Scared of heights? Look away now. Otherwise, dip into this lofty list of attractions that’ll give your family a whole new outlook on the world. We’ve picked six places with impressive views, all of which have reopened following lockdown. Don’t forget your binoculars.
The Shard, London
A viewpoint that needs little introduction, The Shard at London Bridge is the UK’s tallest building. (Though -- little known fact -- it’s not even in the top 10 tallest structures in the UK, which are all communications masts.) The View From The Shard stands some xyz metres above the capital, offering 360 degree views of one of the world’s greatest cities.
Lastminute.com London Eye
Currently celebrating its 20th birthday, the supposedly temporary structure just keep on turning -- and will do for some time, thanks to its wide appeal and iconic status. At its apex, the Eye reaches some 135 metres, offering the loftiest views of Westminster and this part of the Thames. It’s fully accessible to wheelchairs, though buggies must be folded.
British Airways i360, Brighton
Not the name of a fancy new airliner, but rather the magnificent viewing tower on the coast at Brighton. The i360 was designed by the same architects responsible for the London Eye and Kew’s treetop walkway (Marks Barfield Architects), so you know you’re in for a treat. Indeed, at 138 metres tall, the i360 is slightly taller than the Eye, and offers unbeatable views along the south coast. Can you spot the Isle of Wight?
Royal Observatory Greenwich
The historic centre of space and time is not only an excellent place to observe the heavens -- it also affords cracking views of London. Perched high atop a hill, you’ll get an unforgettable view of both the city centre and the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf. Meanwhile, Sir Christopher Wren’s famous Old Royal Naval College dominates the foreground. When you’re done gawping, the Observatory itself is a fascinating place to explore with children, with hundreds of exhibits on time, space, astronomy and geography.
Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth
It’s a cracking word, isn’t it? A spinnaker is a kind of balloon-like sail to speed a boat on with the wind. It’s an apt name, for this 100 metre tower overlooking Portsmouth Harbour appears to billow out like a sail. You can supposedly see up to 23 miles from the top -- not quite to France, but the Isle of Wight is clearly visible.
Up at the O2
Ever fancied clambering over one of London’s most famous buildings? Up at the O2 lets you do just that, in a 90 minute trek over (what many still call) the Millennium Dome. The slope of the dome is gentler than you might expect, so you can focus all your attention on admiring the views and enjoying the experience. Note, kids must be at least 8 years old and 1.2 metres tall to scale the O2.
Although originally from the Midlands, and trained as a biochemist, Matt has somehow found himself writing about London for a living. He's a former editor and long-time contributor to Londonist.com and has written several books about the capital. He's also the father of two preschoolers.