Best Views of London for Free

London’s skyline is an incredibly iconic feature of the city and when it comes to places to view the city’s architecture then most Londoners would agree that you are pretty spoiled for choice.  You can pay to climb to the top of towering skyscrapers such as The Shard or to ride in a pod on the London Eye if you want to experience a bird’s eye view of the city.  But for those who are on a tight budget but still want the opportunity to see the spectacular skyline then there are plenty of other great, and free, places to head.

The Sky Garden
Sitting at the top of the 34-storey ‘Walkie-Talkie’ building on Fenchurch Street is the Sky Garden.  This unique landscaped garden covers three storeys and offers visitors the chance to experience a panoramic view over the city of London.  There are observation decks, an outdoor terrace and stunning floor to ceiling domed windows which provide a fantastic place to stand and look out over some of London’s most recognisable landmarks.  The Sky Garden is undoubtedly London’s highest public garden and it was created to allow visitors the opportunity to see London from a slightly different viewpoint.  There are two restaurants and two bars alongside the Sky Garden but eating and drinking here can be quite pricey; luckily entrance to the Sky Garden itself is free although you must book tickets in advance and time slots are limited to an hour.  This is plenty of time however to stand and soak up the views.

Primrose Hill
This well known hill is popular with London’s trendiest occupants and is located to the north of Regent’s Park.  The Hill itself has a protected view meaning that no buildings can be constructed which will obstruct the view over the city.  The very peak of this hill stands at 63 metres above sea-level meaning on a clear day you can experience some pretty distant sights.  It’s the ideal place to take a picnic and chill out for the day; you might even be lucky enough to spot some of the celebrities who also frequent this North London park.  The hill doesn’t look like much from the bottom but the climb is worth it; although it isn’t possible to see all of London’s landmarks from the vantage point on Primrose Hill but many of the favourites such as The Shard and St Paul’s Cathedral.  The very trendy Camden Market is also just a short walk away which would be the ideal place to head to pick up some cost-effective treats and snacks if you did want to enjoy a picnic with a view as well.

Greenwich Park
Although set a little bit further out, especially if you were staying at a centrally located Montcalm Hotel in London, the view from the top of the hill in Greenwich Park is absolutely worth crossing over the River Thames for.  The view from Greenwich Hill is another protected viewpoint in the city, one of only six, which means that the view cannot be obstructed.  The view itself is pretty spectacular; as you look down across the historic maritime borough of Greenwich, over the River Thames to iconic landmarks such at The Gherkin, St Paul’s Cathedral, the BT Tower and Canary Wharf.  There is plenty to do in Greenwich Park and the rest of the area too; Greenwich Market and the Royal Maritime Museums of Greenwich which include the National Maritime Museum, are all free to enter meaning you could easily combine a trip for the view with some free entertainment too.

One New Change at St Paul’s
If you are looking for somewhere with a great view which is located within central London rather than on the outside edges then the new shopping centre, One New Change is the perfect option.  One New Change is located in Cheapside right next to St Paul’s Cathedral and has a roof terrace which is open seven days a week from 6am to midnight offering some of the most amazing views of the city.  Not only are you standing directly opposite the famous dome of St Paul’s Cathedral but you can also see many of the other famous buildings situated in the heart of the city.  You can even take a ride in the all-glass lifts which take you from the shopping centre up to this rooftop terrace.  This is the perfect place to head if you are short on time and want a fantastic view of the city’s skyline from somewhere right next to many of the major attractions in London.

Alexandra Palace
Currently undergoing an extensive program of restoration, Alexandra Palace is a wonderful spot from which to see the city of London unfolded out in all its modern and historical glory.  Open since 1873, the palace was built to rival The Crystal Palace and although some parts of the Palace have since fallen into disrepair, these areas are now being carefully rebuilt and restored so that they can be reopened to the public.  The 196 acres of garden are the real draw here though; the panoramic view of the city is simply splendid and the perfect place to spend an hour or two soaking up the sights and sounds of this north London landmark.

The Tate Modern
Another great central London option is the view from the café at the Tate Modern.  Okay, so you might have to buy a coffee which technically doesn’t make it free but you will be treated to a stunning view of nearby St Paul’s Cathedral, the Millennium Bridge and the feeling that all of London is just sprawled out right in front of you.  The view from here is so great we would recommend it even if you aren’t all that interested in visiting the art gallery itself.

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