The London skyline is one of the most instantly recognisable in the world, and even when the clouds move in and the skies turn grey it is terribly hard to beat.
With sites such as Big Ben, the London Eye, Westminster, St Paul’s, and Tower Bridge the city boasts some of the most beautiful views around, but where’s the best place to take it all in? Whatever you’re after, London has the view for you…
Best View for Families: Tower Bridge
Enjoy stunning London views from the high level walkways of Tower Bridge and marvel at the engineering delights of the Victorian Engine room.
After watching a short video on why Tower Bridge was built, walk 42m above the River Thames where you can see landmarks as St Paul’s Cathedral and the Monument to the west and St Katharine’s Dock, the Shard and Canary Wharf to the east.
The Guy Fox Explore Kit will keep the little ones entertained, and learning, on their way around.
There are plenty of special pricing offers for families, and you can include a trip to the Monument with your ticket.
Best View for Foodies: Paramount, Centre Point
Taking the concept of High Tea to a whole new level, Afternoon Tea at the Paramount, Centre Point offers a nice bit of luxury, and some very tasty treats, to accompany your view.
Enjoy a traditional British Afternoon Tea of sandwiches, scones and pastries (maybe even a glass of champagne) while you admire the view of London, 32 floors above the hustle and bustle of Oxford St.
Not sure what you’re looking at? Paramount provides a handy little guide to the view on each table.
Afternoon Tea is served every day between 3pm-6pm. Bookings can be made through the Paramount website.
Best View for History: St Paul’s Cathedral
For centuries, St Paul’s Cathedral has been one of the most iconic sights of the London skyline.
There has been a cathedral dedicated to St Paul on the site for over 1400 years, and the current building is the masterpiece of Sir Christopher Wren, Britain’s most famous architect. Built between 1675 and 1710, the Cathedral was commissioned after its predecessor was destroyed in the Great Fire of London.
The centrepiece of the Cathedral is its impressive dome. At 111.3m high, it’s one of the largest in the world and where you’ll find some of the best panoramic views of London.
Not for the faint hearted, visitors must first climb 259 steps the Whispering Gallery, which runs around the interior of the Dome. The name comes from fact that a whisper against its walls can be heard on the opposite side of the gallery.
Up a further 119 steps is the external Stone Gallery where you get your first glimpse of the city.
Those wanting to venture even higher can make the climb to the Golden Gallery, an impressive 85.4m, 528 steps high where you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the Thames, Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
There are a lot of stairs and things can get a bit tight at times, so if you’re not in the best health, use a wheelchair, or aren’t good with small spaces this might not be for you. But don’t worry about missing out, St Paul’s has put together a special 270° film experience called Oculus that gives the viewer virtual access to the famous Dome.
If you manage make it all the way up you’ll feel a certain sense of achievement with this spectacular view as your reward.
Book your tickets on the St Paul’s website.
Best View for Everyone: London Eye
At 135m, the London Eye is one of the world’s largest observation Ferris wheels.
Since it opened on London’s South Bank in 2000, the Eye has become one of the city’s most popular tourist must-see destinations, attracting over 3.5 million visitors every year.
Easily accessible for pushchairs, wheelchairs and those with limited mobility, the London Eye is perfect for visitors of all ages and offers great views at all times of the day and night.
Book online to save up to 20 per cent on ticket prices.
Best View for Value: Monument
Standing at the junction of Monument Street and Fish Street Hill, this famous stone column simply called the Monument marks the spot where the Great Fire of London began in a baker’s house on Pudding Lane.
The fire raged from Sunday 2 September until Wednesday 5th September, 1666, destroying most of the city including St Paul’s Cathedral.
Between 1671 and 1677 the 62m high memorial was built to commemorate the fire and celebrate the rebuilding of the city.
Today, visitors can make their way up to a special viewing platform for a very reasonable £3 (£1.50 for children under 16).
Plus, if you make it all the way up you’ll receive your very own certificate to prove you conquered all 311 steps.
Best Big View: The Shard
Bigger isn’t always better, but when it comes to the view from the Shard being big makes all the difference.
Standing at 309.6m, the Shard is the tallest building in Western Europe. Towering above London’s other vantage points the view from the Shard must be seen to be believed.
Opened in February 2013, its public viewing gallery is found 244.3m up on the 72nd floor. From so far up you can see the bends in the river as the Thames weaves its way through the city and the famous London landmarks that look so big from the street now appear simply tiny.
Interactive binoculars let visitors zoom in on the buildings below and if you’re sure what you’re looking at the viewer’s touchscreen will tell you everything you need to know.
You can also switch to a pre-recorded view if things get a bit foggy or you just fancy seeing what it looks like at different times during the day.
Currently the most expensive of the views to visit, make sure you plan ahead and check weather forecasts (it’s truly breathtaking on a fine day) to get the most out of your visit. Book your ticket online to save about £5 on the price.
Main Image: View from the London Eye by Shellmush.