Photographing landmarks in London and beyond…

Big Ben seen through the wrought iron gates at the House of Commons
Big Ben seen through the wrought iron gates at the House of Commons


Landmarks are such special, wonderful places to visit because of the excitement of seeing something so famous right in front of you. Whether it’s the Golden Gate Bridge or the Tower of London, that sense of instant recognition makes the visit particularly exciting.

We’re lucky enough to have visited a number of landmarks over the years but we’ve realised one thing: they’re always busy! So busy, in fact, that it can be hard to cut through the crowds and bustle, and enjoy some time at the place you’ve spent ages getting to.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go – of course not. We wouldn’t have missed our views of the Eiffel Tower for anything, nor of the White House. But it does make it very hard to get a good photograph!

However, we think that there are ways round this, ways you can get a terrific picture and enjoy the whole experience. Let us give you some examples, but before we do, we’d recommend a visit to the CEWE Photoworld website, where they have a lovely infographic showing the top 10 most photographed places in the world (perfect for bucket list inspiration)!

Eiffel Tower reflected in the Seine
The Eiffel Tower reflected in the Seine


The Eiffel Tower
You can’t get much more iconic that his 300m tall construction, which was built in 1887. When we visited, we weren’t disappointed, although I think we might have been if we’d had to stand in a queue for hours to get in! So, our biggest tip is to book online and then take as many pictures as you want. But, if you want something a little different, you’ve got a number of options. Our favourites include shots from standing at the bottom (giving you a very different view of such a famous structure) and taking advantage of any special weather conditions. I was at the top of the Tower when I spotted that the sun was positioned so perfectly that I could get a picture of the Tower reflected in the Seine. I think it’s very special.

Big Ben seen at the House of Commons

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament
One of the most amazing things we’ve done together as a family is a tour of Big Ben, and we’ve realised that not many people know this is possible. You have to be a UK resident, and it’s free – all you have to do is contact your local MP who will put you in a ballot (you can read more about this on our blog post). You can’t take pictures while you’re actually on the tour, but you can take some as you exit the House of Commons. This means you can get views which most people simply can’t – from inside the Parliament setting, giving you a totally different perspective to that which most people see as they walk by on the outside.
Here’s one of our favourites, plus another (at the top of this post) which anyone could take, through the wrought iron. I just like trying to frame pictures in different ways.

Notre Dame Cathedral as seen on the Family Travel Times blog
Notre Dame Cathedral


Notre Dame
We’re back in France for this one – surely one of the most famous Cathedrals in the world and situated in the fourth arrondissement of Paris. It’s always surrounded by people, so it can be hard to get a beautiful shot without everyone crowding in. Ours came from a trip on the Seine itself – a different view of a beautiful place, with the bridge crossing it in front.

The Monument to the Fire of London
The Monument (from below!)


The Monument
We mentioned going down low to get a new perspective on taking pictures and it is a lovely way to get something that bit different. On our trip to the Monument, which marks the Fire of London, I knelt down to take in this vast column which was designed by Sir Christopher Wren. If you do visit, it’s also definitely worth walking the 300 steps to the top to enjoy the views.

St Paul's Cathedral, seen from the Millennium Bridge, London
St Paul’s Cathedral, seen from the Millennium Bridge, London


St Paul’s and the Millennium bridge

The Millennium Bridge (which you might recognise from the Harry Potter films) is a pedestrian bridge between Tate Modern and St Paul’s Cathedral, and takes you across the River Thames. I really like this picture of two landmarks together, as I love taking shots which show the old and new sides of a city. London is brilliant for doing this, and one of my other favourite London pictures shows The Shard peeking out from behind the Tower of London.

I also really like this picture because it’s from a different angle, so it’s not too full of tourists!

In Front of the Castle at the Magic Kingdom at Disney World, Florida
We got to take pictures in front of the castle with no tourists around!


Disney’s Magic Kingdom
This is one of our most special pictures from what our children would term our “best ever” holiday. As you can see it’s just us in front of the iconic Cinderella Castle. Why? Because we were incredibly lucky.
We were picked to open the park, one of just 365 families to get this honour in a year, and that meant we were ushered in early and able to take photographs with no one else around. I’d obviously recommend this, but it’s not quite as easy to do as the other examples!

We love taking photographs and we actually print them out and put them in albums (I know, we’re old school). This means we can look at them again and again. Sometimes we have logjams of all the pictures we take, but we never regret taking them. It’s wonderful to have memories which last forever.

Disclosure: we wrote this piece in conjunction with CEWE Photoworld who are running a new travel photography campaign featuring the top 10 instagrammed landmarks around the world. From the Eiffel Tower to the Burj Khalifa, it covers great tips on how to get the best shots around – so please take a look! CEWE can also help you turn your treasured shots into your very own professional looking photo book.


19 Responses

  1. Cathy (MummyTravels)

    Great suggestions. I love the Eiffel Tower shot with the shadow on the river – and the Big Ben tour is definitely on my wishlist too once they start up again after the repairs. Should get my name into the ballot now! It seems so grey and grim at the moment that I am all but hiding on Instagram looking at lovely travel photos to keep me going until my next trip.

  2. Nisbah - Five Adventurers

    Love these ideas especially the Effiel Tower one. We unfortunately were queuing for hours but I would have loved a snap of the shadow of the tower! I always want to take different pictures and love your suggestions. Magic kingdom may happen this year so have bookmarked it!

  3. Ting at MTM

    As you know we love taking pictures too, but you’re much better than me – I need to make more of an effort to print them and put them in an album! Great shots – and a great infographic – certainly some of my bucket list!

  4. Ness

    I keep saying I need to print out our photos. We been to a couple of places and taken photographs of small details that are unique to that place to make a collage. Just need to sort it out now!

  5. Michelle - The Purple Pumpkin Blog

    The Eiffel Tower shot is different and a clever idea! I took a photo looking down it when we went to Pairs years ago. I do love landmark shots – and trying to make them different too! My favourite has to be Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom though 😉 I still love that you were the family of the day – awesome!

  6. JuggleMum, Nadine Hill

    You’ve got some brilliant photos of some iconic landmarks there. I like to try to get more ‘off the wall’ shots when I take photos – to have an angle no-one else has got! I went to the CEWE website – was very interesting, thanks for sharing!

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