The clocks have sprung forward, the blossom is blooming and summer is on its way. That means we take our socialising from underground to sky high, and in London this means iconic views of everything from Hyde Park to the Thames. Whether you fancy a cocktail in Canary Wharf or brunch in Shoreditch, here are 17 of the best views in London to enjoy at any time of day, for any occasion.
Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar
London Waterloo (0.3 miles)
What: Views of the Thames
Why: As well as nine cuts of British Steak and over 100 gins, Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar has spectacular panoramic views out across the Thames, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. Eating and sightseeing in one. Ideal.
Where: Gillray's Steakhouse & Bar, Westminster Bridge Road, London
What: Sky High Seafood
Why: Sat on top of South Place Hotel, is the Michelin-starred Angler offering up the best of British seafood and seasonal dishes as well as views out across the city. On the menu, you’ll find the likes of salt cod with Jersey Royals, black truffle cream and French asparagus and rabbit agnolotti with morels, wild garlic and pecorino. The roof terrace features a retractable roof for when the sun shines and heaters for when it doesn’t…
Where: South Place Hotel, 3 South Place, EC2M 2AF
What: Iconic City Sights
Why: Jason Atherton’s City Social, sits on the 24th floor of Tower 42, walk in and your immediately greeted with views of the iconic sights of the city, The Gherkin, The Cheesegrater, The Shard. We would say go during the day, but you can’t guarantee that the sun will be shining, so go at night, take a date and watch the whole city lit up. To eat, you’ll find the likes of braised Irish beef short rib with celery, watercress and red wine sauce and Cornish seabass with deep fried oyster, cucumber, cauliflower and oyster velouté.
Where: Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, EC2N 1HQ
London Bridge (0.1 miles)
What: London's Tallest Building
Why: If you want the best views of London, then you’re going to want to go as high as you can and where can you do that? The Shard of course – it is after all London’s tallest buildings. Sat on the 31st floor is Aqua Shard, a restaurant and bar serving up contemporary British cuisine. With walls made from glass, the food might be second to the views but, that’s not to say it isn’t well worth eating here, we especially recommend the weekend brunch. Great for stunning views. Not so great if you get vertigo.
Where: Level 31, The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, London, SE1 9RY
London Waterloo (0.2 miles)
What: Sights of Southbank
Why: There’s no denying that there is something magical about Southbank at night with its twinkling lights and for the restaurant with the best views of this slice of London you’ll want Skylon in the Royal Festival Hall. On the menu you’ll find the likes of seared yellowfish tuna with sesame, wasabi, ponzu and black radish and suckling pig belly, seared scallops, turnip dauphinoise, honey and mustard jus.
Where: Royal Festival Hall, London SE1 8XX
Charing Cross (0.1 miles)
What: Views of Trafalgar Square
Why: Nelson’s Column, arguably one of London’s most recognisable sights, but did you know that Nelson was also known as the 1st Duke of Bronte – hence why Bronte, the restaurant with views of Trafalgar Square is called Bronte. Now that the weather is looking up, pull up a pew on their terrace and drink under the watchful eye of Lord Nelson.
Where: 1-3 Strand, London WC2N 5EJ
London Cannon Street (0.1 miles)
What: City Garden
Why: Coq d’ Argent may look rather unassuming from the ground but once you head up, you’ll find a secret city garden and terrace. On the menu, you’ll find the likes of truffle tortellini, vichyssoise and parmesan and red wine braised chicken, lardons, button mushrooms and mashed potatoes. When it comes to landmark spotting you’re in prime position being close to St Pauls and the with views out across the city.
Where: No 1 Poultry, Poultry, London EC2R 8EJ
Gaucho Tower Bridge
What: Steak and Sights
Why: Think Gaucho and you think steak and red wine, what you probably don’t think of is great views – but head to Gaucho Tower Bridge and whilst you eat the likes of cured beef salad, steak and milk chocolate and praline mousse, you can also take in the views of Tower Bridge and City Hall.
Where: 2 More London Riverside, SE1 2AP
Jumeirah Carlton Tower
Knightsbridge (0.4 miles)
What: The Club Room at Jumeirah Carlton Tower
Why: Hidden away on the 9th floor of Jumeirah Carlton Tower is The Club Room. They’re known for their healthy lunch buffet, which has dishes like pearl and black quinoa salad with pomegranate, pumpkin seeds and barrel aged feta and egg white omelette with chia seeds, spinach, avocado and pimento. What they should also be known for is the view you get when you are there, which covers Knightsbridge, Chelsea and beyond. Take the panoramic lift up there for the full experience.
Where: 1 Cadogan Place, Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 9PY
Duck & Waffle
What: London's Highest 24/7 Restaurant
Why: You know the saying jack of all trades, master of none? That could have so easily applied to Duck & Waffle, but in fact they win at being a 24 hour restaurant, having excellent food and unrivalled views out across London. The experience begins with a 40 second lift ride that whooshes you up to the 40th floor of 110 Bishopsgate and ends with you having had your fill of duck and waffle and your storage on your phone being that much smaller due to all the photos you took.
Where: 110 Bishops, Aldgate, EC2N 4AY
Moorgate (Great Northern) (0.2 miles)
What: City Views
Why: Being on the tenth floor in the city normally means you’re sat at your desk but trade your view from computer to skyline at Aviary. One of London’s newest rooftop venues, the 10th floor bar is as suited to breakfast meeting as it is to sundowner. Start with a cocktail, order a couple of plates from the grill and you’re good to go.
Where: 10th Floor Montcalm Royal London House Hotel, 22-25 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1DX
What: 16th Floor Sky Lounge
Why: The Sky Bar at Urban Coterie boasts views of Shoreditch from the 16th floor which can be enjoyed from sunrise (at the weekend) to sunset. Start your day with yoga, brunch and bottomless mimosas or visit later on for the likes of grilled sea bream, haunch of venison and rhubarb trifle.
Where: 151-157 City Road, Shoreditch, EC1V 1JH
Swan, Shakespeare's Globe
What: Riverside Dining
Why: You don’t have to be sky high to enjoy a dining experience with a view. Swan at Shakespeare’s Globe has recently appointed Allan Pickett as Executive Chef, injecting a focus on seasonality to the menu. Request a table by the window for the best views in the house – arguably the best in London – and gaze over the river to St Paul’s Cathedral and beyond.
Where: 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, SE1 9DT
London St Pancras (0.2 miles)
What: Canalside Al Fresco
Why: In the heart of Granary Square, The Lighterman has an enviable position overlooking Regents Canal. Whilst pretty at night when the fountains are lit up, it’s hard to beat a visit in the summer when the doors are flung open and the dual-aspect terrace is scattered with glasses of Aperol, rosé and ice-cold lager.
Where: 3 Granary Square, London, N1C 4BH
What: Industrial, Sky High Interiors
Why: Canary Wharf has a new sky bar and restaurant. Floor 37, 38 and 39 serve artisanal food and drink and whilst all three boast impressive views, the roof terrace is our pick. Nab a day bed and pretend you’re on holiday or prop yourself up at the gin bar for a sophisticated date night.
Where: Floor 37-39, 40 Marsh Wall, Canary Wharf, E14 9TP
London Hilton on Park Lane
Hyde Park Corner (0.3 miles)
What: Michelin Starred Dining and 360 Degree Views
Why: Get yourself in the lift at London Hilton on Park Lane and press 28. Not only will you emerge with 360 degree views of Hyde Park and beyond but you’ll experience Michelin-starred French haute cuisine. Galvin at Windows last year celebrated its tenth anniversary, and though the skyline has changed over the years the iconic sites remain the same; Buckingham Palace, Canary Wharf, the London Eye and Wembley Stadium.
Where: 22 Park Lane, London, W1K 1BE
The Thomas Cubitt
London Victoria (0.3 miles)
What: Quintessentially British Pub
Why: Not a sky high view, but quintessentially English nonetheless, The Thomas Cubitt overlooks the cobbled streets and boutique shops of Belgravia. Enjoy an al fresco lunch (preferably with your Instagram-famous dog sat obediently by your feet) and watch the world go by. The very well-heeled world…
Where: 44 Elizabeth Street, Belgravia, London, SW1W 9PA
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