Ah, the joys of photographing The Big Smoke. It doesn’t sound like the most photogenic place when you really think about it, but London has some prime photo spots. The secret to discovering the best photo spots in London is really just to wander, but there are some that are so popular it’s worth knowing before you go. If you look up these spots, and see what existing photos look like (90% of them look the same), you can approach the location at your own angle and truly make your photo your own. That results in total #instasuccess – or, so we hear…we have yet to actually master Instagram.
However, we are good at London (or so we think…we aren’t actually that cool, and the people who are really good at London are, like, really cool). We live here, and we occasionally leave our house and go out and about here. But even when we do not, I am always perusing TimeOut and The Nudge for the latest and greatest openings in London – and the prettiest spots in our city. From pretty cafes and restaurants to quintessentially English streets, these are some of the top photo spots in London.*
*All research was done on Instagram, but “top” is defined subjectively by what stood out to me the most as being a) ‘grammed frequently, b) absolutely beautiful, or c) a hidden spot photographed by someone I admire.
25 Instagram-Worthy Photo Spots in London
Whether you’re popping through London on an epic Eurotrip or moving here to study/work, this is your guide to getting the photos of London Town that you’ll cherish the most. Just don’t forget to get a photo of yourself, too!
London Attractions to Photograph
There’s a high likelihood that if you’ve ever read about, heard about, or thought about London, you already know what these places look like. That means it’s especially difficult to get a unique photo. I’ve chosen some of my favorites from Instagram to give you an idea of where to start. The best thing to do, though, is get there, walk around, and find the angle that you love!
1. Big Ben & Houses of Parliament
Talk about one of the most iconic photo spots in London! Ever since Two Drifters visited London, I’ve been obsessed with this mini photoshoot they did, and will probably always reference it when discussing photos of Big Ben & the Houses of Parliament. I love the way they went across the bridge, to a quieter area, where they could take their time taking photos – they came out stunning!
A Westminster walking tour is a great way to see all of the sights of Westminster while learning about London’s history in the process!
2. The British Library
Books on books on books. In case you didn’t know, the British Library is MASSIVE – like, the second largest library in the world. If you’re a book lover, this is the perfect place for you to take some photos. However, photos of books can be taken anywhere (i.e., in some of London’s beautiful bookshops). Try to get some of the magic of the British Library in your shot as well – the happenings at the library, the people.
3. The Natural History Museum
I find museums extremely difficult to photograph, or at least get a decent photograph of. A lot of times, you’re just taking photos of things – art, artifacts, etc. The Natural History Museum is different, though. The interior is b-e-a-utiful! I feel like I could honestly look at the same shot of it all day because it’s just that cool. Make sure you capture the commotion going on – tourists coming and going. Tourists, school children, locals – they’re like a museum exhibit themselves!
4. Tower Bridge
The best view of Tower Bridge (in my opinion) is from the water; however, not everyone has a chance to do a Thames River Cruise. If that’s not on your itinerary, try to get a photo of Tower Bridge from afar, featuring something else iconic – perhaps City Hall? Alternatively, a head on shot crossing the bridge is pretty incredible, too!
5. The London Eye
The London Eye is a spectacular thing, and it offers stunning views over London, making it one of the best photo locations in London. Most tourists will have two iconic shots: the London Eye straight on, and a photo of them in a pod from the London Eye. Our beautiful little wheel is gorgeous when it’s all lit up, but I personally think the morning/day time shots are the best. Aim to get the Eye (or a pod) at a different angle to make your shot unique.
6. St. Paul’s Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of my favorite views in London, but it’s extremely difficult to photograph up close. Don’t fret, though! There are plenty of hidden views of St. Paul’s all around London, and if you wander around the City, you’re bound to find a perfect view. Mix some other aspects of London into your shot, such as a bridge or a building (modern or historic!).
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London Neighbourhood Staples
Each of London’s neighbourhoods has so much to offer its visitors – they all have their own attitude and charm. Each is also photogenic in it’s own way, but these are some of the ones we see photographed the most.
7. Kynance Mews
You might recognize Kynance Mews from my Day Out in South Kensington post. I think it is literally the most photographed mews in London, and it’s easy to see why! Try to capture the little details in your shot, whether that is the color changing leaves, a row of flowers, or a special door that caught your eye.
8. Coloured Houses of Notting Hill
People love Notting Hill, so whether you’ve seen the movie or not, you’ll probably recognize these adorable houses as one of the most popular photo spots in London. Each street in Notting Hill is different, but pretty much all of them are beautiful. Whether you photograph a whole row of houses, or just two side by side, definitely try to get some contrast in your shot. If all the houses look the same, it could be any London neighborhood!
Hampstead is another neighbourhood that not only has gorgeous houses, but incredibly charming shops, cafes, and hidden pathways. Plus, there is so much greenery you could almost forget you’re in London! To get the best shot, you honestly just need to walk…and walk…and walk, until you find something that sticks out to you. Let your personality shine in this one, and I’m sure the photo will be incredible!
Cutesticks Victorian cottage in Hampstead. Look where the door knob is. 😊 _ Although it's flipping freezing today, it's the perfect day to do our Hampstead walk. There are three cosy pubs to duck into along the way to warm up by the fire. _ There are Georgian streets, sweet little cottages, a bit of Hampstead Heath and even stories of vampires. Link in profile to download. ⭐
10. Shoreditch/Brick Lane Street Art
If you are into street art, or simply looking to do something different, Shoreditch and its surrounding areas are the place to be. I recommend doing a tour if you want to see the best of the best, but you can see plenty just walking around on your own. Look up, down, and all around – you never know what unique angle you might find!
Restaurants, Cafes, & Shops
People say English food is bad. Pfft! Afternoon Tea? Brilliant concept! Fish & Chips? Incredible! English beer? Usually pretty good! London food? Not defined by English food! London is a melting pot and its restaurants reflect that in so many ways. There are endless options for truly incredible meals, beautifully displayed cakes and cookies, and tasting menus with the perfect presentation. If you like photographing restaurants and food, London is a pretty good place to start! Here are some of my favorite photo spots in London for foodie pics:
11. The Churchill Arms
The Churchill Arms is one of the photo locations in London that excites me the most, mainly because I fell in love with it before I realized how popular it was for bloggers/vloggers/Instagrammers. Why, you ask? The food is amazing! The pub is gorgeous year round – covered in flowers or, at Christmas, Christmas trees! But most people never bother to go inside – they have incredible Thai food and there’s even a secret garden in the back.
Well, first off, everything at Sketch is pink. Second, the bathrooms are epic. I don’t think I know anyone who has been to Sketch and not ‘grammed a pic, so it’s no shock that this is one of the top photo spots in London. Every detail at Sketch has been thought through, so make sure you capture some of those. Of course, you can take a photo in the egg/space ship bathroom, but it’s been done before!
13. A Classic London Tea Room (I recommend Fortnum & Mason’s, Kensington Palace’s Orangery, and the Conrad St. James)
China and cake. Really, that’s all people want to see from your afternoon tea experience. Go for a flat lay of your table – yes, it’s cliche, but I’m sure you’ll find a way to make it your own! Plus, #flatlay is all the rage right now.
14. London Shops
London is home to some of the most beautiful stores – whether you’re an interior design nut or just like to look from the outside. Wandering around London, it’s almost impossible not to pass a lovely little storefront or a beautifully decorated boutique. From The Old Curiosity Shop to Alice’s to the interior of The Liberty Store, there is no shortage of inspiration and beauty (Daunt Books is another blogger fave). However, shops can be hard to photograph. Don’t wait around for the perfect moment to get an empty shopfront or a store with nobody in it. Instead, make the people of London work to your advantage – again, the people of London make London, and they can make your photo as well!
15. A Traditional English Pub
If you visit London – or anywhere in the UK for that matter – without stopping in at least a couple of pubs, I really don’t know what to do with you. This is coming from a local who probably frequents a few too many pubs, but still. It’s part of the English experience!! Photographing a pub can be tricky, but when they’re done right the images are magical. Try to get a shot of the exterior of the pub (if it’s attractive); alternatively, in older pubs, I love shots of the beer taps. A million bonus points from A Pair of Passports if you manage to get a good photo of a dog in a dog-friendly pub. Our photos range from Giorgio lying on the pub floor to Giorgio resting his head on the pub table – can you tell we’re in a pub? Barely.
A cosy West London favourite. No Sky Sports or cheesy piped music. Just a proper pub. #pub #pubs #londonpub #englishpub #boozer #boozerpub #backstreetboozer #londonpubexplorer #realpub #reallondon #thisislondon #londonlife #urbanphotography #timeoutlondon #timeout #london #westlondon #sloanesquare #chelsea
Out & About in London
16. Regent Street
This is where you can get THE iconic London buildings & London buses shot. What should you do? Get the iconic London buildings & London buses shot! I’m sure people can think of a million ways to make this photo location result in a unique photo, but I love this classic shot so much that I think everyone should have one of their own. If you go at night, everything is all lit up; around Christmas, you’ll get the Christmas lights in. Sometimes they even have American flags up (during the NFL events), so if you’re over from across the pond, that’s the shot to get!
#thisislondon #londonlife #london4all #london_only #londondisclosure #igdaily #icu_britain #igersoftheday #travel #tourist #thisislondon #shutup_london #hq_globe #hq_uk #architectureporn #toplondonphoto #london_enthusiast #prettylittlelondon #igerslondon #urbanromantix #urbanexploration #wundrouslondon #rsa_streetview #puddlegram #prettycities #chasing_facades #ukpotd #timeoutlondon #lo_espresso #ldn4all_ribtickler
17. The London Skyline
What I’m about to say is a bit unfair, but I just have to say it. Helicopter shots win this one every time. However, not everyone can squeeze a helicopter ride into their time (or budget) in London. The good news? There are plenty of other places to get incredible shots of London’s skyline. Head up one of the buildings in Canary Wharf to get a good shot of all of London’s uniquely shaped buildings; if you want something a bit closer up and are okay with The Shard not being in your photo, heading up The Shard is a great alternative!
🚁🇬🇧High Expectations 🇬🇧🚁 Many thanks to @vvbaviation for the awesome flight experience over the beautiful city London, loved every second of it ☺🙏🏼🚁📸 ============================================= #Nikon #toplondonphoto #travellingthroughtheworld #visitlondon #vsco #Mylondon #timeout #timeoutlondon #Communityfirst #london #Thelondonlifeinc #LondoncityWorld #MySecretLondon #uk #england #Londonthroughmycam #london4all #instagram #thisisLondon #photooftheday #LuxWT #Photosofengland #tagsforlikes #sunrise #sunset #londonforyou #towerbridge #Photosofbritain #igerslondon #TrendingReach @london @uk @secret.london @toplondonphoto @visitlondonofficial @timeoutlondon @thelondonlifeinc @london_city_photo @instagram
18. Leadenhall Market
I consider this to be one of the lesser known photo spots in London, but am always surprised when people visit and have no idea what it is. I absolutely love Leadenhall market and the fact that it’s just a place for everyday City workers to grab their cup of coffee in the morning or drink after work. It’s such a normal place, but it’s so beautiful! As one of the oldest markets in London, it has both beauty and history on it’s side, so it’s well worth a visit. In terms of photographing, go first thing in the morning, before everyone is arriving for work for the day. That will allow you to really focus on the gorgeous architecture.
Another shot of Leadenhall Market from my walk there with @anyone.anywhere last weekend. Literally love the roof here! Tag someone you'd love to go here with• #leadenhallmarket #mycanon #london_enthusiast #beautifuldestinations #london #agameoftones #ig_britishisles #london4all #thisislondon #wundrouslondon #londonlife #visitlondon #timeoutlondon #vscolondon #wundrouslondon #mysecretlondon #toplondonphoto #prettycitylondon #lovelondon #londonlive #londonsbest #londonstyle #ukpotd #photosofengland #toplondonphoto #londonforyou #hq_uk #londonguru #thelensbible #wexphoto #jessopsmoment @canonuk @london @beautifuldestinations
19. Richmond Park
This is, without a doubt, THE BEST photo location in London for wildlife photography. So, if that’s your jam, this is your place! The deer are the main attraction, but there are plenty of other animals. If you’re a pet owner living in London, Richmond Park also makes a great backdrop for photos of your furry friend. Richmond (& Richmond Park) are also great for a day out of London – if you’re getting a bit tired of the hustle and bustle, head out there for a different experience.
20. Albert Bridge
If you stick to the tourist spots in London, you’ll likely never see or cross Albert Bridge. But as a local, there is nothing that makes me happier than coming home late at night after a weekend away and crossing over the lit-up bridge, letting me know that we’re almost home. Albert Bridge is a special place, and any fairy light lover’s dream! For the best shots, go at night – the lights are magical and, if you can capture (or edit) a good shot of the reflection, the photo will definitely catch a lot of attention!
21. Columbia Road Flower Market
This is one of the most popular blogger spots/tourist spots/photo spots in London that I actually haven’t been to. I think it has to do with the fact that, to go at the best time, it would involve getting Sean up early on a Sunday morning. Sunday mornings are reserved for laziness in our household! Everyone will be photographing in the flowers, but try to catch a bit of what is going on behind the scenes as well, or a completed bouquet shot that highlights your personality.
22. A Red Phone Box
I don’t know anyone who has come to London without at least thinking about taking a photo in a red phone booth. They are quintessentially London, after all, and if done right can be a lovely keepsake. Try to find a clean photo booth – some are just covered in crap – but you don’t necessarily need Big Ben or another massive tourist attraction in the background; let the photo box be the focus of the photo. However, do pay attention to the scenery around it – you can find some beautiful backdrops for your lovely red box! If you do a day trip to places like Greenwich or Oxford, it could be the perfect opportunity to get the photo without worrying about cropping out passersby.
23. Neal’s Yard
I really like Neal’s Yard because I really like Homeslice – the pizza & prosecco spot in Neal’s Yard. But it’s also a cute and colorful spot that can make for a great Insta photo. Try to shoot when the businesses are open – the signs they put out help make Neal’s Yard as cute as it is. Also, a gray day can often make the colors of the buildings really pop!
Iconic London Signs
The photo spots in London that give you the most flexibility in terms of making your shot your own are those that are located all over London – aka signs. From “mind the gap” messages to “xx lived here” messages posted all around London, signs are often informative and attractive. These, though, are the most iconic and fun to photograph:
24. London Underground Sign
There are some beautiful Underground signs, located both above and underground. My favourites are the antique looking ones that also have a stunning backdrop. As more tourists start to ditch the tube and rely solely on Uber to get around London, take a moment to photograph the way it’s been done for decades.
25. London Street Sign
As an American, I’m used to pretty plain looking street signs. So once I finally learned where to look to find them in London (not on the corner of the street, but rather up on a building or down on a railing near the start of the street), I fell in love. The signs are so pretty and also extremely useful – the fact that the first half of the post code is provided is extremely helpful in figuring out exactly where you are. That is, after you learn the London post code system!
Tips for Photographing London
You’ll notice that I didn’t take the photos above – the ones of those great photo spots in London which I just spent so much time rambling on about. However, I did research and handpick the photos as some of the best in each category. My tips are based on both personal experience, and what I liked most about the photos that I liked the most. I am no photography expert, so if you don’t like the advice provided, feel free to comment with some advice of your own below!
The same goes for this advice – my general photography tips for taking photos in London. This applies for all of the photo locations mentioned above, as well as just for general London photography. These are the tips I’ve learned over the threeish years of living here and ‘gramming and snapchatting my way through life:
Get there early
The most popular photo spots in London are, well, the most popular photo spots in London. They’re crowded, often times ridiculously so. Get there early if you want to have the time to get a perfect shot, and if you want to deal with less tourists in the process! In the summer, the sun rises ridiculously early here, so go out early one morning to shoot your subjects. London is quite magical in the mornings – I’m sad I don’t get out and enjoy it more often.
Don’t try to cut out all of the people – London’s people are what make it so great!
I can’t count the number of times I’ve sat around and waited for a human-free frame in order to get the “perfect” photograph. In London, this is a) pointless because there are people EVERYWHERE all the time, and b) pointless because London’s people are pretty awesome! As I said above, it’s a melting pot, which means even it’s locals are extremely diverse and culturally aware and pretty cool. Add on the number of tourists that come through each year (18.6 Million in 2015 and growing every year) and the people in town for business for the day and there are a lot of really cool and smart and pretty and worldly people in London at any given moment. Don’t spend hours trying to crop them out – they make London what it is!
Keep your eyes on your gear, especially around the tourist attractions
As with any large city, there are pick pocketers out there. London is a minefield for them because London is full of tourists. My friend literally had his phone stolen out of his hand while walking one evening – what do you even do in that situation!? When you’re walking around, with camera gear especially, just be aware of where all of your stuff is and what is going on around it.
Consider photographing on a meh day
If you wake up one morning, look outside, and go meh, it’s likely a great day to get out and hit up all of the popular photo spots in London. There will be less people out and about, and there’s something really cool about gray, gloomy pictures of London. People always talk about how it’s gray all the time and rains all the time, but that’s part of what makes it so great! (This is me being positive – I’m one of the people always complaining about the rain!). Plus, if you’re heading somewhere colorful – Kynance Mews, Neal’s Yard, etc. – a gray day can sometimes make the color pop in ways you couldn’t imagine.
Our Favorite Accessories for Photographing London
I didn’t expect this to be such a mammoth of a post, but I do hope my tips help you make the most of your Instagram experience in London. Lots of people say that London has nothing on the beauty of Prague or Greece or those fairytale villages in France or Germany, but I think it’s pretty special in its own way. There’s an incredible mix of new and old, traditional and modern, international and domestic influence. And there’s a lot to find if you just go out looking!
Do you have photos from any of these photo spots in London? Share them in the comments below! And follow us on Instagram to see which spots we choose to capture.
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