Best London Views for Free
Did you know that some of the best London views are free to visit? I’ve shortlisted 5 ‘green’ options for you right here
When you’re running down Oxford Street, pushing through the tons of Saturday afternoon shoppers while trying to get your hands on that perfect deal in the Winter sale, I’m sure you sometimes feel the need to scream and make a run for it. Away from the craziness that’s Central London.
When I experience these kind of moments, I prefer to take things up a bit higher. Escaped from all the hustle and bustle that takes place below me, I love to take a stroll and unwind on one of the hills the London has on offer. Does it sound strange when I say that it’s like time moves slower when I’m standing on a hill? People suddenly seem to lower their pace when they walk by with their strollers and family dogs, and you even hear the birds sing their beautiful songs all around you. A completely different world from the London we all know.
Need some inspiration? Then take a look at some of my favorite London views and hilltop-locations, and see if there’s something to your liking:
Primrose Hill is located right across from the London Zoo and Regent’s Park, and offers stunning views of central London, Hampstead and Belsize Park. Fun-fact: several prominent persons own a house in the Primrose area, so who knows who you might bump into while taking a morning jog up there. The neighborhood itself also features many cute boutique shops, pubs and restaurants, making it definitely worth a visit.
Getting there: tube: take the Northern Line up to Chalk Farm station. Then, follow Adelaide Rd westbound and turn left at Primrose Hill Rd. Bus: 31 towards Camden Town/Swiss Cottage & C11 towards South End Green/Swiss Cottage (Stop: Primrose Hill Road).
2. Parliament Hill
Parliament Hill is part of the exquisite Hampstead Heath park. The park is one of the largest in the capital, covering 320 hectares, and runs from Hampstead to Highgate. Parliament Hill is located in the south-east corner and is definitely a perfect place to unwind and take in stunning views of London. From the One Canada Square skyscraper in the south-east, to London Eye in the west, it’s all visible from the open piece of woodland. Parliament Hill is also a popular place for kite flying. Also, it is the gateway to plenty of sights and activities in the surrounding area.
Getting there: tube: Take the Northern Line up to Hampstead. Then, follow Hampstead High St southbound and turn left on Downshire Hill. London Overground: embark at the Hampstead Heath Overground station. Then, follow Parliament Hill. Bus: 214, C2 towards Camden Town/Archway or Highgate Village (stop: Parliament Hill Fields).
3. Royal Observatory
The Royal Observatory is best known for the prime meridian. It also used to play a big part in the history of astronomy and navigation. If you’re not that interested in stargazing, you still might want to consider making a visit, as the location of the Royal Observatory is absolutely breathtaking. Like with most of the places mentioned in this post, you’ve to climb quite a bit to get to this viewpoint in Greenwich Park. However, it is definitely worth the exercise. When you’ve taken your panorama pictures of the capital’s skyline, walk (or roll?) back down the hill. Here, you can visit the world famous Old Royal Naval College, the Maritime Museum or the delightful Greenwich Market.
Getting there: DLR: alight at either Cutty Sark or Greenwich DLR station. Then, follow the signs to the Royal Observatory. Bus: 129, 177, 180, 188, 286, 386 towards Blackheath Village, Charlton or North Greenwich/Blackheath Village, Deptford or Lewisham (stop: National Maritime Museum). From there, follow the signs to the Royal Observatory.
4. Alexandra Palace
Located in the north of London, Alexandra Palace is an iconic London landmark and the host of concerts, events, and exhibitions. The historical building is set in a gorgeous park in the Borough of Haringey, and is a great place to recharge your batteries. There’s loads to do and visit, such as a boating lake, Farmer’s Market, and even a deer park. But most importantly, the area around Alexandra Palace boasts jaw-dropping views of the London skyline.
Getting there: train: train services by Great Northern to Alexandra Palace Station. Bus: W3, 184 towards Wood Green/Bounds Green (stop: Alexandra Palace Station). From there, follow South Terrace until you reach Alexandra Palace.
Until now, we’ve seen some beautiful corners of the capital which feature breathtaking views of the London skyline. But our ‘On Top of the World’ shortlist wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Richmond Hill. Without a doubt, Richmond itself is a true gem, with its village-feel ambience, the stunning Thames backdrop and the massive park. But that’s not all.
Right between the town center and Richmond Park you can find Richmond Hill. This is a slope that rises above the river Thames and is home to Richmond Palace. You won’t be able to see the capital’s skyline from there. However, the view of the Thames taking a sharp turn and the meadows below are a real treat for the eyes. On bright days you can even see Hampton Court Palace in the distance. Sir Walter Scott certainly called Richmond Hill ‘’an unrivalled landscape’’ for a reason. It truly is breathtaking.
Getting there: tube/overground: District line or Overground to Richmond station. Hill. Train: train services by South West Trains. From there, follow George St and Hill Street towards the south, followed by Richmond. Bus: 65 towards Ham/Richmond (stop Robins Court).
So, here you go, 5 places to unwind and feel ‘On Top of the World’. Away from the hustle and bustle that defines Central London. ‘And breathe…’
Do you feel that a certain place is missing from this list? Give your input below in the comments! What are your favourite London views?
Don’t forget to check out the second post in this series. More free London views to enjoy!