The best things in life are free. Do you agree? This saying also applies to London which is otherwise a very expensive city. Luckily, there are plenty of free activities in London such as visiting world-class museums like the British Museum. Furthermore, you can walk around London and enjoy beautiful vistas without charge. Here’s the list of 5 best free views in London according to my humble opinion.
The South Bank
A stretch of land in Central London by the Thames River from the Westminster Bridge to the Blackfriars Bridge. This is nowadays an entertainment and commercial district full of different activities and attractions. From the The London Eye (which is a great attraction but rather pricey) and the London Dungeon to the National Theatre there’s something for everyone here. Free activities include watching the street art performers and enjoying the view of the Westminster and St Paul’s cathedral. Magnificent view no matter the time of the day or the weather! And it’s never the same! I’ve been visiting London for the past 10 years and I’ve witnessed significant changes in London’s skyline. There are new skyscrapers now around St Paul’s jostling for a good position.
Top tip: Go for cocktails at Oxo tower and enjoy the night view of St Paul’s
If you want to look down on the Tower Bridge and the historical Tower of London as well as be smack right in the City of London this is the place for you. There are several cafes at this location as well as a garden (kind of) but the biggest draw of this skyscraper are the beautiful views. It’s completely free but you have to make a booking online. For more information check my post here.
Top tip: visit during the week, right around the opening time to avoid the crowds
Greenwich Park is a part of Greenwich World Heritage Site which includes the Prime Meridian and the Old Royal Observatory. You should go all the way up towards the Old Royal Observatory to get the best views of Canary Wharf across as well as the River Thames and the o2 arena. You can even see the City of London in the distance. During the London 2012 Olympics equestrian events were held in this park. Greenwich is a lovely part of London to explore and there’s a small but lovely market too.
Top tip: reach Greenwich by a river cruise from the London Eye (the best option are the fast Thames Clippers boats)
Primrose Hill district is one of the most expensive residential areas in London. But it’s also close to the quirky Camden market. As the name says Primrose Hill is a 65m high hill on the northern edge of the Regent’s Park with beautiful views of London. Once you’ve admired the view of Central London (you can see Big Ben too) you can visit the London ZOO down below.
Top tip: why don’t you have a picnic here?
It’s located in huge Hampstead Heath park made famous by the movie the Notting Hill with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. I visited Hampstead for the first time last year and fell in love with this part of London. You can spend an entire day wandering around lovely streets of Hampstead or you can explore the grounds of Hampstead Heath Park before you reach the Parliament Hill which is 98m high and offers amazing views of London’s skyline. Some of the landmarks you can see from here are: the Gherkin, St Paul’s, the Shard and Canary Wharf.
Top tip: visit the Kenwood house for free
There are three other notable & free views I’d like to mention. The Viewing Level of the Tate Modern gallery which I still have to check out as well as One New Change Rooftop (a shopping center) with stunning views of the St Paul’s cathedral and the rest of the City of London. Of course, there’s also the magnificent view of old & new London from the Queen’s Walk (just opposite the Tower of London across the Thames) depicted below.