The general consensus is that London is flat, but is it really? This is one of the reasons I’ve started my instagram account which was at first a personal project of finding the best skylijne views from ground level locations, so I could prove myself wrong as well as share the viewpoint locations. There’s a lot of natural elevation around London, but indeed you have to leave Zone 1…yes, London doesn’t just revolve around the city centre as there’s loads to see on the outskirts, especially if you’re after spectacular skyline views from just street level. I used to drive a lot as part of my line of work, from site to site, office to office, so I got to explore London a lot this way. I never liked going via the same roads so I was researching topography maps to find more scenic drives around London. When I post street level views on my instagram I tag them #LondonStreetWithAView so you can search for that hashtag on insta and check more photos from this mini series I have compiled to date.
Here are my favorite finds:
Occupation Lane, Shooters Hill
Gets a top score from me for that because I might be a bit biased about it - it’s the closest viewpoint to where I live so, I’ve been here multiple times, for sunrises, sunsets, timelapses, fireworks etc. Not the easiest to get to if you’re traveling by public transport - best to drive here or cycle, but it is possible. The easiest way is to make your way to Woolwich Arsenal DLR or train station, and than take the 244 bus from Stop J to Shrewsbury Lane Foxcroft Road, about 13min and you’re there. No real need for super wide angle lenses at the spot, I rather pack a extra long tele-photo lens and you’ll need a tripod at night as you will want to expose long.
Canonbie Road, Forrest Hill
One of London’s steepeast roads when approaching from the east, fun to drive up and once you get to the top, you get amazed by the view. Houses on both sides do make for a nice composition and to me that spot reminds me more of San Francisco more than London, even if I’ve never been to SF. If I had over £1m, i’d buy myself a house there. Closest tube/station is Honor Oak Park on the Overground/Southern trianline, than you have a 10min walk up the hill and you can tick off this viewpoint as well as on your way back pop into One Tree Hill, which is a free public access park with one beautiful viewpoint inside it.
Gipsy Hill, Crystal Palace
Another beautfiul skyline alignment spot also perfect for them long exposure night shots with car light trails, but also perfect for sunrise and sunset shots when the skyscrapers on the skyline reflects the low angle of the sun. Closest station: Gipsy Hill or Crystal Palace + 10min walk up will. Also note the neighboring raods like Cooper’s Yard, Beardell Street, Woodland Road, all have similar views yet you can choose a different perspective to the sides of your composition.
Suicide Bridge, Highgate
Bridge on Hornsey Lane over Archway Rd, reffered to as suicide bridge for the simple reason of it’s name, however… the view is the killer there, ok maybe not so funny, but believe me, the view is amazing. You are above a a dual carridgeway with the City Of London perfectly above it, a long exposure light trails dream. Bring a high tripod or you can always put the camera flat on the structure of the protective fence. Closest tube : Archway, than walk up for about 5min up Highgate Hill ( road ) and turn right into Hornsey Lane and follow for about 2 min.
Hillway & Oakeshott Av, Highgate
A beautiful private road only for the wealthy residents but the footpath is public, so you may not drive it there but can certainly go for a walk. Unlike Canonbie Road in the south where I’d like to live if I had about a million, here I dream to live but I would need a good few of them as it’s way more upmarket compared to my south Londo choice. Here houses come with views one can only dream of. Get to the top of Hillway ( name of road) where it bends and that’s to me the most beautiful view with the houses on both sides and the line of trees on both sides of the footpath. Also have a wander along Oakeshoot Avenue as in between houses towards London, through the gaps you can spot many skyline icons, and with a long enough telephoto lens, you can capture some real gems. Closest tube : Highgate, where you take a 25min walk through Highgate and believe me it’s a beautiful part of London, like Mayfair in the hills. When you feel like it’s enough for one days house dreaming, you can always walk to Parliament Hill which is only 10min walk away and you also get to tick off a landmark London vista.
Other worthy of visiting too:
Convent Hill, West Norwood
Arthur Rd, Wimbledon, 2min walk up Wimbledon Park Station
Maze Hill, Greenwich
Hillfield Park junction with Musswell Hill Broadway
Drop me a line on instagram (comments or DM) how are you finding the blog posts here? Too long? More photos than text? Maybe you’d like to see maps?
Until next week, for more types of places you can visit in London with a view.