Many of the world’s major cities are photographically favourable, of course – but how many of them truly rival the UK capital, London, in the photogenic stakes? Not many; let’s be honest. So, if you’re only in town for a very short amount of time (having booked a stay at one of the hotels in the West End of London UK), what can’t you afford to miss off your Fantastic Photo Ops London list…?
Westminster viewed from the South Bank
Arguably the capital’s de facto photo op locale, the Westminster panorama absolutely screams ‘London’ with its old-school elegance and Victorian, well, power; the House of Parliament, the House of Lords, Elizabeth Tower and, of course, Westminster Abbey, it’s all here, present and correct. All that and the world-famous bell itself, Big Ben, is chiming on the hour, every hour, once more.
St Paul’s viewed from the Millennium Bridge
Beyond the South Bank (heading eastwards), you’ll come across the modernist footbridge that’s the Millennium Bridge, which basically runs from the Tate Modern (on the south side of the Thames) to the pavement that sweeps up to St Paul’s Cathedral (on the north side). The view here, from the south, of St Pauls (perhaps with the contrast of the modernist bridge in the foreground) is an impressive one, indeed.
Tower Bridge viewed from City Hall
Stroll practically as far as you can eastwards along the South Bank stretch and you’ll eventually reach the wide, open public space of which the centrepiece is the City Hall building (the one that looks like a giant, squashed tomato filled with glass). But the big photo op here is to stand with your back to the latter and snap away at the perfect panorama ahead that’s the glorious Tower Bridge. Capture the shot right and you might also get in the Tower of London (to its left) and 21st Century additions to the skyline – including The City’s Gherkin – in the background.
Abbey Road pedestrian crossing
In some ways, this one’s not for the faint-hearted; not just because, by day, the pavement and road outside of the Abbey Road recording studios in salubrious St John’s Wood (made oh-so famous by The Beatles) is teeming with tourists from the planet’s every nook and cranny, but also because, in order to capture the shot of your mates stepping along the pedestrian crossing Fab Four-like, it’s necessary to stand in the centre of the road as you do so. No mean feat; Abbey Road is a thoroughfare that’s also teeming with busy London traffic!
Buckingham Palace (for Changing the Guard) or viewed from St James’s Park
Let’s face it; there are few more iconic sites in the UK capital than Buck Palace, Her Majesty The Queen’s official London residence – even if, nowadays, she actually spends a very limited amount of her life inhabiting the 18th-Century grey-brick masterpiece of ornate British design. If the appeal of snapping away at the Palace for you is the chance to catch all the pomp, ceremony and frummery of the Changing the Guard ceremony, then you’ll want to get as close to the building as you can. Otherwise, if you prefer a shot of the architectural icon from something of a reflective distance, visit the peaceful and charming environs of St James’s Park and take your shot as the Palace heaves into view as you cross the bridge across the park’s lake. Obviously, either photo-op-location’s easy to reach if you’re staying at one of the discount hotels in West End London.
A Panorama of London viewed from Richmond Park
London’s unmistakeable skyline (with its blend of old, majestic buildings and towering higgledy-piggledy high-rise up-and-comers) always looks good and there are a number of elevated spots outside the centre of town to capture great shots of it; however, one of the very best has to be from King Henry VIII’s Mount, located in the huge natural expanse that’s Richmond Park. Alternatively, you might wend North London way and try the likes of Parliament Hill, Primrose Hill or at Alexandra Palace instead.