London is a modern city with a history dating back to the Roman period. There are many free and pay-as-you-go vantage points along the city's streets , from which you can get incredible bird's-eye views of the city.
You can get up close to the London Eye observation wheel and the iconic Shard skyscraper. You can also visit St Paul's Cathedral, the British National Museum of Modern Art and Garden 120, which is suspended on a building, among other viewpoints that you can't miss on your itinerary of things to see and do in London. Here's what to see and do in London.
1. Have fun on the London Eye Ferris wheel as you get a bird's eye view of the city
The London Eye is considered to be one of the biggest Ferris wheels in Europe, thanks to its 120-metre diameter and 135-metre height. Without a doubt, this is one of the most popular attractions for locals and tourists alike, allowing you to see the city from a bird's eye view.
When you buy tickets for the London Eye you can climb inside one of the 32 capsules of the Ferris wheels and take a ride on this great wheel. You'll be up in the air for approximately 30 minutes.
You'll enjoy the best views from the London Eye. You will see the calm waters of the River Thames and a breathtaking panorama of approximately 40 kilometres in length. You'll be able to spot St Paul's Cathedral, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and more.
- Price: you can find this activity for a price starting at €34 per person. Also, before your visit you can check the prices of the London Eye and information about discounts, offers and how to get tickets.
- Opening hours: The London Eye is open Monday to Friday from 11:00 to 18:00, and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 20:30.
- Address: The Queen's Walk, Bishop's, London SE1 7PB.
2. Visit the iconic skyscraper The Shard and enjoy a 360º panoramic view of London
The Shard is a skyscraper designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano and opened in 2013, with a spiky structure reaching a height of 310 metres. It is the tallest building in all of Western Europe and a true London architectural icon.
From this vantage point you can enjoy the highest panoramic views, overlooking the city as if it were a small model. Whether you are on the glassed-in floors or on the open-air terrace, the views from The Shard in London are simply breathtaking and will give you a unique experience.
In addition to the 360º panoramic views, with tickets to The Shard you will enjoy a projection of images of the city in the interactive lift. And, on the closed floors, you will find digital telescopes with which you can zoom in on the destinations you can see: the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, London Eye, the River Thames, among others.
- Price: The Shard observation deck in London is priced from €37 per person.
- Opening hours: this attraction is open from Thursday to Saturday from 10:00 to 22:00, and from Sunday to Wednesday from 10:00 to 19:00. Please note that access is usually up to an hour and a half before closing time.
- Address: 32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG.
3. Head to the Dome of London's St Paul's Cathedral to discover new views of the city
Another of the best vantage points from which to discover new views of London is undoubtedly the Dome of St Paul's Cathedral. This impressive structure, 111 metres high and 32 metres in diameter, is recognised as one of the largest of its kind in the world.
The iconic dome of this religious building is divided into three sections, which offer different panoramic views. These are:
- The Whispering Gallery: this is a dais that borders the entire dome and offers a view of the interior of the cathedral.
- The Stone Gallery: in this area you will enjoy a 360º view of the River Thames in the south of England.
- The Golden Gallery: this last viewpoint is located at the top of the dome and will allow you to see the whole city of London.
And with a ticket to St Paul's Cathedral, you will not only get a bird's eye view of the city. You can also discover the architectural beauty and history of this religious site.
- Price: the entrance fee to St. Paul's Cathedral is around 24€ per person.
- Opening hours: Access to the Cathedral Dome to view the city is available from Monday to Saturday from 8.30am to 4.30pm.
- Address: St. Paul's Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD.
4. See different areas and perspectives of the city from Tower 42.
In London's financial district you'll find Tower 42. This is a 183-metre high skyscraper spread over 42 floors which, although you won't find it at the top of the guidebooks, offers privileged panoramic views of the city.
The Richard Seiferd-designed building was built over a period of eight years (1971 - 1979) and opened in 1980, holding the title of London's tallest skyscraper for the next decade.
This architectural masterpiece has an elegant bar-restaurant on its glassed-in top floor, with tables arranged next to the windows. This way, you can sit and contemplate different areas and perspectives of the city from above while sipping a cocktail.
This is definitely an ideal activity to incorporate among the best things to do in London at night, as the views after sunset are usually amazing due to the contrast of the lights.
- Price: Entrance to Tower 42 is free, but to enjoy the view of the city you will have to pay for everything you eat at the bar-restaurant where the observation deck is located.
- Opening hours: The attraction is generally open Monday to Saturday from 12:00 to 16:30 and 17:00 to 23:00.
- Address: Tower 42, 25 Old Broad St, London EC2N 1HN.
5. Take a scenic ride over the River Thames on London's IFS Cloud cable car
A must-see panoramic viewpoint on your itinerary of things to see and do in London in a day or more happens to be the IFS Cloud Cable Car. This is an urban cable car that, since 2012, allows locals and tourists to fly over the River Thames while taking in the view.
The IFS Cloud Cable Car covers a route of over a kilometre in distance between the Greenwich Peninsula and Royal Docks. You will be at a height of 90 metres for a journey of approximately 20 minutes (return trip).
The cabins are comfortable and from them you can enjoy a view of the city from high above. You will have different perspectives of the Thames Barrier, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, St Paul's Cathedral, Greenwich seafront, among other destinations.
- Price: A round-trip ticket for the IFS Cloud London Cable Car usually costs around £12 for adults and around £6 for children.
- Opening hours: The IFS Cloud London Cable Car is open daily. Monday to Thursday 7:00 am to 9:00 pm, Friday 7:00 am to 11:00 pm, Saturday 8:00 am to 11:00 pm and Sunday 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.
- Address: IFS Greenwich Peninsula Terminal, Edmund Halley Way, London.
6. See the viewpoints of the British National Museum of Modern Art and get a different view of the city
The British National Museum of Modern Art or Tate Modern has a couple of viewpoints that will give you different panoramic views of the city. You can also take the opportunity to enjoy the temporary and permanent exhibitions on display.
On the main floor you'll find a low viewing platform with a good view of Millennium Bridge and St Paul's Cathedral. On the 11th floor, which is the highest floor of the museum, you can get a bird's eye view of the city and enjoy different perspectives depending on the time of the visit.
Without a doubt, the Tate Modern is one of the 10 best museums in London as it combines art, architecture and amazing panoramic views of the city. You will see works by great exponents such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, and more, in a building built on top of the former Bankside Power Station, which has a unique and free view.
- Price: Admission to the British National Museum of Modern Art is free.
- Opening hours: The British National Museum of Modern Art is open Sunday to Thursday from 10:00 to 18:00, Friday and Saturday from 10:00 to 22:00.
- Address: Bankside, London SE1 9TG.
7. Visit the Great Fire of London Memorial and get a breathtaking view of the city from its rooftop terrace
This Doric column is a piece of architecture considered to be one of London's finest monuments. It pays tribute to the city's resistance after the Great Fire of 1666. At the top, you will find a viewing platform with an impressive panoramic view of the city.
The Monument, as this historic attraction is known, is a design by Christopher Wren and Dr. Robert Hooke. This column was built of isolated stone and is 61 metres high.
To reach the terrace that crowns the structure, you will have to climb approximately 311 spiral steps. This way, you can enjoy a 360º view of the whole of London, including, for example, the River Thames, Tower Bridge, the financial district, among other destinations of interest.
- Price: The cost of tickets to the Great Fire of London Monument starts at £5.8 per adult and around £2.90 per child.
- Opening times: Access to the Great Fire of London Memorial is available daily from 9.30am to 1pm and from 2pm to 6pm, with the last entry at 12.30pm and 5.30pm respectively.
- Address: Fish St Hill, London EC3R 8AH.
8. Get the best panoramic views of London from the Tower Bridge observation deck
Tower Bridge is a tilting, overhanging structure with a history of over 100 years. It is a true architectural jewel of London, from which you will have the opportunity to get breathtaking panoramic views of the city.
Inside the iconic 65-metre high, 244-metre long bridge, you can see from the Tower of London to the Cathedral in the West of the city. You'll also look out over the eastern region (from Canary Wharf to Shooters Hill).
In addition, this landmark in the footbridge area incorporates a glass-floored viewing platform over the River Thames, giving you a unique view of these tranquil waters and London. And, if you're lucky, you might even see the bridge rise up just below your feet.
This is a tourist attraction suitable for all ages to include in your London things to do with children, as they will be entertained by the fabulous views and, during the experience, learn about the history of the bridge and how its drivers work.
- Price: For adults, entry to the inside of Tower Bridge costs an average of €11.4, while children pay approximately €5.7.
- Opening hours: Access to Tower Bridge is available daily from 9.30am to 6pm, with the last entrance at 5pm.
- Address: Tower Bridge Road, London, SE1 2UP.
9. Spend a different time at the open-air viewing platform in Primrose Hill Public Park
Primrose Hill is one of the top 10 parks in London, located on a beautiful 65-metre high hill. From here, you can enjoy a series of panoramic views of the city centre and the residential neighbourhood around the park: Camden, Belsize Park and Hampstead.
This viewpoint is a site of historical interest, expropriated in 1841 by Henry VIII of England and, the following year, converted into a public area. In addition, in 2001, this natural lung was recognised as a Grade II listed monument, i.e. a protected area of the British capital.
It is worth noting that if you visit London in spring or summer, you will enjoy clearer skies. This will allow you to make the most of the almost 360º view from the hill. You can also relax on the grass and under the shade of the trees while having a picnic and taking in the surroundings.
- Price: Entrance to the Primrose Hill Public Park viewing platform is free.
- Opening Hours: Primrose Hill Public Park is open all day Monday to Sunday.
- Address: Primrose Hill, London NW1 8XJ.
10. Get caught up in nature and the fabulous view of London from The Garden at 120 viewpoint
The Garden at 120 is a garden terrace with breathtaking 360º views of the city. You'll also enjoy a relaxing atmosphere, surrounded by wisteria bushes, various species of flowers and a 60-metre long waterway.
From this open-air vantage point you can see the entire metropolitan area of the British capital. You'll also get a bird's eye view of skyscrapers such as The Cheesegrater, the Gherkin, among other important architectural works.
- Price: Admission to The Garden at 120 is free and does not require a reservation.
- Opening hours: The Garden at 120 is usually open Monday to Friday. However, opening and closing times vary. April to September 10:00 am to 9:00 pm and October to March 10:00 am to 6:30 pm. Closed on weekends.
- Address: 120 Fenchurch St, Langbourn, London EC3M 5BA.