There are few things in life more satisfying than sunsets and fortunately, London has some of the best. Ok, so we may be a little bit biased, but when the weather’s playing ball, you’ve got a can of the cold stuff in your hand and you’re watching the sun go down over some of the most famous landmarks in the world, it’s hard to argue with that statement.
And since we’re experiencing one heck of a heatwave at the moment – and barely any clouds in the sky – there’s no excuse not to check out the sun going down from atop a viewpoint. Here’s our rundown of 12 of the most breathtaking spots to watch sunsets in London:
1. Primrose Hill
Kicking off this roundup of where to watch the best sunsets in London is a real golden oldie, which also holds the title of being the most scenic view in London. From up atop the Grade II-listed Primrose Hill, you can see everything from the London Eye all the way across to Canary Wharf, so it’s a great (and romantic) spot to come when the sun is beginning to set.
Grab yourself a picnic blanket, pop the prosecco and watch the sky fade from orange to red and finally to inky darkness. Better yet, why not bring a first date here and really impress them?
📍 You’ll find Primrose Hill in NW1.
🚇 Nearest stations are Chalk Farm and Camden Town.
2. The London Eye
When it comes to watching a London sunset, it’s pretty hard to argue with The London Eye. Looming 135 metres high over the River Thames, it’s Europe’s tallest observation wheel and the fifth tallest in the world.
Set right across the river from Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, you’ll see all the city’s signature sites from up here, and you can even see Windsor Castle on a clear day! It’s also the only city viewpoint that actively moves, so you’ll be able to get a whole host of different viewpoints throughout the 30-minute journey. You can even opt for a glass of champagne as you ride – oh dahhlingggg!
📍 Riverside Building, County Hall, London, SE1 7PB.
🚇 Nearest station is Waterloo.
3. Alexandra Palace Park
Jaw-dropping views and some pretty magical sunsets await you at Alexandra Palace Park – an 196-acre-large space which offers sweeping views of London Town from one of the highest points in London.
Better yet, when summer finally properly arrives, we can make use of their vast beer garden. The Terrace is the place to go for ice-cold pints, some damn fine street food and plenty of space in which to watch that fiery red sunset. It is open year-round, but we reckon it’s a touch more comfortable in the warmer temperatures! But in the summer it’s definitely perfect for a pre-gig bevvie or two!
📍 Alexandra Palace Way, London, N22 7AY.
🚇 Nearest stations are Alexandra Palace and Wood Green.
4. South Bank
There’s sometimes nothing better than taking a leisurely stroll along the South Bank. One of the best places for people-watching in London, it’s the place to come to gorge on food from pop-up street food stalls, watch skaters do their thing at the Undercroft and catch an event or exhibition at the prestigious Southbank Centre.
It’s also a pretty magical place to come as the sun is beginning to set. Take a wander all the way along to The Anchor pub at Bankside and see some of the capital’s most emblematic landmarks bathed in varying different hues of sunlight. For something even more special, wander over the Millennium Bridge and see the sun setting over the western reaches of the capital.
📍 You’ll find the South Bank in SE1.
🚇 Nearest stations are Waterloo and Blackfriars.
5. The Shard
Standing at a whopping 1,016 feet tall, The Shard lays claim to being the tallest building within the United Kingdom and Western Europe, so you know you’re going to get one heck of a view from up here. Arguably the jewel in the building’s crown is the aptly-named ‘View from the Shard’, which offers you the only 360-degree-view in London and a partly-open observation deck.
In terms of what you’ll see from up here, you’re best off asking what you won’t see, because everything is visible from atop this towering skyscraper. While it’s less busy during the day, we’d really recommend coming up here when the sun is setting. It’s a magical spot, and you’ll be able to see our beloved capital transform itself into a twinkling night owl.
📍 32 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9SG.
🚇 Nearest station is London Bridge.
6. Sky Garden
Another iconic London landmark here, if you’re looking for swanky views over London for free, look no further than the Sky Garden – a foliage-filled viewing gallery located on the 43rd floor of the Walkie Talkie.
With floor-to-ceiling glass windows, this lush urban jungle provides fantastic views of the famous rooftops of London, with an open-air terrace providing views across the Thames. Aside from the spectacular view, Sky Garden’s main selling point – not that we need to work particularly hard to sell a free view of the city – is its leafy indoor garden. There are also regular DJ nights andbars here too – perfect if you’re wanting a sundowner or two as twilight begins to draw its veil over the city.
📍 1 Sky Garden Walk, London, EC3M 8AF.
🚇 Nearest station is Monument.
7. The Thames
Giving a totally different vantage point in which to watch a London sunset, this one gives you the chance to actually be on the Thames. And how exactly can you do this we hear you ask? Why by speedboat of course!
Running through weekends throughout the year, you’ll be able to career down the meandering River Thames at speeds of up to 35mph, passing one of the world’s most famous skylines and listening to all the latest hits. Under the guidance of an expert skipper, you’ll witness the London sunset give way to the night’s twinkling city lights, before you toast to your adventure with a bevvie post ride. Sign up for the Thames Lates Speedboat tour here.
📍 Board your speedboat at Boarding Gate 1 of the London Eye Millennium Pier, SE1 7PB.
🚇 Nearest station is Waterloo.
8. Greenwich Park and The Royal Observatory
The UNESCO-listed Royal Borough of Greenwich is awash with sites and landmarks in which to explore. This includes Greenwich Park – the oldest enclosed Royal Park in the city which is home to a deer enclosure, flower-filled gardens and historic spots dating all the way back to Roman times.
It’s also home to The Royal Observatory, the home of British astronomy and Greenwich Mean Time. From the viewpoint up here you’ll be able to see all the way across to the glistening skyscrapers of Canary Wharf, and the sunsets are, in a word, phenomenal. Bring yourself an ice-cold can or two and you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in town.
📍 Blackheath Avenue, London, SE10 8XJ.
🚇 Nearest stations are Greenwich and Maze Hill.
9. IFS Cloud Cable Car
Sticking with a Greenwich postcode, this is by far the best way to cross the Thames, and offers unforgettable, panoramic views of London and some pretty sunsets to boot too.
For just six quid (and three for little’uns), you’ll soar like a bird in your own little cabin in the clouds, heading up to heights of up to 300 feet – the highest spot over the Thames. As you fly, you’ll be able to play an epic game of I Spy with all the landmarks you can spot from the skies! The O2 Arena, the ExCel Centre, the Thames Barrier, and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – we’re looking at you!
📍 IFS Cloud Royal Docks Terminal, 27 Western Gateway, London E16 1FA.
📍 IFS Greenwich Peninsula Terminal, Edmund Halley Way, London SE10 0FR.
🚇 Nearest stations are Royal Victoria (DLR) and North Greenwich (Tube).
10. Richmond Park
Next up on this list of where to see the best sunsets in London is another one of our Royal Parks – but instead of South East, this one’s in the South West. London’s second largest green space, Richmond Park is well worth exploring, with open grasslands, flower-filled plantations and woodland trails chock-a-block full with year-round appeal.
While all of it is great, King Henry’s Mound to the far west is the place to go to watch the sunset. Named after Tudor King Henry VIII – who supposedly saw the cannons signalling Anne Boleyn’s execution from there – it offers an amazing view of St Paul’s Cathedral ten miles away. The view is considered so important, developers aren’t actually allowed to build any tall buildings that might get in the way. Some sunset view that’ll be then!
📍 You’ll find Richmond Park in TW10.
🚇 Nearest station is Richmond.
11. Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath is a wonderfully-wild place and romantic incorporating almost 800 acres of undulating meadows, ancient woodland, stately homes and natural swimming ponds – no wonder it was featured in Notting Hill. It also sits at one of the highest points in the city, from where you can soak up picture-perfect views of the capital below.
The best place to watch the sunset here is from the summit of Parliament Hill – a 98-metre-tall viewpoint which happens to also have a load of benches – perfect for taking a pew to watch the sun go down. If you’re getting chilly once night has fallen, head into nearby Kentish Town and treat yourself to some banging Thai food at The Pineapple.
📍 You’ll find Hampstead Heath in NW3.
🚇 Nearest stations are Belsize Park, Hampstead Heath and Gospel Oak.
12. Duck & Waffle
Rounding off this list of the best places to watch sunsets in London is the Duck & Waffle, a beloved spot famous for its namesake breakfast dish and for being the highest restaurant in the whole of the UK.
Situated on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower, it’s the upstairs neighbour of SUSHISAMBA City – which also serves up some delectable food and mean cocktails too. But we want the higher vantage point for those sunset views! As an added bonus, Duck & Waffle is open 24 hours a day. So feel free to out-stay your welcome and catch the sun on its flip side. Who knows – you may even last until sunrise!
📍 110 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4AY.
🚇 Nearest station is Liverpool Street.
So there you have it – the Secret London roundup of the most breathtaking sunsets in London. Pack the prosecco, make sure your phone is charged for the old ‘gram and we’ll see you there! You’re bringing the drinks, right?