The city of London covers 606 square miles within the United Kingdom. Founded in 43 AD as a Roman settlement, the population of London now soars to over 8 million residents. This makes it one of the most crowded cities in the world. It’s also recognized as one of the most diverse. Like most urban areas, there are quite a few high places to catch a glimpse of the city. This is a list of the top three views in London.
See London from almost 1,000 feet into the sky at the Shard
The Shard, formerly known as London Bridge Tower, is a 72 story skyscraper located in Central London. It’s a relatively new building designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano. Construction just finished in 2012. It was recently opened to the public to visit on February 1, 2013. It’s currently ranked as the tallest building in the European Union.
The Shard building is located at 32 London Bridge Street in the Southwark London neighborhood. No matter where you are in Central London, you’ll notice the Shard instantly as the giant skyscraper that looks like a shard of glass. The roof towers 998 feet into the sky. If you include the antenna, the building is 1017 feet tall.
Hands down, the Shard offers the best views in London. Once you walk through the entrance, two high-speed kaleidoscopic-style lifts will take you up to the observation deck. For a more spectacular experience, try arriving right before sunset. You’ll see London under a sunny lit sky, as the sun sets on the skyline, and during the evening. Tickets cost around 30 pounds on arrival. You’ll save 5 pounds by booking in advance. The Shard is open from 9AM to 10PM.
Get a panoramic view on St Paul’s Cathedral’s dome
St Paul’s Cathedral was built during the 17th century. Before then, this site was occupied by a previous church which was built in 604 AD. An entrance fee is required to go inside, but you’ll also get an audio guide to learn more about the church’s history and architecture.
Inside St Paul’s Cathedral, visitors will find the Whispering Gallery and several famous artifacts. There’s also a crypt where historic figures lay to rest.
Although the building and history is interesting, many visitors come here for the gorgeous views of London. After entering St Paul’s Cathedral, simply climb 500 steps to reach the top of its dome. St Paul Cathedral sits on top of Ludgate Hill, the tallest hill in Central London. Its construction site, along with the dome, offers an unobstructed view of London. It’s a photographer’s dream come true.
Take a spin on the London Eye for views of Central London
The London Eye is the tallest ferris wheel in Europe. It’s located right between the River Thames and Jubilee Gardens in Central London. A spin on the ferris wheel lasts about 30 minutes. You’ll be sharing a pod with other riders.
At its highest point, the ferris wheel is 443 feet tall. This means you’ll have great views of all of Central London, especially the River Thames. Even if you don’t go for a ride, the London Eye is a magnificent piece of architecture to look at. In the evenings, the ferris wheel is lit up with blue lights.
Be sure to purchase your tickets in advance to avoid the long lines. You’ll also receive a slight discount when booking online. The London Eye is actually the meeting location for New Year’s Eve. When the clock strikes midnight, fireworks are launched into the sky at London’s South Bank.