This post may contain affiliate links to tours and hotels. These help us earn a small commission at no additional charge to you.
Newly opened in 2023, Horizon 22 is not only London’s highest free viewing gallery but also Europe’s highest viewing platform.
One of the best free things to do in London, the Horizon 22 skydeck joins Sky Garden and the Shard to become one of the best ways to see the capital from up high, offering incredible panoramic views of London.
Located on the 58th floor with views of the River Thames and the City of London, Horizon 22 is set to be one of the most popular visitor attractions in the UK (if you can get a ticket!).
From how to get free Horizon 22 tickets to what to expect at the top, here is our guide to visiting Horizon 22 in Bishopsgate, London.
You might like – the best panoramic views in London >
Table of Contents
A New Horizon (22)
Part of the Bishopsgate 22 development near Liverpool Street station, as you enter the lift at Horizon 22, the first thing that the operator tells you is that you will be going to the 58th floor in just 42 seconds – so you know you are going to be in for quite the ride!
Located atop of a £650 million new skyscraper in the heart of London, Horizon 22 is a 300 degree viewing platform that consists of two levels.
The experience is all about the view as unlike the Sky Garden or Shard, there is minimal things to do (or eat / drink etc) at the top, other than to soak up the stunning London views.
Best of all, tickets to the Horizon 22 are free (but highly in demand).
You might like – Best street food markets and food courts in London >
How tall is Horizon 22?
The Bishopsgate 22 building is 254m tall making it the highest building in the City of London and the second tallest in the whole of London after the Shard.
Its top-floor viewing platform Horizon 22 is 244 metres high and located on the 58th floor.
You might like – Things to do in London’s Square Mile >
How to get to Horizon 22 / where is Horizon 22 in London?
The closest Tube Station to Bishopsgate is Bank (exit 3) or you can also easily walk from Liverpool Street Station or Aldgate Tube stations.
The nearest mainline railway stations are Liverpool Street or Cannon Street.
How much do Horizon 22 Tickets cost?
Unlike the nearby Shard or The Lookout viewing decks, the Horizon 22 viewing platform / observation deck is free admission but tickets must be booked in advance.
How to get Horizon 22 Tickets / booking Horizon 22
There are two ways to get free tickets to Horizon 22 in London – online or on the door.
The recommended way to get tickets is to book them online in advance.
On rare occasions (and on the day we visited in December 2023), there were also some Horizon 22 tickets available on the door which you could register for by scanning the QR code by the main entrance.
However, these on the door tickets are not guaranteed and it is very rare so best to try and book your tickets in advance.
Booking Horizon 22 tickets online
Free tickets to Horizon 22 can be booked online here via the official site.
Generally, Horizon 22 tickets seem to go on ‘sale’ about 4 to 6 weeks in advance for a future date and usually become fully booked within hours.
So if you are keen to go on a particular future, we’d advise checking the Horizon 22 website regularly.
As an example, when we were looking for tickets in early December, the next available date was mid January.
That said, we checked the ticket website daily and eventually found some last minute same-day tickets that became available for later that morning.
So we booked them up sharp-ish and quickly headed across to Horizon 22 via the London Underground. These cancellations usually occur when groups drop out or as was our case, when the weather is foggy and visibility is limited.
If you don’t have any luck getting tickets, another alternative is to check for last minute free tickets at the nearby Sky Garden viewing deck >
Arriving at Horizon 22
Once you’ve got your Horizon 22 tickets booked, you’re given a 30 minute time-slot for which you can enter the building e.g. 11.30am to noon.
At the front entrance, a security guard checks if you have the right ticket / time and you’re then allowed inside when a member of staff scans your QR ticket (show it on your phone or take a print-out).
Before taking the lift / elevator up, there is a security checkpoint and X-ray security machine; all bags have to be placed in the X-ray scanner. Bottles of water and small snacks are permitted.
Once through, you are escorted into the lift and in less than a minute, the next stop is floor 58, the viewing deck, where your London vista from above awaits!
You might like – The 20+ best immersive experiences in London >
Horizon 22 Viewing Deck – what to expect
As we hadn’t done any prior research into what to expect at Horizon 22, when we first entered, we were quite surprised how basic it was compared to the likes of say Sky Garden or the Shard.
It is all white and grey / black walls with minimal styling or furnishings. Here at Horizon 22, the experience is all about the views – so don’t expect plush bars or rooftop restaurants.
The windows here are enormous and the views across London are sublime – or at least we think they are as when we first visited, the upper levels were enveloped in cloud and mist so we couldn’t see much!
Is there an outdoor viewing area at Horizon 22?
No, unlike the Sky Garden or Shard, the whole Horizon 22 viewing deck is enclosed inside – there is no outdoor space or exterior viewing deck.
You might like – Things to do in Notting Hill, London >
What can you see from Horizon 22?
As it is so high and the tallest building in the city of London, the views from Horizon 22 are unparalleled.
It towers above the Sky Garden / Cheese Grater building and from the top, you can see St Paul’s Cathedral, HMS Belfast, the Tower of London along with other iconic London landmarks – on a clear day, you can see for miles!
You might like – Things to do in Greenwich, London >
Sky Garden vs Horizon 22 – which is better?
As Horizon 22 is the highest free viewing platform in London, it towers over Sky Garden – in fact, you can look down over it from Horizon 22.
Whilst the views are incredible and tickets are free, if you are looking for more of a day out or culinary experience, we’d recommend the Sky Garden over Horizon 22.
And whilst we’ve been to Sky Garden multiple times, we aren’t sure a repeat visit is required to Horizon 22. It boasts beautiful views but feels like the bare minimum has been done inside (although we’ve read this is because the planning committee were quite strict and wanted it to be minimal and all about the view).
Food and drink / cafe – a review
As mentioned before, there are no bars or restaurants at Horizon 22 – the only food and drink option is a small coffee cart that serves up a few, select drinks.
There are also only three tables to sit down at which feels inadequate given the amount of people who visit and cram into the viewing deck – it is almost as if they don’t want you to stick around and spend money or savour the London views with brews.
That said, drinks are very reasonably priced like £3.60 for a cappuccino or £3.40 for a flat white. We hope they look to review their food and drink offering and expand upon it.
You might like – Things to do in Soho, London >
Visiting on a rainy day
Although it isn’t rocket science to say it is best to visit on a sunny clear day, given Horizon 22’s lofty altitude, views can be nonexistent on foggy / misty days.
As happened when we first visited in December 2023, we couldn’t see much other than the immediate vicinity for the first hour or so – we waited for the clouds to clear which was so worth it. And who can predict the British weather eh?
Also, when it is heavy rain, it is hard to take pictures as the raindrops stick to the outside windows – so the experience is much better on a dry day!
Camera phone and personal photography is allowed but no professional photography is permitted.
We also found that Interior lights create a lot of reflections on the inside so it isn’t great for photography in general; and there are no iconic exterior viewing platforms to get around smears and smudges on the glass.
You might like – London’s best shopping malls and retail districts >
Other things to know
- Toilets are available both on the ground floor and on the 58th floor observation deck
- Entry is via a QR code so make sure you have a mobile phone with UK data or a print out when visiting
- Given the height of the viewing platform (almost 250 metres high) and fast descent / elevation, you may find that your ears pop!
- The view from is 300 degrees, not 360 degrees.
You might like – Things to do in Covent Garden, London >
Is it worth it?
Yes and no – whilst comparing Horizon 22 vs Sky Garden or The Shard is like comparing Primark with Prada, the views are pretty spectacular on a sunny clear day.
That said, Horizon 22 feels like a massive missed opportunity – the developers seem to have had strict planning requirements imposed upon them and this is effectively an empty space with great views and no food or drink offerings, save for a scantily stocked coffee cart.
Whilst certainly not worth a special visit (and tickets ‘sell’ out weeks in advance), it is free to visit and gives you a unique perspective of the city of London from up high. And billion pound views for free these days is quite rare so the operators should be congratulated.
Other viewing platforms to check out in London
There are several viewing platforms and observation decks in London to visit including:
- The Sky Garden (also free entry but you must book tickets in advance)
- The Lookout at Battersea Power Station, find out more about Battersea here >
- The Shard at London Bridge, find our more about London Bridge here >
- 8 Bishopsgate in the City of London
- The London Eye. Book tickets here >
You might like – Things to do in Piccadilly, Central London >
Other things to do nearby
These are all within 5 minutes walk of Horizon 22:
Leadenhall Market, originally constructed in the 14th century is one of London’s most beautiful and historic market places – the interiors (the roof in particular) are stunning and intricately painted.
Walk along the covered, cobbled streets and lanes in Leadenhall Market, browse the stalls or simply grab a beer or wine at one of the old pubs here and wonder in awe at the architecture, imagining all that has happened here over the last several hundred years. You might recognise it as a Harry Potter filming location too.
If you happen to be in London at Christmas, you’ll also find one of the capital’s classiest Christmas trees here too!
The Monument to the Great Fire of London
Another nearby viewing deck, 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, visitors can still climb the 311 steps to the top to see views of London and the River Thames. The Monument to the Great Fire of London costs £6 per adult as of December 2023.
Old Spitalfields Market
Another great free thing to do nearby, Spitalfields Market is one of London’s oldest and finest public markets, which originally began over 350 years ago.
Full of fine food and drink options (lots of street food stalls) plus huge weekend markets, Spitalfields market is also undercover so is a great option no matter what the weather.
The big green space you can see closest to Horizon 22 when looking out from up top
That’ll be Finsbury Circus, a historic park (grade II listed) located just a stone’s throw away from the rear entrance of Liverpool Street station.
Regal and stately, Finsbury Circus is the largest open park in the city boundaries and its beautiful setting often sees it used as filming location for TV ads and series.
The present garden at Finsbury Circus dates back from the 1810s although there has been a public space here since the 17th century. A perfect place to pitch a picnic in the heart of London, given you there are no restaurants in Horizon 22!
Horizon 22 opening times
Monday to Friday – 10am to 6pm
Saturday – 10am to 5pm
Sunday – 10am to 4pm
22 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AJ
Other London posts you might like
- Things to do near Liverpool Street Station
- Things to do near Victoria Station in London
- Top things to do in Chiswick
- Best London Crazy Golf / Mini Golf Courses
- Street Food Markets & Food Courts in London
- Best Immersive Experiences in London (with prices)
- Things to do in East London – by a local
- Things to do in Canary Wharf & Docklands, London
- Epic things to do in Battersea London
- Best Borough Market Pubs in London
Did you enjoy our Horizon 22 in London blog post? Let us know in the comments or by sharing it on social media.