Edwin Lerner

Best Places To See London From Above

A viewing gallery has opened on top of the new skyscraper at 22 Bishopsgate.  Visitors to London can get views of the City without paying if they find the London Eye or The Shard too expensive. It joins the Sky Garden on top of the Walkie-Talkie building as a viewing platform which is accessible to the general public and free of charge. Café/bars serving hot and cold drinks can be found in both locations, but visitors are under no obligation to buy anything. Both viewing platforms have free toilet facilities.

Visitors to London should always book in advance if they are planning to visit either location via horizon22.co.uk or skygarden.london to do so. Officially, the Sky Garden insists on photo ID for all visitors, but this is rarely enforced. You can get views towards The Shard from the Sky Garden, and although it is only half the height, it feels like you are almost as high as it is. The Walkie-Talkie is 160 metres (525 feet) high, and 22 Bishopsgate is 278 metres (912 feet) tall, the highest building in the City. (The Shard is outside the City.) It is the tallest building in Europe at 310 metres (1016 feet) high.

Sky Garden Restaurant in London. Photo Credit: © rhubarb, Sky Garden. Sky Garden Restaurant in London. Photo Credit: © rhubarb, Sky Garden.

Another popular stop is the roof gallery above the shopping centre at One New Change in Bread Street, which, although not as high, affords a good view of St Paul’s Cathedral. It has recently reopened after being closed for maintenance. For the latest updates, go to: onenewchange.com.

The Shard still offers the highest viewing gallery in London, and the London Eye is the most popular, with over three million visitors every year. Neither is free, however. Charges start at £28 to ascend The Shard, and at the London Eye you will pay at least £25 to ride in one of its thirty-two pods, which takes half an hour. Go to theviewfromtheshard.com or londoneye.com to book (and pay for) your tickets.

London Eye. Photo Credit: © visitlondon.com/Jon Reid. London Eye. Photo Credit: © visitlondon.com/Jon Reid.

Edwin Lerner

Named Edwin (an early king of Northern England) but usually called ‘Eddie’, I conducted extended tours around Britain and Ireland for many years and now work as a freelance guide and tour manager with a little writing and editing on the side.  I specialise in public transport and walking…

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