So here I am blogging about all these wonderful far-flung places around the world and I’ve somehow managed to overlook somewhere a little closer to home, which also happens to be one of the best cities in the world. I recently realised that with every reason I’ve gone to London in the last year I have been collecting content and so I’ve put it together for you to bring you my 10 most Instagrammable places in London.
The thing I love most about shooting in London is that unlike most popular Instagrammable locations, you don’t need to be there at the crack of dawn to get the shot. I have shot at all 10 of these places in the middle of the day, and yes of course they are busier than at early morning, but I have never had a problem shooting at them. In fact with London you have to be more mindful of the traffic in the background than people, with that said, maybe avoid shooting during rush hour.
Don’t let me hold you back anymore (if you haven’t scrolled past this to get to the photos already), here are my top 10 places:
1. Tower Bridge
Not to be confused with London Bridge which unfortunately it is on Instagram, all of the time. Tower Bridge, famous for its two 213 feet tall towers is London’s most iconic, and therefore Instagrammble, bridge.
PFH Fun Fact: In 1977 Tower Bridge was painted red, white and blue to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. Before then it was always painted brown.
If you’re making the effort to get photos with/of Tower bridge there are two spots you want to snap from. The first is on the bridge and the second is along the River Thames on the promenade between City Hall and the bridge itself.
Even though these two locations are always busy because it’s such a hotspot for tourists, it’s not one that you need to get up early for. You will always be able to get a spot on the wall along the thames, and as for being on the bridge, the only thing you have to be mindful of is what traffic you want passing by in the background. Although everyone (including myself) makes it seem like red buses are passing by in the background all the time, they’re actually not as frequent as you think. So although the timing of the day doesn’t matter too much, you may have to wait around for a good five minutes between each bus’s appearance.
2. Buckingham Palace
Tell me what is more quintessentially British than the palace which the Queen of England calls home.
The usual tourist snap is taken out front of the gates, but the best angle is to get a higher perspective over the bars, so more of the palace is in your photo. To do this, head up the steps of the Victoria Memorial.
Just like the bridge this is a very popular location for tourists but it doesn’t matter what time you arrive for photos. Unless you are planning on visiting on the day of a royal wedding, the Queen’s birthday or other momentous days, you won’t have a problem getting a clear spot on the Victoria Memorial.
3. Oxford Street
It’s the busiest shopping street in London but it’s also where you’ll find the most frequent stream of red buses. For the best place to stand, cross safely to the centre island. The best time of year is Christmas when the street is lined with festive lights, although there’s a good chance the rain will get you. The solution to that though is to simply purchase one of the most cliché souvenirs in the world: a Union Jack umbrella, from any of the souvenir shops surrounding you.
4. St. Paul’s Cathedral
For the best view of St. Paul’s Cathedral head up to the viewing platform at the top of One New Change shopping centre.
The viewing platform isn’t big but it’s rarely busy because most people head up there to go to Madison roof top bar, so you won’t have a problem getting photos here whatever time of day you go.
5. London Eye featuring red telephone boxes
There are four key places to get photos of/with the Coca Cola London Eye all without spending a penny on actually having to go on it. They are all conveniently located in a loop so it doesn’t really matter what order you do them in but I did it as follows:
The red telephone boxes
There are two red telephone boxes along the River Thames on the opposite side to the London Eye. From here you will be able to get a shot with a couple of England’s iconic telephone boxes with the London Eye in the background.
To get here, get off at Westminster tube station and walk along the river away from Westminster Bridge for just 3mins.
Just to prepare you, red telephone boxes might be cute in photos but most of them are used more as a urinal than for making phone calls, so if you plan on opening the door, do yourself a favour and hold your breath. Also the doors are surprisingly heavy.
The earlier you can shoot here, the better, because there will be a lot of foot traffic in the background especially as the boat tour piers are here. I have been here twice in the afternoon and it is possible to shoot with a break in the crowd, you just need a little patience. For the best shot, get your photographer to stand on the island between the main road and the cycle path.
Walk just a little further along the river just beyond the Battle of Britain RAF memorial so that you stand directly opposite the London Eye.
Please be aware that although this wall is not high, the river is on the other side so don’t lean back and just be careful.
When you’ve finished taking your photos along the riverside, walk further along the river and cross the Golden Jubilee bridge then walk towards the London Eye. It will take you less than 2mins to get to the Jubilee Gardens from the bridge.
There really isn’t a best spot here, it’s all good and depends on how much of the London Eye you want to feature in your photos.
Once you’ve got your shot in Jubilee Gardens and hopefully enjoyed an ice cream on the grass (there’s an ice cream truck located in the park, treat yo’self), walk past the London Eye and onto Westminster Bridge. The best angle is on the right side of the bridge, facing the London Eye standing between the fourth and fifth lampposts.
Believe it or not, the bridge was packed when we got this shot. You just have to wait for a break in the crowd, it will come, just be patient.
To the average onlooker, Shoreditch is a dump. It’s grubby, there’s graffiti on every wall and bin bags line the streets but it’s one of the greatest parts of London. Shoreditch is London’s creative hub; it has all the vintage shops your heart desires, the graffiti walls are works of art (you can book graffiti tours to learn more), the food is some of the best in the city (seriously don’t leave London without getting beigels on Brick Lane) and there is always some kind of festival, show or exhibition going on there.
Just wander around and take your pick of graffiti, but if you want the same one as me, you want “Lets Adore and Endure Each Other” by Stephen Powers on Great Eastern Street.
7. Notting Hill
Notting Hill has been one of London’s most photographed locations long before the birth of Instagram. The uniformed rows of colourful pastel houses have captured the hearts of people all around the world.
The best streets to head down are Farm place (the one featured in my photo), Farmer Street, Hillgate Place and Hillgate Street.
There are plenty of pastel houses to go around but these days Notting Hill is always scattered with bloggers, photographers and tourists. So although you don’t need to arrive early, you can do if you want first pick of the houses. Please just be mindful and considerate of the fact that these are people’s houses so don’t be loud and don’t stand on their doorstep.
8. Peggy Porchen
Peggy Porchen is unmistakably the most Instagrammable café in London. Its candy floss pink shopfront, seasonal floral display and the most beautifully decorated cakes draw people in from all over the world.
For the best photos sit outside to the right of the door so you can get the floral display behind you in the shot.
Choose your cakes wisely. I’m not a big fan of cake so I chose a sweet little hand-iced biscuit from the counter and it cost £10! As lovely as it was, it most definitely was not worth £10.
9. Saint Aymes
Heads up, as gorgeous as everything on the menu is, and it really is, it comes with a pretty steep price tag. My lilac unicorn 24ct gold latte was the prettiest drink I have ever had and was absolutely delicious but it’s a cool £8.45. What I will say about the price is that not only is everything photo worthy but it’s also delicious. We also had the 24ct Unicorn Waffles to share and they were worth every penny at £16.99.
aint Aymes had Instagram in mind when they designed the decor, every corner of this café is picture perfect. Where you go depends on the vibe you want, outside has Parisienne charm with its floral terrace whereas inside has floor to ceiling floral walls.
10. Sky Garden
Sky Garden is London’s highest public garden, sitting comfortably 37 floors high above the central business district. Surround yourself with tropical plants whilst looking over the city skyline.
Access to the sky garden is free but you will need to book a time slot in advance here.
The best shot is to get your photographer to head up the steps to the restaurant in the middle of the garden and look down at you standing on the steps against the railings, with London’s vast landscape stretched out in the background.
The best time to go to get the most out of your experience is about an hour before sunset, so there’s enough light to get photos but you can sit in the bar with a drink to watch the sun go down over the city. If you want the best time for just getting photos, head up there when it opens at 10am on weekdays and 11am on weekends, so there are less people to avoid in your photos.
So there you have it, 10 of the most Instagrammable places in London, England. The great thing about big, trend-setting cities like London is that they will always be evolving and new spots are constantly popping up so you can be sure there will be a part 2 to this blog post in the future.
If you find this guide useful and take photos at any of these locations, use #postcardsfromhawaiiblog and I will feature them on my Instagram stories!
Do more on & for the planet, Gabriella