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London’s famous skyline can be enjoyed from a variety of city locations during a walk. A stroll along the Thames is always recommended. From here, London’s skyline appears extremely modern despite the many historic buildings. And thanks to the countless skyscrapers with vast glazed façades, London shimmers and shines like the Crown Jewels – particularly in the summer.
I recommend the following three places to enjoy the skyline from above.
The Tate Modern is located directly beside the Thames. Admission is free. (tube: Circle Line; station: Blackfriars, 5 minutes’ walk) Contemporary art is exhibited here, which is not always to every visitor’s taste. The vast foyer is a breathtaking sight well worth beholding nonetheless. If you’re lucky, an artist may well just be giving a performance or countless visitors may be stretching out on the floor to create a living sculpture.
The Tate Modern will therefore perhaps also appeal to those less interested in modern art. Why not lie down yourself and take in everything going on around you?
Signs point the way to the lift up to the viewing level. Please take the lift on the left – the lift on the right does go up, but not all the way to the top!
The viewing level on the top floor runs all the way around the building. Views over the centre of London can be enjoyed when you exit the lift. Amidst the glazed skyscrapers, you will be able to see the many bridges over the Thames and the countless ships. It makes the perfect photo motif.
If you turn your back to the Tate Modern, you will come upon an indicator for your courtesy levels and consideration of others. For while you can view the city at one side, at the other, the living quarters of those residing in the adjacent building can be viewed.
I found it surreal how easy it is to see right into people’s homes. As if within reach, almost as if you could pick up the TV remote in their lounge. Fortunately, it seemed to make many other visitors uncomfortable, too. Only a few people stopped to gawp.
Views of London from above (and another good photo opportunity in the city!) can also be enjoyed from the Monument to the Great Fire (tube: Circle Line; station: Monument). It is located close to where the Great Fire of London started back in 1666.
The column is 61 metres high, which corresponds to the distance from the fire’s starting point. The monument’s location in the city is so very central, you will also feel at the very heart of the hustle and bustle here. Admission costs just £4.50, which is cheap by London standards.
As an added extra, you will receive a certificate if you choose to ascend (and descend!) the 311 spiral steps leading to the top on foot. This can prove particularly challenging on warm summer days.
Tower Bridge Exhibition
Enjoy slightly different views of London’s skyline from the Tower Bridge Exhibition (tube: Circle Line; station: Tower Hill). Ascend to lofty heights above the world-famous bridge here and enjoy stunning views to the goings-on below from the glass floor walkway, directly down onto the bascules of the world-famous suspension bridge. You will stand on a thick layer of glass and, with any luck, will be able to watch the bridge open below.
The glass windows along the sides enable views over the city and river. Admission costs roughly €11, which is almost cheap for London. Vouchers for city sights are sometimes available online or in hotels. It is well worth keeping an eye out for these in London!
Relax in a park
If you are out and about a little out of the centre, then I recommend two city parks where wonderful views and plenty of peace and quiet can be enjoyed, namely Hampstead Heath Park (tube: Northern Line; station: Hampstead) and Greenwich Park (tube: Jubilee Line; station: Cutty Sark). Both are well worth a visit even without the views over London’s skyline.