12 must-see London buildings

Ready to take a trip through London's hip and happening architectural scene? We're not talking about old dusty buildings, citizens. We're talking modern marvels that'll make your jaw drop. Go beyond the usual tourist traps and discover the coolest structures in town as we explore London’s most epic architecture. So don’t skip the end, citizens, we saved the best for last. Tally-ho! 

Let's kick off with London's skyline, a dazzling display of architectural marvels. In the heart of it all, the City of London stands proud, buzzing with energy. Think of the iconic Gherkin, a pickle-shaped wonder, and the Walkie-Talkie with its sky garden offering stunning views. The Shard, towering over the city, is a sight to behold, like a giant shard of glass reaching for the clouds. Each building in London's skyline tells a tale of innovation and history. Ready for the big guns?

The Shard

First up, The Shard – Renzo Piano's 1,016-foot dream, officially the tallest building in Western Europe. This glass-clad spectacle it's more than just a building, it’s a super-charged fun hub! Try dining at award-winning Chinese restaurant Hutong or sip sophisticated cocktails at Oblix. You'll be on cloud 9, literally and otherwise.

The Gherkin

City of London
Our next stop – The Gherkin! Another Foster wonder, this building is far from your average pickle. Its swirling striped pattern, complete with diamond-shaped glass panels, creates a captivating optical illusion. Head all the way to the top and treat yourself to dinner at the Helix restaurant, followed by drinks at Iris bar. Exquisite gastronomy with 360° views of the city? Yes, please!

Leadenhall Building

City of London
Head back to the city and you’ll find Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners' Leadenhall Building, AKA the Cheesegrater. Renowned for its brilliant views of London and initially, Europe's quickest lift. Its tapering structure is home to iconic French restaurant Bob Bob Ricard City, serving up delicious feasts in a suave setting. Ooh la la!

the Scalpel

City of London
A true rebel in London's skyline, cheeky with its sharp angles and glistening glass. Towering at 190 metres in the financial heart of London, this architectural marvel is more than a building - it's a masterpiece of modern design. Nicknamed 'The Scalpel' for its distinctive, angular shape, it's a wink at London's ever-evolving, edgy personality.

Walkie Talkie

City of London
Just around the corner is 20 Fenchurch Street (AKA Walkie Talkie). Its top-heavy design may look a little weird but it’s wonderfully intentional – Rafael Viñoly's genius creates a stunning ‘Sky Garden' at the top. Immerse yourself in lush greenery while you indulge in some culinary delights. Talk about the high life!

the City Hall

City of London
In the same postcode you’ll find the architectural gem that is City Hall. Designed by Sir Norman Foster, its bulbous, helix-structure is covered with a whopping 7,300 square meters of glass. It might look like serious politics from the outside but the 'Scoop' is actually so much more, hosting regular free concerts and film screenings. Chill out with a drink from the café and soak up some culture.

30 Crown Place

sleek design meets urban cool at 30 Crown Place in Shoreditch London. With 16 floors of glass and steel, it's like a beacon of modern architecture. Inside, it's all about space and light, giving you that airy feeling. And the location? Bang on! It's right in the mix of London's buzzing energy, with shops, cafes, and cultural hotspots just a stroll away.

5 Broadgate

This 'groundscraper' is more spread out than tall! And it's not just a looker; it's got brains too. 5 Broadgate has been awarded a BREEAM 'Excellent' rating. That means it's eco-friendly and sustainable, top marks for being kind to our planet. So, it's big on style and big on green credentials!

Chronicle Tower

Chronicle Tower (AKA Lexicon Tower) stands out with its unique, slender shape. It's like a sleek glass needle threading the London skyline. This thin skyscraper catches the eye with its elegant and modern design, making a bold statement in the world of architecture. It's not just tall; it's a striking example of how to stand tall and stand out!

Crossrail Place Roof Garden

Canary Wharf
Welcome to the concrete jungle, Canary Wharf. Make your way through a forest of skyscrapers to Crossrail Place Roof Garden, where Foster + Partners have created a woven timber-framed lattice dome that hides an actual jungle. Sit on a bench among the tropical plants or catch a show in the amphitheater – it's a mini-festival spot that knows how to throw a party!

serpentine galleries

Fancy a stroll in Kensington Gardens? Make it artsy with a visit to the Serpentine Galleries – cheeky siblings a 5-minute walk from each other. While the older one has been charming art-lovers since 1970, the younger Serpentine Sackler Gallery only opened in 2013 but has already become a must-see, in no small part thanks to Zaha Hadid's striking curvy-cool design.

One Canada Square

Canary Wharf
Let's not forget the granddaddy of them all, One Canada Square. Standing tall and proud, it's the building that put Canary Wharf on the map. This steel-clad icon from Cesar Pelli isn't just about business. Oh no, it's also about pleasure, with a delicious lineup of bars and restaurants just waiting to wine and dine you. So come on in, the views are stunning!

So, there it is – your architectural blueprint for your London adventure. After a day spent marvelling at towering wonders, what's better than to rest your feet in style? Meet citizenM hotels – a dream concept for creative souls. It’s all XL beds, artsy interior and modern luxury. The cherry on top of the cake? Our London hotels are in the best possible locations. Zzzzzs incoming!

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