We’ve been to London many, many times, but this time around ended up looking at this beautiful, massive city from high up above and discovered some of the best views in London: we took a long, swift elevator ride 72 floors up to check out The View from The Shard and enjoyed a classy glass of bubbly on the London Eye.
Both of these experiences are quite well known, at least to those who have ever googled any “best things to do in London” lists, and there’s a good reason for that fame: the views are simply unforgettable.
In this article we’ll also take a look at a lovely gem of a hotel we stayed at this time, which goes well with the luxury theme.
The View from the Shard
What exactly is it? A premium visitor attraction in the center of London, UK. Situated on top of Western Europe’s tallest building, The Shard, it offers an unparalleled view of the city, stretching up to 40 miles in good weather. Visitors can buy tickets in advance or from the ticket booth downstairs and are then led onto a modern elevator that takes them up swiftly and safely to admire the views.
The general admission ticket grants you access to Level 69 and then, even higher up on to the open air Skydeck on Level 72. There you can listen to the winds howl and hear the distant honking of the London black cabs far below.
Looking down from the floor’s edge made our heads feel a little dizzy, but there was nothing to worry about: the thick safety glasses and plenty of room to step aside if feeling uneasy made it all quite pleasant. We snapped a lot of photos and pointed at places we recognized, some closeby, some further away in the distance.
Best part? There’s no time limit, so you can stay and admire the View from the Shard for as long as you like! (If we had any more time, I would’ve loved to stay and sketch a few of the views in my travel diary.)
If you want to make your visit even more special, you can book extras like the Champagne Experience or the Day&Night Experience, which is pretty cool: you can visit the Shard twice, first in daylight and then again after sunset to see the difference!
The London Eye Champagne Experience
We’ve been on the London Eye a couple of times before, as it simply seems to be one of the must things to do in London and so we’ve ended up taking a couple of our friends, too. Before, it’s been just the basics: get in one of the pods with a handful of strangers, go around, admire the beautiful 360 degree view, snap some awesome photos, get off.
This time, however, we also wanted to get some sceneframing done: Satu had spotted this nice photo of the Black Sails main star / boss pirate Captain Flint AKA Toby Stephens standing in one of the pods against the beautiful view of London, so we thought, “hey, that’s a nice challenge” and decided to visit the Eye once more.
Not only that, we got a good deal for the London Eye Champagne Experience and even though we aren’t very big daytime drinkers when we travel (or ever, if that’s what you’re now thinking, ha ha), we figured it’d be easier to make the sceneframing part happen with a limited amount of fellow London Eye tourists crowding the pod. You know – it’s sort of awkward to ask people to step aside and stop taking photos of the view just so we can get a clear fangirly tablet shot! No matter how handsome the pirate.
But then… the Champagne Experience turned out to be quite fantastic: we got to hang out in a beautiful VIP champagne lounge before our London Eye flight, got escorted to our private pod past the queues with our own, lovely guide/champagne person and then had only 6 other people to join us in the pod.
In the end, the sceneframing turned out to be easier than we thought… or maybe, after four and a half years of practice, we’re really just that good! Plus, we had such a lovely chat with a few of our fellow passengers after they got curious about what it is we’re actually doing. So it was a great cheer-up on an otherwise pretty tiring day!
Staying in The May Fair, surrounded by film festival glamour
You know what’s even cooler than being in London during the BFI London Film Festival, with all the glitz and glamour and never knowing which film star you’re going to bump into while you wander around Leicester Square? Well, staying in the Official Hotel of said festival: The May Fair Hotel!
For the ninth consecutive year, The May Fair Hotel will be the Official Hotel of the 61st BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express®.
During our stay, we didn’t bump into any celebrities but we did see a lot of super fancy looking people going in and out the doors whenever we left our room or came back late at night all tired from our London adventures. There was a certain VIP feeling, walking through that crowd (no matter how shabbily dressed we happened to be ourselves!) and actually belonging there and for once, not just hanging by the stage door in the hopes of meeting one of our idols! 😂
Our very favorite thing about The May Fair was the location: just a minute’s walk from the Green Park tube station, surrounded by coffee chains and shops and a lovely park nearby, it was quite the perfect spot for exploring London and the most famous sights to see.
And the breakfast at the May Fair Kitchen… oh, the breakfast! That one was to die for. I even came up with a sandwich recipe while trying out all the delicious Italian meats and bread on the buffet and promise to share it a little later. And of course, make some at home for myself as well!
We’ll actually write a proper hotel review a bit later, too, but we just wanted a include a little peek at the May Fair as a recommendation for anyone who’s looking for a bit of luxury to add to their trip to London.
For most parts, we carried out this trip on our own, but we did have a little help along the way: a big Thank You to our dear sponsors KLM Finland and Hertz for helping out with the transportation. A huge Thank you to The May Fair Hotel for having us during our extremely scenic London Stay.