Apart from Alexandra Palace and Hampstead Heath in North London and then the hilly parts of south, like Telegraph Hill and Shooters Hill, London is a relatively flat city, meaning if you want to get a great view over the capital, you’re gonna need a bit of help getting higher in the sky. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of tall buildings (and high speed lifts) to get you up to that bird’s eye viewpoint.

There are lots of restaurants that boast great views over London, but if you don’t want to be distracted by people eating dinner, head up to one of the capital’s dedicated viewing galleries instead. There you’ve got giant windows and plenty of space to go landmark spotting, marvel at the city playing out in miniature below you, and, of course, snap that perfect shot. Here’s where to get the best views in London.

The Lookout

8 Bishopsgate may be predominantly taken up by offices but there’s something pretty special that’s open to the public on the 50th floor of the City skyscraper. The Lookout is a 2,500 sq ft viewing gallery that boasts views across the city, including landmarks on both sides of the river – and it’s totally free to head up there, you just need to book a ticket. And if you want the space all to yourself, you can even hire it out for private events.

8 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4BQ

View over London from Horizon 22

Horizon 22

22 Bishopsgate, the tallest building in the City of London at 278 metres tall, is opening up what will be London’s, and indeed Europe’s, highest free public viewing gallery. Located on level 58 of the skyscraper at 254 metres above the ground, Horizon 22 will be accessible by two high-speed lifts that’ll take you all the way up in 41 seconds. The gallery will feature an 8.4-metre high ceiling and triple glazed windows so you can really soak in the panoramic views, including landmarks like the Cheesegrater, the Walkie Talkie, the Gherkin, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge and the Shard.

Opens Weds 27th September 2023
22 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4BQ

Sky Garden

Welcome to London’s highest public garden, right in the heart of the City and found at level 35 of the Walkie-Talkie building. Sky Garden has everything under one glossy glass roof: a white-clothed kinda place in Fenchurch Restaurant on Level 37; a cool and casual brasserie in Darwin Brasserie; and late-night cocktails in Sky Pod. The views go without saying but the real wow-factor comes from the three-storeys of landscaped gardens inside.

Sky Garden, 20 Fenchurch St, London EC3M 8AF

View from The Shard

If you wanna see the city really spread out below you like a toy train set, head up to level 72 of The Shard aka London’s highest viewing gallery. Once you’ve taken in the sights from the open-air skydeck, you can head down a few floors to level 69 and continue admiring the 360-degree views of the capital with a glass of fizz from the champagne bar.

Joiner Street, London SE1 9QU

Lift 109

The Grade II-listed Power Station at Battersea has had a big makeover and as well as seeing it from ground level, you can shoot up to the top of it via a glass lift inside one of those iconic chimneys. Once you’ve had a look around the interactive exhibition in the Art Deco Turbine Hall A and learned about the building’s history, you can step inside LIFT 109 and ride up to the viewpoint in the north-west tower 109 metres above the ground, where you’ll get 360-degree views over Battersea and beyond. It’s just like in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory except this glass elevator won’t burst through the ceiling and into space.

Battersea Power Station, Nine Elms, London SW8 5BN