Who hasn’t checked into their hotel, flung open the curtains and been greeted by the view of a brick wall? Sure, of course it’s all about location, but for a really magical stay a view makes all the difference. And in a city like London those views can be incredible, whether you’re looking out across Trafalgar Square, the Houses of Parliament or Buckingham Palace, make sure that the view out of your window is even more stunning than the one on the postcards you write home…
There’s a simple conceit built into the view from the Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London; you simply can’t get the full experience of the classic London skyline. Because you’re in it. The iconic view of London, the one you see in the opening credits of gritty dramas, the one that Hollywood movies use to show they’re in ‘London, England’, the one that’s in the background of every major street scene and now you’re falling asleep in the middle of the picture. You have the best and highest view in town, and you are the view.
Where: 31 St Thomas Street, London SE1 9QU United Kingdom
Nearest station: London Bridge (0.1 miles)
Piccadilly Circus is the epicentre of London, Britain’s answer to Times Square, a place where national events take place, where tourists snap and Londoners curse the traffic. But rise above the mayhem and you’re quickly not only in rarified air, but with a rare view of the world famous circus from above. Not only that, but you can admire the Georgian sweep of Regent Street as it begins or look down historic Haymarket toward the Houses of Parliament.
Where: 68 Regent Street, Piccadilly, W1B 4DY
Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus (0.1 miles)
The perfect place to observe the four seasons? Try the Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane. Overlooking two of London’s great parks, Hyde Park and Green Park, the lungs of London never look the same, particularly between stays. The lush green of spring gives way to the yellowy brown of summer as the grass is trodden and sun-singed almost to nothing, followed by autumnal golds and reds and the washed out skeletal woodland that precedes Spring.
Where: Hamilton Place, Park Lane, London, W1J 7DR, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner (0.2 miles)
The LaLiT looks out across South London toward Tower Bridge on one aspect and the twin towers of brutalist Guy’s Hospital and the modern masterpiece of The Shard. Of course the views on the inside are worth taking in too, with the interiors designed by Archer Humphryes, the same designer responsible for the inside of Chiltern Firehouse.
Where: 181 Tooley Street, London SE1 2JR, UK
Nearest station: London Bridge (0.4 miles)
Enjoy one of London’s finest spas, dinner at Tom Kerridge’s new joint then head up to your room and let the gobsmacking view sink in. Westminster may be the home of The Thick of It, but at The Corinthia you really are in the thick of it. The Thames constantly rolling by, the wheel ever turning, and yet time will stop as you take it all in.
Where: Whitehall Place, Westminster, SW1A 2BD
Nearest station: London Charing Cross (0.1 miles)
One of London’s oldest buildings is also one of its most loved, revered and dreaded; the Tower of London. Home of the Crown Jewels, site of many an execution and a great tourist attraction, the crenelated surrounds of tower are overlooked by the Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square. Not only that, but naturally Tower Bridge hones into view, plus the modern seat of power over at looming Canary Wharf.
Where: Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, Trinity Square, London EC3N 4AJ, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Tower Hill (0.1 miles)
St Martin’s Lane has been the home of historical figures like satirist William Hogarth and Thomas Chippendale, and today plays host to the English National Opera, the Noel Coward and Duke of York’s theatres. And the St Martin’s Lane hotel. Not only do rooms look out along and across the famous street, but more importantly you can look down to Trafalgar Square, Whitehall and Parliament beyond.
Where: 45 St. Martins Lane, London, WC2N 4HX, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Leicester Square (0.2 miles)
It’s always Insta-selfie time over at The Sheraton Grand London Park Lane. Looking out across Green Park, the hotel offers views toward Buckingham Palace, parliament, the city, The Shard, the lot. It’s like a snow globe of London, everything’s there, all the major buildings are represented. What’s more, you’re only a short walk or taxi from all of it.
Where: Sheraton Grand London Park Lane, Piccadilly, London, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Green Park (0.4 miles)
I’m not fluent in Italian, but surely Baglioni must mean ‘view’? Head to the Baglioni in Rome and you’re looking out across the Eternal City’s many hills, in Venice the hotel takes in the San Marco and Giorgio Basin, and don’t get get me started on the Maldives property. True to form, in London the hotel looks out over Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park and toward home of the royals, Kensington Palace.
Where: 60 Hyde Park Gate, London, SW7 5BB
Nearest station: High Street Kensington (0.6 miles)
They say that you should buy a house based not on what it looks like, but what it looks out onto. After all, if the view from your sitting room window is a beautiful Victorian street-scene, then who cares that you’re living in an ex-council monstrosity? The same theory reigns at the Royal Garden Hotel, the 1960s poured concrete edifice dominating the corner of High Street Kensington and Kensington Gardens. However, the views afforded across the gardens, Hyde Park, Kensington Palace and the city beyond are stunning. For a special treat, head up to Chinese fine dining restaurant Min Jiang, bag a table seat and take it all in.
Where: 2-24 Kensington High Street, Kensington, London, W8 4PT, United Kingdom
Nearest station: High Street Kensington (0.4 miles)
And then there’s the view that literally can’t buy. Literally. There are some great bedroom views across this roundup, some cost hundreds of pounds, others thousands, but without shadow of a doubt, the best view in the whole city is the one from the wards and bedrooms at St Thomas’s Hospital. Overlooking the London eye on the one side and Barry and Pugin’s Houses of Parliament on the other
Where: Westminster Bridge Road, Lambeth, SE1 7EH