London might lack the impressive skyline of New York or Singapore. But even though London’s buildings aren’t as high, they certainly aren’t less impressive. In the last ten to fifteen years, there has been a huge number of new additions to the London skyline with buildings like 30 St. Mary Axe (the Gherkin), the Shard, the Walkie Talkie, to name just a few. This paired with the iconic and historic London landmarks, like Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the London Eye make it a unique scenery to explore. So, if you are wondering where you could find the best view of London for free, you’ve come to the right place.
Best view of London for free: The Sky Garden @ 20 Fenchurch Street
The Sky Garden is an indoor garden, located on the 35th, 36thand 37thfloor of 20 Fenchurch Street (also known as the Walkie Talkie due to its distinct shape).
Entry to the Sky Garden is free of charge, however you are required to book a ticket ahead of your visit. Tickets are released approximately 2-3 weeks before on the Sky Garden’s website. Alternatively, you can book a table at one of the restaurants, which will automatically include access to the Sky Garden.
Best view of London for free: The Garden at 120 (Fenchurch Street)
Just down the street from the Sky Garden is the newest kid on the block: The Garden at 120. The roof garden on top of the 15 storeys ‘One Fen Court’ aka 120 Fenchurch Street, offers magnificent views of the City of London including the nearby Walkie Talkie.
Access to the Garden is via a lift from the ground floor passage. You do not need a ticket and the garden is free of charge.
The garden is open from 10am to 6.30pm. We visited after work, giving us the perfect view of the City of London as the sun was setting.
There currently are no refreshments on offer at the garden, but come summer 2019, a restaurant is meant to open on the floor below.
Best view of London for free: Roof Terrace at One New Change
What would the London skyline be without St. Paul’s? Exactly. So much so that for centuries no building was allowed to be higher than the dome of St. Paul’s and to this day certain sight lines to St. Paul’s are protected and no new building is allowed to disturb that view.
For a magnificent view of St. Paul’s and to be at eye level with its dome, head to the adjacent shopping mall One New Change. On the 6thfloor you will find a roof terrace that offers you the most amazing view of St. Paul’s. My favourite is the view during dusk.
And if you want to savour that view a little, there is also a roof bar here, so you can sit, enjoy the evening and see St. Paul’s in the changing light as the night is settling in.
Best view of London for free: the terrace at Tate Modern
Across the river, just opposite St. Paul’s is the Tate Modern. In itself an impressive museum (both for its exhibits as for its building), it has a viewing terrace overlooking the Thames and the London skyline from south of the river.
Obviously, whilst my favourites, these are not the only places where you get a good view of the London skyline. If you want to see London from way above, there probably isn’t a better point than from the top of the Shard. After all, it is the highest building in London. So how could it not be the best view of London? But to be honest, I wouldn’t know. To this day, I have not spent the money yet to actually visit the Shard.
So tell me. What is your favourite view of London?