London is one of the most photographed cities in the world, with no shortage of interesting attractions and iconic landmarks. We’ve rounded up 25 top London sights that you’ll want to Instagram, as well as some suggestions for the best photo angles. Happy snapping!
1 – British Museum
The gargantuan British Museum houses treasures such as the Rosetta Stone and the Egyptian mummies, and is a great place for a rainy day. However, when the sun shines, the photo opportunities are even better.
Best shot: light streams through the courtyard in this great capture by @whatalexloves
2 – Buckingham Palace
Famous as one of the Queen’s official residences, it stands proudly at the end of the tree-lined Mall. You can visit the State Rooms inside between the end of July and beginning of October.
Best shot: capture Buckingham Palace from the colourful flower beds known as the Memorial Gardens.
3 – Covent Garden
This former market is now a largely pedestrianized zone, with an impressive number of fashion stores, restaurants and cultural attractions like the Royal Opera House and the London Transport Museum.
Best shot: whilst the piazza itself is attractive, make a bee-line for Neal’s Yard. It’s one of London’s most colourful spots.
4 – Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
Designed by Sir Charles Barry, the Palace of Westminster, known as the Houses of Parliament, is an iconic building. Its Great Bell Tower, nicknamed Big Ben was actually renamed Elizabeth Tower in honour of the Queen in 2012.
Best shot: it’s been photographed countless times so try to find a new angle, as Jon of @j_r_photography has done in this spectacular photo.
5 – Hyde Park
Once a royal hunting ground, Hyde Park is popular for its vast open space and numerous attractions.
Best shot: it’s so vast that it’s best to pick a focal point such as the Victoria and Albert Memorial, or the Italian Gardens, captured beautifully by Siobhan of @Siobhaise, the founder of @prettycitylondon
6 – Natural History Museum
Popular with young and old alike, the Natural History Museum is somewhere you’ll want to return to time and time again. Not only to see the dinosaur collection but their superb regularly changing exhibitions like the acclaimed Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
Best shot: the Victorian building looks superb from the outside or the inside, but I have a soft spot for Dippy the dinosaur, like Luke @labrahams19891
7 – Number 10 Downing Street aka number 10 Adam Street
Long gone are the days when you can get close to 10 Downing Street, for reasons of security. However there’s an almost identical door complete with the all important number 10 plaque on Adam Street.
Best shot: there’s scaffolding on the next door building, so you’ll have to angle your camera a little to avoid that.
8 – St James’s Park
This Royal Park is definitely a contender for London’s prettiest green space. The wildlife seem to think so too as they’re to be found in abundance, from swans to pelicans and squirrels.
Best shot: from The Blue Bridge towards Buckingham Palace or Horse Guards Parade, depending on the light at the time of your visit.
9 – St Paul’s Cathedral
Designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1763, St Paul’s Cathedral is an impressive work of architecture. Head up to the Whispering Gallery in the dome to check out the very unique acoustics – just be aware that no photography is allowed inside the Cathedral itself.
Best shot: From Distaff Lane or One New Change shopping centre, the Roof Terrace in particular has panoramic views of the local area.
10 – Trafalgar Square
A hub for street performers, Trafalgar Square is also home to the renowned National Gallery. Take a look at the latest quirky artwork on the Fourth Plinth, David Shrigley’s “Really Good”, a sculpture of a hand doing a thumbs-up.
Best shot: Nelson’s Column, framed by the famous fountains in this photo by @alexcarpenter87 – I wonder what Nelson would have made of the Fourth Plinth!
11 – Camden Market
This tourist favourite can get very crowded so try to visit in the morning. The canal near the market is a pleasant place for a stroll and there’s some quirky street art in the area too.
Best shot: Wander around and you’re sure to find inspiration such as this statue of Amy Winehouse who lived nearby. By British sculptor Scott Easton, it’s located in Stables Market.
12 – Highgate Cemetery
Escape the hustle and bustle of London for somewhere altogether more serene…Highgate Cemetery. The final resting place of Karl Marx, Malcolm McLaren and George Eliot is a Victorian gem. Smiling selfies aren’t really appropriate, given that it’s a burial ground but it’s an atmospheric place to pause for reflection.
Best shot: the angel sculptures captured by @anja.sweets are works of art.
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13 – Primrose Hill
For photogenic houses and far reaching views over the London skyline, Primrose Hill is hard to beat. After getting your photos, head to one of the many local eateries on the High Street.
Best shot: these pretty pastels captured by Andrea aka @dr_difilippo, co-founder of @prettylittlelondon will give you serious #housegoals!
14 – Southbank
Take a stroll along the Southbank and you never know what you may find – street performers breathing fire, runners or sand artists creating masterpieces on the shoreline.
Best shot: the London Eye is a great focal point and can be captured well from Jubilee Gardens. Zoom in for a different perspective, as photographer @lakudavies did for her sunset capture.
15 – Tate Modern
If you’re into contemporary art then Tate Modern is the place to come and the new Switch House galleries are well worth a look.
Best shot: from the new open viewing terrace on the top floor of Switch House. This black and white photo by @fionasichi captures the brutalist architecture at its best.
16 – The Shard
This distinctive skyscraper is equally impressive when viewed from the exterior or the interior with its panoramic views over Tower Bridge and the Thames.
Best shot: Rich, aka @paperboyo has become InstaFamous thanks to his playful photographs featuring papercuts of well known landmarks, such as The Shard.
I’ve had an incredible variety of experiences this year from shooting ocean sunrises with pro-photographers to climbing rooftops with daredevils and it’s all because of the opportunities Instagram has opened up for me. So in the spirit of collaboration I’m chuffed to be teaming up with the folks from @visit.dubai as part of the Here Today, Dubai Tomorrow campaign to offer a very cool opportunity to a UK photographer. We want to bring someone out to Dubai in October alongside myself and a group of hugely talented instagrammers. It’s going to be an epic trip- a chance to share ideas, shoot some awesome photos and check out everything amazing that Dubai has to offer. We’re after someone with a creative eye who can capture moments in their own unique way so if you know someone tag them here (or tag yourself if you’re up for the challenge). All you need to do is capture a photo of wherever you are in your own style, then upload it with the hashtags #DubaiTomorrow & #InstagramComp. For those that aren’t budding photographers but like the idea of getting a unique perspective on Dubai- head down to Waterloo station between 4th-11th or check out dubaitomorrow.com to have some fun with virtual reality as well as having the chance to win holidays to Dubai (All the T&C’s for the comp are on the website) #London #Dubai #TheShard #Desert #Camels #Sunrise #Silhouette #Paperart #PhotoComp #Spon #Paper #Photography #StopReadingTheseHashtagsAndGoTakeAPhotoForTheCompetition
17 – Columbia Road Flower Market
When you’re looking for a floral fix, Columbia Road Flower Market makes for a great day out – just make sure to visit on a Sunday as it’s only open then.
Best shot: take your pick from any of the colourful floral displays, nicely captured by @ennioz
18 – Shoreditch
One of the best places in London to view street art, Shoreditch has a real buzz to it. Take a wander around the streets and you’ll find some great places to eat after getting your shots.
Best shot: I like the faces painted on the tube trains suspended in the sky and the’Let’s adore and endure each other’ mural below them on Great Eastern Street.
19 – St Dunstan in the East
This church dates from the 12th century but was badly damaged in the Great Fire of London in 1666. The remains are extremely atmospheric and it’s a good place to seek out shade on a hot day.
Best shot: I like this close up of one of the ruined church windows by @pablofcanivell
20 – Tower Bridge
Until end of December 2016, Tower Bridge is closed to road traffic so you can get some particularly good photos without worrying about getting run over ;-). Inside Tower Bridge, there’s also a spectacular Glass Floor Walkway from which to admire the views.
Best shot: from the South side of the river just past the bridge – or on the bridge itself whilst there’s no road traffic.
21 – Tower of London
Another of London’s most famous landmarks, the Tower of London dates from medieval times. This former royal residence and prison houses the Crown Jewels and the six resident ravens which must never leave or legend has it that the kingdom will fall.
Best shot: you can get a fantastic photo from onboard a river cruise as @elensham did.
22 – Harrods
This world-famous department store has undergone something of a Renaissance in recent years, with a major update and cool new brands. The Egyptian staircase is still a must-see.
Best shot: Harrods looks as beautiful from outside as it does inside, ably demonstrated on this photo by debonair man about town @therollinsonlondon
23 – Kew Gardens
Whether you’re a fan of gardens or not, Kew Gardens is a great day out. The Hive is a unique new structure exploring the story of the honey bee, and children will love the Treetop Walkway.
Best shot: the Waterlily House looks superb in this photograph by @francesmehardie
24 – Notting Hill
Made famous worldwide by the film of the same name, Notting Hill is one of London’s most exclusive areas. Yet it retains a bohemian vibe that only adds to its charm.
Best shot: combine a vintage car and pastel hued houses for the perfect capture, as @hannahargyle, the creator of the popular #momentsofmine hashtag has done here.
25 – Richmond Park
Richmond Park is technically in London although it feels a world away. It’s London’s largest enclosed space, a National Nature Reserve and home to some beautiful red and fallow deer.
Best shot: The deer roam around freely and if you’re lucky, you might get a close-up such as this one by @andytye of French+Tye, photographers of architecture, interiors and the built environment.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this selection of the 25 top London sights where you’ll want to take a photo. For more adventures in London and beyond, follow me @luxurycolumnist and my fellow creatives featured here, who kindly gave permission for their fantastic photographs to be used.
Where would you add to the list? Regent’s Park, the V&A, the Kyoto Gardens in Holland Park?