London’s top 10 viewing platforms

For glorious vistas of London, from vertigo-inducing views from the top of the Shard to panoramas from Hampstead Heath, head to the city’s best vantage points.

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Tower Bridge. Image credit: Mark Thomasson/VisitBritain

Want to know the best places in London to visit for incredible views of the city? Here are our top 10 vantage points.

See the July/August 2015 issue of BRITAIN for the full feature

Tower Bridge

Arguably the most famous bridge in the world, and certainly one of London’s most instantly recognisable landmarks, Tower Bridge recently received a £4 million facelift and offers fantastic bird’s-eye views of London life from its new, high-level glass walkways.

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The London Eye. Credit: Alan Copson/AWL Images Ltd.

The London Eye

Just one revolution on board the giant Ferris wheel, the London Eye, will enable you to view a remarkable stretch of the capital, seeing 25 miles in every direction (weather permitting).

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The Shard. Credit: Cultura Travel/Richard Seymour/Getty Images

The Shard

While a little pricey to get up there, the view from the Shard, London’s magnificent 87-storey skyscraper, is certainly impressive. With the UK’s highest public viewing galleries, 787ft (240m) above street level, visitors can enjoy 360-degree views for up to 40 miles, as well as yoga classes, silent discos and, more recently, a Fortnum & Mason High Tea Experience.

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Hampstead Heath. Credit: Alex Segre/Alamy

Hampstead Heath

Whatever the weather, the untamed meadows, ponds and woodlands of Hampstead Heath offer an enchanting escape from the sprawling city. The swimming ponds are perfect for cooling off on hot summer days, the cityscape in the distance forms a wonderful backdrop for picnics and Parliament Hill boasts a panorama of London so impressive it is protected by law.

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The Monument. Credit: Alistair Laming/Alamy

The Monument

Built between 1671 and 1677 to commemorate the Great Fire of London of 1666 and to celebrate the rebuilding of the City, the Monument boasts prime position as a Central London vantage point near the northern end of London Bridge and it is the tallest isolated stone column in the world.

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The interior of St Pancras station

St Pancras Station

London’s St Pancras International Station, with its grand neo-Gothic façade, also provides one of the city’s most impressive views…from within. A beautiful construction with gracefully curved arches and light pouring in, it is the result of a massive redevelopment that has made the view at St Pancras a must-see.

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Sky Garden

Sky Garden

With three venues to choose from – Fenchurch Seafood Bar & Grill, the Sky Pod Bar and the Darwin Brasserie – at the top of 20 Fenchurch Street in the City of London, Sky Garden offers some of the best views in the capital. Book ahead to enjoy a cocktail or two with a magnificent river and city backdrop.

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The Royal Observatory, Greenwich

Royal Observatory Greenwich

High up on a hill in Greenwich Park, overlooking the River Thames, the Royal Observatory is one of the best spots to watch the sun setting over London (and for star-gazing at night). It’s also the home of Greenwich Mean Time; you can stand on the Meridian Line here – the dividing point between Earth’s eastern and western hemispheres.

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The Natural History Museum. Credit: VisitBritain

The Natural History Museum

London’s Natural History Museum may not provide a viewing platform for London’s horizon, but you can gaze up at its magnificent ceiling for hours. The building was designed to be a cathedral to nature, and the sight of the central hall from the balcony on the second floor is truly something to behold.

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ArcelorMittal Orbit and Stadium

ArcelorMittal Orbit

This beacon in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, in east London, is a lasting reminder of the London 2012 Olympic Games and the London 2012 Paralympic Games. The steel tower, created by sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor and designer Cecil Balmond, gives views for 20 miles, offering a slightly different perspective of the capital.

See the full feature on London’s best vistas in the July/August 2015 issue of BRITAIN

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