Heading to London? Don’t forget to head to at least one of these famous buildings in London and experience the best skyline views of the city.
London’s skyline is densely populated with numerous structures, landmarks, and skyscrapers, providing the city with a fantastic outlook. The structures have served as the backdrop for countless great films for decades.
The Shard, a 310-meter-tall skyscraper, and the bullet-shaped Gherkin are both located in London. The city also contains the well-known London attractions Big Ben and the London Eye, which attract many tourists annually.
Numerous London hotels have amassed fortunes by providing unparalleled views of the city’s structures and activity. Among them, the top 13 skyscrapers you must visit in London are as follows.
Famous Buildings in London
30 St Mary Axe
One of the most recognizable skyscrapers and unique landmarks in the UK, is 30 St Mary Axe, also known as “The Gherkin.” The bullet-shaped building with diamond-shaped windows was constructed by the famous British architect Norman Foster in 2003 and is visible from Windsor Great Park.
It is located on the site of the original Baltic Exchange, which was severely damaged by an IRA attack in 1992. The unusual ‘lens’ atop the Gherkin is a tribute to a famous glass dome that once stood on the ground level of the original structure and is now on exhibit somewhere at the National Maritime Museum.
The Shard, which has a magnificent 95 stories and towers over every other high building in London, is the tallest skyscraper in the United Kingdom. From its peak, you have a clearer view of significant structures and landmarks, a benefit that the Shangri-La restaurant in the Shard fully utilizes.
Italian architect Renzo Piano created it to imitate a tall, pyramid-shaped structure entirely made of glass. The reflective exterior creates an immersive wonder in the middle of the metropolis by reflecting the skyline of London.
In 2013, the Shard opened. Many people enter the stunning building to snap photographs of the town from its viewing platform, which you absolutely must do while here as the viewpoint is incomparable and breathtaking.
The second-tallest skyscraper to visit in London, this enormous structure is often referred to as TwentyTwo. It has 62 stories. With development set to wrap up in 2020, it is a relatively new addition to London’s skyline. Its inauguration may have occurred sooner, but in 2012, work was suspended as a result of the Great Recession.
It is an office building in the financial center that also features the Market and a bustling dining area. You should go here to take in the beautiful scenery of London from the tall structure. Grab a bite to eat at one of the many food shops or unwind with a drink at the outdoor bar.
20 Fenchurch St
It’s easy to see how the Walkie-Talkie’s unusual design earned it the moniker “walkie-talkie” by evoking images of mobile phones from the 1980s. In addition to its nicknames, it gained notoriety for being the structure that melted an automobile.
During construction, it was discovered that the concave design allowed the sun to mirror the street beneath, hitting temperatures as high as 117 degrees Celsius. It melted the paintwork of a car, and a reporter from City A.M. could literally poach an egg in front of it.
Now that everything has been mended, 20 Fenchurch Street is most known for its wonderful plant-filled Sky Garden, from where you can enjoy free views of the city; perfect for those visiting England on a budget.
One Canada Square
When One Canada Square was finished in 1991, it was the highest structure in London. The 50-story structure, which has a recognizable pyramid-shaped top with stainless steel siding, is currently the third-tallest skyscraper in the United Kingdom.
The aviation indicator light at the summit, which is not present in the majority of buildings, further distinguishes it. Unfortunately, One Canada Square may not be the London skyscraper to explore if you’re searching for a towering structure with an observation deck.
St Paul’s Cathedral
Among the most recognizable and famous landmarks in London, the skyline has to be St. Paul’s Cathedral, with its massive dome with Baroque-inspired architecture.
It was London’s tallest structure (between 1710-1963), and it continues to be the UK’s second-largest ecclesiastical structure after Liverpool Cathedral.
In 1666, following the Great Fire of London, Sir Christopher Wren was given the job of building the cathedral as part of a massive building program. However, the new structure wasn’t formally finished until 1711.
Several royal occasions, including a few weddings, have taken place here. Additionally, it served as the location for the funerals of Margaret Thatcher, Winston Churchill, and Admiral Nelson. St. Paul’s interior is stunning and well worth a visit.
What a strange name! You might be curious to learn the origin of the name of London’s fourth-tallest structure. You can see that St. Paul’s Cathedral is a well-known landmark and a tall building whose view must not be obstructed by any means.
To address the fact that 122 Leadenhall Street partially blocked this view, it was designed to resemble a cheese grater on one side. Not only was the issue resolved, but the building also had one of the most original designs ever to exist in architecture.
Some of the top firms in the real estate and insurance industries mostly have offices on the 48 levels of the skyscraper. The 30-meter-high atrium, flanked by eateries and cafes that provide spectacular views of London’s skyline, is the only access point for tourists.
Near Tower Bridge, on the south bank of the river, there is a tilted, bulbous structure that resembles a motorcycle helmet. This is the City Hall, another renowned Norman Foster building that was inaugurated in 2002.
The Greater London Authority, which includes the Mayor of London and the London Assembly, now calls this location home, while Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, intends to relocate there at the end of 2021. There is also the cool outdoor Scoop Amphitheatre nearby, where there is always a bustle, especially in the summer.
When its massive 28-meter mast is taken into account, the office building inside the financial area becomes the second-tallest London skyscraper. The aquarium of Heron Tower, which can be found in the building’s lobby, has gained international renown. You may come here to see the hundreds of fish swimming about all day in this stunning splash of green.
Although work on this amazing colossus began in 2002, London nearly lost it to a legal challenge brought by St. Paul’s Cathedral. They claimed that the sight of the cathedral might be blocked from Waterloo Bridge by Heron Tower, but the deputy prime minister eventually ruled in favor of the tower.
The BT Tower
The BT Tower located at Fitzrovia, London, is a Grade II communications building that is 189 meters tall and is one of the earlier additions to the city’s skyline. When it was finished in 1964, it surpassed St. Paul’s as the tallest peak in the UK, a title it held until the NatWest Tower was completed in 1980.
The state-of-the-art rotating diner on the 34th level rotated once every 23 minutes, which was revolutionary for its day. As a tourist attraction in London, “Top of the Tower” was officially opened by the Queen.
Due to a bombing by a radical left-wing anarchist organization in 1981, the tower was closed to the public. An LED ‘information band’ covering the entire exterior was added in 2009, and it is now visible at night. It continues to serve as a communications hub for the United Kingdom and, more lately, as an urban pollution observatory.
Battersea Power Station
The four white spires of Battersea Power Station have been immediately identifiable on the London skyline. The massive coal-fired power station, dismantled between 1975 and 1983 and classified as Grade II*, is located on the south shore of the Thames.
George Gilbert Scott also designed the Bankside power station, which is now the Tate Modern. In addition, it owes a portion of its renown to the inflatable pig that appeared on the cover of Pink Floyd’s “Animals” album from 1977.
Although it is commonly referred to as Battersea Power station, it is comprised of two power plants constructed in stages from 1929 to 1955. After being deactivated in 1983, it remained abandoned for decades, although its Art Deco architecture was preserved.
Numerous rehabilitation proposals, ranging from an amusement park to a sports stadium, appeared to fizzle out. Thankfully, the site’s most recent refurbishment is well completed, with the new Northern Line Battersea Power Station subway station is now open. Circus West Village is bustling with new apartments, stores, and restaurants, making it a must-see center of activity.
Are you familiar with the photographs of a large London clock bell? This is the Great Ben. When it was finally finished in 1859, it was the largest and most precise clock of its day. Big Ben is the nickname given to the clock and bell that are housed in the Elizabeth Tower of the Palace of Westminster.
The Royal Horseguards Hotel, the London Marriott Hotel County Hall, and the Park Plaza Westminster London are just a few of the hotels in the city from where one can see this stunning and historically significant building.
Best things to do in London
The London skyline is remarkable not only for its dazzling vistas that make you envious of the natives but also for its historical sites that are precious to the British people.
It is the site of some of the biggest historical events and remains one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. If you are going to visit London, make sure to visit at least some of the skyscrapers mentioned above to make your trip successful.
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