to the dome galleries opens at 9:30 am. The cathedral closes at 4:30 pm with the last entry at 4 pm and the last entry to the dome at 4:15 pm.

The climb up to the top of the Whispering Gallery is 528 steps (!) so give yourself some extra time for this.

Plan your time wisely – I somehow missed the notice about the dome opening later and I had Sky Garden tickets at 10:30 am and wasn’t able to stay (mainly because I didn’t think I could do the 1000 steps up and down in less than 45 minutes). I sort of regret it given the expensive ticket versus Sky Garden being free but it is what it is!

The Monument

Closest Tube Station: Monument Tube Station (1 minute walk)

The Monument to the Great Fire of London in 1666 is a memorial for the fire that destroyed so much of London. The space at the top is limited so only 33 people are allowed at a time and a result you may have to wait before you’re let in. Expect to climb 311 steps to the top.

The Monument is open in the summer (April to September) between 9:30am and 6:00pm daily and the last admission is 5:30pm. In the winter (October-March) it’s open between 9:30am and 5:30pm daily and the last admission is 5:00pm. The Monument closes between December 24th and December 26th.

Admission to the Monument is only 4.50 pounds but do note that they only accept payment in cash.

The Monument

Map of Views

There you have it! All of the best views of London you can find in the city. Have you visited any of these? Which was your favorite? Let me know in the comments and as always, pin this post for your own upcoming visit!

 

Share:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *