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The Essential Locations for a Holiday Snapshot in London


There are plenty of people who insist that London is the greatest city in the world. You may not want to argue the point with a New Yorker, a Parisian or a Tokyoite, but it’s fair to say that the UK capital is right up there. It’s a truly international city with a history that dates back to the Roman invasion 2,000 years ago and a current population of 9.5 million people who between them speak over 250 languages. It’s a center for trade, fashion, nightlife, music and the arts. It also has one of the finest and most diverse restaurant cultures in the world. Uncharitable people put this down to the fact that the British don’t really have any native cuisine to speak of so the place was fair game for another foreign invasion. We couldn’t possibly comment.

The city is twice the size of New York and it would be easy to draw up a very long list of the most instagrammable restaurants in London but we wanted to flag up some of the other stunning and unique sights of the capital. So here’s our pick – which might be completely different if you ask us tomorrow.

Sky Garden

Everybody’s heard of the Shard, London’s tallest building but who needs another photo of a pointy skyscraper? Head instead to another new building, the ‘Walkie Talkie’ and its beautiful Sky Garden. With two restaurants, two bars, the best views in the city and a stunning rooftop tropical conservatory garden, this should be on everyone’s must-visit checklist.

St Paul’s Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge

Two sights for the price of one, ancient and modern. The original Norman cathedral was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1666 and Christopher Wren designed its replacement, which survives to this day, miraculously escaping the Blitz in World War Two with just a damaged dome. The bridge was opened in 2000, the first new crossing over the Thames in over 100 years. Take your photo of the cathedral from the bridge and it couldn’t be anywhere but London.

5 Telephone Boxes, Covent Garden

Together with black taxis and red buses, the K2 telephone box is an icon of London’s and Britain’s landscape. Rapidly disappearing now that smartphones rule, you can still see 5 of them collected in one spot, in the pedestrianized Broad Court in historic Covent Garden. Bright red against pale stone, they make a great picture.

The UK’s Smallest Police Station

Blink and you’ll miss it if you’re walking through the south east corner of Trafalgar Square but here you can see what used to be the smallest police station in the country. It’s just big enough to hold one police officer or two prisoners. It was built in 1926 to give the Metropolitan Police a permanent presence to watch out for troublesome demonstrators, complete with a direct phone line to Scotland Yard. It still served as an observation box up until the 1970s but now it is used as a broom cupboard by Westminster Council.

Peggy Porschen

Opened in Belgravia in 2003, the first Peggy Porschen cake boutique has become an enchanting landmark in this affluent part of the capital. Possibly the pinkest patisserie you’ll ever see, with cascades of pink flowers flanking the doorway, it sells some of the best cakes in London. Even your photo of this impossibly photogenic café will have excessive sugar content.

Highgate Cemetery

Situated near Hampstead, 5 miles due north of Charing Cross, the world-famous cemetery is the final resting place for 170,000 people in 53,000 graves over 37 acres. Karl Marx’s grave is probably the best-known of the inhabitants, but other big names include Sir Ralph Richardson, Jean Simmons, the 19th century novelist George Eliot and the mastermind behind The Sex Pistols, Malcolm McLaren. It is an eerily beautiful place, rich with photographic potential.

God’s Own Junkyard

You’ll need to venture a long way off the tourist route to find this temple of neon light. You wouldn’t expect to find the subject of a Vogue photoshoot, supplier of set décor to Hollywood blockbusters and creator of artworks for the likes of David LaChappelle and Martin Creed located 10 miles to the north east of Trafalgar Square in Walthamstow, but that’s where Chris Bracey has been creating and curating works of art in neon for nearly 40 years. A unique photo-op.

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