A guest post by Laura Porter.
London is a huge city and looks magnificent from high locations. The tallest attraction in London right now is The View From The Shard which has two viewing platforms at the top of this iconic building. The Shard is 310 m (1,016 ft) tall and you can see up to 64 km (40 miles) in all directions. On level 69 there are twelve “tell:scopes” which move like a telescope but have a touchscreen so you can identify 200 landmarks. It also offers the same view at different times of the day which can encourage you to book to return. Up on level 72 you are outside but still safely behind large windows. It’s hard not to be impressed by the view of London from that height.
Another opportunity to see the city in a new way is to take a cruise along the Thames. There is a choice of dining vessels and you can enjoy lunch with live jazz or a romantic dinner with music and dancing. Afternoon tea is a good choice as you see many of the famous London landmarks and can enjoy this quintessentially English dining experience at the same time.
Though nowhere near as tall as The Shard, the London Eye at 135 m (443 ft) still offers great views due to its prime location on the South Bank, opposite the Houses of Parliament. The views definitely vary throughout the day so try the ‘Day and Night Experience’ by booking a time for your day visit and your evening return is flexible. If you’re a real night owl you’ll be pleased to hear the London Eye is running until midnight on Fridays until 9 August. You can enjoy a glass of Pimm’s or Champagne while you see the sights and if you need some privacy for a special moment private capsule hire is available.
Popular with Londoners and visitors alike, Waterloo Bridge has fabulous views of Westminster, The City and much more. Positioned on a curve along the River Thames you can see the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament in one direction and St Paul’s Cathedral and Canary Wharf when looking the other way. Stand on the south-west side of the bridge and there’s a fun photo opportunity where you can position Big Ben inside the London Eye. If you can, time your visit to walk from south to north at sunrise or sunset. If you are here in the evening do stop at Somerset House for a cold drink at the River Terrace in the summer or a hot drink by the ice rink during the winter months.
Emirates Air Line – this doesn’t involve an airplane but is actually the official name of the London cable car which goes over The Thames at North Greenwich linking the Royal Docks. Excel London is a large conference and exhibition space on the north side of the river and The O2, Europe’s largest entertainment centre, is at North Greenwich on the south side. But even with these two major attractions many just want to sit in a cable car and take in the view of this part of town. It’s hard to believe but the cable car is considered public transport and not an attraction but try telling that to the smiling visitors moving silently 90 m (295 ft) over the Thames.
There are many more fantastic places to take in London from a height including these 5 Inspirational London Views which include a few more of my favourites.
About the guest writer
Laura Porter writes the About.com London Travel site and is also a VisitBritain Super Blogger and writes occasionally for the Red Carnation Blog. She’s @AboutLondon on Twitter and fits in further writing while sustaining an afternoon tea addiction to rival the Queen’s.