London Drum

Top 10 Best Photographs & Camera Shots In London

A list of the top ten most popular spots for tourists to take a photograph in London

1 Buckingham Palace from the bridge in St. James’s Park

Buckingham Palace from St. James’s ParkPhoto: Craig Cross

One of the best photos of Buckingham Palace is from the centre of the lake bridge in St. James’s Park.

If you turn around then you will have another fantastic shot of Horse Guards, but this time with the Disneyland-like turrets of the Royal Horseguards Hotel behind.

2 Sentry boxes at Horse Guards

Sentry box at Horse GuardsPhoto: Craig Cross

Getting a selfie next to a soldier is another tourist favourite. There are actually a few different places you can do it, but the most popular is by the sentry boxes on Whitehall, at the entrance to Horse Guards.

If you arrive before 4 PM then the soldiers will be sitting astride two huge military horses. Tourists take it in turns to tip-toe up to them and hope they don’t lash out (they are huge!). If they took a step sideways then they’d probably break your foot, but hey, at least you’ll get a great photo!

If you arrive after the Dismounting Ceremony then you’ll have to take it next to the Foot Guards instead.

Another good place to get a selfie with a soldier is outside Waterloo Barracks in the Tower of London. The Yeoman Warders (aka Beefeaters) are usually happy to pose for a photo as well.

3 Tower Bridge with the drawbridge up

Tower BridgePhoto: Craig Cross

The best time to take a photo at Tower Bridge is when the drawbridge opens up for a boat, but how often is that? On average it opens three times a day, but only a few of those are publicised in advance, so you either have to get lucky or check out our page of scheduled lift times.

There are five places that you can stand for a decent shot: on the riverwalk in front of the Tower of London, on the opposite bank by City Hall, on the bank by St. Katharine Docks, or over by Butler’s Wharf. Most tourists will do it by the Tower of London, but the leafy trees tend to get in the way there. We think the best shot is actually from Butler’s Wharf.

The fifth place you can stand is in the middle of London Bridge. It’s quite a long way away, but you get the bonus of having HMS Belfast in the frame as well.

4 Changing the Guard ceremony

Changing the Guard ceremonyPhoto: Craig Cross

When tourists come to London the first thing they want to see is Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace. It’s almost obligatory – there must be a secret law that Londoner’s don’t know about that forces them to march down the Mall as soon as they get off the plane – that explains why it’s always so packed.

If you want to get the best photograph of the soldiers then you need to stand right up against the railings. Unfortunately that means you have to get there at least 90 minutes before it starts (and that’s not an exaggeration!). Read Craig’s review of the ceremony before you go, because he goes into detail about the best time to arrive and where’s the best place to stand.

5 Big Ben from Westminster Bridge

Big BenPhoto: Craig Cross

If tourists were only allowed to take one photograph in London then it would be this one: Big Ben. But where’s the best place to stand? Most people just plump for Parliament Square, but we think the best shot is actually from Westminster Bridge.

Walk halfway across the bridge, or stand over by the Boudicca statue on her chariot, and take it from there. Alternatively you could walk right to the end of the bridge and then turn right onto the towpath (in front of St. Thomas’s Hospital). That will give you a great shot of the Houses of Parliament across the river.

6 Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly CircusPhoto: Craig Cross

Piccadilly Circus is one of the busiest tourist spots in London. People gather here whilst they’re trying to decide what to do with their day. Shall we go down Regent’s Street? Over to Leicester Square? Trafalgar Square? They sit on the steps of the Eros Fountain and mill around taking photos of the huge lighted advertising signs over the road. If you want the best photograph then try and do it at night.

7 View from the top of The Shard

The ShardPhoto: Craig Cross
Opening times?
2 PM to 10 PM (Wed-Sun until 24 Jul, then Mon-Sun until 28 Aug); 1 PM to 9 PM (Mon-Sun from 29 Aug until 4 Sep, then Sat from 10 Sep to 3 Dec, then Wed & Sat-Sun from 4 Dec); 11 AM to 7 PM (Wed-Fri & Sun from 7 Sep to 2 Dec, then Thu-Fri from 8 Dec)
Adults £32.00; Family ticket £100.00
Time required?
A typical visit takes 1-1½ hours

The Shard is the highest observation deck in London – 72 floors up. It’s quite scary standing next to the window because the glass goes all the way down to your toes. You almost feel as if you’re leaning over the edge.

It’s so high up that it’s easy to imagine you’re coming in to land on an airplane – maybe on one of those business jets that fly into London City Airport. You can see all the rooftops and roads and the trains snaking their way along miles of thin little train tracks.

Here’s a good way to describe it: imagine that you’re standing on a map of London. That’s exactly what it feels like: staring at a map of London beneath your feet.

If you’re feeling really brave then you can go up another level where some of the walls have been left open to the sky. Hearing the roar of the wind and the airplane engines tearing past is truly terrifying!

8 View from the London Eye

London EyePhoto: Craig Cross
Opening times?
11 AM to 6 PM (Mon-Sun)
Adults £36.00; Children £32.50 (3-15); Infants free (under-3)
Time required?
A typical visit takes 30-50 mins for the queue, plus 30 mins for the ride

The London Eye is another popular photo spot for tourists. Once your pod gets to the top of the wheel you’ll be treated to the best view of Big Ben in London.

The other landmarks are a little bit too far away for a good shot, but it’s interesting to see Buckingham Palace nestled behind the trees in St. James’s Park.

9 St. Paul’s Cathedral from Waterloo Bridge

St. Paul’s Cathedral from Waterloo BridgePhoto: Craig Cross

St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most famous landmarks in London, so you’re obviously going to want to take a photograph of it. But where from? The most celebrated shot is from the centre of Waterloo Bridge.

10 Nelson’s Column, sitting on a lion

Nelson’s ColumnPhoto: Craig Cross
Time required?
A typical visit takes 5 mins

Tourists love climbing on the back of the lions by Nelson’s Column. But they really are high and the only thing that will cushion your fall is the concrete, so be careful!

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