11 amazing viewpoints in London

London has one of the world’s most iconic city skylines, with loads of instantly-recognisable landmarks. Luckily there are lots of places where you can see the city from above.

From gardens in the sky to parks with amazing views, here are the best viewpoints, observation decks, and viewing platforms in London.

Sky Garden

The Sky Garden at the top of the Walkie Talkie building. There is lush tropical planting with places to sit and large glass windows with views over the River Thames. A revolving door leads to the outdoor terrace.
The Sky Garden’s lush terraces have views across the City, the River Thames, Tower Bridge and the Shard

Height: 160m
Cost: Free, but book in advance
What you can see: Tower Bridge, The Shard, the Tower of London, the River Thames
Google Maps link

I loved visiting the Sky Garden in London for its combination of panoramic views of the city and the lush planting that makes it the UK’s highest public garden.

Located at 20 Fenchurch Street, commonly known as the Walkie-Talkie building, the Sky Garden spans the top three floors. There are great views of the City of London’s skyscrapers, the River Thames, the London Eye, Tower Bridge and The Shard from both the outside terrace and the lovely indoor gardens.

Entry to the Sky Garden is free, but as it’s so popular, you’ll need to book tickets in advance. Tickets can be booked on the Sky Garden website up to three weeks ahead of your planned visit, and I recommend booking as soon as you know what date you want to visit.

There are two restaurants and two bars in the Sky Garden. If you’ve missed out on free tickets, you may be able to visit one of the bars in the evening, although this is restricted to people over the age of 18 and is subject to capacity.

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Lift 109 at Battersea Power Station

The view from Lift 109 at Battersea Power Station. You can see another one of the power station's four chimneys in the foreground, along with the River Thames and the skyscrapers of the City of London in the background.
The view from Lift 109 at Battersea Power Station

Height: 109m
Cost: from £17 for adults
What you can see: MI6 Building, Chelsea Bridge, Royal Chelsea Hospital, the River Thames, BT Tower, Wembley Stadium
Google Maps link

Battersea Power Station, in south west is one of London’s most iconic buildings. After it closed as a power station in 1978, it stood empty and abandoned until just a few years ago when it reopened as a shopping centre but with lots of nods to its heritage.

The building is famous for its four white chimneys, and Lift 109 lets you go up one of them in a very Wonka-esque glass lift. You’ll pop out of the top of the chimney with a 360° view of the River Thames, the MI6 Building and Chelsea Bridge. Further away, you can glimpse the arch of Wembley Stadium, the BT Tower and the City of London’s skyscrapers.

Entry to Lift 109 is by timed entry. You can book tickets online.

The View From The Shard

The view from the top of The Shard, showing Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf and the Tower of London
The view from the top of The Shard

Contributed by Paulina from the UK Every Day

Height: 244m
Cost: from £28.50
What you can see: St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, the London Eye, and the River Thames
Google Maps Link

One of London’s breathtaking viewpoints is The View From The Shard, located near London Bridge station. The Shard is the UK’s tallest building, and its location in Central London means its viewing platform offers amazing views of London’s most iconic sights.

The View From The Shard’s main viewing gallery is located on levels 68 and 69, while the open-air skydeck (London’s highest) is on level 72. To get there, you’ll travel in a high speed lift which whisks you from the ground to the viewing deck in just 60 seconds. At the top, the view across iconic sights like Tower Bridge, the London Eye and the River Thames is the main attraction, but there’s also a bar serving cocktails and champagne.

The View From The Shard is very popular, so it’s highly recommended to book tickets in advance to secure your preferred time slot.

The Garden Museum Tower

The view from the Garden Museum's tower. A woman is stood at the top of a church tower, holding a camera, with a view of the Houses of Parliament and River Thames.
The view from the Garden Museum’s tower

Contributed by Bella from Passport & Pixels

Height: 131 steps to the top
Cost: Museum entry costs £16, or a tower-only ticket costs £4
What you can see: House of Parliament, Big Ben, London Eye, Westminster Bridge
Google Maps link

London is full of tall buildings from where you can get amazing views of the city, but the problem with most of them is that they either charge huge prices, or they’re so popular it can be hard to get in – and when you do, they’re super crowded. 

Step forward, The Garden Museum Tower! Yes, that’s right, London has a whole museum dedicated to gardens and gardening – but that’s not why I’m recommending it. The museum is housed inside the medieval St Mary-at-Lambeth church, which sits on the riverside just across the Thames from Westminster, and happens to have a rather splendid historic tower. 

Climb the narrow spiral staircase to the top and you’ll be rewarded with one of the best (and quietest) viewpoints in London – and there are no glass windows to ruin your travel photography

You can see the Houses of Parliament on your right, Vauxhall downstream on your left, and the Canary Wharf skyscrapers behind you. All this for less than the price of a fancy coffee, and – for now at least – without the crowds. How long before it becomes famous is another question of course! 

Horizon 22

The view from Horizon 22, the highest free viewing platform in London. Tower Bridge and the Thames is in the centre of the picture.
The view from Horizon 22, the highest free viewing platform in London

Contributed by Reanna from Living Our Memories

Height: 254m
Cost: Free, but book tickets in advance
What you can see: The Shard, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Alexandra Palace
Google Maps link

Horizon 22 is London’s highest free viewing platform, sitting at a height of 254 metres.

Located at the top of 22 Bishopsgate, the tallest building in the City of London, this viewing platform offers 300-degree views. From Horizon 22, you can see iconic London landmarks including The Shard, Tower Bridge and even Alexandra Palace in north London in the distance.

There’s a small cafe at the top where you can buy a coffee or snack and enjoy the view. Or, just spend your time walking around and admiring the sites of London.

To be sure of getting up to the Horizon 22 observation deck, you should book your ticket in advance. Tickets are released at 10 am daily. A small number of walk-in spaces are available on the day.

Monument to the Great Fire of London

The Monument to the Great Fire of London is a slender Doric column with a viewing platform at the top.
The Monument to the Great Fire of London

Contributed by Sarah of Slow Travel

Height: 61m
Cost: £6
What you can see: The Shard, Tower Bridge, the Thames, City of London skyscrapers
Google Maps link

Built in 1701 by renowned British architect Sir Christopher Wren, the Monument to the Great Fire of London was built to commemorate the event and to celebrate the rebuilding of the city.

A single Doric column which stands at 61 metres tall, there is a viewing platform at the top for those who can climb the 311 spiral steps to the top. Once towering over the area, it now looks somewhat small in comparison to the skyscrapers and modern office blocks which have grown up around it, but there are still impressive views from the top, particularly of The Shard, Tower Bridge and the Thames. 

It’s not possible to book tickets in advance for this, you just show up when it’s open and pay your £6 per person. Only a limited number of people are allowed up at any time so there may be a short wait, but it’s well worth it to climb to the top of London’s oldest viewing platform. 

London Eye

The view from the London Eye, with Westminster Bridge, the River Thames and the Houses of Parliament
The view from the London Eye takes in the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and the River Thames

Contributed by Karissa from In Old Cities

Height: 135m
Cost: £30-£45, book in advance
What you can see: Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Shard
Google Maps link

Perfectly located on the banks of the River Thames, the London Eye is one of the world’s largest Ferris wheels. Don’t be alarmed, though: passengers ride in fully enclosed glass pods.

The pods are large enough to walk around in, so you’ll be able to view many different angles of London during your 30-minute ride around the wheel. Some of the best views are of Westminster Bridge, the Houses of Parliament, and Elizabeth Tower (which holds the Big Ben bell and its famous clock), located just across the river from the Eye.

A standard ticket costs £45, though you can save up to £15 if you book in advance online. Booking in advance is wise if you are visiting London during peak tourist season, when tickets sell out and lines for the London Eye can be hours long. 

If you’re visiting London during the summer or any other peak tourist season, I strongly recommend shelling out extra for the fast track ticket. Otherwise, don’t be surprised if you end up standing in line for an hour or more (yes, even if you book in advance!).

The Garden at 120

The Garden at 120 is a roof garden with views of the City of London, including the Walkie Talkie building
The Garden at 120 is a roof garden with views of the City of London, including the Walkie Talkie building

Contributed by Kylie from Between England and Everywhere

Height: 69m (15th floor)
Cost: Free
What you can see: Tower of London, Tower Bridge, the River Thames, the Shard, the London Eye
Google Maps link

A great viewing platform in London is the Garden at 120. It’s perfect if you are looking for a Sky Garden alternative as they are almost opposite each other and it doesn’t ‘book-out’ weeks in advance.

The Garden at 120 is an open-air rooftop garden with benches, a water feature, plants, flowers, and 360-degree views across London. It is free to visit and open year-round, except on bank holidays. Visitors need to pass through a security scanner and a bag search before entering.

There aren’t many facilities on the viewing platform, however, the 14 Hills restaurant is located on the 14th floor.

Primrose Hill

The view from Primrose Hill. A grassy hill with autumn trees, with the London skyline behind. You can see the BT Tower, London Eye and the Shard clearly on the skyline.
The of the London skyline from Primrose Hill is one of the best in London

Contributed by Shireen from The Happy Days Travels

Height: 65m
Cost: Free
What you can see: Canary Wharf, The Shard, the BT Tower, London Eye
Google Maps link

There are dozens of viewing platforms in London that you must book tickets for and wait in queues to get to the top and have an allotted reservation and limited time. But why not opt for a completely free London viewpoint that you can leisurely visit with excellent views of the London skyline! That place is Primrose Hill located in Camden, a hip borough found in inner-London. 

The walk to Primrose Hill from Camden is a slight incline of 65 metres but at the top you can see Canary Wharf, The Shard, BT Tower and London Eye. 

Along the way you’ll be able to see many free things going on at the park, go to many of the same haunts as Amy Winehouse, visit Camden Market and celebrity spotting as this area is known for being the place where many celebrities live and hang out.

To get the best views, consider visiting on a clear day and head there for sunrise or sunset for beautiful backdrops behind the city skyline.

Greenwich Park

The view from Greenwich park. A woman is stood at the top of a small hill looking at the view, with the white Georgian buildings of the National Maritime Museum in the background and the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf beyond.
The view from Greenwich Park

Contributed by Ryan from Across Every Border

Height: 68m
Cost: Free
What you can see: Canary Wharf, the City of London, the O2 arena (Millennium Dome), National Maritime Museum
Google Maps link

Greenwich Park is one of the best viewpoints in London. From beside the Royal Observatory, you’ll get an unobstructed view over almost the entirety of metropolitan London from 68m above.

Directly in front of the park is a stunning view of Canary Wharf and the historic buildings of the National Maritime Museum. To the east you’ll spot iconic skyscrapers like the Gherkin, the Leadenhall Building (colloquially known as The Cheesegrater) and 22 Bishopsgate. And finally slightly to the west you can glimpse the yellow spires of the O2 Arena.

Like all public parks in London, Greenwich Park is completely free to visit.

Unfortunately there aren’t any underground stations super close to the park, but bus 188 runs directly from Soho and through central London.

King Henry’s Mound, Richmond

A sunset scene at King Henry's Mound in Richmond, London, with the evening sun glinting off the bend in the river Thames
A sunset scene at King Henry’s Mound in Richmond

Contributed by Cassie Bailey from Cassiethehag

Height: 57m
Cost: Free
What you can see: the Thames; St Paul’s Cathedral, panoramic city views
Google Maps link

King Henry’s Mound, located in the Richmond suburb, offers a wonderful view of London.

The site was originally a prehistoric burial chamber dating back to the Bronze Age (approximately 2500-800 BC) and later evolved into a lookout point for hunting and falconry. The mound holds historical significance as it is believed that King Henry VIII stood here when Anne Boleyn was beheaded, though this is just a rumour!

Today, King Henry’s Mound is one of the best things to do in Richmond due to its location at the top of the pretty landscaped Pembroke Lodge Gardens, on the edge of Richmond Park. From this vantage point, not only can you look over the Thames Valley towards the city, but you can also spot famous London landmarks, such as St Pauls Cathedral. There is a permanent public telescope at the lookout point to help you see the iconic dome better.

There is parking near the lookout. However, if you walk to the Mound from Richmond town or station, you’ll also get a view of the bend of the Thames on the way as you cross the scenic Terrace Gardens.

Which of these London viewpoints and observation decks would you choose to visit?

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