There are plenty of places that claims to offer you the BEST view of London and I’m sure the view is amazing from the London eye, I just can’t stand neither the queueing nor the price! During my five years in London I’ve found some hidden gems, little places, all free that offers incredible views of the big smoke!
Tate Modern Café
The Tate Modern is a great museum if you like art and is completely free. If you have time, wonder around (get a map otherwise you can be in there for hours) before heading to the Café. You’ll have to take the elevator to one of the highest floor, but it’s pretty easy to find. Once there, if you’re lucky enough to get a set near the windows order a hot cup of tea and enjoy the view on St Paul’s Cathedral and the river.
St Paul’s Cathedral Shopping Center
If you want to get a closer look at St Paul’s Cathedral without paying the entry fee, you have two options: wait for the Mayor’s Day in November, when the cathedral is free to visit, or go to the close by Shopping Center. Once here, take the elevator to the restaurant on the highest floor and go on the terrasse. Here it is, you can’t get any closer to her magnificent dome.
Ok, I lied, this one isn’t free, you’ll have to pay £4.50 in cash (£3 if you’re a student, £2.30 for kids), however we are still far from the £26 of the London eye. Monument, commemorate the great fire of London, which burned half the city in 1666. To get the view you’ll need to climb the 311 steps (you get a certificate if you ask nicely at the end), but the view is worth it! (You’ll notice that my picture is a big old, you can see the walkie talkie in construction)
You can go to the top of the Shard for a £25.95 fee which you probably already know about. However, you can also enjoy the view by going to the bar-restaurant (open from 12pm). To do so, dress smart casual, pick a bar and queue (not for too long if you pick any day but Friday or Saturday). Once up there, take your camera out and enjoy! You can get a drink, a small bite and all the rest. Don’t skip on the toilets, the view is incredible from there: floor to ceiling window just for you!
Double Tree Hilton Tower Bridge
The Double Tree Hilton is situated on Pepys Street and has one of the best view over Tower bridge. You’ll need a bit of confidence for this one if you don’t want to pay for a drink at the bar but it’s possible (we did it!). Once inside the hotel, ask for the bar terrasse and get in one of the elevators. Once up there wander around, take lots of pictures and either sit down for a drink, or simply go back down!
The Sky Garden is completely free if you don’t want to eat or drink. You just need to register (a lot in advance if you want to go during the weekend) on their website.
A little bit further away from the center, Greenwich Observatory offer one of the best view of the buildings in the building from Canary Warf. It’s also a great place to watch the sunset.
Heading north to Primrose Hill near Regent Park. Not the best view but still worth a little detour if you’re in the area.
If you’re visiting Richmond, climb up to Playing Fields. You’ll be welcomed by an army of kites and a lovely view of the city.
Last but not least, Silvertown (Royal Victoria DLR) offers a great view over the buildings of the city. I discovered this area of London during a photography class (London Photographers School if you’re interested in photo). It’s a bit of a stretch, but you can visit the Thames Barrier while you’re there!
There’s no better way to truly grasp London beauty than by getting a little bit higher.
Have you got any secret place to admire London skyline? Would love to hear from you!