Postcards From London

London

Budding shutterbugs, hobbyists, and professional photographers alike can’t help but capture the sights of London through their lens. After all, London’s skyline is a beautiful combination of treasured antiquities and futuristic towers. Glassy skyscrapers—like The Shard, The Gherkin, and The Walkie-Talkie—rise among the centuries-old structures that have become iconic to the city. Snap away as you draw inspiration from London’s urban scenes and beautiful architecture. More than just a personal memento, your photographs might even motivate your friends to come back with you. So load up on the film, clear out your SD card, and pack a battery charger. The next great shot is just around the corner.

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Updated 2 years ago

Buckingham Palace

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London, United Kingdom • Recommendation • 

Start your photo walk early in the morning at Buckingham Palace. Beat the crowds for some good snaps, as The Queen’s royal abode is a popular tourist destination. Take your wide shots of the exterior and monuments while the coast is clear. As the sea of visitors thickens, zoom in on the details. A perfect portrait spot is in front of the ornate gold and black iron gates. Photography and filming are prohibited in the State Rooms within the Palace. It is highly encouraged, though, in the Buckingham Palace Gardens. Stay ’til noon to witness The Guard Mounting ceremony, which starts at 11:00AM daily. Wellington Barracks and St. James’ Palace, flanking the Palace on both sides, are the best place to catch the guards before and after the ceremony.

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The Palace of Westminster

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London, United Kingdom • Recommendation • 

After a visit to the Queen, drop by the Parliament. The Palace of Westminster hosts the House of Commons and House of Lords, the legislative branch of local government. The Palace’s most popular attraction, though, is its clock endearingly called “Big Ben.” Taking photos or videos in the Parliamentary Estate is limited to Westminster Hall, St. Stephen’s Hall, and the visitor area of New Palace Yard. Anywhere else in the Palace needs explicit permission—applied for at least 48 hours in advance. Guidelines are available on their website, but it’s best to pocket the camera and enjoy the tour. Outside is a lot more fun for photographers. Cross Westminster Bridge for a full view of the Palace’s splendor. Any time your adventures take you here, you have options to play with—like exposure speed and lighting. A hidden little spot to take your photo is actually across the Westminster Bridge. Descend the steps and burrow into the archway that frames the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben (Elizabeth Tower).

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Tower Bridge

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London, United Kingdom • Recommendation • 

Down the River Thames, the Tower Bridge has stood resolute since 1894. Its light blue accents are a nice contrast from the classic castle-like structure. Tote your tripod for this one—there’s a pedestrian island that offers refuge, so you’re safe to take long-exposure shots right in the middle of the road. Long streaks of light from the passing cars also make for a night shot on the bridge. There are various other vantage points around the bridge, depending on what you want to do. Slip in a trip to the Tower of London or grab a snack at the World Food Market at St. Katharine’s Docks (open every Friday). Across the river, hang out at the leisurely promenade near City Hall or busy Butler’s Wharf Pier. All offer an interesting angle of the Bridge in the background.

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Westminster Abbey

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London, United Kingdom • Recommendation • 

Travel further back into time at Westminster Abbey. The Gothic-style Abbey is a stunning sight that pierces toward the sky with its various spires. Inside, it continues to amaze with its checkered floors, high arched ceilings, and gilded motifs. The Abbey charges admission during visiting hours, but entry is free during mass service. Check their website for prices and schedules, or score tickets online for “fast track entry” into Westminster Abbey.

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St. Paul's Cathedral

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London, United Kingdom • Recommendation • 

Bearing a beauty of its own, St. Paul’s Cathedral is another iconic London church. Its distinguished dome and white pillars are designed in a Baroque style, so aim your cameras to the sky! Every inch of St. Paul’s Cathedral catches the photographer’s eye, whether it is something as simple as the geometry of a spiral staircase or the vaulted ceilings adorned with intricate paintings. Right across the Cathedral, the One New Change shopping center offers a different angle. Ride the mall’s elevator (or lift as the locals call it) to the top, and see how the timeless church is framed against glassy windows.

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Shakespeare's Globe

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London, United Kingdom • Recommendation • 

According to William Shakespeare, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” His stage, however, was at The Globe Theatre. It was here that actors brought his words to life to a wide audience. The original structure was destroyed in a fire, then rebuilt—and demolished in 1644. What stands now is a realistic approximation of The Globe in its golden age, called Shakespeare’s Globe. Capture the viewers’ glee from the wings of the round theater. Book a tour ahead, especially during the Summer Season as tickets are in higher demand. Tours are subject to rehearsal and performance schedules, so check their website before a visit!

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Royal Albert Hall

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London, United Kingdom • Recommendation • 

Catching a show at the Royal Albert Hall gives you the opportunity to admire not only the world-class talents that grace its stage but the concert hall’s design and symmetry as well. The distinctive structure is circular, photogenic from all angles. Hop up the stairs from Prince Consort Road to achieve that coveted wide shot. In the night time, romantic lights come on, illuminating the concert hall beautifully.

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Oxford Street

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London, United Kingdom • Recommendation • 

Oxford Street’s storefronts are a mix of quaint shophouses and sleek boutiques. Double-deckers and black cabs crawl along the road, matching the throngs of shoppers making their way through. The lengthy thoroughfare stretches from the Tottenham Court Road Tube Station all the way to Marble Arch Station. While here, photograph tourists and locals lugging around their finds from the souvenir shops and designer boutiques. It’s the ideal place for urban photography, so take advantage!

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St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel

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London, United Kingdom • Recommendation • 

Guests at the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel are privy to the opulent interiors set to make any guest feel royal. Arched ceilings, intricate carpets, and wrought-iron lamps adorn the shared spaces of the hotel. It is the right level of dreamy that has also hosted weddings in the past. Descend the Grand Staircase like a royal, and ask a friend to immortalize the moment on camera!

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