London is filled with photogenic places, but like many touristy cities in Europe, taking photos here can be difficult especially due to the large crowds. This article will not only help you find the most spectacular and unique London photo spots, but also guide you on how to avoid crowds in your shots and other useful photography tips to keep in mind. The best bit? You’ve probably never even heard of some of these places. Get ready to explore some beautiful hidden gems of this city!
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1. Hampstead Pergola & Hill Garden
This gorgeous, mystical garden is one of the best hidden gems of London. Located right across Hampstead Heath (a large green space in the northern part of the city), it’s one of my favorite spots to visit thanks to its calming vibes, mysterious allure and of course – stunning photo ops. Aside from taking a relaxing stroll through the vines and flowers, you can also have a picnic or read a book in the soothing green area outside the garden.
Best time to visit: On weekdays for least amounts of people. During spring and summer for blossoms, although this place is equally beautiful covered in autumn leaves or winter snow! Photo Tip: This garden makes the perfect backdrop for portrait photography! I recommend bringing a good prime lens for that. You can see all my camera gear recommendations here.
2. Westminster Cathedral
Westminster Cathedral is one of the best-kept secrets of London. Even though it’s near the popular Victoria Station and just a 15-min walk from Westminster Abbey, most tourists aren’t even aware of its existence. I recommend not just snapping a photo of its charming exterior, but also visiting inside – you can find mass times here.
3. Sky Garden
Sky Garden is a classy and elegant public garden and bar that offers a fantastic bird’s-eye view of the city. Located on the 37th floor of The Walkie Talkie building, it’s particularly a good place to visit during sunset, so I recommend getting there just before then to capture the sky turning orange! You can also visit late at night to get a fancy/high-end clubbing experience if that’s something you’re into. One thing is for sure – dancing to a spectacular aerial view of London is an experience you won’t forget.
Top Tip: Entrance to the Sky Garden is free, but there are limited spots available every day, so you must book your visit before you go. I highly recommend reserving your timeslot 2-3 weeks in advance as tickets tend to get snatched up really quicky!
4. Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge is probably one of the most tourist-packed London photography spots. But there’s a trick to getting good crowd-less shots there: arrive early in the morning, as soon as the sun rises! Most tourists are still in bed at that time, and you’ll see just a few bikers pass by. Plus, it’s quite a special experience to have London’s most iconic monument all to yourself for a little bit!
Photo Tip: Be sure to stop by Girl with a Dolphin Fountain near the northern entrance of the bridge for a wonderful photo angle!
5. Madison Roof Terrace – One of the Top London Photo Spots
The area surrounding St. Paul’s Cathedral is always filled with tourists. The good news, though, is that right next to the cathedral, there’s a shopping mall called One New Change with an incredible secret viewpoint. If you go up to the 6th floor of the mall, you’ll reach the restaurant Madison. Simply walk through the restaurant and you’ll come across its roof terrace — one of the most photogenic places in London. Grab a drink there while watching the sun set over London’s skyline, and get the majestic, closeup view of St. Paul’s Cathedral mostly to yourself!
Opening hours: 6 am - midnight daily Best time for photos: Sunrise and sunset
6. Leadenhall Market
Situated in London’s financial center, Leadenhall Market is home to numerous boutique shops, restaurants and pubs. It’s a great place to go for a stroll, especially because the fun and lively atmosphere in there very much contrasts the suits-and-ties vibe of its surroundings! If you’re in London during the Christmas season, you’ll also see some amazing festive decorations here.
Best time for photos: Go during the weekend or non-working hours! On weekdays, this place is swamped with locals working in the area, especially during lunchtime.
7. St Dunstan in the East
This peaceful, serene and eerie garden isn’t just one of the best places to take pictures in London – it’s also a great spot to relax with a book! St. Dunstan in the East used to be a church which was unfortunately destroyed during WWII. Its ruins have then been turned into a public garden, and it’s especially photogenic in the fall! This is also a great place for portrait photography.
Opening hours: 8 am - 7 pm daily
8. Primrose Hill
If you’re into colorful houses, Primrose Hill is a very good alternative to the crowded and touristy Notting Hill. Be sure to stop by Chalcot Crescent and Chalcot Square, two spots right next to the hill with lots of charming buildings. Then, climb up the hill right before sunset to watch the sky put on a fantastic show!
Best time for photos: I recommend getting here an hour or so before the sun sets. You'll get good lighting for your photos with the buildings, and can then climb up the hill just in time to watch sunset!
9. Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens is about an hour away from central London by tube, but it’s totally worth the trip if you’re interested in botanic gardens, greenhouses, and blossoms! There are lots of exciting attractions inside Kew Gardens, including art galleries, pagodas, and museums. But the most photogenic spot is Palm House (pictured above) – an indoor rainforest with lots of tropical plants, many of which are endangered in the wild! This place is definitely also one of the most calming and peaceful London photo spots.
Opening hours: Please check this website for real-time info Entrance fees: It's cheaper to buy tickets online than at the gate! Online prices are: Adults - £15.50 (concessions £14.50) | Children aged 4 - 16 - £2.50 | Children under 4 - free
10. St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel
This magnificent hotel has one of the most breathtaking interiors I’ve seen. Its incredibly Instagrammable staircase was made extra wide so that women could pass by each other in their large bustle dresses back in the days. It’s also where the Spice Girls filmed their Wannabe music video! If you have an early morning train to catch, you can also take an elevator from the hotel corridors and end up directly next to your Eurostar in King’s Cross St. Pancras International Station. How cool is that?
Please note: Only hotel guests are allowed to take photos inside the hotel. The location of this hotel is as central as it gets and it's definitely one of the best places to stay in London!
Belgravia is the perfect spot to take pictures if you’re into flowers and floral decorations! Amongst the most photogenic stops in this area are Peggy Porschen and Les Senteurs, two stores that always win at showing off their stunning facades. Peggy Porschen also changes their decorations every season! I recommend taking a walk in this area as there are many other gorgeous shops around too, such as Saint Aymes and Dominique Ansel. Please be respectful when taking pictures in front of these stores and make sure you’re not interfering with their business/customers!
Top Tip: Get to Peggy Porschen before opening time (8 am) to avoid having to queue for a photo. This place gets crowded quite fast!
12. Regent Street & Soho
Regent St. and Soho are pretty much London’s tourist central, but the key to getting good shots here is touring these spots early in the morning when most people are still waking up! This is especially true if you want to take pictures around the cute streets of Soho, where you can find Instagrammable buildings such as the pub pictured on the right. This area is also great for catching Christmas light decorations if you’re around during the festive season; you can get some cool evening shots on Regent Street – the picture on the left was taken right across Hamley’s!
13. Lancaster Road (Notting Hill)
Notting Hill is undoubtedly one of the most Instagrammable places in London, and its countless colorful buildings definitely have something to do with it! My favorite spot there is a specific part of Lancaster Road where a row of captivating houses (pictured above) is located. This street always gives me inspiration on what color my future dream house could be!
Please be respectful when taking pictures in Notting Hill. This is a residential area so please don't create any disruptions for the locals here.
14. St Lukes Mews (Notting Hill)
Right next to the colorful buildings of Lancaster Road (spot #13) is St. Lukes Mews – a narrow alley with more charming houses! Built in the 17th and 18th centuries, the houses here used to be stables that housed horses. Nowadays, they’re residential flats and one of them is quite famous too – the pink house pictured above was the filming set of Love Actually!
Please note: There's a donation box in front of the pink house - if you want to take a photo there, please contribute a donation to the residents of the flat as they get a lot of tourists showing up.
15. Liberty London
Just a few minutes walk from Oxford Circus is Liberty London, a luxury department store that sells everything from clothes and accessories to beauty products and gifts. The exterior of this building is quite photogenic, and if you want to take photos there, I recommend doing so early in the morning when traffic is low and few people are around. The mall itself is also worth exploring if you’re in the mood for some shopping!
Food Tip: If you're a fan of the Hawaiian dish poke, there's an extremely good place for it called Island Poke just a 2-min walk from Liberty London. I highly recommend it!
16. Royal Courts of Justice
You’ve probably never thought of this as a photo spot in London, but the Royal Courts of Justice showcases a beautiful example of Victorian Gothic style architecture. Built in the 1870s, it houses the High Court and Court of Appeal of England & Wales. It’s also one of the largest courts in Europe. It’s located right on the Strand – a large road running from Trafalgar Square to Temple Bar – a great place to take a relaxing walk if you have some time to kill in the city!
Best time for photos: This place doesn't really get crowded, so you don't need to get there early in the morning. I took my photos without any obstacles in the evening right before sunset!
17. Millenium Bridge
A photo tour of London would be incomplete without a stop at the famous Millenium Bridge, which offers a magnificent view of St. Paul’s Cathedral from start to end. There are lots of photo ops along the bridge, so I recommend taking your time here to enjoy the scenic stroll! At the opposite end of the bridge from St. Paul’s Cathedral, you’ll find lots of art and cultural hubs such as Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe!
Photo Tip: This bridge is extremely crowded during the day. I really recommend starting the day early and getting here during sunrise to get the best photos with few people around!
18. Kynance Mews & South Kensington
Kynance Mews is one of the most Instagrammable places in London, but the good thing about it is that it’s usually not crowded at all. This area is especially pretty during fall, when autumn leaves decorate the arches and houses of the mews. I suggest wandering around and admiring all the cute buildings here, but also taking the time to explore its surroundings as South Kensington is very stunning in general! The photo at the bottom left, for example, was taken in Southwell Gardens, right around the corner from Kynance Mews!
This is a residential area so please be respectful to the locals when taking pictures here.
19. Natural History Museum
A visit to South Kensington would not be complete without a stop at the majestic Natural History Museum. Not only is this establishment really photogenic both from the outside and the inside, it also houses lots of interesting galleries showcasing dinosaurs, volcanoes and earth’s most fascinating treasures, to name a few. If I had to recommend only one exhibition though, it would have to be Wildlife Photographer of the Year. The photography showcased there are some of the best wildlife shots you’ll see, and they always tell really important and insightful stories!
Opening hours: Please check real-time info here Entrance fees: Free! (To see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, you have to buy tickets in advance though)
20. Kelly Street (Kentish Town)
If you’re looking to explore some more hidden gems in London, Kentish Town is totally worth checking out. This area has lots of cool pubs, a great music scene and some of the prettiest houses. I really recommend spending some time taking pictures and relaxing in this part of town if you want to wander off the tourist trail. The beautiful row of colorful houses (pictured above) are on Kelly Street – one of the most well-hidden and best Instagram spots in London.
This is a residential area so please be respectful to the locals when taking pictures here.
21. Covent Garden
Convent Garden is one of the top-visited places in London, but there are two spots in this tourist hub that stand out for their photo-worthiness. The Infinity Chamber (pictured on the left) houses thousands of LED lights that change colors throughout the year – from bright white to rainbow. It provides the perfect color therapy and is open 24/7! A 5-min walk from there is Neal’s Yard (pictured on the right) – a colorful courtyard with bakeries, coffee shops, and lots of other stores. Aside from being very photogenic, the vibe there is also really friendly and uplifting! When you’re in Covent Garden, make sure to also check out the amazing food market there.
Top Tip: Both spots can get very crowded during the day, especially Neal's Yard. I recommend getting to both places early in the morning and then grabbing a coffee in Neal's Yard after you're done with the photos!
22. Victoria Embankment
The best angles from which to photograph the London Eye are from Victoria Embankment near Westminster Station. From this road, you get a clear view of the London Eye and the Thames without too much crowd, and you can find multiple perspectives to shoot from – it’s a great chance to exercise your creativity!
My Photography Gear
- DSLR camera: Nikon D610
- Lenses: Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 + Tokina AF 16-28mm f/2.8
- Tripod: Manfrotto Element Traveller Tripod (Ball Head)