There are plenty of cities around the world that you will visit and feel confident that you know them well. Maybe you’ve visited several times and can navigate the city without a map. Or maybe you’ve discovered a few hidden gems and can make recommendations for the best restaurants, shopping centers, or rooftop beer gardens. But then some cities will take you a lifetime to explore. London is one of those cities for me and perhaps that’s why I visit often. Finding new vantage points and admiring the skyline is one of my favorite things to do. A mix of old and new architecture, here are seven places you must visit for the best views of London.
Hands Down The Best Views In London
1. Rooftop Terrace at One New Change
One of the best views in London is absolutely free. For irresistible views of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral, head over to the Rooftop Terrace at One New Change, a high-end shopping plaza in London.
Open 7 days a week from 6 a.m. to midnight, take the glass elevators to the 6th floor rooftop terrace. Have a seat on a bench and let the awe-inspiring views sink in. You can also grab a bite to eat or enjoy a cocktail at Madison’s Restaurant and Bar. Afterward shop at any of the high-end stores at the mall.
2. Millennium Bridge
The Millennium Bridge is one of my favorite bridges in London.
With dramatic angles and a sleek design, this steel bridge connects the Bankside to the City of London. Crossing the River Thames, it leads straight to St Paul’s Cathedral and offers panoramic views of the London skyline.
Some of the best photos I’ve taken of St Paul’s Cathedral were from the Millennium Bridge.
From the bridge, you also have clear views of the Shard, the London Bridge, and the Tower Bridge.
At night, the Millennium Bridge is a romantic place in town to see the city studded with lights.
3. The Monument
Prepare to break a sweat at the Monument to the Great Fire of London.
After climbing 311 spiral steps, reward yourself with a cool breeze and 360-degree views of the City of London at the small viewing platform. Although this view is obstructed, you’ll get to scope out some of London’s iconic landmarks like the Tower Bridge and the Shard.
Built in 1677, the Monument is one of the most historic vantage points in London. It’s also the tallest stone column in the world and it celebrates the rebuilding of the city after the Great Fire of London. The Great Fire of London fire destroyed thousands of homes, public buildings, churches and even parts of the St Paul’s Cathedral. The Monument is a great reminder that great things can rise from ashes.
Helpful Tip: Book an advanced adult ticket combining the Tower Bridge Exhibit and the Monument to save £5.
4. Tower Bridge Exhibition
Afraid of heights? Well, don’t forget to look down when you are at the Tower Bridge!
The Tower Bridge offers unique views of River Thames and the London skyline. From inside the historic steel bridge, cross the 140 feet glass walkway and underneath your feet, watch pedestrians, cars and small cruise ships down below.
5. London Eye
Although a bit pricey, add seeing the city from the London Eye as one of the top things to do in London. The London Eye is a massive Ferris wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames that overlooks the city. Unlike most Ferris wheels, the London Eye has 32 air-conditioned passenger capsules that ensure safety and comfort. Standing at 443 feet (135 meters) high, the London Eye is an unparalleled vantage point in London. With every minute that passes, you get to see the city from a unique angle. The ride is about 30 minutes total so bring your camera and capture some of the best aerial views that London has to offer.
6. River Thames Cruise
Having seen the city from high above, now it’s time to see the city by water. Cruise along the Thames River, you’ll see architectural icons like the Big Ben, Westminster Bridge and the Tower of London. You might want to bring an umbrella or wear a raincoat for this.
7. Trinity Square Gardens
The Trinity Square Gardens is a memorial garden which commemorates the Merchant Navy who died at sea in both of the world wars. The garden is enclosed by large black panels with names of the fallen heroes. The First World War section pays tribute to 12,000 men and woman and the Second World War section honors 24,000.
On a sunny day, the garden is a great place to meet friends, sunbathe on the lawn or marvel at the grandeur of the Tower of London.
At the edge of Trinity Square Gardens, you can also visit the original Roman wall. Dating back to AD 200, this wall was once 2.5 miles long and encompassed the city of Londinium.
Although you can’t see the London skyline here, it’s still nice to see an important piece of London’s history standing tall in the 21st century.
In the future, I’m looking forward to visiting other viewpoints in London like Primrose Hill, Sky Garden, Greenwich Park, and the Westminster Cathedral Viewing Tower.
Where to Stay in London
The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London – Tower of London is a 4-star contemporary hotel right in the center of the City of London. At $183 USD per night (average $144-$404 USD), breakfast was complimentary. I also had access to the rooftop SkyLounge which offered phenomenal views of London and a 24-hour gym.
Conveniently located within walking distance from the Tower Hill tube station (1-minute walk) and sights like the Tower Bridge and the Tower of London (5-minutes walk), this is a great place to start and end your day exploring London’s historic district.