The most beautiful places in London Shoreditch, Barbican Conservatory, and more

The most beautiful places in London Shoreditch, Barbican Conservatory, and more

The most beautiful places in London: Shoreditch, Barbican Conservatory, and more

As fashion designer Vivienne Westwood once said, “There’s nowhere else like London.” Not only is London home to four UNESCO World Heritage Sites, you can also find hundreds of hidden gems around every corner. From medieval cathedrals to towering skyscrapers, London’s eclectic cityscape embodies the capital’s long heritage and diversity. At the same time, rolling hills, evergreen parks, and the winding River Thames add a breath of fresh air to the metropolis.

Here’s our list of the 13 most beautiful places in London.

1. Sky Garden

sky garden london

Offering one of the best views of London, Sky Garden is an enchanting forest housed within a rooftop glass dome. While most visitors flock here for the 360-degree views of the skyline, we recommend spending some time among the lush greenery.

As Sky Garden was designed to flourish year-round, you’ll find colorful plants from all over the world, like the African lily, red hot poker, and bird of paradise. When the sun begins to set, an orange glow fills up the dome, transforming the garden into a tropical paradise. While walk-ins are accepted, it’s best to make an advance booking.

2. Tower Bridge

tower bridge

Tower Bridge is one of the most recognizable London landmarks, and also one of the most beautiful. The bridge’s Neo-Gothic design was chosen to fit in with the Tower of London, with many of its modern hydraulics carefully concealed.

Pedestrians can walk across Tower Bridge for free, where you’ll be greeted with spectacular views of the Thames. However, tickets are required if you wish to go inside the bridge and explore its hidden walkways, including one made of glass. Tower Bridge is also beautiful at night, and popular among night photographers.

3. Shoreditch

shoreditch london

The trendy district of Shoreditch is an ever-changing museum of urban art. From Banksy’s Designated Graffiti Area to Ben Eine’s typography, every wall in Shoreditch is a vibrant canvas representing each artist’s style and personality. While you’re free to explore on foot, we recommend joining a street art tour to spot hidden murals and hear stories about local artists. Aspiring photographers can also follow a private guide on this walking tour to learn how to capture these striking street scenes. Hungry? Grab a bite on this food tour of the East End.

4. Hyde Park

hyde park london

London is home to many beautiful parks, but Hyde Park is our favorite. Located in the heart of London, Hyde Park is a lush green space with various gardens, fountains, and sculptures, and is stunning no matter when you visit. In spring and summer, the park transforms into a colorful display of flowers, while the Serpentine is particularly ethereal when surrounded by fall colors. And in winter, the annual Winter Wonderland turns Hyde Park into a neon fairground.

5. Leadenhall Market

leadenhall market

Image: Claudia Owczarek / Unsplash

Dating from the 14th century, Leadenhall Market is undeniably London’s most beautiful market. But this wasn’t always the case—even until the 19th century, the hide and meat market was regarded as crowded and unruly. It was only in 1881 that Sir Horace Jones redesigned the market, creating Leadenhall Market’s iconic ornate glass roof and cobbled paths. Today, the market is home to a variety of shops and restaurants, and has appeared in various films, including the first Harry Potter movie.

6. Barbican Conservatory

barbican conservatory london

One of London’s best-kept secrets, the Barbican Conservatory is a thriving rainforest hidden within a Brutalist complex. The wild fronds and rippling pools are a beautiful contrast against the Barbican Centre’s concrete walls, and you can find around 1,500 species of plants and trees here, including palm trees, cacti, and orchids. In fact, the Barbican Conservatory is the second-largest conservatory in London, after the Princess of Wales Conservatory in Kew Gardens. Admission is free, and tours take place on selected Sundays.

7. Highgate Cemetery

highgate cemetry

Even the faint of heart should visit Highgate Cemetery. Not only is this where legends like Karl Marx and Douglas Adams were buried, the cemetery is also a great place to enjoy some peace and quiet. Covered with trees, wildflowers, and Gothic tombs, Highgate Cemetery resembles an ancient ruin reclaimed by nature, and is exceptionally beautiful when it snows during winter. There’s an entrance charge, and certain parts of the cemetery can’t be accessed without a guide, so it’s best to join a tour.

8. Windsor Castle

windsor castle

Located in Berkshire, Windsor Castle is just a day trip away from London. Built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, Windsor Castle is the longest-occupied palace in Europe, and has been the main residence of Queen Elizabeth since 2011. Over the centuries, the castle has gone through many redesigns, and still retains Georgian, Victorian, and Gothic features. To get a sneak peek into the State Apartments, keep an eye out for exclusive tours. St. George’s Chapel, situated within the castle grounds, is also worth a visit.

9. Notting Hill

notting hill

Catapulted into international fame by the rom-com of the same name, Notting Hill is where you’ll find London’s most beautiful streets. The affluent neighborhood is known for its colorful Victorian townhouses, high-end shopping and restaurants, and busy street market. From St Luke’s Mews to Elgin Crescent, each street around Notting Hill features a different color palette, ranging from pastel shades to vivid splashes. Learn more about the neighborhood’s history on a walking tour, or head on a photoshoot to capture some memories.

10. Westminster Abbey

westminster abbey london

Since 1100, 16 royal weddings have been held at Westminster Abbey. The striking Gothic abbey church is also the traditional site of coronations and burials, and is one of the most important buildings in England. The medieval architecture, stained glass windows, and ancient artifacts combine to create a magical atmosphere that will transport you back in time. Visit Westminster Abbey and other landmarks on this tour.

11. BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, also known as the Neasden Temple, is a masterpiece of traditional Hindu design and exquisite Indian workmanship in the heart of northwest London. The temple was built like a giant 3D jigsaw puzzle: thousands of skilled Indian artisans hand-carved every column and beam, which were then shipped to London and assembled onsite. Admission is free, so you can marvel at the intricate marble and wooden carvings up close and learn more about Hinduism.

12. Old Royal Naval College

old royal naval college

The Old Royal Naval College is one of London’s most popular filming locations, appearing in Thor: The Dark World, Les Misérables, and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. The iconic riverside estate boasts five centuries of rich history, and its magnificent Baroque buildings and sweeping lawns will take your breath away. If you’re short of time, we recommend skipping the line and heading straight to the Painted Hall, filled with elaborate paintings created by Sir James Thornhill.

13. Holland Park

holland park

With 54 acres of gardens in the heart of London, Holland Park is particularly lovely in spring, when tulips bloom in neat patterns and purple wisteria petals cascade down the walls. Holland Park also houses the beautiful Kyoto Garden, a Japanese garden created to celebrate the Japan Festival in 1992. Between March and May, the Kyoto Garden’s cherry blossom trees burst with pink flowers, adding a pop of color to the zen landscape.

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