Sunsets are as unique as snowflakes; you’ll never watch the same one twice. A vibrant sunset between the towers of New York City or a soft sunset over the banks of the Seine in Paris is are all well and good, but nothing beats the unrestrained glory of a red London sunset. Fortunately, London also has some of the best places in the European Union from which to see the sunset. From the towering Shard to the Victorian glamour of Primrose Hill, you simply can’t beat these 5 spots to watch the sunset in London.
1. Primrose Hill at Regent’s Park
There’s a reason Primrose Hill is home to some of the most exclusive and expensive residences in London. From the top of the hill you can see all of central London beneath you. With the sky above and the city below, it’s no wonder that those who visit feel as if they’ve reached the top of a mountain. Turn northward for an unrivaled view of Belsize Park and Hampstead, or explore the seven English Heritage blue plaques in the park itself commemorating famous residents of the area. You can also go for a stroll around the lovely Victorian neighborhood and pick out your future furnished rental apartment.
The sunset itself is best seen with loved ones, as this is an experience you’ll want to share. Just as the shimmering greens of the Northern Lights drape across a Nordic night, the London sunset–usually a riot of dusky red near the horizon, with fingers of pink and orange reaching up to embrace a lavender sky– drapes across the rolling fields of Primrose Hill.
2. Millennium Bridge
The Millennium Bridge opened in June of 2000 as one of the few exclusively pedestrian bridges in London. It was shortly nicknamed the “Wobbly Bridge” after participants in a charity walk noticed a understandingly worrying swaying motion only two days after the bridge opened. The bridge was closed until 2002 to eliminate the wobble and is now the best way to get between the Globe Theater and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Not sure how to navigate London? These little lifehacks might help.
There’s nothing like seeing the London sun sink over the River Thames as skyscraper lights slowly flicker to life around it. The bridge is also blessedly peaceful; far removed from the smell of rubber and car petrol. Listen for the sounds of the river and the distant applause of Shakespearian theatre-goers. However, if you’re looking for a Millennium Bridge sunset soundtrack, the Righteous Brother’s “Unchained Melody” comes to mind.
3. The London Eye
Europe’s tallest Ferris wheel, the London Eye, is the second-highest viewing point in London. Standing at a lofty 135 meters (approx. 443 ft) tall, it is the single most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom, with over 3.5 million annual visitors. Each capsule holds up to 25 people who can walk around or sit as desired. The wheel rotates about 10 inches per second, slow enough for passengers to board and disembark at ground level without the Eye ever stopping. Don’t forget to check out nearby Westminster!
There’s nothing that beats the height and panoramic views of the sunset from the London Eye. As you’re suspended in mid-air, you’re literally held in the middle of the sunset for the 30-minute duration of the ride. As a bonus, you can time it so that you reach the top just as the sun dips below the horizon. And don’t worry about what to do with the kids; they’ll love riding one of the biggest Ferris wheels in the world.
4. The Shard
At 306 meters (1004 ft) tall, the Shard is the tallest building in the European Union, and the tallest point from which to watch the London sunset. Construction finished in 2012 and its observation deck, The View from the Shard, was opened to the public on February 1, 2013. It was envisioned as the premier landmark of London; something that would be instantly recognizable in the skyline. Stay nearby at a vacation rental for an unbeatable commute to all the action.
Seeing the London sunset from the tallest point in London is quite an experience. The panorama alone is worth the trek, but it’s enhanced by the chance to see London bathed in the warm orange of the sunset. It’s also a great place to see the stars that peek out afterward, and sometimes the moon looks like it’s close enough to touch. Enjoy a solo moment of luxury on top of the world. It’s a wonderful outing for a weekend getaway to London.
5. Richmond Park
Noted as a Site of Special Scientific Interest in southwest London, Richmond Park is the largest of London’s Royal Parks. It’s around three times the size of Central Park in New York City and was originally created as a deer park. Visitors are allowed, but as a national nature reserve, it has strict guidelines prohibiting cars and dogs. Humans, however, are encouraged to hike, walk, or picnic within the park’s bounds. It’s also free, and we know of even more great free stuff in London!
Watching the sunset from Richmond Park is lovely, but watching it from the comfort of a picnic blanket with a glass of white wine is magical. There’s no greater pleasure than relaxing in a grove that’s been protected for centuries, with actual forest animals hanging out nearby (it is a deer park, after all). Don’t just come for the sunset! The crisp sunrise is also worth seeing, and if you come early enough, you can see meadows of wildflowers opening before the dewy dawn.
Have you ever watched the London sunset from any of these locations? What did you think? Leave us pictures and notes in the comments below!