We love visiting London with the kids. There is no city quite like it in the rest of the UK, especially with its world famous iconic skyline.
There are so many places to take amazing photos and fall in love with London. Whilst most visitors flock to the Shard to get views of the city there are so many other vantage points that we have discovered during our visits. All of which also offer incredible views of London, and best of all some of these suggestions are free!
Here are our favourite places to get the best views of London.
1.) The Shard
At 800ft the Shard offers the highest viewing platform in London, the UK and Western Europe providing a 360 degree panoramic view of the entire city of London and beyond.
To avoid queues, I would recommend buying your tickets in advance of your visit especially during busy periods such as school holidays.
• Address: 32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG, UK
• Nearest Tube station: London Bridge Station (Jubilee & Northern Lines)
• Price: £22.95 for adults and £16.95 for children between 4 and 15.
• Opening Hours: Open every day from 10AM to 6PM
• Website: The View From The Shard
2.) Sky Garden – free
I’m going to let you in on a little secret, to get amazing views of the London Skyline there is a free alternative to the Shard, offering in many respects a better view of the city. The Sky Garden is a multi-level garden located at 20 Fenchurch Street and is London’s highest public garden offering 360 degree views of London .
However there are only a limited amount of tickets available to visit the Sky Garden and these need to be booked online. Tickets are released 3 weeks in advance, where you select a time and date for your entry. Alternatively if you make a reservation at one of the restaurants at the Sky Garden, you will also be able to enjoy the spectacular views on offer.
• Address: 1 Sky Garden Walk, London EC3M 8AF, United Kingdom
• Nearest Tube station: Monument Station (District & Circle Lines)
• Opening Hours: Every day from 10AM to 6PM. Opens at 11AM on weekends
• Price: Free, but you have to book your time of visit online!
• Website: Sky Garden
3.) Up at the O2
If you are feeling adventurous you take part in a guided expedition over the roof of the O2. You make the 380m journey suspended above the iconic tent canvas of the O2 below until you reach the summit.
The viewing platform at 52m offers cityscape vistas across to the iconic skyline of Canary Wharf.
• Address: Peninsula Square, London SE10 0DX
• Nearest Tube station: North Greenwich station
• Opening Hours: Opening times change from season to season. Please check their website
• Price: £30.00 (you need to be 9 years or older)
• Website: Up at the O2
4.) One New Change – free
Situated close to St Pauls, along with some great shops, restaurants and cafes One New Change shopping centre has a unique feature that is still relatively unknown as a sightseeing location.
Take the lift to the top floor and from its large rooftop terrace you are rewarded with delightful views of St Paul’s cathedral and the surrounding London skyline.
• Address: 1 New Change, London EC4M 9AF, UK
• Nearest Tube Station: St. Paul’s Station (Central Line)
• Opening Hours: every day from 10 AM to 6PM. Opens at Noon on Sundays and closes at 8PM on Fridays
• Price: Free
• Website: One New Change
5.) The Monument
Sir Christopher Wren’s Monument to the Great Fire of London in 1666 is located on the exact spot in pudding lane where the fire is said to have started.
If you can manage the 311 steps to reach the top it’s a great way to view nearby sights such as the Gherkin and the Tower of London.
• Address: 1 New Change, London EC4M 9AF, UK
• Nearest Tube Station: London Bridge or Fenchurch Street
• Opening Hours: every day from 9:30am – 5:30pm daily (last admission 5:00pm)
• Price: Adults £4.50 / Children (aged 5-15) £2.30
• Website: Monument
6.) London Eye
The London Eye is not only the world’s largest cantilevered observation wheel it’s also the most famous. From this iconic London landmark you get to enjoy spectacular views toward Westminster and St Paul’s from up to 135 metres high.
Each spacious pod holds 25 people as the 30 minute journey allows you to experience views of London from a unique perspective.
Another reason why you should ride London Eye is for bragging rights, so when you watch the New Year celebrations you can say that you have taken a ride on this iconic structure.
• Address: Lambeth, London SE1 7PB, UK
• Nearest Tube station: Waterloo Station (Bakerloo, Jubilee, Northern and Waterloo & City lines)
• Price: £24.95 for adults and £19.95 for kids for a 30 minute rotation. Online prices are cheaper.
• Opening Hours: Open every day from 10AM to 8:30PM
• Website: The London Eye
7.) ArcelorMittal Orbit
This strange sculpture was created for the London 2012 Olympics but offers amazing views of London from the East End. What makes this attraction more unique and why kids will love it is the fact that you can slide down from the top – how cool is that!
• Address: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, 3 Thornton St, London E20 2AD, UK
• Nearest Tube Station: Stratford (Overground)
• Opening Hours: Every day from 10AM to 6PM
• Price: £10 for adults and £5 for children (3-16). £26 for a family (2+2)
• Website: ArcelorMittal Orbit
8.) Tower Bridge
Another iconic London landmark where you can also get great views of London is from the top of London Bridge.
As well as great views what makes this attraction even more fun for kids is that the upper floor which spans the road between the two Victorian towers is made of glass.
9.) St Paul’s Cathedral
Climb to the top of this iconic Landmark for some fantastic vantage points over the city. At 111m tall St Paul’s was the tallest building in London from 1710 to 1965.
After climbing 259 steps you reach the whispering gallery in the dome which makes a whisper against its walls audible on the other side – kids will love this!
If you can manage the 528 steps you reach the Golden Gallery where you are rewarded for your step workout with panoramic views that take in the Thames, Tate Modern and the Globe Theatre.
• Address: St. Paul’s Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD, UK
• Nearest Tube station: St. Paul’s Station (Central Line)
• Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday from 8:30 AM to 4:30PM. On Sunday, St Paul’s is open only for worship.
• Price: £18 for adults and £8 for children (6 to 17). £2 discount if tickets are bought online.
• Website: Saint Paul’s Cathedral
10.) Westminster Cathedral
The Tower Viewing gallery at Westminster Cathedral offers spectacular views of London 64 metres above street level. This viewing gallery has just reopened on the 9th March after refurbishment work.
• Address: Westminster Cathedral, Cathedral Clergy House, 42 Francis Street, SW1P 1QW
• Nearest Tube Station: Victoria
• Opening Hours: 9.30am-5.00pm Monday-Friday
• Price: Family £12.00 (two adults and up to four children)
• Website: Tower Viewing Gallery at Westminster Cathedral
11.) Tate Modern – free
When the new extension opened in 2016 at the Tate Modern, a new viewing platform was included in the design and best of all its free to enjoy.
From this open air platform you have 360 degree views of the city – we love the views over toward St Pauls and Tower Bridge.
• Address: Tate Modern, Bankside, London, SE1 9TG
• Nearest Tube Station: Southwalk (Jubilee Line)
• Opening Hours: Sunday to Thursday from 10AM to 6PM. Friday and Saturday, it closes at 10PM
• Price: Free
• Website: The Tate Modern Viewing Level
12.) Emirates Air Line
It wouldn’t look out of place at a ski resort, the Emirates Air Line transports passengers in a cable car on a 10 minute journey over the Thames between Greenwich and the Royal Victoria Dock.
As you glide across the Thames at 50 metres above the Thames the views of the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf and the O2 are fabulous.
• Address: Emirates Cable Car Terminal, Edmund Halley Way, London SE10 0FR or Emirates Air Line, 27 Western Gateway, London E16 4FA
• Nearest Tube station: North Greenwich (Jubilee line) or Royal Victoria
• Opening Hours: Weekdays from 7AM to 8PM (9PM in summer). Opens at 8AM on Saturdays and 9AM on Sundays
• Price: £4.50 for adults (single fair) and £2.30 for children. For £10.70 and £6.20 (adults & children), you can live the Emirates Air Line Discovery Experience (including round trip and access to the Aviation Experience)
• Website: Emirates Air Line
13.) Primrose Hill – free
To get views of the iconic skyline of London from a distance then head to Primrose Hill. From the 63m summit is one of the six protected viewpoints in London.
Trees are kept low so as not to obscure the view of the dramatic cityscape in the distance – remember to bring your camera as the views are amazing.
• Address: Primrose Hill
• Nearest Tube station: Regents Park
• Opening Hours: Check website for opening hours
• Price: Free
• Website: Primrose Hill
14.) Big Ben – free
If you are a UK resident you have the chance to climb to the top of one of London’s most iconic landmarks.
The view from the top of this historic building is excellent and best of all its free. However it’s only open to UK residents and you have to book well in advance via your local MP. With the current restoration works to Big Ben these tower tours are suspended until 2021.
• Address: Westminster, London SW1A 0AA
• Nearest Tube Station: Westminster
• Opening Hours: These tours can be booked up to 6 months in advance. Since demand can be high, early booking is recommended although not always essential.
• Price: Free via your local MP
• Website: Tours of Parliament