July 2019


night photo palace of westminster

Capturing images of the House of Parliament, or Palace of Westminster, is one of my favourite places to photograph London.  I prefer to visit the area at night because the buildings illuminate beautifully highlighting the gold tones in the stone used throughout the structure.  Like so  many other brilliant London photo locations, the area around Palace of Westminster is a treasure trove with Big Ben, Westminster Bridge, the Thames River, Westminster Abbey and Parliament Square nearby.

If I had to choose the ultimate place to take the best London photos, Palace of Westminster and the area surrounding the grand building would near the top of the list.  As a proficient night photographer, you’ll find me out and about after the sun goes down.  The reflections of the Victorian architectural masterpiece reflects beautifully in the river especially with the warm lighting tones.  The truth is, however, the entire area is worthy of a visit with your camera day or night.

In 1834, fired ravaged both Houses of Parliament along with most other building on the site.  Westminster Hall, the Jewel Tower and a few others were spared from destruction thanks to firefighters and changing winds.  

The new Palace of Westminster, what we see today, was custom-built by the Victorian architect Charles Barry.  Mr Barry was careful to combine the old with the new, so that the surviving buildings – Westminster Hall, the Cloisters and Chapter House of St. Stephen’s, and the Undercroft Chapel – formed a structure that appeared seamless.

The Palace of Westminster towers over the River Thames and is quite imposing as a symbol of power, tho’ one might question the power bit given today’s political folly.  Back in Victorian times when the Palace was rebuilt, the architecture and massive structure captivated the imaginations of the public.  It also had a significant influence on the subsequent design of various public buildings such as town halls, law courts and schools throughout the United Kingdom, and internationally.

Where is Palace of Westminster?  How Do I Get To Palace of Westminster?
Palace of Westminster GPS Coordinates :: 51.4995° N, 0.1248° W

Map Showing Location of Palace of Westminster ::

Map Showing Location of Palace of Westminster

London Colisseum illuminated at night and Red Phone Boxes

When the London Coliseum originally opened in 1904, it was London’s largest and most luxurious variety theatres.  It was referred to as the people’s palace of entertainment at the time.  Even today, with 2,59 seats, the Coliseum is the largest theatre in London.

The theatre has been used for variety shows, stage plays, musical comedies, and screening films throughout the years.  After the Sadler’s Wells Opera Company moved into the building in 1968, the name changed to the English National Opera.  Today the London Coliseum is used primarily for opera as well as being the London home of the English National Ballet.

I’ve attended numerous English National Opera productions including “The Marriage of Figaro” and “Sweeney Todd.”  What rich entertainment you can enjoy at any number of productions throughout each season, but be sure to have your camera in hand when you walk out the doors into St Martin’s Lane.

St Martin’s Lane has always been one of my favourite roads in Central London.  There is no rhyme nor reason to my fondness of this street except it seems more civilised than others and the numerous theatres dotted along St Martin’s.  Of course you’ll find the London Coliseum which is a challenge to photograph.  My best advice is to jockey yourself around St Martin’s Lane as well as the area in front of the National Portrait Gallery along Charing Cross Road.  I especially love the red phone boxes and the tall leafy trees that add interesting elements into any London photograph.

Is the London Coliseum one of the best places to photograph London?  No, not exactly.  The coliseum building itself is indeed quite stunning especially with the spinning finial like part of the structure.  The interesting part of the area is challenging yourself to capture a great photograph in and around the Coliseum area.  To top it off, Trafalgar Square is mere steps away where a myriad of fabulous London photographs await you.

Where is the ENO London Coliseum?  How Do I Get To the London Coliseum?
ENO London Coliseum GPS Coordinates :: 51.5098° N, 0.1268° W

Map Showing the Location of the English National Opera London Coliseum ::

Map Showing Location of London Colisseum

photo showing entrance to city of london

Strategically placed around the perimeters of the “Square Mile,” are statues of dragons holding the shield of St George signifying your entrance into the City of London.  No, no!  Not sprawling London as a whole, but the 1.12 square miles that make up the historical centre of trading and business.

History can take you back to when London was known as Londinium when the Romans established a settlement around 43AD.  It is safe to say the Romans were the first presence of life in London as archaeologists have found no evidence of pre-Roman  signs of significant life beforehand.  

You can find segments of the London Wall, which was built by the Romans, near Tower Hill Underground Station.  The Romans built the wall sometime around 190AD and 225AD.  The boundaries of the Roman city were quite close to this of the City of London today except the City extends further west than Lononinium’s Ludgate.  Remember also the River Thames was wider back then than it is today so the shoreline of Londoninium was slightly north of the City of London’s present shoreline.

Of course the City of London grew by leaps and bounds over hundreds and hundreds of years.  The beauty of the square mile is it continues to transform London’s skyline with modern architecture at a seemingly rapid pace.

This is a lot to say about statues of a dragon tho’ there is rich history behind them.  Are the statues themselves the best places to photograph London?  No, not really save for the one located in The Strand.  

The City of London itself is worth a day, and even a weekend, to explore with your camera.  Only about 9,400 people live within the City today tho’ about 300,000 commute to the area each day for work.  After work hours and weekends are ideal for keen creative photographers as you will have the City of London virtually to yourself. 

The end of Waterloo Bridge isn’t exactly a London attraction but if you love long exposures and capturing light trails, this is a perfect place for London photography.

When you stand at the end of the bridge with The Strand at your back, you are in a super place as the road descends into a tunnel and there is one road on one side and another road on the other.  Timing is essential to capture moving traffic in all places all at once.  Cars drive down into the tunnel leading to Holborn and London iconic double decker buses pass along on either side.

If you are easily entertained like I am, you will be certain to spend at least an hour in this spot.

image of the end of waterloo bridge

Map showing where you should stand to capture photos at the end of Waterloo Bridge ::

Map Showing the Location of Waterloo Bridge