Best Free Views In London For Your First Time In The City

London City Views

London has long been heralded as one of the best cities in the world for scenery. Whether you’re visiting the Grand Royale Hotel London for business or for pleasure, you’ll no doubt have marvelled at the diverse landscapes and highly photogenic panoramas. Whether in north or south, there’s always somewhere that will give you a clear sense of how large London really is.

But you needn’t pay to see them. Across the city, many tourist attractions require you to pay an entrance fee or reserve a table to enjoy the views from, say, the Shard and the London Eye. London is a designated forest city, meaning that there are many trees, parks and public spaces dotted throughout its concrete towers and bustling streets that you can enjoy at no cost. Therefore, it’s easier – and cheaper – than you might first think to find those slices of peace amidst the hustle and bustle. There’s nothing quite like drinking in the views on a first time stay at Bayswater accommodation, to really sink into your London escape.

The South Bank Terraces 

The South Bank itself is a sight to behold, filled with buskers, joggers, cyclists and live event goers. The many bars and cultural centres dotted across the South Bank have helped the promenade become a hub of entertainment and afterwork drinks. In short, it’s the perfect place for first-time guests of London hotel special offers to get a taste of the London social scene.

What many people don’t know is that the large brutalist concrete design of the National Theatre made space for a terrace when it was first built. This viewpoint provides stunning views over the River Thames and is a great place for quiet study or contemplation. If it’s the vibes you’re after, the Queen Elizabeth Hall roof garden, part of the Southbank Centre, has similar breathtaking views and in the summer hosts a cocktail bar. 

Simply Cross A Bridge! 

These may not be the highest observation points in London, but seeing the Thames and its winding trail from above the river itself is well worth it. From central bridges like the Millennium Bridge walkway and Waterloo Bridge, visitors can see many of the landmarks on the riverside, whilst bridges in West London such as Barnes Bridge and Kew Bridge offer windswept vistas over the Royal Botanic Gardens and London Wetlands centre. 


The monument to the devastating fire of London is located on Pudding Lane, where the fire first started in 1666. Hundreds of acres of the city were destroyed by the fire, which started just 62 metres from the point of the Monument. That is also the height of the structure, which if toppled to horizontal, would have its tip land exactly where the fire started. This isn’t the only strange fact about the Monument, it also has a hidden staircase within it that visitors can enjoy for a cheap ticket price. Walk up the staircase of the Monument and gaze over the rooftops for a panoramic view of the city. 

Parliament Hill 

Parliament Hill

Parliament Hill is situated on Hampstead Heath and is alleged to be the point at which Guy Fawkes had planned to watch the Houses of Parliament explode. Though his 1605 plot failed, the hill is still there for all to enjoy. Hampstead Heath is an ancient woodland and nature reserve and has plenty of attractions across its 800 acres, giving you plenty to do if the weather doesn’t suit a sit down picnic overlooking the City of London. Visitors can reach Hampstead Heath via the northern line to West Hampstead or the Overground to Hampstead Heath. 

Alexandra Palace 

Alexandra Palace

North London’s Alexandra Palace is a music venue that has a history dating back more than a hundred years. The large palladium is stunning to behold both inside and out, but doesn’t overshadow the view from atop its stairs. Visit at night and you’ll see the city lights twinkling in the distance, whilst daytime uncovers seas of rooftops and what is an almost miragelike wall of skyscrapers in the distance. Check the Alexandra Palace website to book tickets for its world-class shows and events. 

Greenwich Observatory 

Greenwich Observatory

Also the home of the Greenwich Observatory and Greenwich Line of Meridian monument, the hill plonked neatly in the middle of Greenwich Park provides stunning views over the Isle of Dogs and Canary Wharf’s collection of skyscrapers. The park itself is lined with paeans to London’s seafaring past, complete with the National Maritime Museum, old Royal Naval College and a reconstruction of the Cutty Sark clipper ship. 

Primrose Hill 

Primrose Hill is not the only attraction in Regent’s Park near Euston and Great Portland Street, but it’s certainly the highest. At 63 metres above sea level, Primrose Hill offers a clear view over the centre of London and is especially popular during the summer months for picnics and afterwork glasses of wine. Other attractions in the park include the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, programming shows between the spring and summer months and London Zoo, the oldest scientific zoo in the world. 

King Henry’s Mound 

Hidden away in the furthest reaches of West London, Richmond Park is one of the most relaxing of the royal park octet. Easy to reach from the Overground and District Line to Richmond, the thousands of acres that make up Richmond Park were originally built by Charles I as a deer hunting enclosure. However, over the years and after the fire that burnt down Richmond Palace close by, the park fell into public hands and became a wildlife conservation area.

Amongst its many landmarks and walking trails, King Henry’s Mound, situated to the west of the park is a scenic viewpoint that provides incredible panoramas over the Thames and the city centre in the distance. The perfect ending point for a bracing walk through the reserve, there are plenty of traditional pubs and restaurants close by, rivalling even that of the Grand Royale London Hyde Park restaurant. These are perfect eateries and bars in which to warm up and drink in more than just King Henry’s viewpoint.