5 Places to See the London Skyline (Without Spending a Penny)

April 18, 2016

‘There's nowhere else like London. Nothing at all, anywhere.’ - Vivienne Westwood

It’s hard to imagine London without its superbly memorable skyline. The city is famous for its towering buildings, that act as shining examples of the broad mix of architecture at work in the British capital. And we just can’t get enough of the view. The Shard, St. Paul’s, the Gherkin, the London Eye, Canary Wharf – the list continues as far as the eye can see. There are many great ways to see London at its best, but we’ve chosen five of our favourites, that as an added bonus are completely free.

Mudchute Park and Farm

View of London across the Thames at night.

Mudchute Park and Farm is a huge urban park (over 32 acres), just south of Canary Wharf in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. The park itself is a delight, filled with farm animals, community projects and leafy trees. But it’s the view you won’t be able to take your eyes away from. It’s the perfect spot to admire the soaring skyscrapers of Canary Wharf, and is especially attractive at sunset. There’s nothing quite like enjoying the beautiful urban metropolis that is London, whilst sheep graze around you. Be sure to take your camera, as you won’t be able to resist taking a snap or two.

Primrose Hill

View of the London skyline from the grass at Primrose Hill in Camden during the day.

Primrose Hill sits on the edge of Camden, and is located just across from Regent’s Park and London Zoo. Whilst it does take a bit of energy to climb (well there is the word ‘hill’ in the title), it’s certainly worth the excursion. The rolling hills and tree-lined paths of Regent’s Park, the impressive West End architecture, the towering BT Tower, the Shard, the ‘Walkie-Talkie’ building – you can see so much from this spot. Grab yourself a bench or roll out the picnic blanket, and admire one of the finest views in town.

Alexandra Palace

London's Alexandra Palace against a clear bly sky.

Alexandra Palace, known lovingly as ‘Ally Pally’, is located in North London, between Muswell Hill and Wood Green. The iconic Victorian building hosts a variety of entertaining events and cultural happenings and is surrounded by stunning parkland. Thanks to its relative distance out of the city centre, you are able to get an impressively broad view of the London skyline. You can also see the ‘Harringay Ladder’ – so called because the streets form a ladder shape from above – which is just west of Green Lanes.

Parliament Hill

London's skyline from Hampstead Heath's Parliament Hill.

Hampstead Heath is a big parkland that spans a whopping 791 acres in the hills of North London. The Heath makes for a perfect day out, where you can swim in the lakes (only in summer, of course), visit the museums or go for a good, old-fashioned pub lunch. But it’s also a local favourite for getting excellent views across London. Parliament Hill is the best spot on the Heath to get a sweeping view of the city centre in its entirety, day or night. It’s rather exposed, so can get a bit chilly if there are strong winds, but the London skyline makes it worth it.

Greenwich Park

View of London's skyline from Greenwich Park on a sunny day.

You know a viewpoint is pretty damn great if it is legally protected. The view of London from the park is legally protected by statutes stating no buildings can be constructed that would obstruct the view from this point. Climb to the highest point of the park and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views of east London – think the O2 dome, Canary Wharf, the Gherkin and the Shard. You’ll also get a perfect view of Christopher Wren’s Greenwich Naval College and the 17th century Queen’s House. And on sunny days, the sparkling waters of the Thames are visible. Greenwich Park makes for a lovely day out, with the view of London’s skyline making it all the more special.

Ellie Hubble Culture vulture Ellie's recent trips include snorkeling in Sardinia, attempting to gamble in Vegas and dancing through Berlin. Travioor lets her indulge her adventurous side and find ideas for the next expedition.