Last Updated on 16th December 2020 by Sophie Nadeau
Photo-worthy café spreads, hidden spots, and all the history! There’s no shortage of photography inspiration when it comes to the capital of the UK. Whether you’re looking for insta-worthy lattés, ancient pubs, or interesting architecture, these recommendations will have you covered. Here’s your ultimate London Instagram guide to the 20+ must-see Instagrammable photo spots in the city.
#1 Peggy Porschen
Pretty in pink and pastel hues, Peggy Porschen should top your photo bucket list if you’re looking for an overdose of cuteness and a pop of colour for your photo feed. While the drinks are infinitely better than the cakes at this London coffee shop, it’s the façade of the cake emporium which really draws the eye. And with ever-changing displays each season, there’s always a reason to visit!
#2 A Mews Street
If you’re looking for the best instagrammable photography spots in London, then you need to look no further than one of the many adorable Mews Streets found predominantly in the Chelsea and South Kensington areas of the city.
Once used to house stable blocks when the city ran on horsepower, today the Mews Streets are quiet little pockets and green oases of calm away from the hustle and bustle of busy city life. Head to Kynance Mews or Bathurst Mews in the wisteria season for an extra bloom of colour in your photos!
#3 A Traditional British Pub
Of course, no trip to the UK capital would be complete without snapping at least a quick photo of a British pub or two. From themed pubs to taverns dating back centuries (and housing Roman ruins and old jail cells in their basements), there’s no shortage of quirky and unique drinking establishments to photograph.
Some of my favourites include Ye Olde Chesire Cheese (yes, that’s really its name!), the Churchill Arms (covered in flower pots and pretty displays during any given time of the year) and the Sherlock Holmes (an ode to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous literary character).
Read more: On the Sherlock Holmes Trail in London.
#4 British Museum
The architecture of the British Museum is almost as impressive as the collection it holds. Entrance to the museum is free (with the exception of special exhibitions) and the building is a great rainy day activity when the weather is not so great in the capital. Head to the very heart of the Museum to capture a stunning picture of the British Museum’s architecture at its best.
Read more: Highlights of the British Musuem.
#5 Oxford Street & Regent’s Street
The most famous shopping street in the UK is that of Oxford Street, located in the City of Westminster in London’s West End. Originally constructed as a Roman road two millennia ago, it has since become a hub of shopping and welcomes tens of thousands of national and international visitors on a daily basis. In the winter, Oxford Street and its nearby neighbour, Regent’s Street, are both decked out for Christmas with fairy lights, providing the perfect photo opportunity.
Read more: Christmas Activities in London.
#6 Notting Hill
From the cute London cafés in the area to the iconic locations used to film 90s Rom-Com Notting Hill, if there’s one area you should add to your London bucket list, make it Notting Hill. The area is also home to Portobello Road Market, purportedly the largest antique’s market in the world, and to Notting Hill Carnival, an annual event filled with festivities. As a result, there is always something going on in the area and there’s always something worth snapping a picture of!
#7 The Shard
The view from the top of the Shard is just as impressive as looking up to the top of the building from the bottom. Located near London Bridge, the Shard was once the tallest building in Europe and remains the tallest building in London to this day.
As you can imagine, the panoramic view if you pay to reach the top (a hefty fee of £20+, which in my view is totally worth it for a one-off, once in a lifetime experience) is simply breathtaking if you’re lucky with the weather… Purchase your The View from the Shard Entrance Ticket & Optional Champagne here.
Read more: Top 4 Best Views of London.
Located in the heart of Notting Hill, not far from the insta-famous Farm Girl Café (if you’ve spent any time on Instagram you’ll know what I mean. For those with less of a phone addiction than myself, the Farm Girl Café has plenty of themed lattés and coffees which are beautifully presented!), you’ll find Biscuiteers.
While the speciality of this coffee shop is clearly biscuits, you can also sit outside en terrace, sip on a coffee and watch the world go by. If you’re interested in sweets making courses, Biscuiteers also offers biscuit making and decorating classes! Nearby, Fam Girl Café is also well worth visiting!
Read more: Cutest Cafés in London.
#9 Sky Garden
The view from the top of the Sky Garden, located in the Walkie Talkie building is one of the most spectacular in all of London. And the best part is, it’s 100% free! If you want to visit the Sky Garden for yourself, then you’ll need to book a time slot well in advance.
Once you reach the top, there’s a reasonably priced bar and coffee shop, as well as dozens of photo opportunities among the many plants that live there. If you’ve missed the chance to book your Sky Garden tickets before your London trip, then it’s worth noting that the nearby Garden at 120 also offers fantastic free views, only you don’t need to queue up in advance to enter!
Read more: A Guide to Visiting the Sky Garden.
#10 Tower Bridge
If you’re looking for picture-perfect postcard London, then head to Tower Bridge! A trip to the iconic London photo spot can easily be combined with a visit to the nearby Tower of London, a view onto the Shard and plenty of river walks along the Thames.
Tower Bridge is best photographed at sunrise when there are fewer tourists around and the sun creates pastel hues across the London skyline. You may well not know this, but you can actually climb up Tower Bridge for one of the most unique views to be found anywhere in the city. Purchase your Tower Bridge Exhibition Tickets here.
Read more: Top 10 Photo Spots in London Worth a Visit.
#11 Neal’s Yard
Neal’s Yard is easily one of the most photogenic hidden gems of London’s Zone one. Accessible via only two little cobbled lanes, wander inside this secret spot and you’ll be rewarded with colourfully painted houses, speciality restaurants and the flagship store of iconic Beauty Shop Brand, Neal’s Yard.
Top tip for visiting Neal’s Yard: ironically since the rise of Social Media, and particularly Instagram, Neal’s Yard has experienced a huge upsurge of popularity. In order to get the best views, with the fewest people in your shot, head to the little courtyard earlier in the day rather than later.
Read more: Neal’s Yard, Hidden Gem of London.
#12 Leadenhall Market
The Victorian covered façade of Leadenhall Market was first created during the 1800s and remains picture perfect to this day. Situated in the very heart of the city of London, it’s always well worth a wander down, especially so on the weekend when the financial district is a lot quieter! Leadenhall Market was even used in the Harry Potter films as the setting for Diagon Alley!
Read more: 10 Secret Spots in London.
#13 Daunt Books
In what may well be the best bookshop in London, you’ll find a stunning interior dating back over a Century. The Edwardian Bookshop specialises in travel books (always a great thing to hear) and is located in leafy Marylebone, not far from Oxford Street.
Head to Daunt Books if you love to get lost in the pages of a good book, all the while surrounded by oodles of history. Other bookshops of note in London include Skoob Books (great for second-hand and out of print titles), Persephone Books (this independent publishers solely prints out-of-print books by women from the inter-war period), and Word on the Water.
#14 St Paul’s Cathedral
No guide to Instagrammable London would be complete without at least a quick mention of St Paul’s Cathedral. Topped with pineapples (no, seriously!), the Cathedral is iconic Christopher Wren architecture at its best and has dominated the London skyline for over 300 years.
Once the tallest building in London, it’s a ‘must see’ attraction in central London, both for its interior and exterior! Though you’ll have to pay to step inside this grand ecclesiastical building (unless you’re visiting as a worshipper), the ornate ceilings and intricate carvings make the cathedral well worth a visit. Purchase your skip the line discounted entry tickets here.
Read more: City of London Neighbourhood Guide.
#15 Apple Market, Covent Garden
Covent Garden is best known for its abundance of nearby theatres, upscale hotels, luxury restaurants, and all of its boutique stores. But one of the very best photo spots in this Instagram guide to London is the Apple Market, a covered building filled with eateries and small stores.
There are also seasonal decorations to be found in the apple market throughout the year, including sparkling lights for Christmas, and pumpkins during the autumn! For the very best photos of Covent Garden, be sure to head to the London destination earlier in the day and mid-week if possible- this way, you’ll get the best light and your photos will have fewer crowds in them!
Read more: London Life Snapshots
#16 St Pancras Renaissance Hotel Staircase
If you’ve spent any length of time on Instagram looking at London photography, then you’ll likely have spotted the iconic staircase of the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. I’ve visited a few times over the years, and memories of the beautiful decor and architecture of the hotel’s staircase have remained with me ever since. For an über luxe stay in London, you can even book a stay in the hotel itself!
#17 The Queen’s House, Greenwich
In the heart of Greenwich (home to the UK’s official Meridien line), you’ll find the remnants of Kensington Palace. Housed within them, there’s a special set of stairs known as ‘the Tulip Stairs’. This staircase is the oldest set of self-supporting stairs in the UK and dates back centuries.
The pretty geometric shape they form is well worth a look, as is the rest of the Queen’s House impressive furniture and paintings collection. Oh, and entry to the former palace is free- bonus! Nearby, the Prime Meridian can be found at the Greenwich Observatory (more details on how to visit can be found here), while the National Maritime Museum is the largest of its kind in the world and is free to visit.
#18 Houses of Parliament
The term ‘going to see Big Ben’ is a little misleading because unless you get special permission from your MP (and you’re a UK resident), you can’t actually see Big Ben! That’s because Big Ben is actually the name of the Bell housed in the Elizabeth Clock Tower. Nevertheless, head to the Houses of Parliament for an iconic London snap, or simply if you love Gothic architecture!
Read more: How to Spend Three Days in London.
#19 London Eye
On the opposite side of the Thames to the Houses of Parliament, of all the secret photo spots and must-see attractions listed in this Instagram guide to London, the London Eye may well be the most iconic of them all. After all, it rises up and above the city skyline and can be seen for miles in any direction.
Play hide and seek with the Eye to create the most interesting photographs and thought-provoking imagery. Otherwise, be sure to book a ride on the London Eye for an unforgettable view of the River Thames and the Houses of Parliament (including the Elizabeth Tower which houses Big Ben) beyond.
Read more: London Eye As Seen from the One Aldwych
#20 Millennium Bridge
If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, then you may well recognise Millennium Bridge, a suspension pedestrian bridge linking the heart of the City of London to nearby attractions such as Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the Tate museum. Elsewhere in the area, you’ll soon discover quirky London attractions such as the Ferryman’s Seat and the Thames foreshore (where mudlarking is oh-so-popular).
This steel bridge is best viewed under morning light, and if you head to the structure earlier in the day, you’re likely to find it filled with fewer tourists than later on in the day! For a greater glimpse of Harry Potter in London (and the chance to snap some more London Instagram photos), consider booking a Harry Potter walking tour like this one. And if you’re a true Harry Potter fan, then this Warner Brothers Studio Tour and Transfers is a can’t be missed visit!
Read more: Harry Potter Guide to London.
#21 Word on the Water
Hands down, the most ‘Instagrammable’ bookstore in London is not on dry land, but instead on the water. Situated close to Kings Cross, the beautiful Word on the Water bookshop touts itself as ‘London’s only book barge’. The bookshop is set against the backdrop of a former 1920s Dutch barge that has since been converted into a storefront. New and used books can be found in abundance both above and below deck.
Read more: How to visit Word on the Water
#22 Cittie of Yorke Pub
One of the quirkiest pubs in London (which also happens to make it oh-so-photogenic) is that of the Cittie of Yorke. Situated in the Holborn district of London, not far from Holborn tube station and the Sir John Soane Museum, this unusual tavern is not what it appears at a first glimpse.
After all, though the pub may look medieval and there has been a drinking establishment on site for many centuries, the Cittie of Yorke you see today was actually only constructed in the 1920s using parts of the older pub. Wander in the secret entranceway today (trust me, even many locals don’t know about this pub!) and you’ll be greeted with a selection of well-priced beers and the longest bar in Britain.
Read more: Enjoy a pint at the Cittie of Yorke pub
#23 Garden at 120
Of all the beautiful London Instagram spots, one of the most iconic is that of the Garden at 120. Tangibly close to the Sky Garden’s Walkie Talkie building (and close enough even to catch a glimpse of the silhouettes of those wandering along the space’s impossibly high balcony), the Garden at 120 is London’s newest sky top offering.
All open space, glass panelling, and 360-degree bird’s eye views of London’s cityscape, including that of Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral, and plenty of other iconic London viewpoints. Best of all this fantastic Instagram place in London is completely free to visit!
Read more: How to visit the Garden at 120
London Instagram captions & hashtags
Lots of the time, when people are unsure which Instagram captions to use, they’ll add a quote. If you’re looking for inspiring saying from the UK capital, then here’s my post about London quotes. Otherwise, there are plenty of Instagram hashtags you can use which may well help your post be seen by more people:
#london4all #thisislondon #londres #londonpop #thisisengland #topukphoto #toplondonphoto #greatbritain #lovesgreatbritain #ukpotd #capturingbritain #loves_britain #mytinyatlaslondon #prettycitylondon #londoncityworld #timeoutlondon #wanderlustlondon #omgb