PLEASE ONLY TRAVEL WHEN IT IS SAFE AND RESPONSIBLE TO DO SO. Articles have not been updated to reflect any travel restrictions which may be in place, so please check with the destination for up-to-date information. Thank you!

7 of the Best Free Views in London

Millenium Bridge at St Paul's Cathedral at Night

Well hello, Gorgeous!  London is an incredible city, and although some of the best views in London can come at a price (thank you View from The Shard!) there are also plenty of places where you can see beautiful views of London which won’t cost you a penny. Here is my pick of the best free views in London!

This site contains affiliate links. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. As an Airbnb Associate I earn from qualifying bookings. [Learn more]

The Thames River Walk

Walking along the river of any major city will showcase some of the best sights, and London is no exception.  You can walk the whole way along the river if you like, or just hop on the tube or the bus and come down to the river whenever you’re close by.  My favourite spots include the area close to Tower Bridge, where you can see the bridge itself, the Tower of London and the Shard on the other side. 

Tower Bridge in London
Tower Bridge in London

Further along the river, Westminster and Big Ben (although sadly under scaffolding until 2021), and the London Eye provide the highlights. 

A View of The London Eye and the Thames River
A View of The London Eye and the Thames River

Free Views in London: Millennium Bridge

I was going to include this in the Thames Walk but I just love the views of St Paul’s Cathedral from the bridge so I gave it its own spot!  Visit early in the morning (6am early!) to catch the bridge without people on it, or after dark for a colourful view of the riverbank. 

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: How Many Days in London are Enough?

Harry Potter fans will recognise the bridge from the Half-Blood Prince as it was destroyed by Death Eaters after they snatched Ollivander from Diagon Alley, and other eagle-eyed movie fans may have spotted it in the Guardians of the Galaxy as part of Xandar.  No matter which films you might have seen, it is still a great spot for views of London!  

One New Change

This shopping centre has an enviable location right next to St Paul’s Cathedral, so you can imagine the view you get from here!  Don’t underestimate the view from the ground either, the reflections from the glass windows also make it a great spot for a photo.

  To get to the roof terrace, take the lift up to the top floor where you can walk around or take a seat on a bench and enjoy one of the best rooftop views in London.  There is also a restaurant on the roof where you can eat a meal or just have a drink.  If you’re there at the weekend, it’s best to reserve a table.

The Tate Modern

Not only does the Tate Modern have some of the best free views in London, but you can also enjoy a fabulous collection of modern art for free too.  Even though I’m not the biggest fan of modern art, even I enjoyed seeing work by artists such as Picasso, Dali, Matisse, Lichtenstein and Mondrian. 

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: A Street Art Tour of Brick Lane London

There are various areas where you can catch a glimpse of the views, but the best views are from the bar on level 6 of the Natalie Bell Building which overlooks the river and the viewing platform on level 10 of the Blavatnik Building which has panoramic views of London in every direction. 

The Tate is open Sunday-Thursday from 10am to 6pm, and till 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays so you can enjoy one of the best views in London at night too.  It’s closed on Mondays.

Sky Garden

My favourite place for breakfast with a view in London, the Sky Garden has several options for visitors, including free access to the terrace and garden.  There are some spaces available on the day if you show up early, or you can book a timeslot in advance to guarantee access for a specific time, like sunset for example. 

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: How to Fall in Love with London in 2 Days

You can also attend a paid event like the Sunrise Yoga with Breakfast for £10 or book a table at one of the restaurants for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

One of the Best Free Views in London at Sky Garden
One of the Best Free Views in London at Sky Garden

The Garden at 120

The Garden at 120 recently opened to the public and is completely free to visit.  Unfortunately, there aren’t any cafés or restaurants up there like the Sky Garden, but you can buy a coffee from the stall and just sit and enjoy the view. 

The plants here are developing well, and I’ll be interested to see what changes in a year!  There is a security screening before you go up, where you and your bags will be x-rayed.  Access is via a large lift. 

Parks Around London

More often than not, parks around London also offer fabulous views of the city.  On a sunny day, bring a picnic and enjoy the views while getting some respite from the hectic city below.  Popular spots with locals include Primrose Hill, King Henry’s Mound in Richmond Park and Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath. 

My personal favourite is Greenwich Park, which has some of the best views in London down to the Old Royal Naval College and beyond.  In the park, you can also visit the Royal Observatory (with an entry fee) to see the Prime Meridian Line which marks the earth’s western and eastern hemispheres, and where GMT officially begins. 

Greenwich Clock & View
Greenwich Clock & View

Where to Stay in London

There are so many different options for where to stay in London it can be overwhelming to choose!  I love the area around Tower Bridge as it is walking distance to a lot of the attractions such as the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, while not being crazy expensive. 

It is also well connected by the Tube to the rest of London, being close to the underground stations Tower Bridge for the Circle and District Lines, and Aldgate East for the Hammersmith Line.

Hostels in London

Although there are some incredible hotels with views of London, not everyone’s budget can stretch that far.  However, if you’re visiting London on a budget and are looking for hostels with views of London, you’re in luck at wombat’s London.  As the wombatsTraveller Ambassador for wombat’s Hostels, I’ve stayed at the wombat’s London various times and have usually got lucky with great views – especially if you request a room on the upper levels. 

The View from my room at wombat's Hostel London
The View from my room at wombat’s Hostel London

You can check out my full review of wombat’s LONDON or go to their website directly to book. 

The hostel is in a perfect location to see the best views in London, just 10 minutes’ walk away from Tower Bridge, and walking distance from the Sky Garden and the Garden at 120, as well as being close to Tower Gateway underground station to travel easily around the rest of London.  You can book dorm beds or private rooms, add a tasty breakfast and have a drink in the famous womBAR – so for me, it is the best place to stay in London!

You can also read other reviews and book Wombat’s London on Hostelworld, or check out other hostels in London here.


Hotels in London

There are thousands of hotels in London to choose from, and you can find something for every budget, although getting the balance between good quality and good value isn’t easy!  Staying outside of the city centre is cheaper, so if you are staying in London for several days you could save money that way, but if you are short on time then somewhere close to central London is a must.

CitizenM Tower of London is right next to Tower Bridge underground station, and the rooms have great views of the Thames and Tower of London.  Guests loved the comfy bed, friendly staff and the views!

Hotel Indigo Tower Hill also gets great reviews for the friendly staff, comfy beds and quiet rooms.

Search for more hotels in London here:


Airbnb in London

Airbnb could be a great option for you in London; there are options for every budget if you just want a private room, or you can find some lovely apartments to rent too. 

For private rooms, Something like this private room is really good value or this luxury ensuite room is also close to Tower Hill.  Both get great reviews.

If you prefer to have your own place you could try this lovely cozy flat in St Katherine’s Docks, or this well-presented flat which is also great value.  Alternatively, you can check out all the options for Airbnb in London.

If you have never used Airbnb before, use this link to sign up & get up to $52 credit to use on your first trip!  Read more about the Airbnb first time discount code and my full Airbnb guide or click below for your Airbnb coupon.


Which of these free views in London is your favourite?  Are there any other beautiful views of London that I’ve missed?  I’d love to hear your thoughts, please leave your comments below.

If you’re looking for travel insurance for your trip to England, get a quote now from World Nomads.

You may also like these London posts:

Or click here to read all of my United Kingdom blog posts.

Like this post?  Pin it to read later:

The Best Free Views of London You Must See The Most Beautiful Free Views of London

Just to let you know, this post may contain paid or affiliate links, which help to maintain Tales of a Backpacker and give me the chance to keep travelling, and to keep creating awesome content for you!

Tales of a Backpacker is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to  I only recommend goods and services I believe are useful and reliable.

Last updated: July 22, 2020

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *