The grandeur of the London skyline comes from its mashing of old and new. You will see historic architectural gems nestled among sleek, glass-faced modern skyscrapers. The bright lights of the city and birds-eye views can be admired from the lofty heights of some its towering buildings as well as from some vertigo-inducing bars and restaurants. In fact, from the ground itself you’ll still be able to capture the majesty of the city – merely stepping out of the Park Grand Paddington Hotel lobby and taking in the elegant townhouses is a visual treat.
Complete your visit to London by summiting one of the top 9 places to go to see the most splendid views, either from street level, among the clouds or from a cushy bar stool with a special cocktail. Cross your fingers and hope for clear skies!
1) The Shard
As the tallest building in the UK, the viewing deck from the 72nd floor of The Shard is double the height of its fellow skyscrapers and can offer 360° views for up to 40 miles in any direction on a cloudless day. You can enter The Shard within 30 minutes from the time printed on your ticket and there are no time restrictions imposed on how long you stay, so you can savour the view and get some incredible photographs. Some guests opt to dine at one of the restaurants found at The Shard rather than purchasing a View from The Shard ticket, but bear in mind these are located at a lesser height.
2) The Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street
Located in the eye-catching walkie-talkie skyscraper (you’ll understand the nickname once you see it!) beneath its dome-topped roof is London’s lush botanic garden. The Sky Garden offers an unparalleled 360° views across London’s skyline from the soothing green foliage 160m above the streets. The best thing about the Sky Garden is that it’s free! You must book around three weeks in advance, so bear that in mind when booking your accommodation in Paddington London. Once at the top, you can simply enjoy the views or you can pick up a drink or coffee at their bar.
3) The London Eye
London’s iconic observation wheel has been rotating languidly since the turn of the millennium and it never fails to delight. Originally built as a temporary structure, its popularity firmly rooted the London Eye as a permanent addition to the London skyline and a symbol of the modern city. The capsules summit at 135m and allow their passengers plenty of time to get an eyeful of the skyline along the course of the River Thames. If you’re feeling flush you can book a private capsule and add champagne to your experience.
4) Primrose Hill
Another free option, and definitely one to pack a picnic for is the delightful view from serene Primrose Hill. Located in the north part of Regent’s Park, hotels near Paddington station London place you in a great location for coming to Primrose Hill for an early morning walk or to catch the sunset. It’s the perfect antidote for when you need some escapism from the city. Climb the gentle slope on a summer evening, remember to bring a bottle of wine along and, voila, you have all the makings for a romantic date night.
5) St Paul’s Cathedral
For a different kind of atmosphere, the view from the top of this City of London cathedral is sensational. You will need to buy a ticket to access all galleries at the church, and once you’ve clambered the 528 steps up to the Golden Gallery you can appreciate beautiful views across Blackfriars Bridge and Southwark Bridge. This isn’t the highest viewpoint in the city, but it’s an entirely different perspective to the other nearby buildings. Also, the landmark cathedral is draped with a rich history which is worth discovering.
6) The Emirates Air Line
If you’re headed to east London, hop on the cable car which runs over the River Thames between the Emirates Greenwich Peninsula and Royal Victoria. With your visitor Oyster card, it costs a mere £3.50 for the ten-minute crossing across the river. This is a novel and cheap way to take in the skyline views from the eastern side and will impress the kids. It’s fairly far east so coincide this with a visit to the o2 Arena to make the journey from your accommodation in Paddington worthwhile.
7) Shad Thames
If you want to admire the skyline from the ground, head to the historic Shad Thames – a small neighbourhood on the riverside just east of Tower Bridge. You can stroll along the river and look westwards to appreciate fine views of the bridge and the Tower of London, with the City of London simmering in the background. You’ll also find bars and restaurants where you can enjoy a fine meal and make the experience last, such as French bistro Le Pont de la Tour or the cool Blueprint Cafe.
Take the lift to the Penthouse of One New Change and step out onto the rooftop terrace of Madison bar and restaurant for a special view of St Paul’s Cathedral. The view is dreamy at any time of day, but is particularly spectacular by night when the church is lit up. Madison serves modern cuisine and delicious cocktails. Rooftop DJ sessions take place at the weekends from 4pm and they frequently host Sunday brunches with live music.
9) OXO Tower
The OXO Tower on London’s Southbank is a much-loved landmark which houses galleries and arts and crafts shops on its lower levels. On the eighth floor, you will find the OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie where you can enjoy modern British food, a refreshing cocktail or one of the 800 wines they have available. It’s lovely year-round but when the weather begins to warm up, the view of London’s skyline and general ambience from the outdoor terrace is terrific.
With so many options, there’s no excuse to not see London from a different vantage point during your stay at Park Grand Paddington Court. Don’t forget your camera!