I’ve lived in London since 2004 and have never been on the London Eye. There are a few reasons for this… the massive queues for one, and the expense. At around £28 for an adult ticket, I’d rather spend that money on cocktails along the Southbank! I’m sure the views are lovely from the London Eye but did you know you can see London’s skyline for free?

Tate Modern Switch House

The new Switch House at the Tate Modern in Southwark has a viewing platform on the tenth floor where you can get a 360° view of London – for free. Well, it is technically free but as The Tate is a museum it is recommended that you make a small donation in one of their donation boxes.

Views from the viewing platform allow you to see iconic landmarks such as St Paul’s, the Millennium Bridge, the BT Tower and the Barbican as well as more modern landmarks, such as the walkie talkie building (20 Fenchurch Street), the Shard, the Leadenhall Building (or cheese grater building as us Londoners call it) and many others.

Tate Modern viewing deck

Views from the viewing platform at Switch House

As well as the skyline along the Thames, you can also see as far as Canary Wharf to the east and Wembley stadium to the North West.

London views from Tate Modern

There is also one part of the viewing platform that looks pretty much straight into the apartments across the road (see the first photo, right-hand side). There are signs asking you to respect their neighbour’s privacy so that’s exactly what I did. So no photos, I’m afraid. Luckily for the people who live in the flats, the viewing platform is open Sunday to Thursday from 10 – 6pm. However, it’s open from 10 until 10pm Fridays and Saturdays – so best draw your blinds!

One of the great things about Switch House is that it is also a gallery and part of the Tate Modern so you can combine your sightseeing with a wander around the wonderful artworks.

The viewing platform at Switch House definitely offers amazing, free views over London but you can also find stunning views for free at:

  • Parliament Hill fields in the south-east corner of Hampstead Heath. It’s almost 100m high so offers sensational views of London’s skyline.
  • Greenwich park in south-east London. For views over Canary Wharf, you can’t get much better than Greenwich Park.
  • Primrose Hill on the northern side of Regent’s Park will give you clear views over central London.

Know of any other places in London that offers amazing views for free? Pop them in the comments.

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The best London views for free