London’s scale and wealth of landmarks makes it one of the most popular cities for weekend breaks and summer holidays. From the historic Houses of Parliament to the beautiful St Paul’s Cathedral, the city offers all walks of life a chance to explore and get to know London. Guests of the luxury hotels in London’s city centre are in prime position to explore the far reaches of London, thanks to efficient public transport networks.
But if you’re only visiting for a short period of time, London can be very overwhelming indeed. To get an idea of the city’s scale and where its landmarks are, the viewpoints of London can offer not only beautiful cityscapes and photo opportunities, but orientation in London as well. In fact, one of the best ways to get to know the city on day one of your visit is to seek out these viewpoints and drink in the view. Guests of Central London hotels with spa facilities can reach many of these viewpoints without having to travel far at all.
The closest of these is probably the London Eye, one of the most prominent landmarks on London’s South Bank. Guests of the Brewery Hotel Chiswell Street can easily reach the South Bank via Waterloo Station on the Jubilee, Bakerloo and Northern Line, but should bear in mind that the London Eye is not the only scenic viewpoint out there.
What Is The London Eye?
The London Eye is a 135 metre Ferris wheel on the South Bank of London. Easily reachable from Waterloo Station, the London Eye was originally known as the Millennium Wheel when it was first built in the city and was created to commemorate the year 2000.
Consisting of 32 pods that weigh an astounding 10 tonnes each, the London Eyes capsules can each hold up to 25 people. The number of pods correlates to the number of boroughs in London and each of them will take half an hour to complete a full revolution. From its maximum height, these glass windowed pods offer a panoramic view of the city, and on a day with good visibility, you can see up to 25 miles in every direction.
You can buy tickets online and in the queue for the London Eye but we’d recommend the former to avoid the long waits to enter.
Other Viewpoints In London
Once you’ve got a taste of London from atop the London Eye, it’s time to explore the many other historic viewpoints of the city.
Set atop the 38th to 40th floors of 20 Fenchurch Street, the Sky Garden is a free to visit public viewing platform in the heart of the City of London. From within its glass windows, visitors can enjoy pre-booked 90 minute slots in which they can roam the luscious succulents and green rockeries and enjoy 360 degree views of London from its heart. Make sure to book early, the Sky Garden is incredibly popular and regularly hosts DJ sets and events from within its restaurants, bars and cafes.
The Aviary At The Montcalm Royal London House
This Montcalm Hotel restaurant is located in Finsbury Square atop the rooftop of the Montcalm Royal London House. Enjoy views over the cityscape and open air tables from which a menu of seasonal delicacies awaits you. Whatever the weather, the Aviary ensures that you can enjoy the views, providing sheltered “igloo” pods during the winter to shelter diners from the cold.
Primrose Hill – Regent’s Park
Primrose Hill is a famous elevated piece of land on the northwestern side of Regent’s Park. This large hill offers stunning views over the cityscape and is a popular spot for picnics in the summer. Whether you’re visiting with friends or a loved one, this spot makes for a perfect date night sunset!
Parliament Hill – Hampstead Heath
Keeping northwest, take a journey to the ancient woodland reserve of Hampstead Heath and enjoy another cityscape panorama from Parliament Hill. Legend has it that Guy Fawkes himself planned to watch the Houses of Parliament burn from atop the hill. It was lucky he was unsuccessful though, because we’d be using the water from the Hampstead ponds for more than just a swim!
A hidden gem in the southeast of London, this local secret in Peckham’s Nunhead area is a beautiful parkland with a surprisingly great view over the city. A welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of Peckham, Telegraph Hill Park is always full of young families, dog walkers and trendy art students, making it a perfect panorama for people watching this summer.
One Tree Hill At Honor Oak Park
Even deeper into southeast London is a church laden woodland named One Tree Hill. don’t let the name fool you, there’s far more than one tree here. What they don’t mention is the beautiful view over the city and the Olympic lantern that was lit here during the Olympic torch’s journey to the city in 2012. There’s also the plinth on which once stood a beacon, once used during the Napoleonic Wars to signal where ships were seen over the channel. Honor Oak Park’s One Tree Hill has a lot of history to it then, and was the favoured viewpoint of London for John Betjeman, the famous writer and poet laureate.
Climbing The O2
Though most of the O2 Arena is located inside, tickets to climb the large white dome are available for families, corporate events and parties. The view from atop the O2 Arena is gorgeous and looking at the city from the east, you’ll have an even better view of Canary Wharf and even the Thames Barrier.
One of the most popular tourist viewpoints, the Greenwich Observatory in Greenwich Park is located on a hill and marks the heart of the Greenwich Meridian Line, from which maps and coordinates are measured from. The Greenwich Observatory is sat atop a hill for better views of stars, and incidentally, of the cityscape as well.