Ah yes, where better to go to catch the capital’s sights from on high than the London Eye on the South Bank? Where, indeed! But then *everyone* does that. So, what about the less clichéd vantage points for some distinguished, unforgettable cityscape panoramas? Well, here are six of the best…
The Modern Shard
(32 London Bridge Street SE1 9SG)
With its ludicrously high-up, 360° panorama, ‘The View from The Shard’ (as it officially brands itself) is arguably the big daddy of this list – and thus the obvious starting point – in fact, it’s view’s so impressive you might even be able to pick out your West End accommodation like the Park Grand London Kensington hotel.
The Ancient Tower Bridge
(Tower Bridge Road SE1 2UP)
This, one of London’s most iconic attractions in itself, offers two fantastic views from just one vantage point – either of the two (indoors) upper walkways accessible via its fascinating exhibition, which also reveals all the inner workings of this mammoth feat of Victorian-era engineering. From the aforementioned vantage point then you can look west towards Westminster, the South Bank and the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, or south towards London Docklands and Canary Wharf. Spectacular.
Picturesque Sky Garden
(20 Fenchurch Street EC3M 3BY)
Don’t be deceived by the exterior of this frankly rather ridiculous-looking building because the view from the top of the aptly nicknamed ‘Walkie Talkie’ is wonderful, not least because it’s experienced from the environs of a stylish indoor garden that also serves as a salubrious restaurant. Best of all, though, entry’s free so you can enjoy its panorama for nothing. Quite the inducement then if you’re staying nearby at the likes of the Montcalm Brewery London City.
(Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, 3 Thornton Street E20 2ST)
Did you watch any of the 2012 Summer Olympics? If so, do you remember that big, red, twirly monstrosity of a structure that stood right next to the stadium? Well, this it and at its summit is a viewing platform that enables you to cast your eye across the whole Olympic Park (now entirely open to the public and perfect for families) and East London and beyond. Interesting fact: a giant slide has now been added to the structure. Yes, really!
Up at the O2
(Peninsula Square SE10 0DX)
Strictly speaking this is an activity rather than just a place to visit for an impressive view (although it’s certainly that too), in that you’re obliged to scale the roof of the O2 venue. Don’t worry; so long as you’re relatively fit, it’s entirely safe and, by all accounts, good fun. Plus, of course the open-air view all around you when you pause at the top – especially of the nearby Canary Wharf high-rises – is outstanding.
Emirates Cable Car Across the River Thames
(Unit 1, 2, 3 & 4, Emirates Cable Car Terminal, Edmund Halley Way, London SE10 0FR)
Finally, fancy checking out the London skyline on the move? Why not, right? Well, this cable car journey that traverses the River Thames to and from the area of The O2 offers you that opportunity. Ideal for clear, non-cloudy days and, owing to it being run by the body that oversees the city’s public transport (TfL), it’s extremely affordable should you use the Oyster card travel payment – which is pretty much essential for using the Tube.