The best London sunsets: 10 beautiful places to watch the sunset in London

Europe’s version of a city that never sleeps, as a travel destination London is as fashionable and desirable as ever. In England’s capital, the hustle and bustle of everyday life happen alongside rich royal history which holds a strong influence to this day. Filled with notable landmarks, diverse culture, and opportunities, the city inspires dreamers worldwide to pack their bags and hop on a plane. Not just a business mecca and a playground for the rich, London is also home to endless creative talent already thriving and that which waits to be unleashed. It’s impressive during the day and dazzling as the night rolls in, but it is that brief moment in between that truly makes you stop and take it all in with peaceful admiration — chasing a London sunset at the end of the day is well worth it!

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London | Photo: Lukas Blaskevicius

Sunset in London

London is a place you can expect to come back to time and again, and each season here feels entirely like a new experience. As the days grow shorter during the mild yet often rainy winters but extend much longer during the summer, each sunset in London feels unique and unlike any other. But as with anything fleeting, it’s good to know the exact sunset times to plan your day accordingly to get that fiery shot in front of the city skyline at the end of the day. In springtime as the colours change from grey to light shades of green with dollops of yellow (the daffodils are everywhere), you’ll want nothing more than to spend time outside – it’s not just the weather being kind, you’ll see the stiff upper lips turn to smiles and shorter shorts being pulled from the wardrobe. In March you can expect the sun to set around 5:41 PM local time and as late as 8:24 PM in May. The days become even longer all the way up to the summer solstice in June with sun setting after 9 PM. After that, the day length shortens again but you can still catch the last sun rays around quarter to 9 PM in August. It’s not unusual to see the summer weather extend into autumn but around October you’ll definitely want to start layering up. Prepare to watch the sunset around quarter to 8 PM in September but come December the sun begins to dip as early as 3:54 PM. That said, winter sunsets can get especially fiery so you won’t want to miss that, too.

Tower Bridge | Photo: Richard Ley

Photo: Dmitry Zmiy

1. The London Eye

While the London skyline is unimaginable without the old-timer Big Ben, its relatively new neighbour across the River Thames – the London Eye – certainly comes in as a close second in the city’s most famous landmark list. Where it does take home the gold however is being the top-most visited tourist attraction not just in London but all of the United Kingdom. And so, if the idea of heights gives you more thrill than chill, then know that watching the sunset from one of the 32 capsules (each representing one of London’s boroughs) on Europe’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel will not only provide you with an exhilarating experience but also an impressive 360-degree view of the city. For over 20 years the London Eye has stood majestically on the South Bank overlooking the Houses of Parliament and pretty much every other notable building and landmark as far as the eye can see. Soak up the golden hour views during the 30-minute ride, but make sure to book your spot well in advance – sunset hours are particularly in-demand. It’s also worth noting that the selected timeslot gives you access to the queue to the London Eye, meaning there can be up to a 45-minute wait to board for standard ticket holders and up to a 20-minute wait for those who purchase Fast Track tickets. If you really want to treat yourself, make a private booking complete with champagne – this way you’ll get to enjoy the whole capsule in the company of your choice.

London Eye | Photo: Caglar Canbay

2. Waterloo Bridge

River Thames is like a lifeline running through London and the bridges that connect the city on both sides are an inseparable part of the city. And while the majority of travellers may be eager to flock to the historically significant Tower Bridge, it’s actually not our top pick for watching the sunset from. Instead, your best bet to get a stunning gold-kissed sunset picture with the city skyline in the back is from the Waterloo Bridge. From there you’ll be able to see the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben on one side, and the London Eye on the other. Turn around and there’s the Oxo Tower and St. Paul’s in the distance. And all that while the sun dips below the horizon, marbling the sky in soft hues of pink and orange.

3. Millenium Bridge

If you prefer to step away for a minute from the traffic buzzing past you (mind you the city never really quiets down) and contemplate on the amazing day you just spent exploring London, another bridge that’ll give you an eyeful of beautiful sunset views is the pedestrian-only Millenium Bridge. Here you can get a great view of St. Paul’s – I don’t know about you, but that view always brings back childhood memories watching the Benny Hill Show and that legendary Thames Television intro. The Millenium Bridge is a great place to stop by after visiting the nearby Tate Modern or Shakespeare’s Globe but for a less crowded and a more local experience there’s also the London LGBTQ+ Community Centre located less than a 3-minute walk from the bridge.

The Millenium Bridge, London | Photo: David Mark

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The Millenium Bridge is a great place to stop by after visiting the nearby Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe and the London LGBTQ+ Community Centre

4. Primrose Hill

Primrose Hill on the north side of Regent’s Park is without a doubt one of the favourite sunset spots in North London for locals and tourists alike. Standing at 64 metres above sea level, you’ll get a unobstructed view of Central London from the top of the hill. Get ready for a little trek up the grass incline, but your efforts will be instantly rewarded with the far-reaching view. Note that it might be best to visit on a weekday to avoid weekend crowds. You can easily spot all the famous landmarks of the capital. Get here by taking the tube – go on the Northern Line and get off at Chalk Farm, and from there, it’s a less than 10-minute walk. Equally, you can plan to watch the sunset from Primrose Hill after spending some time in Camden Town as it’s only 15-minute walk away. The sunsets at Primrose Hill are best enjoyed in good company, as it’s an experience you’ll want to toast to. Bring a blanket or a jacket to sit on and a bottle of bubbly, and as the sun sets, toast to another incredible day spent in one of the greatest cities in the world. After the sunset, head down to Regents Park Road for a drink or a bite to eat.

5. Greenwich Observatory

The Royal Observatory in Greenwich is not just a place of historical and scientific splendour – you can also catch some of the loveliest sunset views with the birds chirping in the background in the treasure trove that is home to the Prime Meridian and Greenwich Mean Time. Wander around the perfectly manicured grounds in Greenwich Park and the rose garden before walking up to the observatory. This is not somewhere you’ll want to rush through – be sure to check the sunset times and give yourself plenty of time beforehand to explore as there’s much to see and do before the golden hour comes. Nearby there’s the Greenwich Market which sells handmade goods and antiques seven days a week. You can easily get to Greenwich by taking the ligh-rail also known as the DLR to the Cutty Sark or Greenwich Pier stops.

Royal Observatory Greenwich, London | Photo: Bit Cloud

6. Hampstead Heath

If you’ve ever been to Edinburgh or Glasgow in Scotland or Leeds in England, you’ll know that, in comparison, London is relatively flat. The capital’s highest point is a mere 139 metres above the sea level at Hampstead Heath. Beloved even by the most sceptic Londoners, Hampstead Heath is a wild park filled with Tolkienesque woodlands, meadows, and ponds tucked inside London’s Zone Two – less than four miles from the city centre. This is yet another great place to go to for an early evening picnic before the sunset – grab a blanket, some snacks, and a bottle of your favourite drink, and head to the top of Parliament Hill to watch how the city turns gold as the day melts away. Catch a glimpse of the Gherkin, St. Paul’s, BT Tower, and, of course, the London Eye. If you love it here at sunset, it’s definitely worth coming back for a London sunrise, too, especially in the summer months.

7. Richmond Park

It is places like this that make you forget you are still within one of the world’s biggest and busiest cities. The vast open space of Richmond Park is as close as you’ll get to the great outdoors while remaining within a stone’s throw from central London and keeping your boots mud-free. Richmond Park is located across West London on the other side of River Thames. It is the largest of the Royal Parks in London, and while it’s worth visiting any time of the day, there’s quite nothing like experiencing it during the sunrise and sunset. As the evening sun paints the landscape, you can bask in the glory of ancient trees and spot some of the park’s deer on the grassy plains. You will get the best sunset views if you head over to the pond near Pembroke House. Here you’ll get an unmatched panorama of a glorious London sunset.

Ritchmond Park, London | Photo: Marc Najera

8. Sky Garden

London’s famous Sky Garden guarantees a thrilling experience both to those who get a rush of adrenaline at the thought of heights and those preferring to remain ground-level – all this by bringing a botanical experience high above the city; 43 floors up, to be exact. The lush green space in the notable “Walkie Talkie” building is filled with drought-resistant Mediterranean and South African plants, and while that may be impressive enough, the 360-degree views of the city through floor-to-ceiling windows make for a one-of-a-kind experience and a fabulous backdrop for pictures that’ll make others turn green with envy at such a sight. London’s highest public garden is free to visit, but spaces are limited and you’ll want to book in advance (at least three weeks prior). Then upon visiting you’ll have an hour to explore. While the garden terrace closes at 6 PM on weekdays and 9 PM on weekends, the two restaurants and bars remain open as late as midnight and even 1 AM on Fridays and Saturdays.

9. The View from The Shard

People have never stopped reaching for the sky and the epitome of that in London is The Shard. The seventh-tallest building in Europe and the tallest in the United Kingdom, The Shard has been standing tall over London since starting to welcome guests back in 2013. To get that perfect sunset view, you can enjoy two viewing platforms inside the building known as The View from The Shard: the first is a triple-level indoor gallery on Level 69, and the second is a partially-outdoor gallery on Level 72. With the high-speed elevators going up at the speed of 6 metres per second, you’ll reach the spectacular view in no time. Here you’ll be met with a 360-degree view of the Greater London area. The best views are guaranteed on clear days with just a tiny bit of clouds in the sky to add depth to your London sunset view. There’s also a Moët & Chandon champagne bar if you want to toast the end of the day with a glass of bubbly. To visit The View from The Shard, you’ll want to book your tickets in advance. Note that some tickets include the View Guarantee, which means you can come for a return visit free of charge if the weather is not up to par. The View from The Shard doesn’t have any visit time limits – once inside, you can stay as long as you want until closing time.

Sky Garden | Photo: Tom Fischer

Sky Garden | Photo: Joseph Hwang

10. Sushisamba London

End your day in style with unparalleled London sunset views, delicately-prepared cocktails, and an exceptional gastronomic journey at Sushisamba. Located on the 38th and 39th floors of the Heron Tower, Sushisamba has the highest outdoor terrace for dining in Europe. Enjoy your meal in the main dining room in comfortable and sophisticated surroundings with floor-to-ceiling windows that let you catch the day-to-night transition over the London skyline. The cuisine here draws inspiration from Japanese, Brazilian, and Peruvian culinary traditions with an inventive twist. The cocktails are equally impressive ranging from fresh and citrusy to fiery and bitter. Make sure to book your spot up to 2 months before you’re planned arrival as this place is always in-demand. From Thursdays through to Saturdays there’s also Casa de Samba dance party kicking off at 10 PM – expect fiery entertainment, DJs, and special guest appearances for a night to remember.

London | Photo: Yaopey Yong

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