15 Stunning Architecture Photography Locations in London

Horizontal photo taken at some anonymous concrete building in London. It illustrates the article about great Architecture photography locations London. It must be taken at some kind of staircase as we can see angled lines that form a frame just about capturing young man in a red coat walking towards the right of the photo.

With the city’s history encompassing a period of nearly 2,000 years, you’ll find an unfathomable number of fascinating architecture photography spots in London. Therefore, listing only a handful of locations is merely the tip of the iceberg. But as ever, I endeavoured to seek out the crème de la crème of London architecture for you. I will be compiling related articles with different London photography themes with you so keep your eyes on my site if you love urban photography, whether you’re a professional or an avid amateur photographer like myself.

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Iconic London architecture photography locations in The City

The City of London, the oldest part of the capital, offers a fascinating juxtaposition between significant historical structures and futuristic high-rise buildings.

1. Tower Bridge

Unquestionably one of London’s most beautiful bridges, the majestic Tower Bridge is a gorgeous London icon. Not to mention one of the most famous Instagram locations in London. 

This comes as no surprise really, because no matter from what angle you photograph it – whether it’s whilst standing right on top of it or further away – you’ll always get a great shot of the bridge.

Choosing to share some more unusual Tower Bridge photography locations with you, here are two great suggestions that I’m sure you’ll love!

vertical photo of Tower Bridge in the near distance with blurry greenery in the foreground. The photo is taken from one of the best architecture photography locations in London as from this position, the space between the two towers of Tower Bridge frames the skyscrapers of The City behind the bridge. A few of these are visible and especially The Gherkin stands out.
Tower Bridge framing The City skyscrapers (Photo credit: Rhys Kentish / Unsplash)

I love how the imposing structure of Tower Bridge is used as a frame for The City skyscrapers behind it in this photo.

You’ll find this great spot just along Shad Thames which is at the south end of Tower Bridge. It’s taken from the riverside outdoor seating area of restaurant Butlers Wharf Chop House. The greenery you see in the foreground is actually one of the restaurant’s potted plants. Clever eh?

vertical photo taken at one of the best street photography locations in London, namely a side street near the Thames that frames both Tower Bridge and City Hall partially. The photo is taken from ground level which makes it even more dramatic
Tower Bridge and City Hall seen from More London Riverside (Photo credit: David East / Unsplash)

This is such a great example of puddle reflection photography! 

It was taken from More London Riverside. The photo beautifully captures the reflection of one of the monumental towers with the curiously shaped City Hall casually entering into the frame on the right.

2. The City of London

Once the heart of Roman London, The City of London remains a vital part of the metropolis. Now known as the financial business district, The City is home to a great variety of photogenic skyscrapers.

Varying in size and shape, The City’s mish-mash of high-rise buildings will make every photographer trigger-happy.

Matching their distinct structures, these modern office towers bear ingenious nicknames. Can you guess what the following buildings are referred to colloquially? And don’t you go cheating now by reading their captions, I’ve got my eye on you!

Vertical photo taken from a skyscraper in The City of London which is a great architecture photography location in London as it overlooks the modern high-rise buildings. Right in front you can see the top of The Gherkin which indeed resembles a gherkin, or rocket'. It's slightly obscured by a tall office block on the right.
Gherkin London / 30 St Mary Axe (Photo credit: Jean-Marc Moth/ Unsplash)

Let me see a show of hands: who said it looks like a rocket? And who sees a giant pickle in it? 

10 points if you answered the latter! Because, whilst its official name is 30 St Mary Axe (boringly called after its address), it’s better known by its more imaginative name of The Gherkin!

vertical photo taken on a modern looking rooftop. The top half of the Walkie Talkie skyscraper in London is visible in the near distance which is also reflected in a water feature on the rooftop where the photographer is standing, The image looks very dramatic
The Walkie Talkie London skyscraper, or 20 Fenchurch Street (Photo credit: Charlie Harris / Unsplash)

It might not be so clear from this photo as you can’t see the entire building, but this peculiar London skyscraper is called the Walkie Talkie after its contours. Measuring a whopping 160 metres in height, it has a narrower base while its top seems to fan out, creating the building’s distinct shape.

Like The Gherkin above it was very lazily named after its address and is officially known as 20 Fenchurch Street. Yet, the Walkie Talkie is no ordinary commercial office block. It actually houses one of the best free London attractions at its very top: Sky Garden London

Located at the 35th floor, this unique public ‘garden’ is home to a free viewing platform from where you can enjoy breathtaking views over London!

3. Leadenhall Market

At only a stone’s throw away from the Walkie Talkie, you’ll find the splendid Leadenhall Market. Yes, it might be much smaller in height than the modern skyscrapers in its vicinity, but this ravishing covered Victorian market is proof that bigger isn’t always better. It’s not for nothing that it was used as a Harry Potter film location!

Inside the Victorian Leadenhall Market, London

Built on the ancient Roman Forum, Leadenhall Market has a long history of being a thriving market place. Nowadays you’ll still find some shops here, but also bars and restaurants that are mostly frequented by the nearby office workers. 

If you want the space all to yourself to take photos, then I recommend coming here on a Sunday. Since the offices are closed over the weekend, Sundays in London is the best time to wander around the empty streets of The City.

Leadenhall Market London

And if you’re especially interested in modern architecture photography then you’ll be truly fascinated by Lloyd’s Building. Also called ‘The Inside-Out building’, it’s one of the most interesting skyscrapers in London. You can find it right next to the old market on 1 Lime Street.

4. Barbican Estate

The raw aesthetics of the Barbican Estate architecture is quite the opposite of the previous London urban photography location. However, being one of the most outstanding Brutalist buildings in London, the Barbican is a site not to be missed if you’re looking for a unique photography spot in London. 

Collage of two vertical photos. Both are taken from unusual angles that emphasise the rigid hard lines of the concrete Brutal architecture that characterise the Barbican Estate.

Consisting of various eye-catching housing blocks, a prominent art gallery, conservatory and even an artificial lake that are all cleverly connected to each other, this vast building complex offers a plethora of unique photo spots. 

Collage of two vertical photos. Both show two different views of the Barbican water gardens. On the left there is a big concrete slide coming out of a building. This feature pours out water into the lake. Behind it there are concrete flats and also modern glass tower blocks. The picture on the right shows a concrete water feature in the lake with several buildings of the Barbican Estate behind it. They have different shapes and sizes and include a tall tower block

Be prepared that you’ll easily spend hours here. And that’s only because you’re guaranteed to get lost in its intricate labyrinth! (Trust me: it even happens to seasoned Londoners.) 

But at the end of your successful urban photography outing, you can enjoy some of the unique things to do at the Barbican. Whether it’s catching an arthouse film at the cinema, visiting a blockbuster gallery show or finding the famous Banksy murals at the Barbican!

5. Guildhall

Once the site of a massive 7,000-seater (!) Roman amphitheatre, the Guildhall has played a crucial role in The City of London for approximately 2000 years. 

From a social hub it became the centre for local politics over time. Today, it’s still the stage for prominent political events and state dinners. Once you’ve seen the grandeur of its Grand Hall, you’ll understand why!

Horizontal photo of the Guildhall Yard in The City of London. It shows a handsome square with a black and white patterned tiled floor with a huge circular black line going through. The square is lined by handsome old buildings that make up Guildhall. On the right there are a few people walking into the frame in the near distance. Behind the Guildhall buildings we can see the tops of surrounding buildings. Those nearby are madde of brick and also look old, at least 100-200 years old. Further away the tops of modern skyscrapers are visible.

Most of the buildings you see here date back to the 15th century so it’s quite the contrast to the modern London architecture photo spots in this article. However, as a London history buff, I appreciate the great level of detail of such historical buildings. And it’s always quite mind-blowing learning about their remarkable past. 

Despite its influential role, Guildhall London isn’t that well known amongst tourists. Heck, it even took me some years to learn about it! So, if you’re keen to find secret London spots, then the Guildhall should definitely be on your list.

You can see the remains of the amphitheatre in the subterranean gallery for free, but even the courtyard and exterior of the surrounding buildings are worth a visit.

Vertical photo of Guildhall Courtyard that displays the black and white patterned tiled floor with a black circular line on it. In the background part of Guildhall London is visible. The top half looks like an ancient church because of its spires, tall windows and bricks. At the bottom there's a modern entrance into the building with glass doors that are divided by concrete pillars and above the doors are large V-shaped concrete rooftops.

6. St Paul’s Cathedral

Similar to Tower Bridge at the very top of this list, St Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most popular must-visit attractions in London. 

Dominating the London skyline with its immaculate white exterior (at least from a distance) and grand dome (it’s one of the largest church domes in the world!), I can just imagine how impressive it must’ve looked in the past when there were no other tall buildings around. 

But even today, its dignified appearance beckons both amateur and professional photographers to have its picture taken. 

Vertical photo taken from one of the best photography locations in London, namely from the ramp at the beginning of Millennium Bridge at the side of Tate Modern. Here you stand slightly below bridge level and have a great view of the river Thames below and the modern bridge in front of you with St Paul's Cathedral straight on. The bridge is busy with pedestrians
This view of St Paul’s Cathedral taken at the edge of Millennium Bridge is an iconic street photography location in London (Photo credit: Norali Nayla / Unsplash)

Serving as the perfect Instagram London backdrop, you get striking views of it from Millennium Bridge. Especially when standing at the base of the bridge at the other side from the river of St Paul’s Cathedral. 

This creates an exceptional vista like in the photo above. To me, this is the perfect marriage between the hyper modern footbridge and approximately 350-year-old-cathedral.

vertical photo of St Paul's Cathedral taken from in between two modern looking buildings that have steeped glass walls
St Paul’s Cathedral seen from One New Change shopping centre (Photo credit: Nirmal Rajendharkumar / Unsplash)

You get a more unusual view of St Paul’s Cathedral from the nearby One New Change shopping centre like in the photo above. Again, the modern building creates a wonderful contrast to the old. In this case not only by framing it but also casting several reflections, almost turning it into a triptych.

Dazzling architecture photography locations in London

You can find captivating photo spots in London all over the city. Here’s a small selection of my favourite buildings worthy of a photo shoot.

7. Tate Modern

One of my favourite museums in London, Tate Modern is again a prime example of Brutalist architecture in London. You’ll find it south of the river right opposite of St Paul’s Cathedral, at the other end of Millennium Bridge.

vertical photo showing a young man walking down the curved concrete staircase in the Tate Modern Blavatnik Building. The photo is taken from the side so the viewer doesn't see the staircase or man from the front but the man is looking towards the viewer.
Staircase in the Tate Modern Blavatnik Building (Photo credit: David Nabil / Unsplash)

Originally built as a power station, it opened as a gallery in 2000. Today it’s one of the top museums for modern art in the world! As a member, I come and see most of their exhibitions. But the main star of each show is by far the building itself. 

Although there’s no trace of its heavy machinery anymore, you can just feel its energy and power when you’re inside the building. Especially standing in the vast Turbine Hall, which is now used as an iconic gallery space for striking temporary art installations.

While the entire building lends itself perfectly for taking interesting shots, the stunning Blavatnik Building is the must go-to destination for architecture photographers. This part of the building, designed by world-renowned architects Herzog & de Meuron, opened in 2016. 

square photo of the concrete interior of Tate Modern London. It's an abstract photo displaying symmetrical lines and its raw concrete material buildings highlighting Tate as one of the most famous Brutalist buildings in London
Tate Modern London architecture

Seek out its spiralling concrete staircase and Vault gallery space for some outstanding shots. And just wander throughout the building, not forgetting to look up the remarkable ceiling which is just pure eye candy for eager photographers.

square photo of a concrete space with angled pillars. The space is very minimalistic, there are only two TV screens on a wall visible. The space seems to be subterranean
Tate Modern Vaults Gallery

8. Kings Cross Gasholders

Now one of the most curious things to do around Kings Cross, the modest-sized Gasholder Park is a surprising photo spot in London. 

While the ‘park’ itself isn’t particularly noteworthy, you might find inspiration from its industrial features: the authentic Victorian iron-wrought gasholders. 

Vertical photo of one of the Victorian Kings Cross Gasholders apartment buildings. On the outside there's the restored original iron-wrought steel frame of the gasholder with inside it a circular apartment building consisting of three storeys. In the foreground there are yellow, orange and red wild flowers.
Kings Cross Gasholders flats

Some of them have been carefully transformed into unique circular luxury apartment building.

However, the largest of them all, Gasholder No. 8, has been kept in its original state. Standing along Regent’s Canal towpath, it might just be the most remarkable feature in a public park I’ve ever seen before.

Vertical photo of Kings Cross Gasholder Park taken from a near distance. The viewer stands on a path that leads along the gasholders. On the right a small part of one the Gasholders flat is visible, but the main subject of the photo is Kings Cross Gasholder No. 8 which is a bare steel structure and the original restored iron-wrought steel framework of the largest of the Kings Cross Gasholders. Inside of it, there's a small patch of greenery. There are two people walking past it on the path on the left of it. In the background a red brick apartment buildings is visible.
Kings Cross Gasholder No. 8

9. British Museum

One of the absolute must-visit museums in London, the British Museum holds many cultural treasures. Many tourists come here specially to find the world-renowned collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts in London. In the end, they are completely blown away by the striking appearance of the building itself.

I’m not exaggerating when I say British Museum is humongous – it’s one of the largest museums in the world. But if you want to take iconic photographs of the British Museum like the ones I’ve chosen here, then simply go to Courtyard.

Horizontal photo of the British Museum London Courtyard. The courtyard is a rotunda and has a large round structure in the middle of it with arches. The staircase wraps around this round structure. The roof is eye-catching as it consists of patterned steel and glass. On either sides of the circular structure we can see Greek-style building facades and columns. The courtyard is filled with people.
British Museum London Courtyard (Photo credit: hurk / Pixabay)

The overview shot uses the spectacular glass roof and spiralling staircase in the rotunda as its main subjects. 

But if you really want to highlight the remarkable architecture of the British Museum, then take your shot standing on the staircase like in the second photo below. Following the curved lines of the domed ceiling and staircase, it makes the jagged balustrade and Greek columns truly stand out.

Vertical photo taken from the staircase in the British Museum. It highlights the museum's appeal as one of the best architecture photo spots in London. It combines the jagged and angular lines of the staircase, the modern looking ceiling made of patterned steel and glass and a Greek-style facade on the right of the staircase with its handsome four Greek columns.
British Museum London (Photo credit: Roman Fox / Unsplash)

10. Serpentine Pavilion

Located in Kensington Gardens next to Serpentine Galleries, the annual Serpentine Pavilion is a highly anticipated design and architecture event in London. 

Since 2000 prestigious architects from around the world have been commissioned to create a temporary inviting public space boasting innovative design. 

vertical photo of the 2021 Serpentine Pavilion taken inside. It's filled with people both seated at tables and also standing. The floor is poured concrete, the walls are a lattice structure and the ceiling is a huge mirror which creates quite a disorientating tableau
Serpentine Pavilion 2018 designed by Frida Escobedo

The first architect to participate in this exciting project was celebrated Zaha Hadid. Following architects and artists included the likes of Ai Weiwei, Frank Gehry and also Spanish architect studio SelgasCano (pictured below). This latter duo also designed the wonderful and unique Libreria Bookshop, one of the best independent East London bookshops.

vertical photo of the 2015 Serpentine Pavilion taken from the outside looking in from some kind of tunnel that consists of different colourful segments, predominantly primary colours, that are held together by red and yellow ribbons bound to large plastic oval rings throughout the tunnel. Inside the tunnel there are a lot of people walking through it or sitting down at the few tables inside.
Serpentine Pavilion 2015 designed by SelgasCano

The Serpentine Pavilion is open in the summer from June to October and is free to attend. While design and ingenious architecture are key, at heart, the pavilion is a meeting place and meant to be a social hub. So don’t be surprised to hear those typical blaring barista sounds coming from the café. Or some gentle music design even as the 2021 edition of the Serpentine Pavilion featured a sound installation by celebrated British composer Brian Eno.

horizontal photo of the 2021 Serpentine Pavilion taken from the outside. It's a circular structure made of concrete. The roof is a large disc and it's supported by rectangular pillars. The pillars are black and greyish and the roof is grey.
Serpentine Pavilion 2021 designed by Sumayya Vally, Counterspace, featuring a sound installation by Brian Eno

11. Design Museum

With a name like this, it’s quite evident that the Design Museum in London boasts some outstanding architecture.  

Vertical photo of the staircase of the Design Museum London. The photo is taken from a slight angle looking down. It's a rather dark photo and the staircase is lit along the balustrade. On the first ground, the same level as the photographer is standing, there are picture frames on the walls and display texts. There is someone looking at the exhibits there. On the top floor there are colourful displays but can't really see what they are. You can see the silhouette of two individuals standing there.
Design Museum London (Photo credit: Andrea De Santis / Unsplash)

Based in the former Commonwealth Institute, this world-leading museum opened the doors of its new premises here in 2016.

The key feature of the building is its extraordinary roof, characterised by swooping lines and peculiar form. Located next to the vast green space of Holland Park, the design of the roof was intended to mimic the image of a pitched marque in the park. And it was thanks to this state-of-the-art construction that the building was listed as an outstanding piece of modern architecture by English Heritage.

Vertical photo of the interior of the Design Museum London. It's taken from the first floor. In the foreground there's a bit of the wooden balustrade visible though blurred. Downstairs we see people seated, right in front there are exhibit displays and on the second floor there's a large colourful display on the wall with in huge black letters the word MAKER. Someone is standing there taking a picture of it. The inside of the curiously shaped roof is also visible from here it curves upwards and looks like it's made of concrete blocks. The picture is very bright, almost bleaced out. The wooden elements used in the building's design are light in colour.
Design Museum London (Photo credit: Jack Young / Unsplash)

Striking London architecture photography locations outside of the city centre

Moving further away from the city centre, you’ll still find plenty of inspiring urban photography locations in London.

12. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Purpose-built for the 2012 London Olympics, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford is still a vibrant area welcoming families, athletes and recreationists. 

While some of the Olympic stadiums were torn down again not long after the Summer Olympics, six of them are still in use. Possibly the most striking of them all is the Velodrome, all thanks to its singular paraboloid-shaped structure.

horizontal photo of the velodrome in the 2012 London Olympic Park in Stratford. Its roof is curved and seems to be made of wood.

Besides sports venues, the Olympic Park in Stratford is also home to the UK’s tallest sculpture: the ArcelorMittal Orbit. This curious creation, designed by celebrated sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor and engineer Cecil Balmond, is made of 60% recycled steel. 

Vertical photo of the strange sculpture ArcelorMittal Orbit Stratford London that consists of red steel. The main structure has a spiralling walkway to the viewing platform at the top.
ArcelorMittal Orbit Stratford London (Photo credit: Samuel Regan Asante / Unsplash)

Standing at 114 metres tall, visitors can climb up the red sculpture and enjoy incredible views over the surrounding area. 

And if that doesn’t sound just adventurous enough to you, you can even go abseiling from here! 

Or to get your heart seriously pumping, I suggest you book yourself for a ride on The Slide. This 178m-long tunnel designed by Anish Kapoor and Carsten Höller has the honour of calling itself the longest slide in the world. 

The slide certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted as you’ll get to travel down at speeds going up to 15 miles an hour during this 40-second ride! 

13. Canary Wharf

Straddling the river Thames in the southeast of London, you’ll find the city’s second financial district Canary Wharf. Dominated by towering office blocks, including London’s third tallest building One Canada Square, this is not quite a typical tourist destination. 

In contrast to The City, London’s historical heart and financial centre, Canary Wharf is a modern business district consisting of merely of skyscrapers and contemporary structures. While perhaps not so interesting for tourists, this almost futuristic neighbourhood is the perfect spot for architecture photography in London!

Horizontal photo which displays the top of four escalators in Canary Wharf Station. The photo is taken from the ground, looking up, and in an angle. The handsome curved ceiling of the station entrance/exit is visible. It consists of concrete, glass and metal.

I ventured down here for a photography shoot when I was invited to participate in a gallery photo show. I took the two photos in Canary Wharf Station here. The second one which you see here below was selected to be displayed in the gallery.

Horizontal photo taken from the ground floor of Canary Wharf Station London. The four escalators are right in front of the viewer. They either lead to or come from the entrance/exit which is at the top of the station. The station looks very modern and the entrance/exit is striking. It's shaped like a large oval and has a metal and glass roof. You can see the sunlight at the top of the escalators. Right in the middle of the frame is a tall concrete column. A businessman dressed in a suit talking into a mobile phone is walking exactly in front of the pillar going into the right direction. His image is blurry suggesting movement. There are more commuters in the station. Those standing on the escalators are clearly visible, but those who are walking towards the escalators are also blurry.

Also Adams Plaza Bridge, one of the most striking bridges in London, is an extraordinary photography location!

Looking inside the futuristic Adams Plaza Bridge

14. American Embassy

Having outgrown its previous building in Central London, the US Embassy moved into its brand-new premises in Nine Elms.

I happened to be in the area on 12 September and when I passed the US Embassy, there were armed security there. Quite an intimidating sight and sad to think it might be a necessary preventive measurement.

Vertical photo of the US Embassy London. It's taken on the corner of the peculiar building which creates an interesting view of this London architecture photography location.

It didn’t distract me from the stunning shiny new Embassy building though. It was designed by Philadelphia-based architecture firm KieranTimberlake. Their designed the US Embassy architecture as a ‘translucent crystalline cube that gives form to core democratic values of transparency, openness, and equality.’ (source)

horizontal photo displaying modern buildings. In the foreground there are wild flowers with behind it a wite bricked wall with 'Embassy of the United States of America', the wall seems to be standing in a small artifical lake or moat. On the right a small segment of the modern architecture of the embassy is visible while in the background there are several apartment buildings. Two of these buildings are connected by a bridge that is actually a swimming pool

The pond where the building sits in blends in harmoniously with its surrounding greenery and wild flowers. And see the buildings in the background? If you look closely, you’ll be able to spot the extravagant elevated swimming pool that bridges the two apartment buildings. 

15. Neasden Temple

Finally, but certainly not the least, we finish our overview of London architecture London spots at the surprising Hindu temple in Neasden. Often referred to as Neasden Temple after the northwest London neighbourhood it stands in, its official name is BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir. 

Horizontal photo taken in the manicured gardens of Neasden Temple in London. The garden is in the foreground and consists of neatly cut green shrubs with light and dark pink flowers. Behind it stands the impressive Neasden Temple. It's elevated with a staircase on the left that leads into the temple. The temple is white and has beautiful carvings, carved arches and nine spires are visible, all have a little flag on top of them.
Neasden Temple London: BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (Photo credit: stevekeiretsu / Flickr)

The stunning temple opened in 1995 and is the largest active Hindu temple outside of India. Fortunately, it is also open to non-Hindus and everybody is welcomed here for a visit. 

Just be aware that indoor photography is strictly prohibited. You can take photos of the intricately decorated exterior from the beautifully manicured gardens but only with your smartphone! Cameras will need to be checked upon arrival. So, if you’re planning to visit Neasden Temple, it’s not worth bringing your camera. You’ll still get some decent shots just using your mobile though!

There you have it, an extensive overview of some of the best places to take interesting photos of architecure in London. If you’re into photography, then I hope it whet your appetite! And for those just interested to learn more about London, I hope it managed to inspire you to seek out slightly different places and sights.

I’d love to hear which of these buildings tickled your fancy.

Let me know in a comment below!
Thanks, Zarina xx

*Photo credit featured image: Brandon Wong / Unsplash

9 thoughts on “15 Stunning Architecture Photography Locations in London

  1. Thanks for sharing this comprehensive guide, Zarina! It is definitely helpful for anyone seeking architectural gems in London 🙂

  2. Lots to see! Difficult to choose as well, although a few are on the top of my list: the British Museum, Tate, and the Hindu temple. A shame the Serpentine Pavilion is always temporarily for some are sure worth preserving…
    Thanks for a good start this Sunday! xx

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