London, the capital and the largest city in the United Kingdom, is a multicultural metropolis. It has a rich history, vibrant culture, a mix of historical and modern architecture, and lush parks. Regardless of whether you are looking for unique spots to have a professional photoshoot in or would simply like to add some eye-catching shots to your Instagram feed, London has plenty to offer. It’s a photogenic city with so many photo opportunities that you may not know where to begin. So, let’s take a look at some of the best photography spots in London so that you can hit both popular sites and hidden gems that may not show up in a traditional guidebook.

1. Royal Naval College

Are you looking for photography spots in London to impress history, art, and movie lovers? Pay a visit to the Painted Hall at Royal Navy College on the River Thames’ south bank in Greenwich. The Royal Navy College is a historic building and UNESCO World Heritage site designed by a famous British architect Sir Christopher Wren. Initially, the building housed a hospital and was later transformed into a training college for British navy officers. The Royal Navy College’s architecture is an excellent London photography spot attracting countless professional and amateur photographers and is often used as a film location. It’s appeared in the 2009 action films Sherlock HolmesThor: The Dark World, The Avengers, and many more.

Painted Hall at Old Royal Naval College - Photo by Maciek Lulko
Painted Hall at Old Royal Naval College - Photo by Maciek Lulko

However, don’t just stop at taking photos of its exterior. One of the most impressive photo spots in this London building is the Painted Hall. It’s a Baroque-style masterpiece dubbed as Britain’s Sistine Chapel. The walls and the ceiling of the hall tell the story of Britain’s achievements and naval endeavours, political changes, and more. The artwork is so impressive that it earned Sir James Thornhill, the artist who executed it, his knighthood.

Keep in mind that to access the Painted Hall, you need to purchase a ticket at £12, and it’s best to do so in advance.

2. Neal’s Yard

Neal’s Yard is a gem hidden in plain sight. It’s a tiny courtyard that is easy to miss, but you’ll be highly disappointed if you do. Located in the busy Covent Garden district, it’s one of London’s best photo spots to get shots that will make your Instagram followers jealous. Neal’s Yard is a micro-village that doesn’t even feel like London. It has colourful buildings with bright window frames and many plants. In addition, you’ll be able to find a wide array of businesses, from independent cafés and restaurants to beauty parlours and stores, all of which are dedicated to sustainable and ethical business practices.

Neal's Yard-Photo by Anthony Webb
Neal's Yard-Photo by Anthony Webb

Curiously enough, until the 1970s, Neal’s Yard was anything but a beautiful photo spot. Instead, it was a dark and rat-infested area that had warehouses that supported the Covent Garden market. It was due to an entrepreneurial man named Nicholas Sanders who turned things around and transformed the area. Neal’s Yard tends to be busy, so check it out early on weekday mornings for peaceful and uncrowded shots.

3. Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel

Hidden underneath Waterloo Station, the closest underground station to the London Eye, is Leake St. Graffiti Tunnel. This fantastic photography location is a free urban street art gallery where graffiti artists can freely develop their artwork without the fear of being detained by the police.

Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel-Photo by Joe Chiaro
Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel-Photo by Joe Chiaro

This magnificent exhibit of street art came to life in 2008 due to the famous graffiti artist Banksy. He hand-picked nearly 30 street artists and organized an art exhibition called The Cans Festival. This exhibition turned what once was a filthy tunnel into a work of art and one of the top spots for London photography.

4. View From the Shard

Historic buildings are no longer the only ones shaping the skyline of London. The Shard, a 72-storey skyscraper in South London, is the tallest building within the UK and the sixth tallest in Europe. It houses office buildings, hotels and resorts, restaurants, and residential apartments.

View From the Shard by Henry Be
View From the Shard by Henry Be

Nonetheless, the most exciting feature to tourists and photographers is The View From The Shard, a set of two observation decks that offers some of London’s best photography spots and 360-views. Note that the view comes at a price. To guarantee access, you need to get a ticket. Prices start at £32, and you can also get an annual pass for £79 if you’d like to visit The View more than once. Consider booking a time during the evening hours to get the best sunset shots.

5. London Eye

The London Eye is one of the best photo spots to get a wide variety of iconic Instagram shots. Try different locations and different times of the day. For example, you can walk along the South Bank and get photos of the London Eye, the Thames, and Big Ben.

London Eye-Photo by Diliff CC by-sa
London Eye-Photo by Diliff CC by-sa

The London Eye has truly become a key feature of the London skyline and a great place to explore and take photos. We recommend shooting from the backside in winter when snow lightly dusts the ground. Capture it from this angle at dusk and you too will have an amazing shot of this iconic London photography spot.

6. St. Dunstan in the East

Another hidden gem in the heart of London’s buzzing city, St Dunstan in the East, once used to be a church. It has weathered many storms throughout history, including the 1666 Great Fire of London, until being left in ruins by the Blitz, a German bombing campaign during World War II.

St. Dunstan in the East by Ungry Young Man
St. Dunstan in the East by Ungry Young Man

Now, it is a peaceful public garden with old ruins and vines and one of the best photography spots in London for romantic or eerie photoshoots. It’s open to the public from 8 AM to 5 PM, but it’s best to come early to avoid Londoners looking for tranquil refuge amid busy office buildings.

7. St. Paul’s Cathedral

In the City of London central district, St Paul’s Cathedral is among the best photography spots to get classic shots of London. The building has over 1,400 years of history. Unfortunately, it was destroyed five times throughout its history, including during the Great Fire of London. Its current version is another work of art designed by architect Sir Christopher Wren.

St. Paul’s Cathedral by Ashley Garvin
St. Paul’s Cathedral by Ashley Garvin

Regardless of the time of day, season, or weather, there is never a wrong time to photograph St Paul’s Cathedral. Walk around, come during different times of the day, and experiment with different angles to get unique shots. You can take photos of the cathedral from in between the modern office buildings at One New Change with the St Paul’s Cathedral reflection in them. You can also walk towards the Millennium Bridge and capture contemporary and historic architectural elements. St Paul’s Cathedral is always lit at night, so try to capture some night shots as well.

You can get memorable and impressive photographs of both the exterior and the building’s interior, though you will need to purchase an admission ticket for £17 to access the interior.

8. The Hill Garden and Pergola

The Hill Garden and Pergola in Hampstead Hearth once used to be a spectacular private garden of an early 20th-century manor house. It belonged to a very wealthy philanthropist who loved landscape architecture and garden parties.

Hill Garden and Pergola by Alekon Pictures
Hill Garden and Pergola by Alekon Pictures

Now, it’s a public garden with ruins, exotic flowers, and vines and one of the most beautiful and ethereal London photo spots best for wedding, engagement, and romantic photography. The garden is open to the public for free from 8:30 AM till dawn all year long, but it’s best to check admission times as they may change throughout different times of the year.

9. Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge is another iconic landmark among the top London photography spots you shouldn’t miss. Tower Bridge is a movable suspension bridge over the River Thames. Despite its old-school appearance, it’s actually relatively new. It was built in the late 19th century as a result of a competition.

Tower Bridge by Ashley Garvin
Tower Bridge by Ashley Garvin

It was the largest and most sophisticated bascule bridge in the entire world at its completion. The bascules open several times a day to let tall boats pass, and locals say it’s a sign of good luck to see them open.
There are plenty of great spots to take unique photos of Tower Bridge when it comes to photography. The Timepiece Sundial sculpture in the St. Katharine Docks, Butler’s Wharf on the Southeast side of the Thames, and the Tower Wharf on the Northside of the Thames are some of the best photo spots of this London landmark.

For a symmetrical photo, venture onto the London Bridge. You can also walk onto Tower Bridge and get some incredible long-exposure shots of the moving traffic. Timewise, try sunrise, sunset, golden and blue hour, as well as nighttime for the most dramatic photographs.

10. Big Ben

Last but certainly not least, take some shots of the iconic Big Ben. You may be surprised that Big Ben only refers to the bell within the tower. This confusion is because the actual name of the building is Elizabeth Tower. Nevertheless, Big Ben turned out to be a much catchier name over the years.

View of Big Ben by Eva Dang
View of Big Ben by Eva Dang

There are numerous nice photo spots to get spectacular shots of this classic London landmark. For the most Instagrammable location, head over to Parliament Square. On Great George Street, you’ll find a line of red phone boxes. With Big Ben in the background, this is one of London’s best Instagram photo spots. Another great photo spot is the Westminster Bridge. You can get a shot of both Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. If you venture onto the other side of the bridge, you can take unique long-exposure photos of the classic red London double-decker busses passing by. The South Bank also has some of the most incredible photo spots to capture London landmarks.
Try both daytime and nighttime photos when interior lights will illuminate the faces of Big Ben.

Bonus London Photography Spots

Selecting the best photography spots in London is a challenging feat. The city has a wealth of iconic photo-worthy locations and plenty to offer to photo lovers with virtually any preferences. If you can’t get enough of this photogenic city, check out some of the photo locations below as well as other areas on our  Photography Spots Map of the United Kingdom: