As people look for new ways to see the sights of London, a number of different ways of exploring the city have sprung up and the pleasures of sight-seeing can now be experienced from many different angles. The traditional bus tour has been supplemented by walking tours, river cruises and even a tour that encompasses both without changing vehicle! However, there are few more unique ways to see London’s biggest points of interest than by flying overhead on your own helicopter tour.

Taking to the skies over the city on your own personal tour gives a once in a lifetime experience for long-time London lovers and newcomers alike.

Size and scale

One thing it’s very hard to get a feel for at street level in any city, London included, is the scale of the place and how the various parts of it inter-connect. Walking through the winding streets can leave the visitor pleasantly lost and with aching feet, but with no real idea of the amount of distance that’s been covered in the process.

The public transport system is no better at helping people gauge places in relation to one another, as London Underground maps present a schematic rather than proximity and buses and taxis snake around the city to find the most expedient way from one place to another rather than joining the dots.

Taking to the sky can help give a real sense of perspective to the city and spot sights in relation to one another.

A different perspective

There are, understandably, parts of London that look a good deal different from above than they do from the ground. What can close up feel incredibly densely packed with buildings can suddenly take on a more spacious air when viewed from high above the streets.

Taking a flight over the London Docklands reveals a very different picture to the one seen from the ground. While it can feel somewhat claustrophobic to be amongst the high-rise buildings around Canary Wharf and Canada Water, from above the area is an archipelago of small islands that look spaced out and almost Venetian.

london docklands above
London’s Docklands viewed from above

The same is true around the Royal Parks. The densely-packed districts around Hyde Park, Green Park and others can be deceptive and few people explore the parks sufficiently to appreciate their true scale. A tour at dusk can bring the space into sharp relief as the dark patches contrast with the bright street lights in the surrounding areas.

A glimpse of the unseen

There are parts of the city that simply can’t be seen without taking flight and viewing them from above. The expansive grounds of Buckingham Palace are only seen by a select few every year who are invited to join the Queen for one of her garden parties. The perimeter of the palace is surrounded by very high walls that don’t permit the casual glance at the Monarch’s back garden. Taking a helicopter tour will give the opportunity to see sights that few have witnessed first-hand.

queens backyard
A sneak peek at the Queen’s backyard

It’s also possible that the tour will show other things that few on the ground will be aware of. At the top of some of the high-rise buildings in the centre of London, manicured gardens and even swimming pools and hot-tubs can be seen, showing a different side to the city than most ever see.


For a different perspective on the sights of London, taking a helicopter tour will introduce a whole new point of view. Giving a real appreciation of space and scale, an aerial tour can also offer passengers the chance to get a glimpse of an unseen London.


Image Credits: Tab59 and James Cridland

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