The Best Way to See the London Skyline
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There’s so much to see and do in London! We’re here for several weeks and are so glad that we have extra time in this huge city. Seeing most everything in London could take weeks to months, depending on your thoroughness and your style of sightseeing. Not including attractions, there are over 200 museums in London (London Up Close)! At five a day, you’re at 40 days just to see most of the museums. And we don’t know about you, but after a while of going to museums back to back, they all blend in, each one losing their affect. Better to spread them out and pick the ones you want to see most.
Seeing the London Skyline
As we started to explore all the sights in London, we knew we wanted to see the skyline from high above. The most marketed and well known attraction to do this from is the London Eye. We put it on our list of must-do’s, thinking the best views would be from here. However, standard retail price of a ticket is £24.95 at the gate. That gets you a ride on the attraction, but comes with a long wait time to get on. That’s a hefty price tag for two people to go on a Ferris wheel. In US dollars, for tickets and a long wait line, two people are spending over $60! (conversion rate at time of article publishing). Thankfully, we were able to get discounted tickets.
For the price and all of the highly rated reviews, we expected amazing views and great pictures from the London Eye. Perhaps, it was the lack of a sunny, clear day, or maybe it was our expectations, but sadly, we took one picture, and it wasn’t of the view, it was of us. We felt obligated to take out the camera for something. Of course, the London Eye is great for a lot of people. Everyone we were with on the Ferris wheel seemed to enjoy it. It just wasn’t our favorite attraction.
St Paul’s Cathedral
The next day we went to St. Paul’s Cathedral. We knew it would be beautiful inside and it was one of our must see attractions. We had no idea what was in store for us! We’ve been to many cathedrals in the last few months, so many that it’s becoming more difficult to impress us and to justify the cost of entry. We must admit though, the cost, £18 per person, to get into St. Paul’s is well worth it. In our humble opinion, save your money on the London Eye and visit St. Paul’s Cathedral instead. You'll save £7 per person and get better views.
This is the only cathedral we’ve been to that allows visitors to climb to the top of the dome. And it’s not only to the first, base level of the dome, but you're climbing to the very top! The views of London are spectacular and blow away what we saw from the London eye. We had 360 degree views of the city, unobstructed by any glass or fence. We took dozens of pictures and now have panoramic views of London that we’ll cherish.
Race You to The Top!
To see these amazing views, you must be up for some stair climbing. It’s a hike up 528 steps, for a total climb of 85 meters. We like to think of ourselves as in good shape, we jog regularly, walk an average of 5-8 miles a day and do some body weight strength training and stretches. This climb pushed us, as we kept moving without breaks all the way up at a brisk pace. We certainly found ourselves a bit weak in the legs and out of breath. If you’re not as stubborn as us though, there are places along the way to stop and rest.
Wait, There’s More to See
Beyond the amazing views from the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral, we were awed by the interior. It’s a gorgeous cathedral. The tilework, artwork, detail, and architecture are breathtaking. Sadly, visitors are discouraged from taking pictures inside, but just seeing it is amazing. We actually liked this cathedral more than Westminster Abbey. We were able to walk around and explore more freely and there were fewer crowds to contend with.
We’re glad we did the London Eye for the experience; it’s the quicker, less demanding way to see the London skyline. However, don’t miss out on St. Paul’s Cathedral, it’s a hidden treasure for amazing views!