See London's Skyline for Free:
5 Best Viewpoints That Won't Cost a Penny

Bell   |   8th August 23

London has possibly one of the most famous skylines in the world, with sights including the Shard, the London Eye, the Gherkin and so much more.

There are many rather expensive ways to experience these views – cocktails at the Shard, a trip on the London Eye, dinner at the Heron Tower.

What if I told you that you could have these views (or even better ones) for completely free? Having lived in London for years, I have been to all of the free spots that look over the famous skyline. From well-known ones to secret spots only Londoners really know about.

Here are the 5 best, free viewpoints in London:

London Skyline from Greenwich Park Conservatory during the day -

Greenwich Park will always be one of my favourite places in  London. The views are incredible, there are cute cafes just down the hill in Greenwich and during cherry blossom season, the entire park is transformed. 

I recommend visiting here with a blanket and some snacks about an hour before sunset. That way you can get pictures while it’s light but also experience one of the best sunset spots in the entire city.

And you won’t be alone – students and young couples are all around with picnic blankets and drinks, soaking in the amazing atmosphere of this place.

London skyline view free from Greenwich Park at sunset -
The buildings of Canary Wharf reflecting the sunset make for a one of a kind experience
London Skyline View from Skygarden, free entry

London Skygarden is one of the most famous free places to visit in London. It is also possibly the one closest to a “paid experience”. 

You get full 360° views of London, together with a beautiful indoor garden. Photos from up here are unmatched.

The thing with the Skygarden is that you have to book early. Tickets sell out quickly and weeks in advance.  New tickets are released every Monday morning, 3 weeks prior. So, if you know your travel date, make sure to set a reminder for Monday morning 3 weeks out to book your tickets

Tickets are valid for 60 minutes, though this is rarely enforced. You can also grab a drink at the cafe there and stay longer.

Primrose hill view of the London Skyline wide angle - traveloffscript

Primrose Hill is just north of Regent’s Park and right next to Camden Market, so perfect to combine with other sightseeing activities. 

The view is panoramic, located in the middle of this Oasis of Nature right in urban London. 

It was previously crowned the most scenic viewpoint in London – a well deserved spot.

Primrose hill view of the London Skyline 2 - traveloffscript

If you’re anything like me, you will forget to book the Skygarden in advance. This is where the Garden at 120 comes into play.

It is the perfect, if not better, alternative to the Skygarden.

While not quite as high up, you are at eye level to famous sights such as the Gherkin. The garden is also an actual garden – it houses a beautiful collection of flowers that you can stroll through.

To access the Garden at 120, simply head to 120 Fenchurch Street, where a lift will take you from the lobby to the 15th floor. There is no reservation required and the queue, if there is one, moves quickly. 

The deck is usually not overcrowded – a real gem in central London.

The Garden at 120 - View of London Skyline 2 - Travel Off Script
The Garden 4120 - flower beds - Travel Off Script

Possibly the most relaxed and peaceful of all the free London viewpoints – Parliament Hill, located right in Hampstead Heath.

You get a beautiful, all-round view of London and a relaxed atmosphere to have a picnic or, if you’re exhausted after sightseeing, a nap 🙂

Combine your trip with one of the low-cost, public swimming ponds in Hamstead Heath and you have got yourself the perfect sunny day itinerary in London.

London Skyline View from Parliament Hill, Hampstead Heath

There’s no denying it – London is an expensive city. I have travelled to 26 countries now and countless cities, and London still falls among the most expensive.

That being said, I truly believe London can be done on a budget. I did it while living here as a new graduate for over a year and every time I visit since then.

I have listed my favourite affordable stays below. They can be as cheap as £30 per night for one person. You could also try Worldpackers for longer stays or find house/petsitting opportunities.

Food is definitely on the pricy side in London, however, I’d recommend the app Too Good To Go for very cheap “leftover” meals from some of London’s best restaurants and you can cook your own meals in hostels or AirBnBs.

Activities in London also don’t need to break the bank. There are plenty of free museums/art galleries as well as pop-up exhibitions. London has many free walking tours where you only tip at the end and lots of incredible areas to explore for no cost at all (except the occassional souvenir).

If you want to see a Musical, I highly recommend TodayTix. You can get seats to some of the world’s most famous musicals for as little as £15 if you book in advance and they have daily flash sales that you can sign up to via email.

I volunteered at this hostel through world packers and would honestly recommend staying here. The staff and overall atmosphere is lovely, bathrooms are frequently cleaned and the location is amazing, right by Angel tube station.

Another great hostel, the rooms on the top floors have incredible views of central London. This one is a  lot bigger but the location is good (near  and it is clean.

Adria Hotel

This hotel has affordable options if you are 2 or 3 people. It’s located in Hammersmith and hence well-connected to all of London. The rooms are basic but great for a few nights.


I’d highly recommend booking an AirBnB for any stays over 2 weeks, or if you are 2 or more people. Make sure to book early and check out West and East London for more affordable finds. I had a great one right by Fulham.

These are London's Best, Free Viewpoints

London’s top, free viewpoints are Greenwich Park and Observatory, the Skygarden, Primrose Hill, the Garden at 120 and Parliament Hill

Remember to pre-book your tickets for the Skygarden well in advance. All other viewpoints can be visited anytime, though expect some wait time for the Garden at 120.

Each of these viewpoints will give you a completely new and unique view of the London skyline, including famous buildings such as the Shard, Gherkin and Walkie-Talkie.

Hi, I'm Bell

Bell from Travel Off Script

My blog is here to show you that there isn’t one correct way to travel the world. Together, we can figure out what that means for you. Learn more about me here!

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