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21 Best Photography Locations In London: Free Film Preset & Tips

London is the perfect destination to experience majestic royal parks, stunning backdrops of the world’s most iconic attractions like the Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and gorgeous skylines from The Shard. From the most grandeur landmarks to small local favourites in hidden street corners…this guide will have your wanderlust satisfied and travel photography covered!

Read on to the end for a free download of our Film Style Lightroom Preset!

London Attractions: Beautiful Destinations & Best Places To Visit For Travel Photography

Photographing Westminster London is always exciting and sometimes just takes your breath away. Everywhere you go is incredibly beautiful and you feel like getting off at each tube station to take pictures. So, having a good camera gear is crucial. Especially for huge landmarks and to best capture each precious moment. For the past 4 years, I’ve only used the Nikon D7000 + kit lens (18-105mm), prime lens (F 1.8/ 50mm) and Manfrotto Travel Tripod. These were perfect for all my Europe city travels – lightweight, easy to pack and functional.

#1 Houses of Parliament & Big Ben

The Big Ben is quite possibly the most photographed landmark in the UK. However, this quintessentially British building is the most difficult to take. Common problems:

  • How should i fit this incredibly tall and wide building into the confines of my DSLR screen from the street level?
  • How can i avoid all the poles, street lamps and ongoing traffic encroaching the background of my picture?

We did all the trial and error and came up with a quick breakdown for that perfect shot:

1st location: Parliament Square

  • Closeup of Big Ben + clouds: Zoom in and take a portrait to focus attention on the clock tower. Create a tighter crop using the clouds to create a nice vignette background.
  • There’s zero chance to take a landscape shot of the Big Ben at street level in Parliament Square. Taking closeups here is the best.

big ben movingjar film preset

Edited using Film Style Lightroom Preset P2 for classic grains and vintage hues.

2nd location: Westminster Bridge 

  • Mid shot of Big Ben: Position your tripod on the bridge and have the Big Ben as the backdrop. There’s still some pedestrian traffic to be expected here, but the nearby buildings and people work to create more candid imagery.

big ben landscape film preset

Photo by Heidi Sandstrom. Edited using Film Style Lightroom Preset P2 for mid tone enhancements and grainy effects.

3rd location: Across Thames River 

  • Long shot of Big Ben: One of the best photography locations in London of the Big Ben, with less pedestrians and distractions.

Big ben river thames preset

Photo by: Pedro Carballo. Edited using Film Style Lightroom Preset P2 for sunset hues and strong grains.

Best time to take photos: Early mornings, night-time (10pm onwards)

Cost: Free

#2 Millennium Bridge

Millennium Bridge is perfect for when you want to capture scenic walking areas in a big city. You can cross the Thames River and reach St. Paul’s Cathedral on this pedestrian bridge. It’s futuristic design stands out from other bridges, but most importantly, you can get pretty nice views of the river banks.

Best time to take photos: Late Afternoons 

Nearest Station: 9-min walk from Southwark Station

Cost: Free

Millennium Bridge London

Photo by: Parisian Photographer, Anthony Delanoix. Edited with Film Lightroom Preset – P2 to create classic vintage grains.

#3 Borough Market

A nice gourmet food market in London at the heart of London Bridge. This is one of the best photography locations in London to capture local daily life in London featuring delectable offerings from merchants.

Best time to take photos: Day time

Nearest Station: London Bridge

borough market london

#4 London Street Signs

One of those things that make London so indigenous.

Best time to take photos: Day time

Nearest station: High Street Kensington

london street photography

#5 London Tower Bridge

The London Tower Bridge is the most famous bridge in London and possibly the world. It’s a fantastic place for engineering and history buffs to see the works behind victorian engineering rooms. For £9, you can get a ticket to walk across the bridge which makes for great photography opportunities.

Best time to take photos: Day time (09:00 – 17:00)

Cost: £9

Nearest Station: London Bridge

london tower bridge vintage preset

Edited with Film Lightroom Preset – P2, to create classic vintage grains and golden hues.

#6 Trafalgar Square

If you are in the city then you’ll have to visit or pass through the Square. Get here early if you want good pictures. It’s also a nice option for an afternoon coffee break with a backdrop of the Nelson column and stone lions.

Best time to take photos: Early morning or night time

Cost: Free

trafalgar square london

Photo was taken in mid afternoon and had more orange-yellow hues, the P1 Lofi preset added a slight cool tinge to balance it out.

#7 National Gallery

When in London, the National Gallery, Buckingham Palace and Natural History Museum are must-visit destinations. The National Gallery overlooks Trafalgar Square and is quite a beautiful sight on its own. It costs £10 to enter and you get to see a vast collection of paintings. It’s great for history and art enthusiasts but if you have 40 minutes to spare, this is a nice place to appreciate a bit of culture.

Best time to take photos: Day time

Cost: £10 entrance fee

london british museum preset edited

To create warm undertones with grainy effect, use the Film Style Lightroom Preset – P2

#8 Admiralty Arch

The Admiralty Arch is my favourite landmark in London till this day. This magnificent gateway is gold for photography compositions. You can take wide-angle shots of the ceremonial pathway from The Mall leading up to Buckingham Palace, or try out different perspectives from both sides of the Archway. Don’t forget to take close-ups of the intricate concrete and latin inscriptions too!

Best time to take photos: Day time or early morning

Cost: Free

admiralty arch edited p5 preset

For architecture close-ups, I always use P5 Cinematic Portraiture for darker shadows and rich saturation that enhance intricate details.

#9 The Mall

One of the most impressive ceremonial roads leading up to Buckingham Palace. On Saturdays, we like to take a jog or walk on the main road when there’s no vehicle traffic. Avoid weekdays as the road is closed off to pedestrians, but you can still capture its picturesque boulevard on the sideway too.

Best time to take photos: Weekends, day time

Cost: Free

the mall admiralty london

#10 Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall

A sweet spot for cultural exploration and photography. At 11am everyday, you can witness the changing of royal horse guards on the parade grounds. The premises are incredibly spacious and the surrounding architecture make for some of the best photography locations in London.

Best time to take photos: Day time, before 11am to watch changing of guards

Cost: Free

horse guards building london

Edited solely with the Landscape Preset C2, to create subtle maroon hues.

#11 Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace in the No.1 landmark of historical and cultural significance. It’s the royal residence of the Queen and the site is grandiose. Unless you’re here at 5am, there’s no chance to get a clean picture without any crowds.

Best time to take photos: Early mornings

Cost: Free

buckingham palace london movingjarbuckingham palace closeup p5

For victorian architecture, I like to bring out the neutral marble white colours that can really contrast with the vibrance of gold ornaments.

#12 Westminster Abbey

You can reach Westminster Abbey by taking a 10 – 15 min stroll along The Mall from Buckingham Palace. Westminster Abbey is a grand, ancient gothic building in the heart of London. Photography inside the building is strictly forbidden, but the architecture from the outside is absolutely stunning.

Nearest station: Westminster Station

Best time to take photos: Day time

Cost: Free

london westminster abbey

#13 Natural History Museum

Every time I visit London, the Natural History Museum would be on my top sightseeing list. It’s the best museum in the city with an incredible showcase of wildlife and enormous dinosaur exhibits. If I had to choose between this or the British Museum, I’d go for the Natural History Museum any day.

Photography tips: Get to the upper level and wait for the crowd to clear out. This is the best photography spot in the museum.

Nearest Station: South Kensington

Best time to take photos: Day time (10:00 – 17:30)

Cost: free entry

natural history museum london

Edited using Film Style Lightroom Preset P5.

#14 London Phone Booth

Well, the red telephone booth is practically on every tourist’s photo backdrop.

#15 The Hereford Arms

A pub and restaurant in South Kensington, that offers really good cider and lunch menus. This victorian pub stood out for it’s scenic location at Gloucester Road.

Location: 127 Gloucester Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 4TE

hereford arms london

Edited with P5.

#16 Cambridge Town

Cambridge Town is great for nature and victorian architecture photography. If you’d like a short getaway from the bustling city, this is a great retreat in river punts.

Duration: 1 hour 20 minutes, from King Cross Station to Cambridge Station.

Cost: £21.

river punting cambridge england

Edited with Moving Jar’s Landscape Lightroom Preset C4.

#17 Lloyd’s Bank, Victoria House

Lloyd’s bank here is one of the best photography locations in London to create interesting line compositions.

Location: Southampton Row, London WC1B 5HR, UK

Nearest Station: 4-min walk from Monument Tube Station

lloyds victoria house london

Edited with P5.

#18 Windsor Castle

A royal residence and oldest occupied castle in the world. If you’re deciding between Stonehenge or Windsor, definitely go for Windsor Castle. It’s grandeur and architectural beauty could hold a photographer here for hours.

Location: Windsor SL4 1NJ, UK

Getting here: 

windsor castle london

Windsor castle through the window – what do you think of this perspective?

windsor castle window london

#19 Holborn

Part of my street photography collection – Holborn district. This was my humble abode during summer law school at LSE. It’s a quaint and peaceful neighbourhood with really nice residential flats.

london holdborn

Edited with P5.

#20 Royal Courts of Justice

The Royal Courts of Justice is an enchanting, monumental building right smack in the city of London. It’s a nice addition to the victorian buildings in Britain.

Location: Strand, London WC2A 2LL.

Nearest Station: 7-min from Holborn Tube Station

london royal courts of justice

#21 King’s Cross Station

A central railway station that connects to several train lines. It’s also the location of Platform 9 3/4 that departs for Hogwarts!

Location: Euston Road, London N1C 4TB

kings cross station london

Photo by Michal Parzuchowski. Edited with P2 from Film Style Lightroom Presets.

Walking around London is the best way to explore its majestic landmarks and capture candid moments in street photography. We’ve got a nice travel guide on how to explore London’s attractions in one day. If you’re in London for a trip, share with us your experience below! 🙂

As a bonus, I added in a piece of our Lightroom Film Presets for free download to give your images this timeless and organic feel. The film style inspired look from London was made to relive vivid memories living in Holborn and Chelsea Gardens, where we found old maps, marketplaces, vintage shops and captured moments we’d treasure forever.

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