The best view of London: The Shard Vs London Eye

The best view of London is from The Shard

In the battle for the best view of London, two places rise above the rest. The London Eye and The Shard. So lets delve into each one and find out where the best view of London from above is.

London Eye

The London Eye is the original place to view London from. Built for the new millennium it opened to the public in March 2000. It’s an iconic part of London’s skyline and until 2013 it was London’s highest public viewing point at 135 metres and that made it a must do in London.

London Eye is a must do for first timers
London Eye is a must do for first timers

But is the best view of London?

Yes! and no. For around £20.00 you’ll get to enjoy one loop which takes around 30 minutes. That’s 30 minutes to see all of London in a capsule with up to 25 other people. The windows are probably dirty and while 30 minutes seems a long time, you’ll quickly realise that it’s not long enough to see London. Then there’s the line you’ll wait in that zigzags back and fourth outside to get on the Eye.

But if it is your first time to London, then absolutely go on the London Eye. Not really for the views but the experience and the attraction that’s iconic to London.

The Shard

The Shard opened in 2013, stands 309 metres tall and is the tallest building not only in London but the UK. The public viewing deck is located on levels 68-72, around 244 metres above London and on a good day has views for up to 60km.

But is the best view of London?

Yes! The Shard is a building and therefore the entrance and observation deck is inside. The cost of a general admission price is around £30.00 and for that you can spend as long as you like looking at London from the observation deck.

The Shard's Observation Deck
The Shard’s Observation Deck

With this extra time you can buy a drink from the cafe on level 72 or sit and marvel at the city below. You aren’t confined to a capsule with a group of other people in constant motion, the windows are clean and you can even feel the fresh air from the outdoor area.

You’re 109 metres higher than the London Eye, you have as much time as you want, you don’t have to wait outside and you can have food and drink while you’re at it. There is one downside of The Shard. The windows might be clean but they are super reflective on camera. Your best chance for pictures is from the outside observation deck.


Other options

London does have a few places to see the city from above, I still recommend The Shard  but if you want some other views have a look at these.

Sky Gardens

The Sky Gardens are at the top of the “Walkie talkie” building located in the heart of London City. It’s free to visit, all you have to do is reserve your tickets. Tickets are released three weeks in advance and get snapped up pretty quickly. If you visit one of the bars or restaurants in the Sky Gardens you’ll also get access to the public viewing area.

Happy Friday all! 🙌🏻 #londontown #photography #friyay #fridaynight #happyfriday #skygarden 📸: @marmosyr

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ArcelorMittal Orbit

The ArcelorMittal Orbit is located in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and has a skyline view of London. It’s slightly shorter than the London Eye at 114 metres and it’s cheaper than both the London Eye and The Shard. Prices start at just £16.50 and there is also a slide from the top to the bottom you can ride.

London's skyline from the ArcelorMittal Orbit
London’s skyline from the ArcelorMittal Orbit

Greenwich park

See the London's skyline from Greenwich Park
See the London’s skyline from Greenwich Park

For a much more relaxed view of London’s skyline, head out to Greenwich where you can sit in the grounds of Greenwich park for free, enjoy the fresh park air and watch the city go about it’s day.

Want to know more about London? Read more posts here