Best free view in London – 55 Broadway

We wandered our fingers through the 2015 Open House guide (ok, figuratively speaking – in reality we just had hundreds of website tabs open) as we shortlisted the buildings usually closed to the public that we wanted to visit. With around 30 selected, and only 7 or so hours (including a lunch break) we battled it our individual selections out and whittled the list even further down to 4.

We began the morning with dragons and five star luxury (post to come shortly), visited medieval Law buildings, dabbled in a little East London river history but ended with the most unexpectedly glorious London view.

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I thought that may have got your attention – it certainly had ours. The London Eye, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, the Shard and Westminster Abbey, not to mention St Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace and Wembley Stadium from the other viewpoints had us spellbound, especially as the clouds cleared in perfect time…

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Each time we holiday, we tend to gravitate as high as we can in order to
get a birds eye view of the city. Sometimes we forget to do this in
London until an overseas visitor well, visits, and we find our selves
seeking new vantage points.

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Over the years our favourites have been the the Gherkin, London Eye, Big Ben, a rather luxury stay and recently the ArcelorMittal Orbit in the Olympic Park (let’s not talk about the weather fail the first time we visited the Shard… we’ve been again since and adored it. I should really get around to blogging it…)

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This time we found ourselves in the current head office of the London Underground. An imposing Art Deco building, 55 Broadway is an icon. Some may say the – intentionally – weathered concrete structure is an eye sore, but I love it for the attention to detail and statement it makes on the architectural landscape – that is if you take an extra moment to really look whilst commuting.

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We were even treated to an unexpected peep at the Beekeeping terrace at St Ermin’s Hotel Westminster (where we visited recently for an urban beekeeping course…)

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….before our guide hustled us up over the roof (with a quick peep at the 10th Floor solar garden) and astonished us with one of the best views we’d had yet. I would love to share a revelation or pithy play on words but I was simply astonished. Blue skies, fluffy mallow clouds and London laid at our feet. It was worth every single open-tread wrought-iron step.

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And as we wandered around the rooftop, we realise that we had a good view of Buckingham Palace (especially to our surprise) and just how green the treetops of London are.

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Just one more time.

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I do adore Open House.

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