The sun sets behind Tower Bridge
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 Paris is are all well and good, but nothing beats the restrained 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 top 5 spots to watch the sunset in London.
1. Primrose Hill at Regent’s Park
The sunset from Primrose Hill is a riot of color. Photo: Matt Brock.
There’s a reason this area is home to some of the most exclusive and expensive residences in London. From the top of Primrose Hill you can see all of central London splayed at your feet. With the sky above you and the city below, it’s no wonder that those who visit feel as if they’ve reached the top of Mount Olympus. Turn northward for an unrivalled view of Belsize Park and Hampstead, or explore the seven English Heritage blue plaques in the park itself commemorating famous residents. Or 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. As the shimmering greens of the Northern Lights drape across a Nordic night, so does 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 – drape across the rolling fields of Primrose Hill.
2. Millennium Bridge
Saint Paul’s Cathedral on a twilight valentine evening
One of the few exclusively pedestrian bridges in London, the Millennium Bridge opened in June of 2000. It was shortly nicknamed the “Wobbly Bridge” after participants in a charity walk noticed a decidedly 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, the only sounds are the sounds of the river and the distant applause of Shakespeare. However, if you’re looking for a Millennium Bridge sunset soundtrack, the Righteous Brother’s Unchained Melody comes to mind.
3. London Eye
The London Eye at dusk
Europe’s tallest Ferris wheel, the London Eye is the second-highest viewing point in London. Standing at a lofty 135 meters (approx. 443ft) 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 at about 10 inches per second, slow enough for passengers to walk on and off 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 nature of seeing the sunset from the London Eye. Suspended in mid-air, you’re literally held in the middle of the sunset for the 30 minute duration of the ride. Bonus points if you 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 being on one of the biggest Ferris wheels in the world.
4. The Shard
London sprawls beneath the sunset from the top of the Shard. Photo: Gabriel Garcia Marengo.
At 306 meters (1004ft) 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 nothing to sniff at. The panorama alone is worth the trek, let alone 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 afterwards, and sometimes the moon looks like it’s close enough to touch. Bring a bottle of bubbly for two, or 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
Serene Richmond Park is the perfect place to reflect on the day. Photo: Simon Bisson.
Noted as a Site of Special Scientific Interest in southwest London, Richmond Park is the largest of London’s Royal Parks. Originally created as a deer park, it is around three times the size of Central Park in New York City. Visitors are allowed, but as a national nature reserve there are strict guidelines regarding the presence of cars and dogs. Humans, however, are encouraged to hike, walk, or picnic within the park’s bounds. It’s also free. (Did someone say free? 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 fluffy 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 against a 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!