Whether you’re exploring the historic streets or capturing colourful markets, the UK’s capital provides endless opportunities for incredible photography.
If you’re visiting and want to take advantage of the picture-perfect scenery, we’ve listed some of the best places to take photos in London, alongside tips to help you capture the best possible shot.
The Palace of Westminster, Westminster
Nearest tube station: Westminster Underground Station
If it’s iconic London scenery you’re looking to capture, it doesn’t get much more iconic that the Palace of Westminster. Better known as the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, Westminster is the seat of British government and dates back to 1870. Famous worldwide, if you’re heading to the capital to indulge in landmark photography, you won’t be disappointed by Westminster.
Top tip: To get an unobstructed shot of the whole palace, cross the River Thames via Westminster Bridge and turn right along the river.
Portobello Road, Kensington and Chelsea
Nearest tube station: Ladbroke Grove
Portobello Road is well-known for two things; its daily market and its colourful houses. Both offer spectacular opportunities for budding photographers. Portobello Road Market is the world’s largest antique market, and can be found at the south end of the street. Visiting on the main market day, Saturday, will guarantee vibrant scenes and plenty of photo opportunities.
Top tip: If you want to get a picture of the houses alone, try visiting during the week to avoid crowds.
The Shard, Southwark
Nearest tube station: London Bridge
The Shard offers double the opportunity for a great photo. As the tallest building in London, the glass structure is a vision to behold all by itself. Alternatively, just head up to one of the six cocktail bars and restaurants located inside for stunning panoramic views of the London skyline.
Top tip: Try to visit on a dry, clear evening for the best atmospheric photos of London’s skyline.
The Churchill Arms, Notting Hill
Nearest tube station: Queensway
Often described as London’s most colourful pub, the Churchill Arms is an impressive building to capture in a photo and is one of the best places to take Instagram photos in London. Once you’ve taken the perfect picture, head inside to sample the outstanding cask ales and ciders on offer or settle down with some Thai food from the kitchen’s menu.
Top tip: Visit the pub at Christmas to capture a particularly vibrant external display.
Piccadilly Circus, Westminster
Nearest tube station: Piccadilly Circus
For bustling action shots that capture the vibrancy of modern central London, head to Piccadilly Circus. The illuminated signs adorning the corner building are iconic, while the passing red buses and taxis offer a great opportunity to try your hand at light trail photography. If you’re staying at our Charing Cross Hotel, this is the perfect place to visit in the evening, just a 12-minute walk from your accommodation.
Top tip: Visit Piccadilly Circus after nightfall to really capture the vibrancy of the area.
St Paul’s Cathedral, City of London
Nearest tube station: St Paul’s
The domed roof of St Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most recognisable landmarks in London, and up close the building provides an astounding display of architectural excellence. The exterior of St Paul’s Cathedral has numerous spots from which you can capture the beauty of this building, whether it’s the striking front façade or the more serene gardens.
Top tip: As an active place of worship, St Paul’s does not allow photography inside the Cathedral so be sure to put your camera away before entering.
Borough Market, Southwark
Nearest tube station: Borough or London Bridge
Borough Market is one of the oldest food markets in the UK, dating back to the 12th century. The glass roof of the market, the metal framework, Art Deco entrance and the backdrop of The Shard are enough to attract the photographer’s eye, but visit when the market is bustling and you’ll also be treated to fresh vibrant displays of food including continental delicacies, produce and baked goods.
Top tip: To capture the best of the Borough Market and the produce on display, head down in the morning just after it’s opened.
The Barbican, City of London
Nearest tube station: Barbican Centre
This option is a little off the beaten path when it comes to iconic London landmarks. But if you really want to strike out and add something unusual to your album, this is a fantastic place to explore. The Barbican was developed following World War II with the aim to transform an area left destroyed by the bombing, and offers an incredible example of the Brutalist architectural trend that swept across Britain at that time. Today, the complex contains two theatres and two art galleries, along with a tropical conservatory. From the wondrous greenery to the stark, strong lines of the buildings, the entire Barbican area makes for excellent images.
Top tip: Check the Barbican performing arts schedule to see what’s on during your visit.
Millennium Bridge, City of London
Nearest tube station: St Paul’s
From the Millennium Bridge itself through to the surrounding attractions, this is a must-visit area for photography in London. The futuristic, steel suspension bridge is a great example of London’s evolution and modernity, while the iconic view of St Paul’s Cathedral on the horizon provides a great juxtaposition in photos.
Top tip: The south end of the bridge exits near the Globe Theatre and Tate Modern. Put aside some extra time for a visit, and to explore further excellent photo opportunities.
The Best Places to Take Instagram Photos in London
If you’re just looking for something fun and characteristically ‘London’ for your Instagram feed, here are a few of our favourite spots:
- London Kings Cross: If you are a fan of the Harry Potter movies, drop by King’s Cross, where you can have a picture taken passing through the barrier to Platform 9 ¾.
- Red phone boxes: The red phone boxes that still adorn London’s streets are an enduring symbol of the British capital. Why not grab a fun snap using one?
- Abbey Road: If you’re a music fan, one of the best shots to take in London is a recreation of the famous Beatles album cover on the Abbey Road crossing. The crossing is just a short walk from St John’s Wood tube station.
- Camden Market: Camden Market is a vibrant location and is great for a quirky pic for Instagram. Take the tube to Camden Town or Chalk Farm and head down to explore.
If you’re staying at our Marble Arch, Grosvenor or Charing Cross hotels during your trip, tag us in your photos on Instagram @ambahotelmarblearch, @amba_hotel_charing_cross, @ambahotelgrosvenor or @ambahotels