Postcards from… the Best Views of London
This is the second in our series of “Postcards from…” brought to you in conjunction with Budget UK. This time we’re in London with suggestions for five top places to send postcards of the best views of London from. We know a postcard may sound old fashioned, so if you prefer you can post an image on Facebook or Instagram! Tag us (@familyadventureproject) and include #postcardfrom and we’ll come check it out. So get your climbing boots on, we’re on the up in London…
1 Look out from the Top of the Shard
Send a message city wide from the top of The Shard
At 310 metres, the Shard is the tallest building in the whole of Western Europe. Fitting your account of the view on a postcard will be a challenge because it is vast. On a clear day you can see for around 40 miles. You are so far up that the London bridges look like pipe cleaners and huge station complexes resemble little train sets. Trace the journey of a taxi or London bus around toy-town as you move around the viewing platforms including an outdoor platform that engages you with the elements. Whether you choose to visit by day or night, it is a beguiling view, and you can take as long as you like to write your postcard from the top. It’s not cheap for a whole family to visit, but check The View From the Shard‘s website for occasional special offers.
2 Head Up on Top of the 02
Inspire others to aim higher with a story from your ascent to the summit of The 02
The 02 Arena in London’s Docklands has been transformed from its former existence as a millennium folly into a 21st century entertainment complex. One you can climb up and over. You may need to write this postcard from inside the 02 when you get back down, especially if it’s windy. And it quite often is. Visit Up at The 02 and you can climb to the top of London’s second most famous dome.
It’s an exhilarating, if steep climb to the top of this world, on what feels like a bouncy trampoline strung uphill. But it is well worth the effort of hauling yourself up from ‘base camp’ and feeling cool in your special jumpsuit, swinging your tether and clipping your karabiners on and off. At the top you can enjoy a 360 degree view of London from the viewing platform and if you book a late afternoon or early evening slot, like we did, you can watch dusk falling across this iconic city. Beautiful.
3 Look down from the gantry of Tower Bridge
Help build bridges and get others joining together with a postcard from old Tower Bridge
Admittedly this isn’t entirely a postcard from above. If you visit the Tower Bridge Exhibition, much of your time will be spent on various levels of a museum that traces the history of this beautiful bridge, including the Victorian Engine rooms with their spotlessly clean steam engines. But when you do ascend to the high level walkways, 42 metres above The Thames, you’ll want to tell the world what you see. Depending on the weather, your panoramic view may stretch from St Paul’s Cathedral to Canary Wharf.
Tower Bridge was built in 1886-1894, and remains a breathtaking example of design and engineering. As well as reading about how it was built and used, you can view the gallery showing other famous bridges around the world. And if you’re feeling skint and can’t afford the entrance fee, then send your postcard from the riverbank looking up. Sketch out your own impression of this atmospherically lit structure that helps give London its shape and skyline.
4 Aim high at the ArcellorMittal Orbit
Tell others a tale of sporting inspiration from the top of the ArcellorMittal Orbit
If I asked you to climb four hundred steps up to a height of 114.5 metres above London on a twisted metal structure to send a postcard outlining your view of a building site you’d probably say no. But this is no ordinary building site. And it’s no ordinary tower. Unless you missed the 2012 Olympics completely you are bound to have already seen this new piece of London sky art. The ArcelorMittal Orbit is Britain’s largest piece of art. It overlooks London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, and on your journey to and up it, you’ll be following in the footsteps of royalty, and perhaps wondering how The Queen looked in a hard hat.
At the moment you can take a behind the scenes tour and wear your own hard hat as you ascend Anish Kapoor’s Orbit, but from late spring 2014 you will be able to do it ‘sans chapeau.’ Because the structure will be open for public tours, and with high tech ways of checking out the view, a well as the unique mirror platform, it should be an interesting attraction for families. In your postcard you can sketch out the transformation of the Aquatic Centre and the stadium, and reflect on a time when Britain was truly happy.
5 Swing over the river in a cable car
Tell us your favourite sights of the river from a cable car ‘flight’
From just near the 02, you can hop onto The Emirates Air Line to move across London in style. There are many ways to get around London, but this is probably the newest and most unlikely; it’s the city’s first cable car. On a sunny day you can close your eyes and imagine you are about to go skiing in the Alps, but you won’t want to do that for too long as you have a postcard to write! And you won’t be short of words. You can talk about life at 90 metres and what lies beneath. the sun glinting on The Thames, the unique and iconic curve of the river and the experience of sailing above all this. You can also avoid cramming onto the London Underground with everyone else as the cars take you from Greenwich to The Royal Docks Terminal, near Excel. If you go off peak you can even get a car to yourself and you can take your bike too. And the best thing? You can simply use your oyster card. Now where in the Alps can you get away with that?
Disclosure Note: This post was brought to you thanks to the support of Budget UK. All the research, ideas and opinions remain, as ever, entirely our own.