75 of the Best London Landmarks for Your London Bucket List

75 of the Best London Landmarks for Your London Bucket List

This Trafalgar Square fountain with a museum building on the left and a church on the right should be on every London bucket list.
(Photo credit: VisitLondon.com/Jon Reid)

From medieval churches and grandiose palaces to huge green parks and epic city views, this London bucket list packs in tons of London landmarks. Whether you’re searching for the best place to partake in a classic afternoon tea or curious about free museums in London, we’ve got you covered! 

There are 75-plus historic haunts and fun activities in London on this list, broken down into categories so you can scroll straight to the topics that interest you most — be that gardens, medieval castles, art galleries, shops and markets, or Harry Potter.

If you plan to visit several of the ticketed sites, you might consider purchasing a London Pass to save on admission prices. It's good for anywhere from one to 10 days, and includes dozens of popular attractions like the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, Kew Gardens and more, plus a hop-on hop-off bus pass.

Make sure you check out the London landmarks section first for what should soar to the top of your London itinerary. And if you’re here for a few days, consider adding a London day trip to the agenda.

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London Bucket List

London landmarks include the Tower Bridge, pictured with the point Shard skyscraper to the right and the river flowing below.
(Photo credit: VisitLondon.com/Antoine Buchet)

London Landmarks and Experiences

Buckingham Palace 

Built in 1703, Buckingham Palace is the official monarch’s residence in London and the stately front with it’s gold-tipped iron gates makes for a popular photo op. For a few weeks of summer, the palace opens for tours of the State Rooms, including the Throne Room and Ballroom, and the lawns where the queen hosts her famous garden parties. The Queen’s Gallery and the Royal Mews, home to the carriages and horses, require a seperate ticket.  

Changing of the Guard

This famous ceremony takes place when guards switch shifts at Buckingham Palace and St. James Palace. The showmanship part in front of Buckingham starts at around 11 a.m. (check the calendar for dates) and includes inspections and music performances, but you’ll need to arrive an hour early to get a spot close to the gates or around the Victoria Memorial in front of the palace. Since this is on a lot of folk’s London bucket list, it gets crowded. If you’re not set on seeing the whole thing or want to avoid the throngs, you can watch the troop movements from St. James Palace or the Wellington Barracks (where the new guard exits and old crew retires) instead. Standing along The Mall path in front of the palace will get you views of the marching to and from St. James as well. 

Westminster Abbey

Founded over a thousand years ago by Benedictine monks, Westminster Abbey has hosted coronations for nearly as long, and serves as a royal wedding venue and burial site for hundreds of monarchs and notable figures, in addition to being a working church. The current Gothic structure went up in the 1200s, and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tours of the grounds with audio guides are available during the week, or you can enter for free to attend the daily services and choral evensongs.

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

The iconic clock tower and London landmark may be silenced for a few years, but you can still snap photos of the structure in its scaffolded stage, as well as the gorgeous Palace of Westminster it’s attached to. In the building, tour the Houses of Parliament with a guide or multimedia device, or attend one of the debates in the House of Commons or House of Lords. There’s also an afternoon tea service here, if you want to sip Earl Gray by the Thames. 

Trafalgar Square

This buzzing public space seen on many a postcard is most recognizable for its twin fountains and lion statues that surround the Nelson’s Column monument. Typically filled with camera-wielding tourists and street performers, it also fronts London’s National Gallery, which holds famous artworks dating back to the 13th century.

London Eye

This giant observation wheel has become an icon of London since it opened about 20 years ago, and provides stellar London Eye views of the Westminster district from the opposite bank of the River Thames. Tickets are good for a 30-minute ride in a pod with 360-degree windows and can be purchased online for a specific time slot to cut down on the wait.

Tower Bridge

Often mixed up with the London Bridge, which is a pretty plain structure in its current form, Tower Bridge spans the Thames between the Tower of London and the Southwark district. Built in the late 1800s, the suspension structure is distinguishable for its two turrets that give it a castle-like appearance. You can stroll across it for free, but visiting the old engine rooms or walking 140-feet above the river on glass floors requires a ticket. 

Tower of London

This medieval stone castle on the river holds a wealth of British history, from the time of William the Conqueror nearly 1,000 years ago. It once housed and protected royals, but is also infamous for the betrayals, executions, and prisoners held here. Yeoman Warders, guardians of the castle for centuries, give entertaining tours to guests to introduce some of the notable stories and figures of the site, which now holds the Crown Jewels and the Royal Armouries. You can also attend the nightly Ceremony of Keys tradition to lock the tower by reserving an exclusive ticket months ahead. 

St. Paul’s Cathedral

While a church dedicated to St. Paul has existed on the hill here since the 7th century, the current structure dates to the 17th, when it was rebuilt after the Great Fire of London. With a ticket, visitors can wander the crypt, dome galleries and elaborate sanctuary. Since it’s an active congregation, you can also pop in for the evening choral service, which adds harmonic ambiance to the grand church. The steps out front may look familiar as the site where Mary Poppins sings “Feed the Birds” in the classic movie. 

Piccadilly Circus

Though its function is a vehicular traffic junction of a handful of busy streets, Piccadilly Circus is always packed with pedestrians, thanks to its proximity to a wealth of retail, dining and entertainment around Soho. A bronze fountain and its tiered platform here offer a little spot to sit and rest in the middle of shopping and sightseeing, in view of Times Square-esque electronic billboards plastered between Victorian-era buildings. You’ll likely stumble upon it without even trying if you’re wandering between stores, museums and theaters in the West End.

Afternoon Tea

You can’t visit London without participating in England’s famous pastime — afternoon tea. There are countless spots to grab a cup and some scones with clotted cream, ranging from an elegant soiree at the Ritz London to tea service on a double-decker bus that combines sightseeing with finger sandwiches. If you want to feel like a royal, check out the options at the Palaces of Westminster and Kensington Palace.  

Double Decker Bus 

You can purchase a hop-on, hop-off ticket or one of the many London bus tours to get your fill of double-decker riding, but it isn’t necessary. City buses also have top tiers, though not the open-deck kind, and come at a much cheaper cost. 

Thames Clipper

Though it’s a bit pricier than riding the Tube, the Thames Clipper catamarans offer a special way to get around the city with views from the river. These floating buses accept Oyster transit cards, so you can tap in to pay for a single ride, but if you plan to use the service a few times throughout the day, you might consider purchasing the hop-on hop-off option. A few routes are available, stopping at piers like Westminster by Big Ben and the abbey, Bankside and London Bridge for Southwark attractions, Tower for the City of London, and all the way to Greenwich and beyond.

Harry Potter Tour and Platform 9 3/4

London isn’t just historic sites and museums, you can get your fandom on here, too, especially if you’re into Harry Potter. Many scenes from the famous series were filmed around these parts, and the sets and costumes are displayed at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, about 45 minutes outside the city in Watford. The Kings Cross train station in London also has a photo op at Platform 9 3/4 and a souvenir shop next door.
Two soldiers in red coats and black helmets march in front of canyons and a castle wall, one of the London palaces recommended on this London bucket list.

London Palaces and Castles

Buckingham Palace & Tower of London

See the “London Landmarks” section for more info on these historic sites, the first the queen’s London residence and the latter a medieval fortress.

St. James Palace 

This Tudor residence near Buckingham Palace holds royal apartments and participates in the famous changing of the guard ceremony, too. You can’t visit inside, but you can snap photos of the exterior and St. James Park across The Mall.

Clarence House

Next to St. James Palace, the 19th-century Clarence House has been the royal residence of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II when she was a princess, and The Prince of Wales. The home typically opens for tours in August each year.

Kensington Palace 

Located on the eastern fringes of Hyde Park, this palace is known as the home of young royals for the past three centuries. Queen Victoria lived here as a child, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and family call it home today. State Rooms and special exhibits inside require a ticket, but you can wander the colorful Kensington Gardens from Hyde Park. The onsite restaurant, located in a 1700s pavilion, serves afternoon tea.

Winchester Palace

Once a grand building in medieval times, Winchester Palace succumbed to fire and now sits in ruins next to the Thames. You can view the exterior remains for free on a quick walk by. It’s between the Southwark and London bridges on the Southwark side of the river.

Somerset House

A neoclassical London palace built in the late 1700s, Somerset House mostly hosts events and exhibitions. Entrance to the grounds, courtyard and fountains here is free, as are occasional tours, but you’ll need a ticket for exhibitions. You’ll find it on the Strand next to the Waterloo Bridge.  

Lambeth Palace

Home to the Archbishop of Canterbury (that’s the leader of the Church of England), Lambeth Palace has roots in the 13th century and sits on the South Bank of the Thames. It’s mostly closed to the public as a private residence, but occasional tours and events at the grounds and gardens offer a peek. It’s worth the photo op from the outside, though, on a stroll by.  

Hampton Court Palace

It’s nearly an hour outside the city, but Hampton Court Palace is worth a visit if you have the time. Known as Henry VIII’s home, the grounds are full of stories of the infamous royal and his many wives. Outside, a swirling hedge maze and children’s playground appeal to families, while the impressive surrounding gardens and parks fill hundreds of acres. 
Fun things to do in London include visiting museums like this one, the National Gallery with portraits in gold frames hung on red walls in a long hallway full of people.
(Photo credit: VisitLondon.com/Jon Reid)

Theater and the Arts

Shakespeare’s Globe

Designed to look like an old-timey theater, this open-air venue’s wood and thatch details will transport you right back to the Elizabethan era. Guided tours are offered throughout the day, or you can attend one of the Shakespearean plays performed during the warmer months.

West End Theaters 

With award-winning shows like the Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserable performed in its old-timey theaters, the West End district is London’s version of NYC’s Broadway. London’s TKTS booth for last-minute, discounted tickets can be found in Leicester Square a couple of blocks from Trafalgar, and this article is packed with other ideas for scoring bargain theater tickets.

National Gallery

Names like Monet, Michelangelo, van Gogh, and da Vinci plaster the walls at the National Gallery, located at Trafalgar Square. Free tours throughout the week introduce the museum’s collection, which spans the 13th to 19th centuries. Late hours on Fridays means you can squeeze it in when other attractions close, and there’s no charge for admission.

National Portrait Gallery

Neighboring the National Gallery, this art museum was the first of its kind, featuring paintings, photos and sculptures of famous Brits throughout history. Notable faces on display range from kings and queens of old to Elton John and Ed Sheeran. Entry is free.

Tate Britain

This more than a century-old establishment holds a huge collection of British art dating to the 1500s. Entry is free to the gallery, which is housed in a striking columned building about a mile down the Thames from Big Ben.

Tate Modern

This riverfront art gallery in Southwark displays modern, international pieces. The building, once a power station, is located by the Millenium Bridge across the Thames from St. Paul’s Cathedral, with views from the museum cafe and the walkways outside. Entry is free.

Royal Albert Hall

A Victorian concert venue just outside Kensington Gardens, Royal Albert Hall is the famous host of the Proms, a classical music summer series dating to 1895. Tours of the interior and its rounded auditorium are offered during the day, if a performance doesn’t fit into your schedule.
A huge dinosaur skeleton hangs in the middle of a stone corridor filled with people in the Natural History Museum, one of the best activities in London.
(Photo credit: VisitLondon.com/Jon Reid)

Museums and History

The British Museum

This London bucket-list museum holds an antiquities collection in the millions, including Greek sculptures from the Parthenon, medieval samurai armor from Japan, the Rosetta stone, and Egyptian mummies. The British Museum is free to visit (but make a donation if you’re able), and educational talks and tours are offered throughout the week in different zones of the facility.

Museum of London

Located in the old City of London, this institution tells the story of the U.K. capital through artifacts and displays tracing the prehistoric era to Roman occupation to medieval times to the present. Admission is free, and just outside you can see the stone ruins of the Roman walls that used to enclose the city.

The Guards Museum

If you’re fascinated by those marching redcoats, then a visit to this military exhibition is a must. It’s housed at the Wellington Barracks, and delves into the story behind the Household Cavalry and Foot Guards that watch over Buckingham and the royal palaces. Outside the gates at the barracks, you can watch the troops marching in and out during the Changing of the Guards ceremonies. Check here for current museum admission fees and hours. 

Churchill War Rooms

This historic location is where Winston Churchill and other British leaders took refuge and plotted during the Second World War. Churchill War Rooms tickets include access to the underground bunkers and meeting rooms, as well as a museum about the legacy of Churchill. About a block away, you can see the guarded gates of 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister’s home and office. 

The Household Cavalry Museum and Horse Guards Parade

The 18th-century Horse Guards building next to St. James Park houses the stables and barracks of the Household Cavalry, the mounted guards of the Queen. With a ticket to the museum here, you can see what goes on behind the scenes, watch daily inspections and guard changes, check out the horse facilities, and try on a Cavalryman helmet and uniform. Passersby can see the Horse Guards Parade Grounds and the Guards Memorial across the street.

HMS Belfast

Floating in the Thames between London and Tower bridges, this former warship from WWII now serves as a museum. With a ticket, visitors can make their way down nine decks to learn the stories of battles, see engine and operations rooms, and play simulation games. 

Imperial War Museum

This museum collection that includes the Churchill War Rooms and HMS Belfast has an IWM London location in Southwark that preserves military and war history. The facility features everything from actual planes, rockets and vehicles used in conflict to a moving Holocaust exhibit and gallery of heroes, all with free admission.

London Transport Museum

Once you’ve mastered the tube routes and circled the city on a double decker, it’s time to uncover the history of London’s transport systems, from the days of horse and buggies and beyond. This gem in the buzzing Covent Garden district tells of how getting around the city has evolved over the years, with actual vehicles and trains on display, as well as signs, photos and maps. Tickets are required but kids are free.

The British Library

Part book heaven, part museum, this facility by the St. Pancras train station catalogues millions of items, thought to be the largest national library in existence. Among the collection are maps from the 15th century, vintage periodicals and newspapers, music scores and recordings, and the Magna Carta.

Victoria and Albert Museum

Named for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and founded during her reign, the V&A is themed around art and design. A collection of more than 2 million includes works of textile and fashion, furniture, glass and ceramics, and photography. Along with free admission, the museum offers complimentary tours with topics like the Renaissance era, performance and theater, and African  heritage.

Natural History Museum

Known for its massive dinosaur displays, London’s Natural History Museum houses more than 80 million different specimens, from blue whale bones to rare minerals to a rock from Mars. Interactive and educational exhibits make it a family-friendly option, while the outdoor Wildlife Garden offers a quiet oasis full of native flora and fauna. The free facility is along South Kensington’s museum-filled Exhibition Road.

Science Museum

London’s Science Museum packs in all sorts of technology, space, invention and engineering exhibits. Entry is free, but things like IMAX tickets, shows and demos in the Wonderlab, and flight simulators carry a fee.

National Maritime Museum

This free Greenwich museum forms part of a complex listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List that includes the Royal Observatory. The National Maritime Museum delves into British naval history, with interactive exhibits like a ship simulator and a kids play zone. 

A hilltop view of green lawns surrounded by trees with a city skyline in the background at Greenwich park, one of the best London gardens.
(Photo credit: VisitLondon.com)

London Gardens and Parks

Green Park and St. James Park

Neighboring Green and St. James parks front the Buckingham Palace complex and offer a necessary bit of nature in the midst of the heavy tourist zone. Shady trees line winding walkways with a bench here and there, while big green lawns draw sunseekers, readers and picnickers. Waterfowl can usually be spotted hanging out on the reflective St. James Park Lake, while a bridge across provides views of the palace in one direction and the London Eye in the other.

Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens

Just steps from Green Park, massive Hyde Park offers a wealth of outdoor activities, as well as historic sights in the form of monuments and memorials. Walkers and cyclists frequent the huge network of paths here, and an onsite sports center also offers activities like tennis, mini golf and lawn bowling. At the east end of the 350-acre space, you can spot the white Marble Arch, designed as a triumphal piece a la Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and Speakers’ Corner, known as a historic soapbox-style speech and rally site. The central Serpentine lake is often dotted with row and peddle boats, and has a pair of art galleries on either bank. The west side of the park transitions to Kensington Gardens, notable for the massive gilded Albert Memorial erected by Queen Victoria for her late husband, and Kensington Palace Gardens, a well-manicured space of flowers and hedges. 

Regents Park and Primrose Hill

Part of the Royal Parks collection, Regents Park is the central city’s sports zone, with fields for rugby, cricket, football and more, as well as walking and biking lanes. It’s also home to Queen Mary’s Garden, with a collection of 12,000 roses. A boating lake, playgrounds, an open-air performance space, zoo and food venues round out the amenities. Neighboring Primrose Hill offers stellar views of downtown London from an elevated vantage point a few miles away.

Hampstead Heath and Parliament Hill

Just 4 miles north of the river and the tourist buzz, Hampstead Heath is a sweeping space for recreation. Marked and rough-hewn paths for joggers and horseback riders weave in and out of wooded areas, while sports facilities include tennis and croquet courts and fields for football and rugby. A few of the ponds allow swimming. Like Primrose to the south, Parliament Hill here rises above the park for vistas of the London skyline. 

Greenwich Park

This Royal Park a couple blocks from the river is home to the Royal Observatory Greenwich and the Prime Meridian, known as the dividing line of the earth’s longitude. In addition to the astronomical attractions, the park has a wilderness zone where deer roam, herb and flower gardens, paved trails, and a hilltop lookout over the Thames and city skyline to the west, perfect for sunsets. It’s about 5 miles southeast of the City of London in the borough of Greenwich.

Victoria Park and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

These two queenly parks are in the northeast suburbs, less than 5 miles from the old city. Victoria is one of the oldest public parks in London and features multiple recreational lakes, rose gardens, and spaces for walking, cycling and sports. The neighboring park named for Queen Elizabeth hosted the London Olympics in 2012, and its grounds are full of wetlands, waterways and play areas. You can also snap photos with the famous Olympic rings.

Kew Gardens

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew date to 1759 and hold a vast collection of flora so significant it’s listed as a World Heritage Site. More than 50,000 plants are arranged in zones like grasses, Mediterranean species, mountainous varieties and edibles. You can also explore an arboretum, bamboo forest, Japanese garden and tropical greenhouse, and climb a pagado for elevated views. One of the best gardens in London, the facility is less than 10 miles from the central city in Richmond, and requires an entry ticket.
This London shopping street is a narrow alley with colorful storefronts and doors in brick buildings.
(Photo credit: VisitLondon.com/Jon Reid)

London Shopping Streets and Markets

Borough Market

Southwark’s Borough Market is one of the city’s oldest, largest, and best-known retail food venues, dating back 1,000 years. Dozens of traders gather here with stands of locally grown produce, fresh deli cuts and seafood, artisan chocolates and jams, and aromatic cheeses, breads and flowers. It’s the perfect spot to grab a coffee and pastry or order a hot lunch with international flair prepared in front of you. 

Leadenhall Market

With roots in the 14th century, the current Leadenhall Market has a distinct Victorian look in its covered passageways lined with shops and restaurants. It’s the place to go for designer retail therapy or for dining and drinks in a buzzing, picturesque atmosphere.


A department store to rule all department stores, Harrods could be more accurately described as an emporium, housing everything from high-end designer fashion to pastry counters. Even if you don’t care to splurge on shoes and purses here, it’s worth a visit to see the impressive Food Hall, packed with luxury cheese and charcuterie, tins of biscuits and tea, and mouthwatering chocolate truffles in the confectionery. 


With everything from jazz clubs to Victorian theaters to some of the best London shopping streets, Soho’s eclectic vibes hail from a red-light district past. The nightlife still buzzes here, as does the food scene, but during the day you can head to Oxford Street to stumble upon every retailer you could imagine and Carnaby Street for fashion along pedestrian-friendly brick lanes.

Covent Garden

A near neighbor to Soho, Covent Garden district packs in shopping, dining and theater as well. A historic covered market bearing the same name serves as a central neighborhood landmark, as does the Royal Opera House, which hosts the Royal Ballet. 

Camden Town

Less than two miles north of King’s Cross and St. Pancras stations, this little canal-front neighborhood is known for its unique markets. It’s the place to go for antiques, vintage fashion, handmade accessories, one-of-a-kind art pieces, retro decor...you name it! There’s also tons of global cuisine at restaurants and street stands.

Notting Hill and Portobello Road Market

When you see a photo of pastel-colored row houses in London, it was likely taken in Notting Hill. This Kensington district neighborhood hosts the festive yearly Notting Hill Carnival, but it’s perhaps best known for the Portobello Road Market, which started with produce stalls but has evolved into a world of antiques and second-hand fashion.

Shoreditch and Brick Lane Market

Full of street art, independent boutiques and global food carts, Shoreditch is a trendy zone on the east side about a mile north of the old city. Graffiti-adorned Brick Lane is one of the more famous Sunday markets in London, especially for vintage and second-hand goods, while the Columbia Road Flower Market adds in some sweet fragrances and vibrant colors on weekends. 

Famous London churches include St. Paul’s Cathedral, pictured with a towering cupola and pedestrians walking in front.
(Photo credit: VisitLondon.com/Jon Reid)

London Churches and Abbeys

Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral

You can read more about these two bucket list London churches in the landmarks section above.

Southwark Cathedral

This 800-year-old London church building just steps from the Thames and London Bridge once held the royal wedding of King James I of Scotland. Pop in for free to see the stained glass windows, request a quick tour from one of the cathedral guides, or join in a daily choral service in the late afternoon.

All Hallows by the Tower

Said to be the oldest church in London, this institution dates to the year 675. Though many restorations and renovations have happened since, including a post-WWII rebuild, some remnants from the early days still exist. Since it’s located just by the Tower of London, those executed on Tower Hill were often brought to the facility for temporary burial. Another claim to fame, future U.S. President John Quincy Adams and wife Louisa were married here in 1797. Free, guided tours take place on weekday afternoons for much of spring through fall. 

St. Dunstan in the East Church Garden

Destroyed during the Blitz in World War II, this medieval church now shelters a public garden within its ruins. The steeple and tower designed by famous English architect Christopher Wren still stand, but flowers, ivy and benches fill the leveled-out interior. It’s about a block west from the Tower of London.

St. Helen’s Bishopsgate

Situated by the bullet-shaped Gherkin building in the old city, St. Helen’s was constructed in 1210 and is said to have been William Shakespeare’s parish church. Nearby bombings by the Irish Republican Army in the early 1990s severely damaged the building and shattered its historic windows, but it has since been repaired. The church participates in the yearly Open House London for tours, but allows visitors during the week (call ahead) and at services. 

St. Olave’s Church

Long before the beloved Disney character of “Frozen” fame, there was a King Olaf II of Norway, who later became the country’s patron saint. This medieval church is dedicated to him, and is one of the rare survivors of the Great Fire of London. Visitors are allowed during the day when the building is not otherwise being used. 

St. Martin-in-the-Fields

This elegant Trafalgar Square church with roots to the Middle Ages is well known for its evening classical music performances. During the day, you can pop in for a look around or grab a bite at a cafe housed in the crypt. A few days a week, free lunchtime concerts are offered to the public.

St. Bartholomew the Great

Adjacent to a hospital bearing the same saintly name, Great St. Bart’s was built about 900 years ago and restored throughout the 19th century. You can wander the halls and churchyard during daily visiting hours for a small fee.

St. Giles’ Cripplegate

Though is has roots in the 11th century, this Gothic-style structure was first built in the late 1300s. One of the few London churches to survive the Great Fire of London, it took big hits during other burns and was bombing in WWII. From the remaining shell and surviving bell tower, St. Giles was rebuilt using restoration plans saved from 1545, so it retains a medieval look. Outside of service times, the church typically opens on weekday afternoons.

The city of Westminster with Big Ben tower on the right and a glass pod of the London Eye on the left sitting atop the observation wheel, one of the best views in London.
(Photo credit: VisitLondon.com/Jon Reid)

Best London Views

London Eye

Scroll up to the “London Landmarks” section for more on this epic vista on the Thames with elevated views of the Westminster district and beyond.

Golden Jubilee Bridges

This pair of pedestrian crossings sit on either side of a rail bridge near Charing Cross Station. The northern one looks toward the City of London at a bend in the river, but the southern one has an epic shot toward Westminster District, with Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament on one bank and the London Eye on the other. It’s the perfect spot to catch a sunset.

The Shard

The 95-story Shard skyscraper rises well above its surroundings, but the pointy glass design is what really makes it stand out. Poking up from the Southwark district about a block from the river, it’s in the perfect locale to gaze out at the city for one of the best views in London. Tickets are available for platforms as high as floor 72, where 360-degree windows mean you can gaze out for miles. Restaurants and bars scattered between floors 31 and 52 have their own stellar vistas, if you want to put your admission price toward dinner or tea instead.

The Monument

A tribute tower to the Great Fire of London, the Monument sits in the heart of the old city. It was erected a few years after the 1666 tragedy, designed by the same architect who rebuilt the scorched St. Paul’s Cathedral. Reaching the top requires climbing 311 spiraling steps up the column-like structure. Sweeping platform view take in the Shard, Tower of London and Tower Bridge (which offers a combo ticket with the Monument). 

Sky Garden

This skyscraper in old London offers 360-degree city views and lush landscaping from its glass-surrounded top level dome called the Sky Garden. The public space spans three stories and features Mediterranean and South African species with year-round blooms. Tickets are free but should be booked online ahead of time to reserve a space. There are also window-filled restaurants and terraces to enjoy.

Westminster Bridge

Crossing the Thames next to the Palace of Westminster, the Victorian-era Westminster Bridge is the oldest road span over the river in the central city. It’s popular with pedestrians as well, connecting the Westminster district to the South Bank. You’ll often encounter street performers in this touristy zone, and it’s a prime spot for snapping photos of both Big Ben and the London Eye.

Primrose Hill

Located behind Regents Park a couple miles north of Soho, this hilltop vantagepoint takes in a sweeping expanse from about 200-feet up for one of the best views of London’s skyline. It’s considered a protected view and is popular with visitors. The huge park nextdoor contains a rose garden, sports fields, trails and more.

Parliament Hill

Another of London’s protected viewpoints, Parliament Hill is another mile-and-a-half to the north and elevated. Amongst the buildings poking up from the city skyline, you can spot the Shard, the London Eye and the tip of St. Paul’s Cathedral. The surrounding park of Hampstead Heath is full of trails, swimming spots and athletic fields.

Greenwich Park

On the other end of the city, you can find the best London views from a hilltop in this Royal Park. Just next to the Prime Meridian and statue of General James Wolfe, a scenic platform looks toward a bend in the Thames and the skyline from the east. The borough of Greenwich is some 5 miles from the City of London.

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