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Where to Find the Best Views in West London

London Calling

Let’s just stop for a moment and enjoy the view. Because while London is a city of endless possibilities – a multi-sensory whirlwind of culinary, cultural and cosmopolitan experiences – it’s also just happening, all around us.

We all have a number one spot to soak up our surroundings. The people’s favourite Waterloo Bridge is the scene of many a late-night stroll just to gaze, once again, at that shimmering skyline - always as mesmerising as one remembers - and Parliament Hill is a vintage pick for a summery picnic or a blustery walk. Others might include a meal at Millbank Tower, a trip to The Royal Observatory or even a train ride through Canary Wharf on the DLR. Just for sheer basking pleasure, here are five more to add to your viewing repertoire.

Blue Bridge in St James’s Park

A view for a daytime date

The view from this bridge, which is an important access route from the deckchairs on the south side of the lake to the deckchairs on the north side, captures the dual charms of a city park. You are at once surrounded by green – the beep-beeping of cabbies of The Mall belonging to a different London – and struck by the majestic buildings on the fringes of the park. Buckingham Palace lies in one direction, but the lovelier view is towards Horse Guards Parade, a myriad of rooftops crowded together over Whitehall and framed by trees. The fountain as you look down the lake is the cherry on top. It’s a picture-perfect view that’s just begging for one of those arm-out-in-front-of-you photos of you and your date!

Galvin at Windows bar, 28th floor of Hilton Park Lane

A view for dressing up

This is a view that deserves a cocktail. It would be best if you could come into the bar blindfolded, be seated in one of the oh-so-sought-after window seats, have someone put something bubbly in your hand, and then open your eyes. London in full show-off mode – Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral and The City beyond. It’s a view that’s best enjoyed at night time, or as darkness is falling, as the dizzying magic of it lies in London twinkling before you, a little bit like coming into Heathrow on a night flight from the east, but without the seatbelt! This is London’s answer to Sex and the City – and boy, we do it well!

Dulwich Woods

A view for rediscovering your childhood

Entering Dulwich Woods is a real secret garden moment; a canopy of treetops spread high overhead, perfect hide-outs waiting to be explored among the fallen tree trunks and twisted branches and even some old ruins from which to spin stories of your own. And off the beaten track - through the sun-dappled undergrowth, twigs snapping underfoot, and right to the edge of the woods - lies the faraway kingdom of London! The haze on a sunny day softens the city, which only adds to the unreal quality of the view, as if it’s a magical pop-up scene from a storybook. The allotments in the near foreground are the prologue to the view, leading the eye gently down the hillside until the red-bricked grandeur of Dulwich College rises up. From here, London just keeps gathering pace, from the distinctive chimneys of Battersea Power Station right the way to Wembley’s distant arch.

Richmond Hill

A view for a Sunday walk

Windswept and moody or unruffled and glowing, the view from the summit of Richmond Hill never fails to lift your spirits. Indeed, writers and artists through the ages have been inspired to capture something of its exhilarating beauty on paper. But here’s the secret – you don’t have to read poetry about it, because you can just go and see it, here, in London! Rolling meadows and the sweeping gracefulness of the Thames as it bends off into the distance are yours for the taking. On clear days, you can spot Ham House and Hampton Court Palace, but don’t worry too much if you don’t – even the absence of a couple of historic houses can’t touch this view.

Golden Gallery, St Paul’s Cathedral

A view for wobbly legs

You’ve really got to want to see this view as the climb up to The Golden Gallery – past both The Whispering Gallery and The Stone Gallery – requires a lot of puff, and nerve! The last little bit is via a wrought-iron spiral staircase, winding further and further up into the outer dome until you emerge at a world-spinning height above the city. London landmarks pop up before you – oh, there’s The Gherkin, close enough to touch, you think, as your mind tries to catch up with the altered sense of perspective. The best bit is reversing the view from Waterloo Bridge, from where St Paul’s famous dome is such a star of the show; looking back the opposite way, Waterloo Bridge is nothing more than a toy bridge in a city full of toys.

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