Totally free to visit, London has gained a new viewing gallery at the top of a skyscraper, right in the middle of the City of London.
Officially known as The Lookout, it sits on the 50th floor of a newly completed building on Bishopsgate and gives really good views across most of the south and west of London – taking in everything from the Wembley Arch around to the Tower of London.
The entrance isn’t hidden away either, but right on the main road, and once through the usual security checks, a dedicated lift zooms you straight up to the 50th floor. And oh, my, that’s a view!
The viewing gallery is currently unadorned save for a few seats, and having only just opened this week, very few people know about it yet, so the space is cavernously empty. The double-height space also adds to a sense of spectacle as you leave the lifts and enter the viewing gallery, with most of West London right in front of you.
And of course, peer down at the tiny ants on the streets far below your feet.
Due to the design of the building, the viewing gallery sits on the southwestern corner of the rectangular skyscraper, with a view mainly of the west and south London, and a bit of a peek over the top of Tower 42 towards the north.
What’s remarkable is how tall buildings I once thought of as excitingly tall and jumped at the chance to visit the top floors are now not just below me, but far below me.
Remember the fuss when the Sky Garden opened? Now you’re looking down at it.
The Shard may still have the height (for a few more weeks only), but arguably, the view from The Lookout is more interesting as you’re surrounded by the City of London, and there are so many interesting buildings to look down at, as well as across into the far distance.
And it’s free, and also open quite late on Mondays and Fridays, so ideal to time a visit for sunset and get that “golden hour” for photography. There’s talk of a bar being opened up here later as well.
You are recommended to book tickets in advance, although there seems to be
plenty of capacity for walk-ins, and I spotted a few taking advantage of that on my visit. (Edit, best to book in advance as walk-ins are now harder to get)
Tickets can be booked from here.
- Mondays and Fridays: 12pm-9pm
- Tuesdays to Thursdays: 10.30am-5.30pm
- Saturdays: 11am-6pm
- Sundays & Bank Holidays: 10am-5pm
What else is up here
The viewing gallery takes up about a quarter of the top floor, with about half for plant and services. What’s the rest? Well, running along the south wall are three large offices that can be used for meetings if you want a meeting with a view.
You can also hire the viewing gallery for events, and they have a catering facility for parties.
The viewing gallery entrance is at the top of 8 Bishopsgate, a few minutes walk from Liverpool Street station or Bank tube station. The entrance is right next to where London’s highest viewing gallery, Horizon 22 is opening shortly, so you’ll have two sky-high viewing galleries next to each other.