For those Facebook and Insta-worthy moments, here are the must-have photos to take during your London visit. Capture all the historical landmarks, lush urban parks, palace guards and colorful city squares so you can look back fondly once you (sadly) return home.
Red Phone Booth
Sightings of this quintessential symbol of London are fewer these days, so if you do see one, be sure to snap a quick photo. Head to Westminster and you’ll find several booths along Great George Street. Bonus: Big Ben is in the background.
Speaking of Big Ben, you can’t leave London with its photo. There are a few popular places for snapshots: the sidewalk of the Westminster Bridge across from Big Ben, from the London Eye and from Parliament Square. In fact, from Parliament, you can capture Big Ben, the Parliament House, the London Eye and the city’s iconic black cabs and red buses all at once. In-the-know photographers also take striking Big Ben photos through archways along the Queen’s Walk.
If you’re an early riser, head directly to the Tower Bridge for an incredible photo opp, as the sunlight starts to hit the iron bridge, casting ever-changing shadows. Photogs call this the “blue hour” and if you’re willing to set the alarm early, it’ll be worth it. A few other angles: on the bridge, using the archways as a frame for your photo; the north bank with the dolphin statue and the bridge in the background; and the south bank for a great general shot of the bridge.
The London Skyline from the London Eye
Sure, you can take photos of the London Eye itself (the best shots are from the north bank), but what about when you’re taking a spin? Join the Insta-crowds who have posted selfies while inside their London Eye capsule, then turn your sights on the capsule in front of yours. You’ll get the capsule and the palace of Westminster in your shot.
Changing of the Guards
The Changing of the Guards is one London tradition you won’t want to miss. It happens every day at 11 AM, except for Sunday when it’s 10 AM. Get there early to secure a spot close to the palace fence or, if you can’t get that, near the Victoria memorial. If you really want a photo with a guard, go ahead and ask (but be prepared for “No”). If you do get a “yes,” do not obstruct the movement or the sight line of the guard and be quick about it.
Whether you’ll be riding one of the fun, bright-red double-decker buses of London while you’re touring the city will depend on your route. If you’re in central London, you’ll be able to catch one easily as they’re more common in this area of the city. Before you hop on, or right after, take a quick photo!
Black Cab (London Taxi)
Hail an official London taxi – a black cab – on the street, or along the mainline rail, outside the Tube stations and at bus stations. Snap a selfie or ask your travel companion to take one of you in the black cab before you set off.
Underground (London Tube)
Go ahead, take the popular photo of the “Mind the Gap” sign as well as the recognizable sign for the London Tube. Now, go beyond the ordinary and take fun photos in the eye-catching London Bridge and Canary Wharf stations, the new section of the Jubilee line and the tunnels that you’ll find in many of the northern line stations. Try to take a shot of your travel companion as a moving train is whizzing past them. If you’re headed into the Tube with photography in mind, avoid rush hour.
From the famous (and lavishly decorated) Harrods food hall to the colorful toy department, there are countless photo opps at Harrods. Try to capture the department store’s Egyptian-styled central escalators, Art Nouveau windows and baroque-style dome. If you’re in London around Christmastime, the incredible holiday display and lights is a photography must. The management asks that you refrain from taking photos in the Jewelry departments, the Banking Hall and the Safe Deposit.