London’s Best Free Views
London has a lot to charm us with – architecture, history, parks, shopping streets, bars & restaurants but most important, to me at least, are its stunning views over the city and the Thames. If you’re planning a trip to London, you’ll probably set yourself a budget. With so much to see and do around the city, it can really be a struggle to see everything without going crazy on the wallet. After 3 years of living in London though, I’ve found the best places to enjoy its views for FREE.
Have you already been advised to go to the London Eye to see the view of the Buckigham palace? Very well but so not worth it!!! The London Eye used to be a fantastic way to experience London from above. Until recently when the construction of two stunning skyscrapers made the London Eye just another overpriced attraction.
You must have heard of The Shard, the beautiful glass triangular skyscraper just next to London Bridge! It’s become a symbol of London especially since it was also London’s biggest effort to get the top place for the city that houses the tallest building in Europe. Being the posch building that it is, The Shard is the home of the luxury 5* hotel Shanri-la, a few restaurants and a viewing platform spanning between floors 68, 69 and 72. It costs £25.95pp to get up that platform and you have to prebook, get an allocated time slot, and queue.
So the FREE alternative is to go to the Aqua Shard restaurant on the 31st floor instead! Although it’s half the height of the viewing platform the view is still pretty spectacular. You can just go to see the view and go down or you can treat yourself and have a drink. No need to prebook! And don’t worry it’s not that expensive! A soft drink (no teas or coffees) is around £5 and a glass of wine/liquer is £10 … still cheaper than the London Eye (£19.50), just saying 😀
This is still a somewhat hidden gem that not a whole lot of people know about. Located at the top of what’s known as the Walkie Talki skyscraper, this really is a special place which I absolutely love. Even prefer to the Shard actually. It’s three storeys of public gardens with observation decks and an open air terrace which gives 360° view of the capital, truly incredible. It’s really cool to look at London with The Shard in the picture. It stands out so elegantly! It is free but just like pretty much anything in London, you need to prebook. You can do it here.
Opening times for free visit:
10am – 6pm
11am – 9pm
When you come to London, you gotta see Greenwich. It’s one of the most amazing areas of London and it’s a definite must see. As for the park, it’s my favourite. It’s sizeable but not so crowded, it’s got pretty lakes, a rose garden, lots of cute squirrels and … a hill. The view from the top of the hill is just incredible. It gives a panoramic view of Canary Wharf (the business area), the park, the O2 arena and everything inbetween. The good thing about this view (and Primrose) is that you can enjoy it for as long as you want. You can find a comfy place on the hill and indulge in the views for hours. Waiting for the sunset won’t be a bad idea as well. If you’re wondering how you’ll find the hill, just follow the signs for the Royal Observatory. Just as an interesting fact, that’s the place where you’ll find the Meridian Line which divides the eastern and western hemispheres at zero degrees longitude, pretty cool hey!
Finally, if you’ve seen all 3 above but still want more of the London views, go up the Primrose Hill at the Regent’s Park. It’s 63 metres above sea level and offers a nice view of the city. Same as with Greenwich park, you can have a picnic here or have a play with the many dogs that are always being walked around 😀
Here are the four ways you can thoroughly enjoy London without spending a pound. Definitely stick them on your list. You’ll love it!