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From Royal Parks to rooftop bars, there is a wide choice of perfect panoramic views in London..
As you’d expect, some of London’s best panoramic views are free whilst others require an admission fee or a food / drink purchase – either way, you are spoilt for choice in the capital for lovely lookouts and veritable views.
From skywalks to Sky Garden, Monument to Tate Modern, here are the best panoramic views in London in 2023:
Best Views in London
Table of Contents
1. Sky Garden (Free)
Our number one free panoramic view in London? It has to be Sky Garden, London’s highest public garden.
Sky Garden sits on the 35th floor of the ‘Walkie Talkie’ building (the nickname derived from its unusual external shape) and is free to visit but you normally need to book at least a couple of weeks in advance.
It is a very popular spot for both strolling around the gardens, and for eating and drinking at one of the several rooftop bars and restaurants in and around the Sky Garden.
CK Travels Tip – if you missed out on tickets you can guarantee admission by making a booking for their Fenchurch Restaurant or City Garden Bar.
Address: The Sky Garden 1, Sky Garden Walk, London EC3M 8AF
2. Frank’s Cafe at Bold Tendencies, Peckham (Free)
Although a car-park roof in Peckham (link) may not sound like the most salubrious of places, Frank’s Cafe is a hip hangout and incredibly busy at the weekends – perfect for an alfresco summer’s evening and stunning panoramic views of London (and Peckham).
Frank’s Cafe has changed a lot over the years (it first opened in 2009 as a wooden shack) and has various rooftop sculptures.
Admission to Frank’s Cafe is free but best to buy a drink from the bar and enjoy the view. Nearby Bussey 360 Degree Rooftop Bar also has a brilliant south London panoramic view.
Address: 7th-10th Floor Multi Storey Car Park, 95A Rye Lane, London SE15 4ST
CK Travels Tip – pack your sunglasses; the walk up the shocking pink staircase in the lower level carpark up to the rooftop is always a bright delight.
3. Primrose Hill (Free)
We continue our ‘London best panoramic views’ list with the vantage point on top of Primrose Hill Park, around a 10 minute walk away from Camden High Street.
Offering incredible panoramic views over Regent’s Park (including London Zoo) and possibly the widest, free, unspoilt views of central London anywhere in the city, Primrose Hill is a picture postcard setting, one to relish and make an afternoon of.
CK Travels Tip – pack your picnic blanket and Pimms and enjoy Primrose Hill’s downtown vistas; the best place to get supplies is nearby Regent’s Park Road.
Address: Primrose Hill lookout, Primrose Hill Road, Camden, London, NW3 3NA
YOU MIGHT LIKE: Top things to do in Camden Town >
4. Greenwich Park and The Royal Observatory Greenwich (Free)
Gorgeous Greenwich is always one of our favourite riverside spots to visit (so many pubs on the river!), and also provides South East London’s best panoramic view.
One of the most popular London viewpoints on this list, Greenwich Park offers unspoilt views of historic Greenwich and the River Thames, alongside the shiny and modern metropolis that is Canary Wharf and Greenwich Peninsula.
Greenwich Park is a London Royal Park not only has sublime views but also oodles of green space for picnics – you can also combine your trip with a visit to the Royal Observatory which is located immediately next to the main Greenwich Park viewpoint or nearby Blackheath.
CK Travels Tip – Fancy a picnic? Grab gourmet gems on your way to the park from either Greenwich Market or the M&S Food Hall, which is handily located right next to the main Greenwich DLR station.
Address: The Royal Observatory, Blackheath Ave, Greenwich, London SE10 8XJ
YOU MIGHT LIKE – Top things to do in Greenwich >
5. Parliament Hill Viewpoint, Hampstead (Free)
High up in Hampstead, Parliament Hill is home to one of London’s most iconic views, enjoyed by locals, joggers and day trippers alike.
On sunny and clear days, Parliament Hill has a panoramic view of London where you can see across the city for miles and make out all the main attractions including the Shard in London Bridge and the Gherkin in the Square Mile. Parliament Hill is popular too with kite-flyers which often make for a delightful distraction.
CK Travels Tip – There are several benches at the top to make the most of the view and the whole Hampstead area has heaps going on, including historic pubs such as the Holly Bush, good shopping and also alfresco swimming at Hampstead bathing ponds.
Address: Parliament Hill, Heath Lodge, London NW5 1QR
YOU MIGHT LIKE: Things to do in Highgate guide >
6. The London Eye
Originally intended to be a temporary attraction that ushered in the year 2000 (why it is also known as the ‘Millenium Wheel’), the London Eye on South Bank is now one of London’s most popular attractions and Europe’s largest observation deck wheel.
As you’d expect, the London Eye panoramic views from the top are terrific. There are 32 observation pods in total, particularly of the Houses of Parliament and the River Thames.
The London Eye rotation lasts 30 minutes and they sometimes do special events in the capsules like yoga sessions, pop-up pubs or comedy sets.
CK Travels Tip – book your timed London Eye tickets in advance to save having to queue for tickets – you’ll still encounter a queue to get on but it will save you a lot of time overall.
Address: The London Eye, Riverside Building, County Hall, London SE1 7PB
YOU MIGHT LIKE: South Bank walk guide in London >
7. Alexandra Palace / The Terrace (Free)
Opened in 1873 and now a Grade II listed building that also plays hosts to various concerts and sporting events, Alexandra Palace (link) is situated on top of a hill providing prime panoramic views of North London.
The high up position over London made it an ideal place to install TV transmitters and a TV studio that the BBC used to broadcast from (hence why it is known as the ‘birthplace of television’.
As well as a boating lake and museum, one of the best free things to do in Alexandra Palace is simply look back at the views over London – it is the highest point as you look back towards the city so you feel on top of the world!
In the summer months, there is also an outdoor beer garden at Alexandra Palace; The Terrace serving craft beer brews with views.
Address: Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, London N22 7AY
Check out our guide to things to do in Alexandra Palace >
8. Monument to the Great Fire of London
A world away from modern and sleek nearby Sky Garden, the Monument to the Great Fire of London (which started in nearby Pudding Lane) was finished in 1677, to commemorate the rebuilding of the city.
Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, you can climb the 311 steps all the way to the top to see panoramic views of London, the Thames and the nearby Square Mile. Space is quite limited though so if you aren’t a big fan of heights, this may be one to avoid.
CK Travels Tip – if you are in London as a tourist, you can save money by buying a combined Monument / Tower Bridge Exhibition admission ticket. Although if you only want to see the Monument views, the Monument to the Great Fire of London admission is £5.80 per adult as at 2023 and is located a 10 minute walk from Liverpool Street Station.
Address: Monument to the Great Fire of London, Fish St Hill, London EC3R 8AH
9. View of St Paul’s Cathedral from One New Change Shopping Centre (Free)
Bear with us – we know you can witness a world class London panoramic view from St Paul’s Cathedral itself but the admission fee is quite steep (£25+) and your vista doesn’t actually include the architectural magnificence of the building itself.
So a cheaper (i.e. free alternative) is to head next door to nearby One New Change Shopping Centre. Take the lift to the top floor to enjoy the dedicated viewing platform where you can see all of St Paul’s Cathedral up close from the rooftop plus panoramic views of London’s historic heart.
CK Travels Tip – Don’t be put off by the One New Change Shopping Centre security guards that sometimes man the lifts / elevators or greet you as you exit on the top floor – they are just there to manage the bar patrons at Madison rooftop bar and restaurant.
Address: One New Change, London EC4M 9AF
YOU MIGHT LIKE: Things to do near Cannon Street Station >
10. Tate Modern (Tate Modern Terrace Bar or Blavatnik Building)
Located in an old power station, Tate Modern has transformed into a world-class modern art museum with an ever growing number of permanent galleries and temporary exhibitions.
Tate Modern is free to get in, but some of the exhibitions do charge entrance fees unless you are a Tate Member (the large scale installations in the entrance hall are usually incredible and free to visit).
Check out the upper balconies of the Tate Modern for incredible panoramic views of London’s River Thames – the Terrace Bar is one of our favourite views in London (with reasonably priced beer and wine – brews with views; bonus!).
Note that as at April 2023, the top floor of the Tate’s Blavatnik Building is closed due to complaints raised by nearby apartment owners – it used to have incredible (and free) 360 degree views of London and the River Thames.
CK Travels Tip – make a night of it and watch the sunset over the Thames whilst in the Tate Modern Terrace bar – they also often have special nights such as tap takeovers whereby breweries showcase their best beers and offer tastings.
Address: Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG
YOU MIGHT LIKE: Things to do in Covent Garden >
11. Netil 360 Rooftop (Free)
Located near to London Fields and Broadway Market is Netil 360 Rooftop, a low key rooftop bar, where you see everyone from Hackney hipsters through to city types and old men reading newspapers with their dogs (which we like!).
After grabbing a drink or bite to eat at the bar, head out to the rooftop and grab a chair or beanbag and enjoy the city views.
One of east London’s original rooftop spaces and best panoramic views, make this part of your next East London itinerary.
CK Travels Tip – the rooftop isn’t as big at Netil 360 Rooftop as say Frank’s Cafe in Peckham so if you want to guarantee a seat outside for prime London rooftop views, get there early.
Address: Netil 360 Rooftop Bar, Netil House (Creative Workspace), 1 Westgate Street, London E8 3R
12. The London IFS Cloud Cable Car (formerly Emirates Air Line)
East London’s most eccentric mode of transport, the London IFS Cloud Cable Car (once known as the Emirates Air Line) is a cable-car affair that opened to much fanfare in 2010, ready for the 2012 London Olympics, as a way to get to and from the Royal Docks / Greenwich Peninsula over the River Thames.
Whilst it may not be the most popular mode of transport in London (its future is still up for debate), it does offer one of the best panoramic views of London, including Greenwich Peninsula, Trinity Buoy Wharf and Canary Wharf & Docklands.
The IFS Cloud Royal Docks is also the closest thing we have to a cable car in London – it is a fun mode of London transport albeit in a rather odd location. Book your IFS Cloud Royal Cable Car tickets here >
IFS Cloud Royal Docks / The Emirates Air Line also features in our things to do in East London guide >
CK Travels Tip – use your TFL Oyster card to get reduced fares – if you are only in London as a visitor, it is still worth investing an Oyster card as you’ll save lots of money on transport fares in the long run.
Address: The London IFS Cloud Cable Car, Emirates Greenwich Peninsula, Unit 1, 2, 3 & 4 Emirates Cable Car Terminal, Edmund Halley Way, London SE10 0FR
13. Shard (Aqua Shard / Oblix / Viewing Gallery)
No trip to London is complete without visiting The Shard, the UK’s tallest building and visible practically from most of the London viewpoints already listed in this London’s best panoramic views blog (meaning locals either love it or loathe it – there is no halfway measure).
There are several ways to visit including the viewing gallery at the top (expensive though), or a special night event such as a Silent Disco.
On our last visit to the Shard we decided to save ourselves the hefty viewing gallery admission fee and went for a drink in Aqua Shard, located on the 32nd floor. We hadn’t booked in advance, but luckily managed to locate a free table near to the bar (but not directly next to a window).
CK Travels Tip – book your Shard admission tickets in advance to save money and skip the line (or just head to one of the bars like we mentioned before, without booking).
Address: The Shard, 32 London Bridge Street, London SE1 9SG
14. The Gherkin (Iris / Helix / Searcys)
At the top of the Gherkin, 34 floors up, you’ll find a rather spectacular Iris rooftop bar (with stunning panoramic views of the city of London and the best vantage point in the whole of the Gherkin).
We made a morning of it and went for Sunday brunch at the top – read our review of the Gherkin brunch with more pictures of the Gherkin view >
CK Travels Tip – head straight to the Iris Bar and try to time your tipple with the sunset light. You’re welcome!
Address: The Gherkin, 30 St Mary’s Axe London, EC3A 8BF
Like this? Then head over to Leadenhall Market afterwards, just a short 5 minute walk from the Gherkin.
15. Horniman Museum and Gardens
The Horniman Gardens is a 120 year old park comprising a fantastic, free museum (the Horniman Museum) with over 350,000 objects and beautiful gardens.
Horniman Gardens also offers one of the best panoramic views of London south of the river Thames, complete with a bandstand as a scenic backdrop, or just take in the views from the nearby cafe.
You could try to combine your London skyline views with the weekly Sunday market at the Horniman Gardens – this is a farmers market with around 20 or so stalls meaning you can enjoy street food with your London viewpoint.
Address: Horniman Museum and Gardens Farmers Market, 100 London Road, London SE23 3PQ
16. HMS Belfast
Found your sea legs and feeling ‘ship’-shape? Then head aboard HMS Belfast, a former naval ship that is no longer in operation but open to the public to explore – it also has the best unspoilt panoramic views of London from the River Thames, including Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.
HMS Belfast is a permanently moored Second World War Royal Navy warship that was originally launched in 1938 and saw service and conflict all over the globe before being decommissioned in the 1960s.
As at April2023, the HMS Belfast admission price is £24.50 for adults and £13.50 for children (both without donations).
CK Travels Tip – become an IWM annual member and visit all of the IWM sites for one fixed price all year.
Like IWM’s HMS Belfast? Also visit IWM London, a free war museum in Elephant and Castle >
Address: HMS Belfast, The Queen’s Walk, London SE1 2JH
17. The Dare Skywalk and Edge at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
A new Tottenham attraction with real ‘altitude’, dare you do the skywalk at the Tottenham Hotspurs stadium. At almost 50 metres in height overlooking the hallowed turf, this is one spectacular panoramic view of North London.
Opened in 2021, it is obviously fun to watch people edge along if you are walking past the stadium on Tottenham High Road. Also, if you hear a scream as you walk past, it is likely someone taking part in the other new adrenalin rush activity that is The Edge, the UK’s first controlled descent, that sees you plummet off the side of the stadium.
At the end, if you want to raise a glass to your epic experience or immense bravery / foolishness (delete as appropriate), you can also enjoy a Beavertown craft beer or glass of prosecco on the viewing platform – cheers!
Address: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, 782 High Road, Tottenham, London N17 0BX
18. Eat/drink at Heron Tower – Sushi Samba or Duck and Waffle
Head up on high to Heron Tower / Bishopsgate, a sleek and searing skyscraper with two of London’s top restaurants on the higher floors.
Duck and Waffle can be found on the 40th floor of Heron Tower, with panoramic views of London downtown and an emphasis on good old British food fare and some European epicurean delights.
Just below Duck and Waffle, straddling floors 38 and 39 respectively, Sushi Samba offers the best of Japanese, Peruvian and Brazilian dishes – it also has a rooftop bar / beer garden.
Both are incredibly popular so book in advance (Duck and Waffle have now also resumed 24 hour service as of April 2023).
Address: Duck and Waffle / Sushi Samba, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY
19. ArcelorMittal Orbit / The Slide
Acting as an Olympic Park signpost for all to see from miles around, the iconic ArcelorMittal Orbit – the UK’s tallest sculpture (bright red so you can’t miss it) was designed for the London Olympics by Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond.
Sitting 115 metres tall and offering incredible panoramic views of the city of London and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, you can also walk down the 455 steps immersed in a collection of ‘London sounds’.
Alternatively at the ArcelorMittal Orbit, you can take a more adventurous descent, either abseiling off the side or taking the ‘Slide’ down, the world’s tallest and longest tunnel slide with 12 loops.
Address: ArcelorMittal Orbit, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, 5 Thornton Street, London E20 2AD
YOU MIGHT LIKE: Things to do in Stratford, London >
20. Roof East, Stratford
East London’s newest rooftop bar sitting atop Stratford Shopping Centre and multi-story carpark (not to be confused with Westfield Stratford City), this wining and dining experience is reminiscent of Frank’s Cafe at Bold Tendencies in Peckham.
With panoramic views of east London and the city, this is a sublime space to soak up the sunshine (and sauvignon blanc) and one of the summer things to do in Stratford, London.
During the summer months, Roof East also has a rooftop cinema and eclectic events schedule.
Address: Roof East, 7 & 8 Stratford Multi Storey Car Park, Great Eastern Road, London E15 1XE
21. Richmond Hill Viewing Point
We love visiting Richmond – there are so many things to do in this part of West London.
For one of the best views in Richmond, head to the very top of Richmond Terrace Gardens (or walk the steep slope up Richmond Hill from the town centre) and you’ll discover a lovely shaded spot with lots of park benches.
Richmond Hill Viewing Point is a superb West London panoramic view where you can see all the boats on the river and aerial views of such spots as Ham House. One of the best free things to do in Richmond, you won’t be disappointed after making the hike up to this hillside spot.
Address: Richmond Hill, Richmond TW10
22. Climb Up on the O2
Fancy a bird’s eye view of Greenwich, the River Thames and London’s Canary Wharf Docklands area?
Get the best panoramic views at this 02 Greenwich attraction with real ‘altitude’. Aimed at all levels, Up at the 02 Climbs reaches a height of over 50 metres and has a choice of day time, sunset and twilight climbs.
The climb is split into 6 sections, 3 up and and 3 down. No previous climbing experience is necessary and all climbing equipment is provided.
Prices start from £35 as at March 2023. Book Up at The O2 Climb in Greenwich London:
Address: Up at The O2 Climb, The O2, Peninsula Square, London SE10 0DX
23. The Founder’s Arms Pub, South Bank
Near to Blackfriars Bridge, you’ll see the (very) busy Founder’s Arms pub, one of the best riverside inns in London – and very popular with the pigeons too. Bide your time and try to bag an outdoor table, and enjoy brunch or fish and chips with fantastic views of the Thames.
Popular with tourists given its incredible views of St Paul’s Cathedral and London’s Square Mile, The Founder’s Arms also does well with the after work crowd.
Address: The Founder’s Arms pub, 52 Hopton Street, London SE1 9JH
24 Shooter’s Hill / Severndroog Castle
South London’s highest point with some incredible views, Shooter’s Hill in Greenwich is home to historic castles, ancient woods and pretty parks.
As well as the panoramic views just from the residential streets of Shooter’s Hill, you’ll find incredible and leafy vistas from the top of Severndroog Castle, a majestic gothic grade II listed 18th century folly.
Severndroog Castle was restored and reopened at the turn of the century after being boarded up for decades – it is now also a popular wedding venue with a small cafe plus a viewing deck offering 360 degree panoramic views of the local and greater London area.
Address: Severndroog Castle Castle Wood, Shooters Hill, London SE18 3RT
25. Angel Rotherhithe
This vintage Victorian boozer located right on the banks of the River Thames in Rotherhithe not only serves up incredible views but also cheap pints.
The Angel in Rotherhithe is a Samuel Smith’s pub meaning it is a little cheaper than most riverside bars and other pubs on the river – the wooden panelled interior is stunning as are the views across the river.
The Angel in Rotherhithe has a tiny terrace / balcony at the rear which has room for about four tables so get there early – you will not be disappointed with the panoramic views of the River Thames and London.
Address: The Angel Rotherhithe, 101 Bermondsey Wall East London SE16 4NB
Love craft beer? Read our Bermondsey Beer Mile guide >
26. Trinity Buoy Wharf / Trinity Riverside Bar
Looking for one of the best London bars on the river with panoramic views of Docklands and Greenwich?
Billed as London Docklands’ most exciting arts quarter, Trinity Buoy Wharf is a historic working wharf on the River Thames that in later life became a cultural confluence and creative hub.
Trinity Riverside Bar is open Friday – Sunday during the summer months, and serves beer, wine, prosecco, cocktails, mocktails and food.
27. Bokan 38 Bar and 39 Rooftop
Who doesn’t love a bit of outdoor rooftop and bar action? Bokan boasts BIG city views of London, located across the 37th to 39th floors with sprawling panoramic views of Canary Wharf and the docklands,
Bokan has to be a contender for one of the best rooftop bars in London (and certainly one of the highest rooftop bars in London).
Located atop the Novotel London Canary Wharf, this (very) high-end hang-out boasts a specialist gin bar, daytime sun beds plus an epic terrace.
Address: Bokan 38 Bar, Novotel London Canary Wharf, 40 Marsh Wall, London E14 9TP
28. Richmond Park
As well as the previously mentioned Richmond Hill Terrace, another prime panoramic view in Richmond can be found in Richmond Park.
One of London’s eight Royal Parks with a whopping 2500 acres of parkland to explore, Richmond Park is a peaceful place to roam or cycle around for hours at a time without a care in the world.
If you’re lucky, you’ll also encounter Richmond Park’s most famous inhabitants, the deer who roam Richmond Park (and can often be spotted snoozing in the shade).
There are several good viewpoints in Richmond Park including a view of St Paul’s Cathedral from King Henry’s Mound, a lush lookout over central London from Sawyer’s Hill and an aerial view of Twickenham and Kingston from the apex just near Pembroke Lodge gardens.
29. Tower Bridge Experience
If you don’t know Tower Bridge, you don’t really know London. Likely London’s most well known landmark (well, with the possible exception of Primark on Oxford Circus), the iconic Tower Bridge was built over 120 years ago and is the jewel of the River Thames.
The views whilst standing on Tower Bridge (at road level) are superb and you can pretty much see all around 360 degrees (well apart from the odd London red double decker bus obscuring your view).
Tower Bridge still opens up occasionally when the tall ships come through, and you can visit the inner workings and get a higher up panoramic view of London via the Tower Bridge Experience (£11.40 admission per adult as at April 2023).
Address: Tower Bridge Road, London SE1 2UP
Final Best View in London…
30. Waterlow Park, Highgate
High on the hill in Highgate is Waterlow Park, gateway to Highgate Cemetery and also Lauderdale House, an arts centre and former residence since the 1580s.
This 26 acre park truly is one of North London’s hidden gems, with a wonderful walled garden, a large sundial (which many of the cafe patrons congregate around) plus the incredible view below, enjoyed by locals and picnickers – and unlike say Primrose Hill, it never gets too busy so you aren’t left fighting for space.
Check out our other London blog posts
- Things to do in Shoreditch, east London
- South Bank walk – one of the best walks around London (with map)
- Things to do in the historic City of London Square Mile
- Things to do in East London – travel guide
- Leadenhall Market in London guide
- Best Immersive Experiences in London
- Instagrammable Places in London – Top Photo Spots
- Best Craft Beer Brewery Tours in London
- The Churchill Arms – the most colourful pub in London
- A guide to Victoria Park Village and park
- Best things to do in Greenwich, London