Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply want to find a cool place to hang out with your friends, then heading to one of the best views of London is never a bad idea! The Big Smoke has plenty of quirky places to suit all budgets and something can be found for all tastes. From casual coffee to chic cocktails, London has you covered: here’s where to find the best view in London…
#1 The Sky Garden: The Free View!
Address | 20 Fenchurch Street, City, London EC3M 3BY
When it comes to budgeting in London, your choices can often be limited. I mean, the city consistently ranks as one of the most expensive places in the World to live! Although there are a number of free attractions in London, there aren’t too many free views of London. Luckily, that’s where the Sky Garden steps in!
Situated in the trendy ‘walkie talkie‘ building at 20 Fenchurch Street in the heart of the city’s financial district, the city, the Sky Garden is one of London’s newest and trendiest viewpoints. From here, you can head out onto the rooftop terrace and enjoy views over famous iconic landmarks such as St Paul’s Cathedral and the Thames. A visit here is free and tickets can be booked a couple of weeks in advance (make sure to book early as the best times often run out fastest!)
Although the Sky ‘Garden‘ may be lacking in greenery, this is easily forgiven by the wide range of refreshments on offer. There’s a coffee bar (coffees are priced at around £3) and a number of restaurants if you’re looking for something a little chicer.
#2 Monument to the Great Fire of London: The Budget View
Address | Fish St Hill, London EC3R 8AH
At under £5 a person to walk up the Monument to the Great Fire of London, this is the perfect place to head to if you want to stick to a budget and experience a little history at the same time. Situated just outside Monument Tube Station, not far from the Sky Garden, Monument is both a commemoration to the fire and a celebration to the rebuilding of London.
In 1666 a fire allegedly started in a bakery in pudding lane. It quickly swept through the city, destroying everything in its path. Very few houses were spared and it’s estimated that hundreds, if not thousands of people perished from the poor living conditions that ensued.
The Monument is a testament to the will and strength of Londoners; it’s 202 feet tall (if you were to lay the Monument down, it would end at the exact point that the fire supposedly started) and has over 300 steps. If you do choose to visit, if only to experience a little history, then once you’ve navigated the spiraling staircase, you’ll be greeted with one of the best views of London.
From the top, you have a 360-degree view of the city… And for those who are wishing to experience more of the historical side of London, check out my free and self-guided walking tour!
#3 Tower Bridge: The Iconic View
Address | Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP
As the only place on this list to offer views that are directly on the Thames, Tower Bridge offers the kind of unique views that only being over the water can. Tickets are moderately priced (between £5-£15) and the self-guided tour offers not only fascinating views over all of the city’s favourite attractions but also a little history of the building of the bridge and of London itself.
Oh, and with a glass bridge section (where you end up with this weird sensation of walking on air), plenty of interactive exhibitions and a demonstration into how the physics of the bridge work (lit was explained so well even I understood it!), the ticket price is definitely worth a visit! Check here to purchase your Tower Bridge tickets in advance.
#4 The Shard: The Luxury View of London
Address | 32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG, UK
At over £20 a ticket, the Shard is definitely one of London’s most luxurious views! This is the perfect place to come if you want to really celebrate an occasion in London, complete with champagne and oodles of
sunshine rain. On a clear day, you can see for miles, up to 40 miles away!
As one of the tallest buildings in Europe, and indeed the World, you arguably couldn’t find a better view of the city unless you were to rent a helicopter! Check here to buy your Shard ticket in advance (and save time in the process!) And if you’re looking for an extra luxe stay during your time in the big smoke? Well, perhaps consider booking a room at the Shangri-La Hotel which is housed within The Shard itself! Check here to buy your Shard ticket in advance
#5 The Garden at 120: The new view of London
Address | 120 Fenchurch St, London EC3M 5BA, UK
The newest offering when it comes to finding the best view of London comes in the form of the Garden at 120. Situated in the heart of the Square Mile City of London financial district, this rooftop garden is just a stone’s throw away from the Sky Garden, albeit in a slightly lower position.
However, unlike many of the other views on this list, the view is not only free, but you also don’t currently have to book a ticket in advance to visit. Opened to the public in early 2019, the space is soon set to have a coffee shop and bar where you can sit, sip, and watch the story of London unfurl below.
#6 The London Eye: The Most famous viewpoint in London
If you’re looking to play the tourist (even if you’re already a resident of London), there is no better way to do this than by booking a turn around the London Eye. I still remember riding on the London Eye as one of the stand out highlights one of my first visits to London aged just 8!
From the top, you’ll get unparalleled views of sites such as the Palace of Westminster (including Big Ben, AKA the Victoria Tower). Other highlights include seeing the River Thames from a bird’s eye perspective. Check here to purchase your Tower Bridge tickets in advance.