February 28, 2012

London Viewlines

A very kind and charming reader dropped off the May 2012 issue of British Heritage for me this afternoon because he knew I might be interested in reading the story about Wales and its music. {Thanks, Tony!}

But the article that really fascinated me was on the 26 best views of London. viewlines greenwichIn 1934, a surveyor who feared that all of the “skyscrapers” being built would obstruct the views of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, worked out eight corridors or viewlines from all over London, so that St. Paul’s could be seen. Now there are 26 protected views of London which were re-ratified in 2002 and again in 2008 after some developers fiddled with the views.

There are four types of protected views. Linear Views, such as the Richmond view, where there’s a hole cut into a hedge on a mound with a direct sightline to St. Paul’s is a great example.viewlines richmondpark River Prospects are the view from any of the wonderful bridges across the Thames, or a view from the Victoria & Albert  like this old lion’s head used for tying up barges and boats on the Thames. There’s an old verse – If the lion drinks, then London sinks.viewlines victoria embankmentPanoramas are the sweeping views that encompass much of the capital, like the view from Greenwich in the top image, or from Alexandra Palace, or Ally Pally as it’s commonly known. You can look over many of the iconic buildings in London, with the Swiss Re, or Gherkin on the left and St. Paul’s on the far right.viewlines ally pally Townscape Views, such as the Tower of London from Queen’s Walk, across the Thames are the ones you most often see on postcards. viewlines tower of londonI am fascinated by things like this, and am delighted to know that there are markers along the river and at other stops, so I will know where some of the best views in London are. There was even an instructive map in the magazine with details,

or if you want further detail on the program or the different viewlines, you can click on this PDF for more information.


  1. These are wonderful views of London Meg!

    I miss visiting there!

    Art by Karena

  2. Any such foresight in the USA?

  3. Wonderful views! Enjoy your time in England, etc. Such a great place to visit (and I might say live!).

    Meredith @ Tuscan Blue Design

  4. How I love London!-What a divine friend + Thank you, Meg. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

  5. Meg,

    Three cheers for that surveyor! We could use him in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, where the city is pushing to turn park space and old W.Post buildings into massive hotels. Nice hotels like the Four Seasons, but they would loom over the eighteenth-century houses and block the views of the Potomac. I've passed this on to someone fighting the proposal.

    Thank you---you always entertain and inform.


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