City Hall is the offset egg-shaped glass building near Tower Bridge (on the opposite side of The Thames to the Tower of London). It is essentially local government offices but anyone can visit the building on Mondays to Thursdays from 8.30am to 6pm and on Fridays from 8.30am to 5.30pm. Once you pass through Security (rather like Airport Security scanners for bags and people) walk up the long, winding sloped path to read Ben Okri’s poem: Lines in Potensis along the wall which lead you to The Chamber (a large meeting room) but we’re not going there. Stop at the top of the walkway and sit down and admire the view across the river. It’s a really peaceful location.
While in City Hall, also go down to the basement where there’s a fine cafe with free wifi and a large street map of Greater London where I always spend ages trying to find my house. Ask at Reception if there are any exhibitions on too as there are often temporary shows to see. Find out more at: www.london.gov.uk/city-hall
Just a short walk from Chalk Farm tube station you’ll find one of London’s prettiest village neighbourhoods: Primrose Hill. Regent’s Park Road is lined with independent boutiques and cafes and leads you to the park just north of Regent’s Park with a fabulous view. You can see central London and beyond and there’s a handy guide at the summit to help to identify the landmarks. Take a book and just relax here on a sunny day with that fabulous backdrop.
We are lucky to have one of the world’s most iconic bridges in London and there’s a visitor attraction up on the high walkways that connect the two towers. It’s a simple attraction as there are some displays about how the bridge works and comparisons with other bridges but mostly you’ll want the views. Looking east, away from central London, you can still just about imagine the days when London was one of the busiest ports in the world. Looking west, you’ll get great views of the Tower of London, The Monument and the other iconic buildings in the City of London, plus HMS Belfast moored nearby and the incredibly tall Shard. Find out more at: www.towerbridge.org.uk
One New Change
This is essentially a shopping mall right opposite St Paul’s Cathedral but has the most incredible opportunity to admire St Paul’s from its glass lift/elevator as you rise up to the 6th floor. As if that wasn’t enough of a treat there is full public access to the Roof Terrace with a restaurant and bar there so you can stay longer. The Roof Terrace allows you to enjoy a much closer view of the St Paul’s dome. Find out more at: www.onenewchange.com
National Gallery Steps
The National Gallery takes up the entire north side of Trafalgar Square. Walk up the iconic steps to the main Portico entrance but before going in look out over Trafalgar Square and down past the statue of King Charles I on his horse (which is the location of the true centre of London where all distances are measured from) and along Whitehall with ‘Big Ben’ and the Houses of Parliament in view too. You can often watch street performers below or take in spectacular events in the Square. It’s a fabulous place for people watching. Find out more: www.nationalgallery.org.uk
Laura Porter writes the About.com London Travel site and is also a VisitBritain Super Blogger. She’s @AboutLondon on Twitter and fits in further writing while sustaining an afternoon tea addiction to rival the Queen’s.
Of course there are many other incredible places where you can view London’s sky line including these five classic London views.