London undeniably has one of the world’s most famous skylines. It’s dominated by soaring skyscrapers, modern tourist attractions, and historical landmarks, it’s impressive, to say the least.
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I never get tired of seeing the London skyline, whether on a grey winter’s day or drenched in the golden rays at sunset. These stunning views always make me feel grateful that I live in this incredible city.
Throughout the capital, there are plenty of viewpoints where you can take it all in. This list includes the most popular view of the London skyline as well as some secret ones you might not have heard of before. They’ll make a fabulous addition to your London itinerary.
From quiet parks to lively rooftop restaurants and everything in between, here are the top places to admire the best views of London.
The restaurant scene in London rivals that of any other big city. It’s a foodie hotspot with a diverse range of cuisines and dining styles.
For a memorable eating-out experience, here are the top places to enjoy a meal and drinks complimented by sweeping views of London.
1. Frank’s Cafe
Frank’s Cafe is a rooftop bar that’s set on the top of a car park in Peckham. It’s a no-frills type of establishment, with long rows of picnic tables for seating and a large, shaded bar area.
It’s only open during the summer season, which usually starts in May. Grab a drink, a friend and a meal and admire some spectacular views of the London skyline.
To reach the top, you’ll first need to climb the hot pink coloured stairwell. Make sure to bring your camera, it’s a great place to take some colourful Instagram photos.
2. SUSHISAMBA Heron Tower
SUSHISAMBA London features Europe’s highest outdoor dining terraces. They’re set on the 38th and 39th floors of the Heron Tower.
The views start as soon as you board the glass elevator, which whisks guests up to the restaurant.
Once you arrive, sit back and enjoy the unparalleled, 360-degree views of the bustling city below.
Select your meal from a menu that draws inspiration from Japan, Brazil, and Peru. There are options for all pallets, from carnivores to vegans and the gluten intolerant. They also have a drinks menu with a long list of refreshing cocktails to choose from.
With c, my best advice is to reserve a table in advance, as it can get ridiculously busy. To ensure this book your reservation for as soon as they open which is 12:00pm and choose the dinning area.
You might not get a table if you do a walk-in, especially during their busy period like the summer months.
3. Duck and Waffle
Duck and Waffle is a London restaurant that’s located on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower. The restaurant is in the same building as SUSHISAMBA and you take the same glass elevator up to Duck and Waffle.
The food is absolutely delicious, and the views of London are exceptional.
Their menu features primarily British and European cuisine, and they also have a separate menu for vegans and the gluten-conscious, so there’s something for everyone.
Make sure to request a table by the window, so you’re able to take in the best view of London possible.
This restaurant is open 24/7 Friday to Sunday, so you can stop in whenever you’d like on the weekend. They accept bookings up to 2 months in advance, so if you are planning a visit to London. Make your booking before your arrival date.
4. Aviary Rooftop
Set on the 10th floor of the Montcalm Royal London House Hotel, Aviary Rooftop Restaurant and Terrace Bar is one of the city’s most exclusive dining establishments.
The restaurant has floor-to-ceiling windows, so you’ll be able to marvel at some of London’s most iconic sights from the comfort of your seat. After your meal, head to the outdoor terrace for sweeping views of the city’s skyline.
Book one of their lavish rooftop igloos if you want to take your night out to the next level. They’re fully furnished and heated, so you’ll be able to enjoy views of London in the most comfortable and luxurious way possible.
5. Galvin at Windows
Galvin at Windows is a must-visit for a luxurious dining experience and unrivalled views of London.
Located on the 28th-floor of the Hilton Hotel, it’s the perfect setting to enjoy an exceptional meal. Admire close up views of Hyde Park with the London skyline in the distance.
Their menu is made up of French haute cuisine, and some of the best wines money can buy.
6. Coq D’Argent
Coq D’Argent is a laid-back French restaurant and bar with an idyllic rooftop terrace and garden.
No matter the weather, you can enjoy the mellow atmosphere and panoramic views of London thanks to the covered, heated terraces. Indulge in their fine wines while enjoying a classic French dish and killer views.
7. Helix, City of London
The Helix Restaurant is located on the 39th floor of London’s brilliant Gherkin building. The iconic curved glass-paned ceiling lays out the city before your eyes. It’s a wonderful setting for dining and drinks.
Their menu features modern British dishes, with a focus on local, seasonal produce.
Bokan is a fine-dining restaurant and bar on the 37th to 39th floors of a high-rise building in Canary Wharf. The menu features artisanal food made with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients.
Enjoy your meal on the 37th floor, then head up to the 38th-floor bar or 39th-floor roof terrace for a few drinks. From each level, you’ll be able to admire views over the water and clear out to the city.
9. Oblix at The Shard
Oblix is a contemporary fine-dining restaurant located on the 32nd level of The Shard. They’re open for brunch, afternoon tea, and dinner and offer a full sensory experience.
The restaurant is split into two different spaces: Oblix West and Oblix East. Oblix West looks out over West London and features a menu full of rotisserie and grill-inspired dishes.
Oblix East looks out over East London and features seasonal dishes and hand-crafted cocktails.
To really appreciate the view, make sure to book a window seat when making your reservation.
Madison is a 6th-floor bar and tapas restaurant. It’s right next to St Paul’s Cathedral and features a unique, elevated view over the historic landmark.
Farther out, you can see the city skyline and several other attractions, including the London Eye.
It’s open from noon until late at night. The atmosphere is very lively, especially after the sunsets. It’s the perfect spot to grab a cocktail and see London all lit up.
11. 12th Knot
12th Knot is a hip rooftop lounge and bar found on the 12th floor of the Sea Containers London Hotel.
The interior is very stylish, with vibrant velvet sofas and showy light fixtures. It brilliantly matches London’s high energy.
Enjoy drinks and small bites as you peer out over the Thames River and the London skyline.
12. Savage Garden
Savage Garden calls itself “London’s wildest rooftop bar.” It’s set on top of the DoubleTree by Hilton, 12 floors above the city streets. Unwind on one of the two terraces with the landscape of London laid out before you.
You’ll be able to see sites like the Tower of London, The Gherkin, The Shard, and St Paul’s Cathedral.
Their cocktails and food are both presented like works of art, with a strong focus on creative details. The decor is unique and eye-catching.
There’s a foliage-filled terrace as well as a sultry terrace with plush velvet finishes and dim lights.
Everywhere you look, you’ll be greeted with views at this swanky London bar.
13. OXO Tower Restaurant
OXO Tower Restaurant is a fine dine restaurant set on the top floor of the OXO Tower. It’s one of the best places to go for panoramic views of the Thames River and the city.
The dining room has floor-to-ceiling windows that are perfect for peering out over London. The kitchen might also attract some views. It’s an open style, so if you’re sitting close enough, you’ll be able to see the chefs in action.
After your meal, head to the OXO Tower Bar for some casual cocktails on the terrace. From here, you’ll be treated to one of the best rooftop views London has to offer.
14. Seabird, Southwark
If you’re a fan of seafood, you’re going to want to visit Seabird. Located in Southwark, this spacious rooftop restaurant features a raw bar, an oyster menu, and other tasty sea-to-table offerings.
Their cocktail menu pairs wonderfully with each food item, as do the views of Southwark you’ll receive from your seat.
15. Radio Rooftop
Radio Rooftop is set on the 10th Floor of ME London, a fancy 5-star hotel in London’s West End.
This trendy rooftop spot features cocktails and tapas dining, as well as some astonishingly beautiful views of the London, England skyline.
Graze on small plates as you gaze out onto a handful of top London attractions, like Big Ben, The Shard, and The London Eye.
16. The Rooftop, Trafalgar St. James
The Rooftop is the name of a bar found on the seventh floor of the Trafalgar St. James Hotel.
Stop by to enjoy fine alfresco dining and drinks with clear views of Trafalgar Square and the backdrop of the iconic London skyline. Reservations are encouraged but not required.
17. The Treehouse Hotel
The Treehouse Hotel is in London’s buzzing Marylebone neighbourhood. There are several areas around the hotel where you can enjoy some stunning vantage points.
The hotel’s Madera restaurant is found on the 15th floor. It features Mexican cuisine and beautiful panoramas of the city.
The Nest is the rooftop bar and terrace that offers sensational scenes of the skyline. If you feel like sipping on a cocktail while music plays and the lights of London twinkle before you, this is your place.
Also, if you’re looking for a place to stay where you can appreciate city views whenever you’d like, this hotel should be high on your list. Each room provides fabulous views of the skyline through big bay windows.
London is full of sightseeing opportunities, and not just at ground level. If you want to see the city through different vantage points, make sure to add these London attractions to your itinerary.
18. Up The O2
For an unforgettable London experience, climb the O2 Arena and see a different side of the city. Follow a guide as you travel up the roof of the O2. You’ll be rewarded with scenic views of the sprawling metropolis in every direction.
Your guide will point out all of the London landmarks that come into view. Choose between a daytime climb, a sunset climb, or a twilight climb. All options last for about 90-minutes.
If you’re in the city to mark a special occasion, you can also choose a celebration climb where you’ll toast with champagne at the top of the roof.
19. The London Eye
The London Eye is an iconic UK landmark that you don’t want to miss. It travels up to 135 metres in the air, making it one of the world’s tallest observation wheels.
From the enclosed capsule, you’ll be able to see some of London’s most iconic landmarks spread out over the horizon.
The whole rotation takes about 30 minutes to complete, so you’ll really be able to soak in the scenery.
Beat the hustle and bustle of London and enjoy a quiet experience high above the city. Choose from a ride during the day or at night when the sun sets and the city lights up.
20. The Shard
The Shard is a 72-story skyscraper that features some of the best London views. It’s close to twice the height of any other viewing level in the city, treating guests to 360-degree panoramas for up to 40 miles.
Level 69 contains an observation deck, while level 72 contains an open-air sky deck with a bar. Order a drink to enjoy as you gaze out endlessly across the horizon.
Make sure to book your ticket to see the view from the Shard in advance. This is one viewpoint in London you don’t want to miss.
21. The Dare Skywalk
The Dare Skywalk is one of London’s newest attractions. It’s located on top of the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, 46.8 metres above the football field. This exciting experience allows you to scale the height of the venue.
Walk around the famous golden cockerel on a 90-minute heart-pumping adventure. Part of your path is on a glass walkway, where you’ll be able to see straight down.
You’ll be accompanied around the stadium by a guide and clipped in with the appropriate safety gear, so there’s no need to worry.
When you arrive at the summit, you’ll be able to admire the most spectacular views of the capital.
22. The Orbit
The Orbit is the UK’s tallest sculpture and the world’s longest tunnel slide. It was built for the 2012 Olympic Games and is in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Ride the elevator to the observation platform and admire 360-degree views up to 20 miles out.
See some of the city’s most iconic buildings, like Big Ben, the Shard, and the O2 Arena. After you’ve taken it all in, you can either ride the elevator back down or take the tunnel slide down.
If you choose the latter, you’ll travel through twists and turns while taking in one of the best views in London.
23. The Top of St. Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral holds a commanding position on London’s skyline, but it’s also a fantastic spot to admire central London from above.
Climb the cathedral’s dome up 378 steps to The Stone Gallery. From here, you’ll be able to take in views from 173 ft (53.4 metres) above ground level.
Next, continue up another 528 steps to the Golden Gallery. This platform features unobscured views of several London landmarks, including Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the River Thames and more.
I did the climb to the Golden Gallery, and it was incredible and scary! I was super windyy on the day I did it, and at one point, I thought I would be blown over the rail by the wind as it was so strong.
But I still highly recommend it, its epic!
You don’t need to spend a single pound to enjoy spectacular views of London. Here are some places around the city that offer viewpoints of London, that you can access for free. Yes, free, is London great or what?
24. Sky Garden
The Sky Garden features one of the best panoramic views of London. This scenic spot is on top of a skyscraper, 43 floors up. It includes floor-to-ceiling windows and an open-air terrace, so you’ll be able to take in all the views.
See some of the city’s iconic landmarks from above, including St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, and The Shard.
It contains a posh restaurant and bar, so you can enjoy a meal and drink while gazing far out into the distance.
The Sky Garden is free to visit; you just need to reserve your ticket online before you arrive. Tickets tend to book out well in advance, so make sure to snag yours as early as possible.
25. Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge is one of London’s most iconic landmarks. It’s free to walk across and provides an enchantingly beautiful panorama of the city.
If you want to see a birds-eye view of London, take a stroll on the high-level walkway. Part of the path has a glass floor for staring straight down at the road beneath your feet. To access this part of the bridge, you’ll need to purchase a ticket before you arrive, but it will be worth it.
26. Westminster Bridge
Westminster Bridge is a road-and-foot-traffic bridge that crosses over the River Thames. It links the London boroughs of Westminster and Lambeth. When standing on the bridge, you’ll be able to see clear views of several landmarks.
These include Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, and the London Aquarium.
27. Millennium Bridge
The Millennium Bridge is one of the city’s best free vantage points. It shows a unique view of the capital from both sides of the bridge, as well as an amazing view of the Thames River below.
Enter the bridge from the Tate Modern side for an Instagram-worthy shot of St Paul’s Cathedral. To avoid lots of crowds and tourists, visit the bridge either in the early morning or later in the evening.
28. Tate Modern Viewing Platform
The Tate Modern Viewing Platform is an open-air terrace that’s located on the top floor of the Blavatnik Building.
It offers incredible views of the city, including sights like the River Thames, St Paul’s Cathedral, and Millennium Bridge.
Even on a rainy, overcast day, the views are still awe-inspiring. And, best of all, it’s free to visit. Once you enter the Tate Modern, simply take the lift up to the 10th floor.
You can also get gorgeous views of St Paul from the Kitchen and Bar restaurant on the 6th floor too.
29. Lambeth Bridge
Lambeth Bridge is a scenic walking bridge set over the Thames River. It’s positioned in between Westminster Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge. It provides an excellent vantage point for taking photos of the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye.
A fun fact for all Harry Potter fans: Lambeth Bridge is featured in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban”. It’s in the scene where the triple-decker Knight Bus rescues Harry from his dreaded summer holiday with the Dursleys.
The bus speeds over Lambeth Bridge as it squeezes between two regular double-decker buses.
30. The Garden at 120
The Garden at 120 is a quiet oasis amidst the concrete jungle that is London. Set 15 storeys high, it’s where wisteria trees and fruit trees frame views of the city skyline and beyond.
Grab a cup of coffee from the coffee hut and wander around while enjoying views in all directions.
If you’re looking for a quiet place to take in the views of the city, these parks are the perfect place to do so. They’ll provide you with a lovely view of London in a scenic and relaxing setting.
31. St James’s Park
St James’s Park is a calming oasis in the City of Westminster, in central London. It’s surrounded by many of the capital’s points of interest.
The Blue Bridge that crosses over St James’s Park Lake presents one of the best vantage points. It offers a magical view of Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and the London Eye. Walk across with your camera and take a tree-framed photo of these iconic UK landmarks.
32. Greenwich Park
Greenwich Park is one of London’s Royal Parks. The hill going up to the Observatory is the most popular viewpoint in the park.
Although the walk-up is a bit steep, the views are worth it. From here, you’ll be able to admire the city of London spread out right before you.
Up close, you’ll see the Royal Museums Greenwich and the Old Naval College. Farther out, you’ll find the River Thames with a backdrop of the city of London. See if you can spot some of the capital’s famous landmarks, like St. Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye, and the O2 Arena.
33. Alexandra Palace & Park
Alexandra Palace & Park is a diverse-landscape park located in the North London borough of Haringey. It’s home to 694 different types of plants and animals, including some resident fallow deer.
Make your way up the large hill to enjoy a commanding view of the city. From the top, you’ll see practically all of London laid out before your eyes.
It’s a nice spot to mingle with friends and family or enjoy some quiet time by yourself. Bring a blanket and some snacks and relax for a few hours.
34. Parliament Hill
Parliament Hill (known as Kite Hill locally) is set in an open parkland in northwest London’s Hampstead Heath. It measures 98 metres high and features breathtaking views of grassy rolling hills in the forefront and the iconic London skyline in the distance.
On a nice sunny day, it can get a bit crowded, but there is usually plenty of space to sit and relax while taking in the scenery.
35. Primrose Hill Park
Primrose Hill is a hilltop park that’s known for its impressive panoramic views. It features vantage points of Regent’s Park with the London skyline in the distance.
You can see landmarks like St Paul’s Cathedral, The Shard, and the London Eye. There are plenty of grassy spots for you to rest and soak in the expansive landscape.
If you’re looking for places with a view in London without hordes of tourists, here are a few secret spots that tend to fly a little lower under the radar.
36. The Terrace at Alexandra Palace
The Terrace at Alexandra Palace contains the capital’s most extensive beer garden as well as some pretty amazing London panoramic views. It’s a fun setting to enjoy a few cold drinks and admire captivating views of the skyline.
The spacious outdoor terrace offers picnic table seating and is home to some of the city’s hottest street food vendors. It’s open every day from 12:30 to 22:00 / 22:30.
Visit during the day to get a clear shot of the capital, or at night for a magical panoramic view of London lit up in the distance. The entrance is free; you just need to book your table beforehand.
37. Shad Thames Street
Shad Thames is a riverside street close to Tower Bridge as well as an informal name for the outlining area. The street provides some of the most unique views of Tower Bridge.
Butler’s Wharf Pier is located more or less in the middle of Shad Thames. It provides a clear view of the bridge with the Tower of London and the city in the background.
The Horsleydown steps is another spot with an excellent vantage point. It’s right next to the bridge and more of a hidden gem. As such, you’ll be able to get a great shot without anything blocking your view.
38. Monument to the Great Fire of London
The Monument to the Great Fire of London, more commonly referred to as simply “the Monument”, is a historic landmark near the London Bridge.
This 202-foot column is a tribute to The Great Fire of London, which took place in 1666 and destroyed large parts of the medieval city.
It contains 311 steps that you can climb up a spiral staircase for an impressive London city view.
The price is very reasonable, at just £5.40 for an adult and £2.70 for a child. Tickets are available for purchase at the monument.
39. One New Change Roof Terrace
The rooftop of the One New Change shopping centre is another secret spot in London you don’t want to miss.
Not only is it free to access, but it’s open every day from 06:00 to midnight. You’ll be able to admire the city throughout the day and into the evening.
You’ll also see close views of St Paul’s Cathedral as well as the buildings that surround it.
Most of the viewpoints included in this list are just as spectacular at night as they are during the day.
However, these spots, in particular, seem to be extra magical after the sunsets. Here are the top places to watch London come to life after dark.
40. The Bussey Building
At the top of the iconic Bussey Building, you’ll find a casual rooftop bar that’s the highest drinking point in Peckham.
With a menu made up of creative cocktails, craft beer, cider, and spirits, you can sip on your drink of choice while taking in 360-degree views of the dazzling London skyline.
If you’re hungry, they also have a pizza menu with options for both meat-eaters and vegans.
The top of the Bussey Building also hosts a seasonal film club that screens movies in an open-air setting. Watch a film with a backdrop of the London night sky. You can also order drinks and pizza to enjoy while you watch – talk about a fun night out!
41. Hungerford Bridge
The Hungerford Bridge (also known as the Golden Jubilee Bridge) offers a great glimpse of the city. You’ll be able to spot landmarks like the London Eye, Big Ben, and the Houses of Parliament as you walk across.
It provides a scenic view during the day, but at night it’s even more magical. See the buildings of London light up before your eyes against the soft glow of the River Thames.
42. Peckham Levels
Peckham Levels is an event venue that’s home to around 100 different local businesses. It hosts everything from street food stalls to bars and boutiques.
The rooftop level features a bar with great views of the London skyline. Time your trip with a sunset and watch as the city reawakens with a new, colourful glow.
43. Emirates Air Line
Emirates Air Line is part of the city’s transport network. It connects North Greenwich with the Royal Docks.
The cable car takes passengers through the air up to 90 metres. It offers a unique view of the Thames and the O2 Arena from above.
The journey lasts about 10 minutes and offers one of the best views in London by car – cable car, that is.
There are so many incredible viewpoints in London. From trendy restaurants and rooftop bars to historic sites and fun attractions, you won’t be short on vantage points.
They’re found all over the city, so you’ll have no problem crossing them off your list the next time you visit London.