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