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London is a photographer’s dream. Historic buildings, striking cityscapes, gorgeous palaces – you name it, London has it. Planning your visit to the city and want to get some iconic snaps? Don’t miss these cool and best photo spots in London.
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You’ll want to leave the capital with some iconic panoramas of the city, and they don’t come much more iconic than the Tower Bridge.
This gorgeous bridge over the Thames has been an integral part of the London landscape since the late 1800s, and continues to fascinate visitors – and delight photographers.
While some might say it’s been done to death, I think there’s always a new take to be found.
Not only is the bridge beautiful as the light changes, but the bustling foot and car traffic means it’s never static.
You’ll want to leave plenty of time to capture it at all different angles. You certainly won’t regret it.
Best Photo Spot: Alongside the Riverbank next to The Scoop
While we’re talking about London icons, it’s impossible not to mention Buckingham Palace. You know, the city pad of Queen Liz and the so-called “fab four” of young royals.
Nearly every visitor to London jumps at the chance to be snapped in front of the famous gates of the world’s most famous palace.
For passionate photographers, there are a few other views to take in. When Queen Elizabeth is not in residence (usually June – September), you can tour the interior and capture life inside the palace walls.
The other great time to shoot Buckingham Palace is, of course, during the Changing of the Guard.
The pomp and pageantry – including the elaborate uniform – translate beautifully on film. It starts at around 10.45am, but I recommend arriving far earlier to get a good vantage point.
Best Photo Spot: On the statue standing directly opposite Buckingham Palace. You’ll need to get there early to nab a spot there.
St Dunstan in the East
It’s a cliche but I have to agree that the best photos tell a story – and St Dunstan in the East tells a true saga.
Built in the 11th Century, the magnificent church was nearly destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666. It was painstakingly rebuilt – only to be bombed nearly to smithereens during the Blitz in World War II.
Although parts of the church do remain, much was utterly ruined. Instead of rebuild it a second time, it was turned into a public garden – today it’s one of the quirkier places to visit in London.
More than a half century later, plants have crept their way up and over much of the rubble, creating a hauntingly beautiful collision of plants and stone. As you can imagine, it translates beautifully on camera.
Best Photo Spot: In through the archway on St Dunstan’s Lane
Even proud Londoners such as myself can admit that occasionally the city feels a little bit, well, grey.
Luckily, some pizazz and colour are never far away. One of my favourites of London’s quirky enclaves is Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden.
This area is a hodgepodge of colourful and eclectic shops dotted down a maze-like array of narrow streets.
As the area was reinvented by activist Nicholas Saunders, a champion for community-led city living, it’s a hub for alternative and sustainable businesses. You can expect great vibes, great coffee, and great photo opportunities.
The entrance is a little hard to find – but keep your eyes open for the passageway marked Neal’s Yard on Monmouth Street.
Best Photo Spot: In the centre of Neal’s Yard
Queen’s House Greenwich
Known as Queen’s House due to its connection with Anne, Queen of Denmark, the Queen’s House Greenwich is a spectacular backdrop for photos.
The 17th century home is a stark white, which really pops against the manicured green lawns and (sometimes) blue skies.
The gardens themselves are a playground if you’re looking to capture some brilliant blooms. Particularly in spring, the property comes alive with thousands of beautiful flowers.
Not only is it perfect for getting some gorgeous snaps of the flowers and architecture, but it’s also a beautiful setting for portraits and the ‘gram. Inside, the spiral Tulip Stair is a photographer’s delight, thanks to the beautiful patterns created by the architecture.
Best Photo Spot: At the Bottom of the Tulip Stair
I absolutely love eating, drinking and shopping in Chinatown – and the photography is totally awesome too.
Chinatown is one of London’s most bustling and dynamic areas. Of particular interest are the statues and decorations, including fierce stone lions and beautiful red lanterns.
You also can’t miss the fourth gate, a beautifully intricate work of art inspired by the Qing Dynasty. It can be found on Wardour Street.
While Chinatown is always one of my favourite photography spots in London, it’s particularly mesmerising during Chinese New Year when it comes alive with performances. The dragon and lion dancing is particularly unmissable.
Best Photo Spot: In front of the fourth gate on Wardour Street
London has a bit of a thing for bridges, and another of my favourite photo spots is at the Millennium Bridge.
Don’t worry about confusing it with the previously mentioned Tower Bridge – this one is a sleek steel suspension bridge.
Not only does it create an interesting juxtaposition of old and new, but it has many interesting angles that create some unique perspectives.
My favourite way to photograph the Millennium Bridge, however, is at night. It’s gorgeous lit up, and there’s an optical illusion that makes the nearby St Paul’s Cathedral look almost like its hovering at the end of it. If you want to go for those pro shots, bring a tripod. You won’t be the only one.
Best Photo Spot: On the South Bank’s access walkway to the bridge facing towards St Paul’s Cathedral
Built to celebrate the millenium (and opening just in the nick of time), the London Eye has quickly become one of the most iconic features of the London skyline.
The huge wheel is a photographer’s delight, both from inside and from afar.
It looks absolutely beautiful stood on the banks of the Thames, and offers that extra bit of interest to your panoramic shots.
Or, get a ticket to ride up in one of the enclosed gondolas. The glass windows still allow you to take some great shots of the London skyline, and the experience in itself is pretty awesome.
Best Photo Spot: Underneath the Eye for a sense of scale
Another building that took no time establishing itself as a London icon is the Shard, aka the United Kingdom’s tallest building.
At over 309 metres tall, it towers over the rest of London with its unique pyramid shape and sharp point.
Its unique and imposing design means there are endless options for capturing dramatic and beautiful shots featuring the Shard.
Another option is to make your way up to the observation deck, the highest one in London. It’s a photography spot in London like no other.
Best Photo Spot: From the top of The Shard for incredible views of London, or next to Borough Market.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to capture a slice of the London of old, you’d best head for charming Cecil Court.
This gorgeous old street near Leicester Square looks like it hasn’t changed much since Victorian times – you half expect to see Charles Dickens wandering down it.
It’s a particular delight for book lovers, with a collection of gorgeous antique booksellers down both sides.
Whether you’re looking to find a rare old book, or to capture some of the old charm of one of the most charismatic streets in London, I highly recommend a visit.
Best Photo Spot: By the entrance to Cecil Court.
I hope that this list helps you to get the most cool and iconic snaps around London. I found these to be some of the best Photo Spots in London. Do you know of any other worthy instagrammable photography locations? Share them below.
This is a guest post by Julianna Barnaby of The Discoveries Of.
About the author: Julianna Barnaby blogs about her hometown of London and destinations further afield. Obsessed with travel since a young age, she’s written for publications including Rough Guides, Business Traveller and AA Travel Guides – but now works full time on her site The Discoveries Of.
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