London is one of the best examples of a layered city. On one side you have magnificent skyscrapers, another terraced housing and Victorian era lanes and on yet another, vast swathes of green space. It’s hard to see it all in just a few days stay at the Montcalm Royal London House, but visitors can drink in panoramas of it.
This is through the city’s many viewpoints and high reaching landmarks. Whilst London isn’t known as a terribly hilly city, especially in its centre, there are many large hills, both natural and manmade that can peak above the buildings and gift visitors with stunning landscapes. Sometimes guests of hotel packages in London won’t even have to scale a large hill or climb hundreds of steps, the view across the Thames can be enjoyed from ground level.
This blog will highlight some of the best viewpoints in London, from dining experiences to rival restaurants near Finsbury Square to the beautiful landscapes of London’s green spaces.
Consisting of 95 floors of office space, private apartments, a hotel and several cutting edge restaurants, the Shard is one of the most prominent features of the London skyline and was once the tallest building in Europe. For a view from the 34th floor of The Shard, you can book lunch or dinner at Asian fusion restaurant Hutong that also serves expertly crafted cocktails. Oblix is a rotisserie and grill on the 32nd floor that also has brilliant views and great food too.
Climbing The O2
With family, friend and corporate bookings available, the Greenwich O2 Arena’s top attraction (between the megastar arena shows) is the climbing of the O2. This activity can be booked in advance and allows participants to traverse a walkway, with safety gear and hard hats, to the peak of the famous Dockland dome. You’ll be accompanied by an expert who will provide fascinating information about the O2 Arena and the surrounding sights as you climb this iconic structure.
The London Eye
Sat right in the heart of the River Thames, the London Eye overlooks the South Bank and stretches 135 metres over the river, providing riders with a full panoramic view of the city. With 32 pods symbolising the 32 boroughs of London, the London Eye takes half an hour to complete a full revolution but in that time, you’ll be able to see up to 25 miles in every direction on a clear day.
London’s favourite indoor garden, the Sky Garden is located at number 20 Fenchurch Street and resides on the 40th to 43rd floor of this distinctive City of London skyscraper. Known as the Walkie Talkie Building, the Sky Garden consists of rockeries, plant beds and canopies surrounding several bars and restaurants, all topped off by stunning views from the observation deck surrounding the floors. The views over St Paul’s and the centre of London are unrivalled, whilst the community and free ticketed nature of the public space makes it one you’ll have to book well in advance for!
The crossing itself invites brilliant views along the Thames but climb up its 44 metre high glass walkway and the skyline of London will literally be elevated to new heights. This piece of impressive Victorian architecture is situated close to the Tower of London - hence its name - and even has its own exhibition on the upper floors that utilises archive footage of its construction and history. The main attraction though is the glass floored, mirrored ceiling walkway between the bridge’s two towers, from where jaw dropping views over the Thames can be witnessed.
Sushisamba At The Salesforce Building
Sushisamba is a Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian fusion restaurant on the 38th floor of the Salesforce Tower, FKA Heron Tower. Situated close to Liverpool Street Station, guests of the Montcalm Royal London House in the City of London ceremonial borough can easily reach this popular eatery, and enjoy the rooftop terrace views of London’s financial centre.
St Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral is actually visible from many of the city’s natural viewpoints. Indeed, many of the hills and observation areas of London were specifically constructed so that there was an unrestricted view of this historic and symbolic Cathedral, built by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London burnt down its predecessor. The upper floors and towers of St Paul’s, which itself lies atop a hill, mean that you can see much of the city’s major sights from the Golden Gallery balcony, about 85 metres up from the ground.
As you can expect, Parliament Hill provides a great view of the Houses of Parliament and, of course, the above-mentioned St Paul’s Cathedral. Situated in Hampstead Heath, Parliament Hill is allegedly the spot where Guy Fawkes had planned to observe the destruction of Westminster at the hands of his gunpowder plot. Now that would have been quite the display, but seeing as his assassination plot failed back in 1605, the views and sights you can see from Parliament Hill still remain uninterrupted and very much intact.
King Henry’s Mound
Named after the king who frequented the nearby Richmond Park when it was a royal hunting ground, King Henry’s Mound was once a burial ground before being turned into a viewpoint. As previously mentioned, landscapers throughout the centuries have preserved its view of St Paul’s Cathedral 5 miles away and it now stands as one of the top landmarks in the Richmond area. Make sure to walk the park too, its untainted grassland meadows and woodlands are revitalising and serene.
Primrose Hill is located at the northwestern edge of Regent’s Park and provides a stunning view over the London cityscape. A great place for a romantic walk or picnic this summer, Primrose HIll is especially beautiful at sunset.
Observatories are typically built on hills so as to better the view of the sky, but that’s not the only focus of the Observatory, which famously lies on the line of Greenwich Meridian. You can see much of the Canary Wharf skyscrapers from here, alongside the bends in the River Thames and the City of London where the river curves.