Where to find the best free views of London

Where to Stay in London

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The London skyline is one of the most iconic in the world and seeing it from above is an absolute must. Luckily the city is filled with skyscrapers and fantastic vantage points. However, some of the most famous viewpoints in London – such as ‘The View from The Shard’ – also come with a pretty hefty ticket price.

But taking in the best views in London really doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, admiring the city from above can be one of the best free things to do in London.

Below are 8 places where you can find some of the best views of London for free…

 


The best free views of London


 

The Sky Garden

Sky Garden London at night

Sat on the 43rd floor of the skyscraper known as the Walkie Talkie in the City of London, the Sky Garden is the capital’s highest public garden and one of the most popular free viewpoints in London.

The Sky Garden’s large 3-story atrium is filled with exotic plants and has floor-to-ceiling windows with some best free views of London. There’s also an open-air covered terrace on one side.

While the Sky Garden is completely free to visit, you do need to book a date and time slot in advance. You can book up to 3 weeks ahead of the date you’d like to visit.

There are also a few bars and two restaurants within the Sky Garden where you can stop for dinner or a drink if you do feel like splashing out a little – but this isn’t obligatory when visiting.

Address: 20 Fenchurch Street, City of London EC3M 8AF.

Nearest Stations: Monument, Tower Hill, Tower Gateway, Aldgate, Bank & London Fenchurch Street.

Opening Times: Monday – Friday 10am – 6pm. Weekends and Bank Holidays 11am – 9pm.

 

 

Royal Observatory Greenwich

Greenwich Park

The Royal Observatory sits at the top of the hill within Greenwich Park and offers one of the best free views in London.

The views from the Observatory are very different from the viewpoints in central London, featuring the historic buildings of the Queen’s House and Old Royal Naval College then across to the mighty skyscrapers of Canary Wharf on the opposite bank of the River Thames.

Address: Royal Observatory, Blackheath Ave, Greenwich, London SE10 8XJ.

Nearest Stations: Blackheath, Greenwich & Maze Hill.

Opening Times (Greenwich Park): Winter 6am – 6/7pm. Summer 6am – 8/9pm.

 

 

One New Change

One New Change free London viewpoint

One New Change is a large shopping centre and office complex in the heart of the City of London

As well as many shops and restaurants set out over several floors, One New Change has a large public rooftop terrace which is completely free to visit.

The roof terrace offers amazing up-close views of neighbouring St Pauls Cathedral, plus panoramic views all across the capital from the London Eye in the west to the many city skyscrapers in the east.

Address: One New Change, London EC4M 9AF.

Nearest Stations: St Pauls, Bank & Mansion House.

Opening Times: 7 days a week 6am – midnight.

 

 

Primrose Hill

Primrose Hill London free viewpoint

Located on the northern edge of better-known Regents Park, Primrose Hill sits almost 63 meters above sea level and offers some of the best views in London for free.

The lush green hill is a popular spot amongst locals for a summer picnic or evening drinks with friends while watching the sun set over the London skyline.

Primrose Hill is also an easy free viewpoint to fit into any London itinerary, with nearby attractions including ZSL London Zoo and popular Camden Market.

Address: Primrose Hill, Camden, London NW3 3DE.

Nearest Stations: Chalk Farm & Camden Town.

Opening Times: 5am – dusk.

 

 

Tate Modern

Tate Modern Overlooking Thames London

Another of the best free London viewpoints can be found on the south bank of the River Thames at the Tate Modern – one of the city’s top free modern art galleries.

The top floor of the Tate Modern’s Blavatnik Building is a large open viewing terrace which can be visited for free by using the dedicated lift on the ground floor of the gallery.

The free viewing terrace lets you see right across the River Thames and London, from close-by St Paul’s Cathedral and even out to Canary Wharf and Wembley Stadium.

Address: Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG.

Nearest Stations: Blackfriars & London Bridge.

Opening Times: Sunday – Thursday 10am – 6pm, Friday – Saturday 10am – 10pm.

 

 

Parliament Hill

Parliament Hill can be found in the southeast corner of vast Hampstead Heath in north London, close to the upscale neighbourhoods of Highgate and Hamstead.

Sitting 98 meters high, Parliament Hill boasts some of the most fantastic free panoramic views of London from its leafy peak.

Although recent construction in the surrounding area has now restricted some of the views, you can still take in the iconic cityscape down across the Houses of Parliament, St Pauls Cathedral, the Shard and more.

Address: Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG.

Nearest Stations: Hamstead, Hamstead Heath & Gospel Oak.

Opening Times: Sunday – Thursday 10am – 6pm, Friday – Saturday 10am – 10pm.

 

 

Alexandra Palace

 

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Alexandra Park opened in north London back in 1863 as an important Victorian leisure park. And at the summit of the park sits the impressive Alexandra Palace, built for Queen Victoria’s 54th birthday.

Today the Palace is used for exhibitions, concerts and cultural events, as well as being home to a large ice rink, while the surrounding park is filled with fun things to do including a boating lake and high ropes course.

The terrace of Alexandra Palace is also where you’ll find one of the best free views of London, with stunning panoramic views across the entire London skyline.

Address: Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, London N22 7AY.

Nearest Stations: Alexandra Palace, Wood Green & Muswell Hill.

Opening Times: 24/7 all year round.

 

 

The Garden at 120

 

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Last but certainly not least, one of the newest additions to this list of free viewpoints in London, The Garden at 120 can be found on the 15th floor of 120 Fenchurch Street in the City of London.

The pretty rooftop garden features beautiful wisteria-wrapped pergolas and rows of square hedging. From the terrace, you get up-close views of the neighbouring skyscrapers including the Walkie Talkie and Gherkin, as well as 360-degree views down over the streets and buildings of central London.

You don’t need to prebook to visit the Garden unless you’re visiting with a group of 12+.

Address: 120 Fenchurch Street, Monument, London EC3M 5BA.

Nearest Stations: Monument, Aldgate, Tower Hill & London Fenchurch Street.

Opening Times: Winter 10am – 6:30pm. Summer 10am – 9pm.

 

 


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Emily is a born and raised London girl, starting life in the north of the capital then moving down to Fulham in the south west. She has a masters degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology from University College London and now works as a freelance travel writer, digital marketer and VA, splitting her life between London and travelling the world.

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