With so many iconic buildings in one city, it’s easy to understand why London has such a stunning skyline. From Tower Bridge to the London Eye, many of these striking structures are recognisable from a distance and, if you want a unique way to take in many of London’s best attractions then why not opt for a panoramic view? You could tick many off your list at once as well as indulging in some fine food and drink.
If you are short on time, perhaps because you are just paying a brief visit to London before flying off elsewhere and don’t fancy hours in your hotel near the airport in London (after you’ve seen one plane you’ve seen them all!) then opting for a panoramic view of the city can be a lovely way to spend a few hours, and ensure that you see much of what the capital has to offer.
Alternatively, you might just want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist crowd and going up and above can be a fantastic way to do this. But whatever your reason, here are our top picks on the best places to find a panoramic view of London:-
No list would be complete without mention of this specially created giant ferris wheel. Taking you up 135 metres, on a clear day you can see over 25 miles across the city. If you can book your capsule flight for the evening then you may not be able to recognise as many landmarks but you will get to see the city lit up which is a truly spectacular sight indeed. It is very easy to access wherever you are staying in London, whether you are right in the city centre or whether you are staying at one of the great hotels near the airport in London such as a Shaftesbury Hotel.
Not only that but you can book private capsules, can enjoy champagne and strawberries on your ascent or just take in the amazing view and take some photographs of the view spread out before you.
Emirates Air Lane (otherwise known as The Thames Cable Car)
This is London’s only cable car and it takes you up 90 metres, offering a superb 360 degree view of the city. It crossed the River Thames between the Royal Docks and Greenwich Peninsula and, best of all, you can use your Oyster pay as you go travelcard to receive discounts on your tickets, making it a very cheap way to enjoy the wonders of a panoramic view.
If time allows you could do some sightseeing in the famous Greenwich such as visiting the Royal Observatory or the National Maritime Museum before heading back to the city proper. The entire journey takes just 10 minutes and cars arrive every 30 seconds so it is a quick and cost-effective way to enjoy the sprawling city. It is also, again, very easy to get to wherever you are staying in London.
As the tallest building in Western Europe, and offering views at 244 metres high, you really aren’t going to find better than The Shard for a truly stunning view. On a clear day, it is said you can see for 40 miles across the city and you can easily spot some of London’s most iconic buildings. Book tickets to simply enjoy the view or, if you have time for something a little more special, why not book a table at one of the three restaurants available here: Aqua Shard, Oblix and Hutong, which each offer dinner with an amazing backdrop.
This one is not for the faint of heart, which will become clear as you don your climbing suit and clip yourself on for the 360 degree vantage point offered by the O2 Walkway. The Walkway is advertised as offering you a ‘different view of the city’ and this is certainly true as you will get to experience historic Greenwich, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Canary Wharf from a great height. For those who are feeling really brave, you can even make the climb at night.
St Paul’s Cathedral
If you don’t mind a bit of a walk, this iconic London building is the ideal place to take in some history, some culture and get that all important panoramic view of London. The Golden Gallery, which is at the very top of the cathedral is 528 steps above the cathedral floor but the journey can be broken up by visits to the other galleries including the Whispering Gallery.
Of course, there are a number of other great places to experience a panoramic view of the city, including a number of restaurants which would make for a memorable romantic evening but the above are just some of our favourites and would be ideal if you don’t have a large amount of time to spend in London but want to take in the sights as much as you can.
There are also a number of companies who offer a truly panoramic view of the city by literally taken to the skies and you can do this is a small plane, helicopter or hot air balloon which would also be a fantastic and unusual way to see the London skyline.