If you were to ask a Londoner for the ultimate photo spots in London, your list would grow very long, very quickly. There are simply too many sights to narrow it down to the top 10 locations, but that’s what we have just done. Call us brave, call us misguided, or call us to tell us we’ve got it wrong: here are the ultimate London Instagram spots.
1—Finding Platform 9¾
Be warned: you’re not the first person to consider taking a selfie at Platform 9 in King’s Cross Station. Ever since Harry Potter started his adventure by trying to run at a brick wall with his luggage trolley, everyone wants to run at one, so expect to queue for at least 20 minutes. The Harry Potter Shop is there to assist with props and a photographer. You’ll find the platform near the northern exit. In a hurry? Book the VIP package to skip the queue. Get inspired to visit Warner Bros. Studio Tour.
2—Stepping on a Glass Walkway
Is ‘seeing a bascule move’ on your London to-do list? Probably not, but only because you may not be familiar with the term. A bascule is a type of bridge that has a section that can be raised and lowered, just like Tower Bridge. Thanks to the bridge’s glass floor, you may get lucky and be up there when the bridge lifts. The glass floor is 11m long and was constructed using panels weighing 530kg each.
3—Crossing Abbey Road
Released in 1969, Abbey Road was the first Beatles album to not include any writing on its cover; John, Paul, George and Ringo must have known that such a fantastic image didn’t need any kind of added extras. What they probably didn’t know was that this humble zebra crossing in St John’s Wood would become an Insta legend. The Abbey Road Studios website has a live video camera feed, which screens what’s happening on the crossing. You can also click to earlier times, so you can find yourself on CCTV. Don’t miss the great Abbey Road Studios shop when you’re there.
4—Standing on the Prime Meridian Line
You'll be hopping from foot to foot as you pose above the Prime Meridian Line, outside the Royal Observatory. A Greenwich hotspot where people straddle time itself, this important mark in the ground divides the earth between east and west: it’s the home of Greenwich Mean Time. Tag #PrimeMeridian with your snap and you may end up on the Royal Museums Greenwich site.
5—Finding a Red Telephone Box
The rise of the mobile phone has seen them become an endangered species, but it is perhaps the invention of the mobile phone camera that has kept some of them on London’s streets. You’ll be pleased to hear that there’s one on Parliament Square that features Big Ben and London buses in the background. Doctor Who fans should head to Earl’s Court Station where you’ll find a Tardis.
6—Meeting Trafalgar Square Lions
When I was little, I rode on the back of a Trafalgar Square lion, got stuck, was too scared to jump off into my dad’s arms, and then cried for five minutes. Don’t be me. The lions are elevated, so only climb up if you’re happy with heights as it’s twice as difficult coming down. The four beasts were designed by Sir Edwin Landseer to protect Nelson’s Column.
7—Crossing to St Paul’s Cathedral
One of London’s most photogenic buildings – long before anyone even knew what a photo was – is undoubtedly Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece, St Paul’s Cathedral. Head to the art gallery Tate Modern on the south bank of the Thames, then stand at the southern end of the Millennium Bridge. You’ll get a beautiful view of St Paul’s; it also means that you can then cross the river to appreciate the majesty of the cathedral. As you cross, look out for the tiny, colourful artworks that have been stuck between the metal ridges on the bridge’s surface.
8—Gazing from Parliament Hill
Unless you head up a skyscraper, how do you see the whole of London? The answer is Hampstead Heath’s Parliament Hill. It’s the perfect London vista and incorporates almost every landmark that you can think of. Parliament Hill is no more than a 20-minute stroll from the south of Hampstead Heath.
9—Spending a Penny at The Shard
Yes, it’s the loo with the view, up on floor 68 of Western Europe’s tallest building, The View from The Shard. It boasts nothing but glass walls, jaw-dropping vistas and Champagne – which means they made sure to install five bathrooms here. These aren’t just any bathrooms as each offers a perch above an 800ft sheer drop: Instagram gold. All we ask while you’re snapping is to remember that there may be someone waiting outside, hopping from one foot to the other.
10—Inspecting the Queen’s Guard
These most regal of soldiers are responsible for protecting the country’s official royal residences. With their red uniform and helmets, the Queen’s Guard was always destined for social media stardom. For a quick snap, stop by Horse Guards Parade to inspect the troops mounted on horses, or experience the full spectacle with Changing the Guard.