8 of The Best London Views That Aren’t the London Eye

8 of The Best London Views That Aren’t the London Eye

London is a beautiful city. It’s ever-evolving skyline is filled with historical landmarks, incredible architecture and eye-catching skyscrapers. With so much to see and so much variety, sometimes the best views are from above! Luckily there are many vantage points in London with incredible views of the city, both free and public to beautiful restaurants with a stunning London backdrop. I’ve rounded up some of the best London views I’ve found – despite my fear of heights, I love a great view!

The Best London Views

Searcy’s at The Gherkin

30 St Mary Axe, London EC3A 8EP
Cost: Drinks run £6-15

Bookings recommended

Best Views in London - Searcys at The Gherkin

Don’t let the fact that a view from The Gherkin means you won’t get this iconic London skyscraper in your view, the view and windows at Searcy’s at The Gherkin more than make up for that.

Best London Views - Searcy's at The Gherkin

The Iris Bar is set in the very top of The Gherkin on Level 40, and offers stunning panoramic views through the its iconic domed windows. Bookings are essential as it’s not open every day of the week and often closes for private events.

Best London Views - Searcys at The Gherkin

Time your visit for sunset, grab a drink and look over London in the rosy glow of golden hour. This is my favorite place to take in London views – it is just beautiful up there.

Drink with a view of London at Searcy's at the Gherkin

Sky Garden

20 Fenchurch Street, London EC3M 8AF
Cost: Free
Bookings recommended

Sky Garden - The best views in London

We love Sky Garden. It is awesome! We take almost all of our visitors up here to scope out the view over coffee before we get down to business hitting up London’s best tourist spots. Located on the 35th, 36th and 37th floors of 20 Fenchurch Street, or the “Walkie Talkie” as its known, it offers great views over the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, the Shard and beyond.

Sky Garden - The best views in London

It’s views and free price point as well as the lovely garden make this one of the best views in London. Tickets are released each Monday for the following week. Booking is essential – you can try to walk in, but that’s risky as the tickets go really fast.

Sky Garden - The best views in London

Booking hack – if you want to book further in advance or they’re out of tickets, try booking Sky Pod Bar instead. We do this often and take our visitors up for breakfast. It will require your credit card information to discourage no-shows, but the reservation is free and you’ll have a spot to sit while you take in views over coffee or a drink.

Also Sky Garden is really cool at night! The pictures don’t come out so great, but it’s worth stopping by at night, too, if that’s what works best for your visit to London.

Sky Garden - The best views in London

The View From The Shard

Joiner Street, London SE1 9QU
Cost: £24.50
Bookings recommended

The View From The Shard - London's Best Rooftop Views

A dizzying 70 floors up above London, The View from the Shard is London’s highest viewpoint and absolutely one of the best views in London. Floors 68 and 69 are enclosed, with a bar serving up Möet & Chandon. Floor 72 is the open air observation deck, located at the bottom of the “shards” you can see at the top of this structure.

Book your tickets ahead of time if you can as times can sell out, but check the weather before you book. I’ve been to The Shard where it’s been too foggy to see the city below from the 35th floor – let alone the 72nd!

The View From The Shard - London's Best Rooftop Views

To be honest, I probably would never have gone up there if visitors hadn’t suggested it. I’m so glad we did, though! Seeing London from so high up was thrilling and it is so cool to look up at it and think, hey, I’ve been all the way up there!

The View From The Shard - London's Best Rooftop Views

Champagne with a view with my dearest Maura, who wrote about her visit on her blog here!

We got the tickets that included the “Champagne Experience” (because #girlstrip) and it was so fun to watch the winter sun set over London from 800 feet.

St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD
Cost: £18
Booking recommended in high season

Best Rooftop Views in London - St Paul's Cathedral

Obviously, St Paul’s rooftop view is a bit different from the others, as it is a place of worship. Access to the dome is included in admission to St Paul’s, which is open for touring Mondays through Saturdays. The space was not built for delivering views, so it’s not exactly a spot where you can linger for any length of time. The cathedral is gorgeous and the audio tour is well worth your while, so go for the tour and to learn more about St Pauls, and consider the view a wonderful bonus.

Best rooftop views in London - St Pauls Cathedral

A warning for those with a fear of heights, like me – walking around the dome definitely set mine off. It was terrifying, but beautiful. It offers a different perspective on the city than the skyscrapers and is worth the visit for many reasons!

Best Rooftop Views in London - St Pauls

So scared!!

GONG at The Shard

31 St Thomas Street, London SE1 9QU
Cost: Cocktails are £20, afternoon tea is £52
Bookings recommended

Best views in London - GONG at the Shard

Located on the 52nd floor of the Shard, GONG is a bar and restaurant with stunning views. Your view will depend on where you can get a table and bookings are essential during peak periods. The 52nd floor is high, but not too high to see detail below. It is a truly fabulous view, one of the best views in London.

View from GONG in London

It is not cheap to get drinks or afternoon tea up there, but as I posted about their afternoon tea here, it is a lovely experience!

Tate Modern

Bankside, London SE1 9TG
Cost: Free
No bookings required

Best Rooftop Views in London - Tate Modern

In addition to being one of London’s premier art museums, the Tate Modern boasts some pretty great rooftop views of London from its Viewing Level.

Best Rooftop Views in London - Tate Modern

The deck is located at the top of the Blavatnik Building and closes 30 minutes before the museum’s closing. While you’re there, don’t forget to save time to check out the Tate Modern’s collections.

Art at the Tate Modern

Galvin at Windows

22 Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1K 1BE
Cost: Cocktails start at £16
Bookings recommended

Best Rooftop Views in London: Galvin at Windows, London Hilton Park Lane

For a different view, that isn’t along the Thames or in The City, head to Mayfair to the London Hilton Park Lane. On the 28th floor sits Galvin at Windows, looking over Hyde Park on one side and London’s skyline landmarks on the other.

Hampstead Heath

Hampstead, London, NW5 1QR
Cost: Free
No bookings required

London View from Hampstead Heath

Hampstead Heath is not, of course, a skyscraper or building, but it is still a great place to catch views over London.

Views of London from Hampstead Heath

I posted about our visit to Hampstead Heath here. It is a gorgeous park that is well worth the short journey from central London. You’ll forget that you’re even in the city and it is perfect for a picnic.

What am I missing?

Besides the obvious omissions included here where I haven’t been, like the London Eye, Wellington Arch and Radio Rooftop – have you experienced any excellent views in London I should check out? Please let me know in the comments below or on Instagram @jenn_sands!

From cathedrals to cocktail bars, here are the best rooftop views in London!
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Jenn

Jenn is an American expat living in London, spending her time freelancing, traveling and writing on this here blog. Thank you for reading. Are you planning a trip here? Tell me your plans in the comments!

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4 Comments

  1. August 21, 2018 / 3:34 pm

    A great list! I had my London Eye alternative at 1 Park Lane, which interestingly enough isn’t on your list. Great views over the West End. M.

    • Jenn
      Author
      August 21, 2018 / 3:40 pm

      Hi Marketa! Thanks for reading! I’ll have to check that out – Galvin at Windows is on Park Lane also and those views are fantastic, so I imagine your suggestion would be great too!

  2. October 12, 2018 / 11:44 am

    Great blog, I really enjoy reading it.

    The Monument – It only costs about £5 and you used to get a certificate to say you’d climbed up it!

    • Jenn
      Author
      October 12, 2018 / 11:45 am

      John, thanks so much for this recommendation! I didn’t know it was climbable – what a cool experience!

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