Being one of the world’s most essential metropolises, London possesses one of the most iconic and spectacular skylines; one that visitors fall over themselves to take in. But where and how is it best to do so…?
The London Eye
The obvious place to start, the ‘Eye’ – as it’s colloquially known in the capital (it’s often also referred to as the ‘Millennium Wheel’) – is the giant Ferris wheel positioned at the eastern end of the South Bank, just across the Thames from Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. Day or night, the views afforded from aboard any of the Eye’s pods, as they slowly complete a rotation, are second to none – you can even see as far as to spot Windsor Castle (and definitely the accommodation where you’re staying, like, say, the Park Grand hotel Paddington and other hotels near Paddington Station)!
Located at the northern end of Regent’s Park in North London, Primrose Hill – owing to its popularity with locals, dog-walkers, joggers, visitors and all and sundry – has in recent years officially lent its name to the nearby much sought-after residential area, but really here it’s all about the views and the marvellously pleasant green space in which they’re to be enjoyed. Perfect for picnics and no mistake.
It may have been erected and only been open relatively recently, but the cloud-piercing shard of glass that’s, yes, The Shard building (located just south of the Thames in Southwark) has rightly already become a London icon. Boasting a total of 87 storeys, making it Western Europe’s tallest building, it’s its viewing platform that’s almost at the summit where you need to head for those extraordinarily clear views of the capital and miles around. Here you’ll find not just the panorama to enjoy but also digital touch-screen telescopes that enable you to zoom in and out of every nook and cranny you see fit.
The Royal Observatory
Known to those in the know as the site of the prime meridian (the line that runs around the globe at which the world’s various time zones begin, running both east and west), the Royal Observatory’s located atop a hill in the glorious Greenwich Park. The view from here’s glorious too – it’s all about spectacle and elegance, what with the likes of not just the Thames to fill your eyes, but the grand Restoration-era buildings that are Sir Christopher Wren’s Royal Naval College and Inigo Jones’ Queen’s House.
Emirates Air Line
Yes, London does genuinely have a cable car attraction; the Emirates Air Line runs between Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks to experience a truly spectacular moving view of the centre of the city – and a great panorama of the city’s East End, in particular, too – not least at night, it’s only fair to say.
Up at the O2
Finally, this is perhaps the most unusual way to enjoy a great view of the capital – surely the one that involves the most actual physical activity – as it tasks participants with scaling the roof of the O2 (originally known as the ‘Millennium Dome’, the venue for so many top entertainment and sports events) via a totally safe, albeit slightly challenging, walkway. Don’t worry, though; you’re decked out with the appropriate gear before you start (including a safety harness) and, so long as you’re fairly fit, it’s suitable for pretty much every one to give a go, young or old.