Of course, London’s most renowned for the urgent vibrancy of its uber-urban experience (shopping, theatre, dining out, nightclubs, museums and galleries and so on), but surely not enough visitors think first of the fantastic views offered up here, there and everywhere throughout the place – many not far at all from centrally-located accommodation like 5 star hotels in Knightsbridge….
The London Eye
(The Queen’s Walk, Belvedere Road SE1 7PB)
The first on the list is, yes, an obvious pick but an essential one. Perhaps the most famous attraction on the attraction-packed Thameside strip that’s the South Bank, despite the fact it’s among the very youngest of London’s big-hitting iconic sights, this gigantic Ferris wheel offers sublime views of the whole of the London skyline from each of its slowly revolving pods in which visitors plonk themselves for their hour-long ride on the thing. Look out for the Thames snaking away in both directions, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, the Shard, the Gherkin, the Walkie-Talkie, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, Canary Wharf, Wembley and… well, everything, frankly.
(20 Fenchurch Street EC3M 8AF)
Located high-up on the highest floor of this unique Square Mile skyscraper that’s accessible by the public, the Sky Garden serves up sublime views of the surrounding area and the city to the north, while also comprising a top-quality restaurant, oh-so stylish bar and impressive indoor-garden. Entry’s free but, so popular is the venue, it may be a good idea to book in advance (even up to two weeks in advance) to ensure you and your party are able to get in. Interesting fact: 20 Fenchurch Street is colloquially known as ‘the ‘Walkie-Talkie’ owing to its garishly unusual shape resembling an old-fashioned mobile phone.
(Primrose Hill Road NW1 7SU)
Elegant, quiet and a little way outside the centre of town, Primrose Hill is the place in the capital that doesn’t just serve up terrific views of Central London to the south but also is the perfect green spot for some repose and relaxation, preferably with a picnic hamper to feed yourself from, a rug to sit on and good company to share the sunny, warm afternoon with. Not just that but locals are adamant that, even when it’s cloudy and overcast, the view’s still pretty supreme; plus, the nearby boutiquey shop and stylish eateries are excellent to pop into, not least Primrose Bakery for its cupcakes.
(Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate EC2N 4AY)
Located slap-bang in the centre of The City (so not that long a Tube hop away from the hotel San Domenico House), this restaurant coolly sits on the 38th-floor of one of the capital’s tallest buildings, Heron Tower. The views through the big, wide windows are supreme and no mistake, yet so too is the food on offer. Take a look at that name again; yes, Sushisamba is, indeed, a Japanese, Brazilian *and* Peruvian cuisine-blending establishment, its lobster tacos, shrimps tempura and poussin teriyaki being especially recommended.
(Romney Road SE10 8XJ)
Finally, one of the sites – and, indeed, sights – that’s an absolute must on a sunny spring or summer’s day, the Royal Park in Greenwich is a glorious showcase of Renaissance- and Georgian-era landscaping and architecture, it’s wonderfully rolling hills accompanied by the stunning beauty of the Royal Naval College, the Queen’s House and the Royal Observatory. And then, of course, there’s the terrific view the whole thing affords from the top of the hill – while you straddle time itself by standing either side of the Prime Meridian line. Note: Greenwich is home to many an excellent old-fashioned British pub too; ideal for a cheeky pint come the end of the day.