by Ross Barnard
I love London. I’ll never tire of its diverse variety of pastimes, nor will I tire of those crowded-Tube altercations you come to know so well during the daily commute. It’s all part of the package when you make this heart-capturing city your home.
That’s why I believe there’s no-one who can truly know a place than someone who lives and breathes it. Someone with the passion to explore every inch of its metropolis, and whose city-led existence is driven by the desire to constantly discover something new.
I’m that someone – and I’ve picked one of my hidden (yet ironically not-so-hidden) treasures that I’d recommend to anyone visiting the capital.
Heard of The Shard – the tallest building in the European Union? It’s probably the most popular spot to capture a photo or two of London’s priceless skyline. But personally, I don’t think a panorama shot of London is complete without the glistening Shard of Glass in it.
The Paramount Bar, at the top the 33-storey Centre Point building in central London, offers spectacular 360° views of the city. And the cocktails it serves are pretty good, too!
During my visit, I sipped a delicious Gran Milan (made from Finlandia vodka, Rammazzotti amaro, apple liqueur, fresh lemon juice, apple juice and honey) while taking in the vista of London. If you aren’t a fan of cocktails, you can partake in sky-high afternoon tea in the bar from 2.30pm to 4.30pm daily. I visited the bar at around 3pm on a Friday and it was surprisingly quiet, meaning I could enjoy the views (and my drink) in peace.
On one side of the tower you can enjoy an elevated view of the City (or CBD), which showcases some of London’s most iconic architecture: the Gherkin, The Shard, Tower Bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral. And from the other sides you’ll see everything from the London Eye to the BT Tower. A clear evening would be a great time to visit; you can’t beat an illuminated London, in my opinion.
Paramount Bar requires a booking for entry. You can make a reservation for up to 12 people from Sundays to Thursdays, and for up to 10 people on Fridays and Saturdays. There’s a main bar area with tables and chairs situated on the east and west sides, as well as a viewing gallery on the floor above. Here you can see all-round views of London; however you’ll need to spend £50 per table, per hour to enjoy this space.
The closest London Underground station to Centre Point is Tottenham Court Road, which is on the Central and Northern lines. Or there are plenty of buses that all stop within five minutes of the building: 1, 7, 8, 10, 17, 24, 25, 29, 55, 78, 98, 134, 176, 242 and the 390.
Want to experience my hidden treasure or discover a few of your own? Join Trafalgar on its London Week City Break, which includes hotel accommodation, the services of a Local Specialist, ‘hop-on, hop-off’ London Sightseeing bus passes, and three days’ free travel on London’s transport network.