| |

The best views in London with kids

Call me biased but I think London’s skyline is one of my favourites of cities world-wide: from the eye-catching modern skyscrapers to historic and iconic architecture, you’re also spoiled for choice if you want to enjoy these views in London with kids.

View across Tower Bridge and the Thames to the skyscrapers of the city of London on the skyline - the best views of London with kids, including free viewpoints and historic sites
contains affiliate links*

Between the natural viewpoints in London, including some of the highest hills, to attractions like the London Eye, Sky Garden and View from the Shard, as well as free views of London, there’s something for every budget too.

So whichever side of the city you’re visiting, and whether you’re booking ahead or planning a spontaneous visit, check out my 19 top picks for the best views in London with kids.

Image showing a graphic of the London Eye on the Essential Guide to London with kids ebook cover, and the words 'click to buy my 33-page guide to London. Itineraries, tips and all you need to know before a visit to London with kids' linking to my the London with kids shop page

The London Eye

One of the iconic sights of the city, the London Eye is probably the best known place to get a bird’s eye view of the capital (although certainly not the only option!)

And there’s a good reason for it… Turning high above the South Bank and looking out across the Thames, you can get some spectacular panoramas.

It’s best for good weather – unsurprisingly – but cold sunny winter days can give some gorgeously clear views. Or time your ‘flight’ for sunset and watch the lights twinkling on across London.

Prebooking is strongly advised, with discounts if you buy your tickets online in advance. There are also fast-track tickets available to skip the queues, which is ideal with kids, especially in peak season.

Keep an eye out for Horizon 22, London’s highest free viewing platform, 254 metres up, which opens on September 27, 2023 at 22 Bishopsgate

Royal Observatory in Greenwich

Greenwich Park stretches for 183 acres so it’s a lovely place to visit at any time, but head up the hill to where the Royal Observatory is set and you’ll find one of the free best views in London with kids.

Inside the oldest enclosed royal park, where you can also hop across the meridian line, you can look out across the Royal Naval college to the Thames beyond, and out to the London Docklands.

For more ideas of things to do in Greenwich with kids, check out my top tips

The views from Greenwich park in London down to the Old Royal Naval College and the Docklands during a day out in Greenwich with kids

Sky Garden

London’s highest public garden, the Sky Garden is one of the city’s most unusual viewpoints – and one of the best free views in London with kids.

Set in the skyscraper known as the Walkie Talkie, the terraces are filled with Mediterranean and South African plants, so it feels like you’re far from the city below – which you can get a great 360-degree view of through the windows.

Tickets are free but you have to book in advance (and adults need ID to enter), with tickets selling out quickly for weekends and school holidays.

Tickets are released three weeks in advance: you can also book tables at the two restaurants as an alternative way to visit (although obviously it’s not then free).

For more ideas on how to save money on days out in London with kids, check out my top tips

Garden at 120 (120 Fenchurch St)

Garden at 120 is one of the newest viewpoints in London and something of a rival to the Sky Garden, with its own views of nearby skyscrapers including the Gherkin and the Walkie Talkie itself.

Located on the top floor of 120 Fenchurch Street, a few minutes from Leadenhall Market, the lift takes you up to the largest public rooftop space in the City of London.

The free-to-enter roof garden has rows of manicured hedges, beautiful wildflowers, water features, and a wisteria-covered pergola: perfect for a sunny day in the city.

View of the St Paul's Cathedral from the One New Change roof terrace - one of the best free viewpoints in London with kids

One New Change

At the large shopping centre of One New Change in the middle of the City of London, bypass the busy shops and head up to the complex’s rooftop for some of the best views over the capital.

The modern rooftop terrace has a view of St Paul’s Cathedral that’s so close it almost feels like you could reach out and touch it.

The public terrace is open seven days a week and is free to visit. You’ll also find Madison’s Restaurant and Bar on the rooftop, but no children are allowed in on Saturdays and only until 3pm on other days – if you do want to visit, you’ll need to book in advance to get a good table.

The Lookout at 8 Bishopsgate

One of the newest viewpoints in London, The Lookout is set on the 50th floor of 8 Bishopsgate for some impressive views over the City from the viewing gallery.

It’s also free to visit but best to prebook – especially so soon after its opening as it’s unsurprisingly popular. Walk-ins may be admitted depending on the day’s availability though.

On the plus side, unlike the Sky Garden, you can book months in advance. Tickets are valid for 45 minutes, with timed entrance slots every 15 minutes.

The Monument 

The Monument to the Great Fire of London stands 202 feet high, and 202 feet from the spot where the fire started on Pudding Lane – if you laid it down, it would reach right to the site of the bakery.

Sitting at the junction of Monument Street and Fish Street Hill, it was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and finished in 1677, with new gold leaf added to the flaming orb at the top during restorations in 2009.

But it’s not just a great spot to visit with kids learning about the Great Fire, you can also climb the 311 steps to the gallery at the top to look out across the city, with 360 degree views.

There’s a free certificate for those who make it to the top too. Tickets cost £6 for adults, half-price for kids.

For more locations linked to the Great Fire of London, and a scavenger hunt for kids to follow, check out my Great Fire of London walk

The Monument to the Great Fire of London against a blue sky, surrounded by office blocks - you can get one of the best views in London with kids at this historic spot

Viewing Level Tate Modern

Climb to the top of the Tate Modern’s Blavatnik Building for more impressive 360-degree views of London with kids.

The free open viewing terrace sits right in the heart of the city, so offers close up views of famous landmarks including St Paul’s Cathedral, located just across the river, the Shard, and the towering skyscrapers of the City of London.

Once you’re done on the terrace, take a look around at some of the gallery’s fantastic artwork or the Tate Modern restaurant has its own breathtaking views. You could even stroll along the South Bank and compare it with the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden around 15 minutes away – scroll down for details.

Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden at Southbank Centre

​​The Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden at the Southbank Centre might not be one of the highest viewpoints in London, but this hidden gem does have its own special views over the city.

The unique rooftop garden oasis has a lush lawn for you to sit on and is filled with colourful fruit trees and wildflowers.

There’s also a cafe where you can grab drinks and homemade pastries to enjoy while taking in the views over the River Thames and the bustling city beyond. The garden is open Thursday to Sunday and is completely free to visit.

The view of the city from Parliament Hill in north London - the highest point in the capital is one of the best views in London with kids

Parliament Hill

As the highest point in the capital (at 98 metres high), Parliament Hill is home to some of the best free views of London, looking across to St Paul’s Cathedral, the Gherkin and the Houses of Parliament.

Part of the public parkland in the corner of Hampstead Heath in northwest London, it’s a popular spot for locals to bring a picnic and watch the sunset over the city skyline.

Or if you’re visiting during the day, you’ll also find Parliament Hill Fields Lido and an adventure playground nearby to entertain the little ones.

There are plenty of bus routes stopping near Parliament Hill, as well as parking near the Heath. Otherwise Hampstead and Tufnell Park tube stations are closest, as well as Gospel Oak station.

Primrose Hill

Primrose Hill is another great place to find amazing free views of London, and while it’s a bit lower than Parliament Hill, it’s still almost 63 metres above sea level and closer to central London.

One of the six protected viewpoints in London, where the trees are kept low so as not to obscure the view, the hilltop park sits to the north of Regent’s Park and is close to the upmarket London neighbourhood of ​​Primrose Hill, known for its grand Victorian townhouses.

From the summit, you can take in some fantastic 360 degree views over the city; to the south is a clear view of the iconic landmarks of central London, while to the north you can see over the neighbourhoods of Hampstead and Belsize Park.

It’s a short walk from London Zoo, or around 20 minutes from Camden Town tube station.

For more things to do in Camden with kids, check out my top picks

View across the treetop walkway at Kew Gardens, seen among the top canopy of the trees - one of the most unusual places to find the best views in London with kids

Kew Gardens: treetop canopy walk

You might not expect to have great views from Kew Gardens, but head up to its treetop canopy walk and on a clear day, you can see as far as the Docklands.

The treetop walk is set 18m above the ground, so there are also some lovely views of the Royal Botanic Gardens themselves, but head to the side furthest from the stairs and peer through the trees to spot the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf.

Best when there aren’t too many leaves on the trees though. The treetop walk is included in tickets to Kew Gardens, and the high sides mean it’s safe enough for toddlers too.

At present, the lift is being replaced, so the only access is via the stairway.

For more tips on visiting Kew Gardens with kids, check out my top advice

IFS Cloud Cable car

If standing and looking at views doesn’t sound entertaining, families can enjoy London from the sky with a ride on the IFS Cloud cable car.

The cable car travels between Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks, with unique aerial views over the Thames and the London Skyline.

During the day, the journey takes around 10 minutes each way, plus there are also extended night flights after 7pm where you can watch the city come alive after dark.

You can use your contactless card or Oyster Card to board the cable car, or buy a ticket at the ticket office when you arrive. It is a little way from London’s other family attractions, so best combined with visits to the O2 or Greenwich.

Tower Bridge seen against a blue sky with pink blossom in the foreground - one of the best viewpoints in London as well as a key landmark

Tower Bridge

One of the most iconic images of London, people flock to take photos of Tower Bridge – but not everyone knows that it has its own great views if you head inside.

Head into the Tower Bridge Exhibition and you can cross its high-level walkways and experience views down over the bridge and River Thames through its glass floors. One for the brave!

To guarantee entry, you’ll want to buy tickets in advance. There are often family activities and it’s great to explore if you want more than just great views of London with kids.

Up at the O2

Another of the best views in London with kids who enjoy something a little more adventurous is from the rooftop of the O2 Area in Greenwich.

Up at the O2 is a unique London experience that lets you climb over one of the city’s most iconic buildings.

With the help of professional guides and equipment, you’ll venture 52 metres above ground on a structured walkway to reach the roof summit. From here, you’ll be greeted with views over the Greenwich Peninsula, the Olympic Park, and Canary Wharf.

The experience is suitable for kids aged 8+, and you need to book tickets and a time slot in advance.

View of St Paul's cathedral against a clear blue sky - one of the key landmarks on the city's skyline, it's galleries also provide some of the best views in London with kids

St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s is a prominent feature in the London skyline from so many viewpoints, but it’s also a great spot from which to look back over central London.

On a visit to the cathedral, you can climb up 378 steps to the Stone Gallery or 528 stairs to the Golden Gallery, sitting at the top of the dome.

From both spots, you’ll be treated to fantastic panoramic views across London, and each gallery is included with the regular ​​admission ticket to the cathedral.

View from the Shard

The View from the Shard is one of the more expensive London viewpoints, but it’s also deservedly one of the most memorable.

The large viewing platform sits on floors 68 and 69 of London’s tallest building, a whopping 310m above the ground, making it London’s highest viewpoint.

The 360 degree view over the capital lets you see for up to 40 miles on a clear day, and The View from the Shard is the only place where you can really see the whole city at once.

There’s also an Open-Air Skydeck on floor 72 so you can feel almost as if you’re floating in the air above London. Click here to book tickets.

View along the river Thames including City Hall and the Shard - the View from the Shard is the highest in the city, and easily one of the best views in London with kids

Lift 109 at Battersea Power Station

One of the newest viewpoints in London, you’ll get a slightly different chance to look out across the river from the south bank at Battersea Power Station.

Lift 109 whisks you 109 metres from the Art Deco turbine hall to the top of the north-west chimney – one of the four famous white chimneys on the iconic structure, which once generated one fifth of the city’s power. 

The glass elevator leads to a clear enclosed structure, so there are 360-degree views out over the Thames and the London skyline. Allow around 45 minutes for the experience, including the interactive exhibition at the start: tickets are for 10-minute timed slots

Adult tickets cost from £15.90 including the booking fee, children aged 3-15 from £11.50. Babies and toddlers under three are free, although buggies/pushchairs must be left at the base of the lift.

Alexandra Palace

A little further out than other viewpoints on this list, Alexandra Palace is a grand Victorian entertainment venue set in 196 acres of parkland in north London – and among its many family attractions are some stunning views of the city skyline in the distance.

The park also has pitch and putt, pedalos and rowing boats on the boating lake, tree-top adventures at Go Ape, ice skating, and occasional festivals throughout the year, making it a great day out for all the family.

Image showing a graphic of London's iconic sights and the words 'click to read my quick start guide to London, all the essentials you need to know before a visit to London with kids' linking to my blog post guide to London with kids

King Henry’s Mound in Richmond Park

In Richmond Park, London’s largest royal park, there’s another of the city’s protected viewpoints, with nothing allowed to be built in the sightline.

Climb King Henry’s Mound and you can look across towards St Paul’s Cathedral more than 10 miles away, with a telescope to help make the most of the experience.

Legend has it that King Henry VIII waited here for the signal that Anne Boleyn had been executed and that he was free to marry again – almost certainly not true, though it’s a good story.

The hill itself is actually a prehistoric burial chamber from the Bronze Age and later used as a viewpoint for hunting. The much-married king did often hunt in the parkland though and could well have enjoyed the views himself.

For more viewpoints with royal links, head to south east London and One Tree Hill in Honor Oak – Elizabeth I is said to have rested and picnicked under the Oak of Honour here (a historic boundary marker). She wouldn’t recognise the skyline but the views are still impressive: it’s easy to combine with a visit to the Horniman Museum too

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links – any purchases you make are unaffected but I may receive a small commission

Images: Greenwich/Kew/St Pauls copyright MummyTravels, all others courtesy of Depositphotos

LIKED THIS? SIGN UP FOR MY EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.