Top London locations for picture-perfect shots of the city

Yahoo! Contributor Network

London is consistently named towards, if not at, the top of tourist destination lists; and hand-in-hand with travel goes photography. If you're exploring London during the summer Games there are plenty of opportunities for snapping some dramatic skylines.

Think of London and classic photo opportunities immediately come to mind: Big Ben, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, to name just a few. But why not turn the typical tourist shot on its head by taking photographs from, rather than of, these icons?

I put my tourist shoes on, loaded up my camera with batteries, and went on a trek around the city to scout out some of the best iconic locations from which to take photos of London.

Tower Bridge

Don't just walk along the bridge footpath and shoot the structure from below, go inside for a tour of the upper walkway and see the city from a whole different perspective at 45 metres above the Thames. Tickets cost from £3.40 for children and £8 for adults.

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The view from the upper walkway of Tower Bridge, looking west (top) and east (bottom) along the Thames.

Big Ben

Permanent residents of the UK can contact their local MP to arrange a free tour of the famous Clock Tower, affectionately know as Big Ben. Climb 62 metres up the 334 spiral steps, stand behind the clock faces as the hour is struck and get a spectacular view of the city.

St Paul's Cathedral

Get inside the Cathedral's famous dome with a tour that takes you up 85 metres to the Golden Gallery at the base of the spire a-top the dome, and enjoy a panoramic outlook on London. Tickets cost from £5 children and £13 adults.

The Monument

Take the 311-step spiral staircase to the recently-refurbished viewing platform and look out over the city from a height of 49 metres. You'll even get a certificate to commemorate your climb when you get back to the bottom. Admission costs from £1.50 children and £3 adults.

The London Eye

The 32 capsules on this 135 metre ferris wheel take 30-minutes to do a full rotation and on a clear day you can see for up to 25 miles. Tickets cost from £7.50 children and £15.00 adults.

The O2

Spend 90-minutes on a guided climb over a platform across the centre of the domed venue and enjoy 360 degree views of London from 52 metres above ground level. Tickets cost £22.

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The platform across the centre of the O2 dome.

Thames Cable Car

The recently-launched cable car runs between Greenwich Peninsula (the O2) and Royal Victoria Docks (the ExCel) and offers views from a height of 90 metres up and down a lesser-visited part of the river. Tickets cost from £1.60 children and £3.20 adults.

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Looking towards the city - view from the Thames Cable Car.

The Orbit

Currently only available to those with Olympic Park tickets during the games, this tower is Britain's largest piece of public art at 115 metres tall, and will open for general admission later in the year as a lasting legacy of the games.

The Shard

In February 2013 a public viewing platform will open, offering an unrivalled view of the city from 244 metres, almost twice the height of anything else currently available. Tickets are on sale now from £18.95 children and £24.95 adults.

The Gherkin

Affectionately named for its likeness to a pickle, 30 St Mary Axe is an office block and restaurant that stands 180 metres tall. We've included it in this list because the view from the restaurant is spectacular. We've put it at the bottom of the list because unless you work there, or are invited by someone who does, you're not getting in.

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