It’s no surprise that London is the most visited city in Europe. Steeped in history, famous landmarks, and incredible culture, what’s not to love about the city? But, what about the sunsets in London?
From sky-high bars and restaurants to leafy parks and river banks, there’s an endless list of spectacular sights to catch the sunset in London.
So, sit back, with a glass of wine in hand, and let’s dive into the best places and times to catch the sunset in London.
Sunsets in London: Best Times
Table of Contents
- 1 Sunsets in London: Best Times
- 2 15 Best Places to Watch Sunsets in London
- 2.1 1. The London Eye
- 2.2 2. Primrose Hill
- 2.3 3. Richmond Park
- 2.4 4. Greenwich Park – The Royal Observatory
- 2.5 5. Sky Garden
- 2.6 6. London’s Bridges
- 2.7 7. The Shangri La Hotel with a Cocktail
- 2.8 Boutique Adventurer Travel Essentials
- 2.9 8. Tate Modern
- 2.10 9. Hampstead Heath
- 2.11 10. Heron Tower
- 2.12 11. Galvin at Windows Restaurant and Bar – the Hilton on Park Lane
- 2.13 12. The Canals of Little Venice
- 2.14 13. Oxo Tower
- 2.15 14. The Gherkin
- 2.16 15. The Top of the O2
- 3 A Footnote on London’s Sunsets
- 4 Boutique Hotels in Londons
- 5 Getting to London and Getting Around
- 6 Getting around London
From short, chilly winter days to fresh blooms in spring, stunning fiery autumns and long days in summer, sunsets in London will surprise you year-round. Each season showcases the metropolis in a different way.
When you’re planning to watch the sunset, it’s essential to know precisely what time the sun is setting. So, let’s take a squizz through the best times to watch the sunsets in London.
Sunsets in Spring
During springtime in London, as the city changes from winter to spring, the weather changes quickly from warm and sunny to cold and rainy. On average, you can expect temperatures to range from 18°C to 11°C. The city is filled with fresh air and becomes shrouded in beautiful blooms.
You’ll catch stunning sunsets starting at around 5.41 pm in March. Come May, the sun will begin to set as late as 8.24 pm.
Sunsets in Summer
Months: June – August
Summers in London are generally pleasant, with balmy temperatures ranging from 20°C to 18°C. It’s a great time to visit with plenty of music festivals and outdoor attractions to explore.
The days are particularly long during the summer months. The sun begins to set as late as 9.08 pm in June and slowly starts to dip a little earlier in August, at 8.48 pm.
Sunsets in Autumn
Months: September – November
The warm weather from summer often extends over to early September. Come October, the temperature drops sharply. You can expect the weather to range from highs of 20°C and reach lows of 11°C.
You can catch the endless summer sunsets in September at 7.46 pm. By November, it’s best to prepare and get to your destination before 4.33 pm to watch an early evening sunset.
Sunsets in Winter
Months: December – February
A rainy, cold climate characterizes winters in London. The weather ranges from a mere 9°C to 2°C. While winter can be rather chilly, the Christmas season is well worth the adventure, followed by a phenomenal New Year’s celebration.
You’ll find the sun starting to set as early as 3.54 pm in December (yikes). However, the following year, in February, the sun will begin to set at a more reasonable time, at 4.50 pm.
15 Best Places to Watch Sunsets in London
Sunsets are always unique and mesmerizing; it’s an absolute delight to watch the day-star spoil us with displays of beautiful oranges, pinks, and purples before bidding us goodnight. But, where to see this stunning sky show in London?
Let’s take a look at some exquisite places to watch the sunset in London.
1. The London Eye
What better way to see a London sunset than from the London Eye – nestled in the heart of the city. Choose from one of the 32 capsules to soar above the city, drinking in a 360-degree view of London and the ever-changing skies.
Rising before the South Bank, the iconic Ferris wheel allows its visitors to catch views of the River Thames, glimpse Buckingham Palace, and Big Ben. And on a clear day, you’ll be able to see as far as Windsor Castle in the distance.
Sunset rides on the London Eye are especially popular, so don’t forget to book your seat in advance if you want a guaranteed ride during sunset.
If you don’t get a spot on the wheel, why not take a London Eye River Cruise on the River Thames to catch the stunning sunsets.
2. Primrose Hill
Primrose Hill is another go-to spot to catch the dying tones of a summer evening in London. Located on the north side of Regent’s Park, standing at 78 meters (256 feet), you’ll receive a clear view of Central London from the top of the hill.
Turn northward for a picturesque view of Belsize Park and Hampstead. The sunsets here are best to experience with a loved one, as it’s an experience you’ll want to share. Take a blanket and a tasty bottle of wine, and as the sun sets, make a toast to the end of another incredible day.
After the sunrise head down to Regents Park Road for some cute pubs and great restaurants. I am a big fan of the Greek restaurant Lemonia, a Primrose Hill classic.
3. Richmond Park
Escape the city’s chaos and visit Richmond Park, the largest of London’s Royal Parks and the second-largest park in the city.
Wander through 2,500 acres (1000 hectares) developed especially for wildlife conservation. Spot the resident deer, or try out horse riding before you grab a seat to enjoy the sunset.
Although there’s not much elevation here, you can head to the highest point at the pond near the Pembroke House – a stunning Georgian mansion. There you can see the reflection of the sun dipping against the water.
4. Greenwich Park – The Royal Observatory
Head off to the Royal Observatory Greenwich to enjoy phenomenal vistas. While you’re here, explore the perfectly manicured grounds at the rose garden before you head up to the observatory. This is literally the line that constitutes Greenwich Mean Time.
There you’ll be spoiled with breathtaking views of the city. While you’re here, why not stay after the sunset to survey the enchanting night sky with the telescopes provided?
5. Sky Garden
Sky Garden is London’s highest public garden. Its viewing gallery sits on the 43rd floor of the ‘Walkie Talkie’ building and boasts incredible 360-degree views of the city’s iconic skyline. Laden with leafy green foliage and floor-to-ceiling glass windows, it’s an incredible space to enjoy the sunset in a vibrant social setting.
Experience London from panoramic viewpoints on the open-air terrace. Nestled in a lush urban jungle with views reaching over the River Thames, it’s the perfect place to watch a London sunset.
Sky Garden is open till 6pm on weekends and 9pm on weekends. Depending on the time of year you should be able to book your entry to match sunset. However, if you are visiting in the summer do make sure to book at least two weeks ahead to get those sunset times.
6. London’s Bridges
London’s bridges and the Thames are some of the best places to see a beautiful London sunset. The Thames is quite a windy river particularly in the portion which runs through Central London so it is critical to pick your spot.
If you’re looking for an impressive snap of the incredible sunset dipping behind the city, position yourself on Waterloo Bridge and get ready for a striking sky show.
Here you’ll witness the iconic London Eye and Big Ben’s silhouette with the beautiful skies as a backdrop. See beautiful shades darting off the buildings surrounding the Bridges Blackfriars and Southwark. Grab some sundowners and enjoy an extraordinary evening at Waterloo Bridge.
The Milennium Bridge is a purely pedestrian bridge which has some great London sunset views. Tower Bridge can also be lit up by the sunset. Check closing times of The Tower Bride Experience for your visit to see if you can time your trip to match awesome sunset views.
7. The Shangri La Hotel with a Cocktail
Gong at the Shangri La Hotel is the highest hotel bar in Western Europe. Located on Level 52 of the Shard Building, this is perhaps the highest sunset view in London.
The Gong is also a fantastic cocktail bar. I have visited several times. It is a beautiful bar but it is also quite comfortable. There is, of course, a bar as well as little tables that have all been placed next to floor to ceiling windows to ensure full appreciation of the amazing view.
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8. Tate Modern
The Tate Modern is one of London’s best known art galleries. Located on London’s south bank, in addition to outstanding modern artworks and exhibitions, the museum has a viewing deck on its top floor which has free entry on its 10th floor.
On Friday and Saturday evenings the Tate Modern often stays open until 10pm, offering the opportunity to absolutely enjoy the sunset even in the middle of summer.
9. Hampstead Heath
London is quite a flat city. Its highest point is only 139 metres and it is at Hampstead Heath. Hampstead Heath is beloved by Londoners. Located in north London it is 790 acres of rolling hills, woodland and ponds.
Head to the top of Parliament Hill with a blanket and a bottle of wine to watch the sunset over London.
10. Heron Tower
Heron Tower is the 3rd highest tower in Greater London and the tallest in the City of London. Construction of this modern building was completed in 2011.
Heron Tower has 46 floors. On floors 38 and 39 are Sushi Samba which features the highest outdoor dining in Europe and 360 degree views of London.
On the 40th floor is Duck and Waffle, a cocktail bar and restaurant that is open 24 hours a day. Its signature dish is a fried duck egg and mustard maple syrup served, of course, on a waffle.
11. Galvin at Windows Restaurant and Bar – the Hilton on Park Lane
The Hilton Hotel on Park Lane in Mayfair faces due west. So its restaurant and bar on the 28th floor has amazing views of the London sunset plus floor to ceiling windows to allow for maximum appreciation.
Galvin at Windows is not cheap. Pop up for a just a drink. Or go all out and experience the degustation menu. The food is fantastic and the views just as good.
12. The Canals of Little Venice
Little Venice is a very cute area in London near Paddington Station where I used to live. It is a series of canals that head up to Camden and extremely cute. There are several very cute wrought iron bridges, picturesque houseboats and even a small garden on the canal front.
Whilst Little Venice doesn’t offer completely direct sunset views you are in West London so the canal can become lit by some amazing skies.
These two boats feature cute and quirky bars and some great Australian themed food. They share a 50 metre open deck that is perfect for watching the sunset colours over the Grand Union Canal (the name of the canal portion in Little Venice).
13. Oxo Tower
The Oxo Tower has a bar, restaurant, and brasserie on its 8th floor. The bar at the Oxo Tower is one of my favorites. It has fantastic floor-to-ceiling views and an outdoor terrace and is a great place to watch sunsets in London.
From the bar, you’ll get fantastic up-close sunset views of St Pauls, the Thames, and the City of London. Plus they have fantastic cocktails that aren’t cheap but are less expensive than some of the other locations in this post. The same goes for the brasserie and the restaurant.
14. The Gherkin
The Gherkin is the nickname given to the building that is at 30 St Mary Axe in the City of London. It is a commerical skyscraper with a modern design that opened in 2004. Personally, I am a big fan of its modern style.
The Gherkin as 41 floors. On the 40th floor is the Iris Bar and the Helix Restaurant. Friday and Saturday nights at the Iris Bar are Apertivo time. Cocktails and snacks are served with awesome sunset views.
⇒ Heading to London? Check out my posts on 13 Unusual Experiences in London, the best London Food Tours, my virtual London Travel Blog, some great Earlsfield restaurants, 14 Things to do in Notting Hill, restaurants near Clapham Junction and Victoria Station restaurants, 16 Famous Landmarks in Europe, a mad hatter afternoon tea party and a day trip to Brighton, 18 Landmarks of London from a local, 15 Places to see Sunsets in London, 9 Places to watch the Sunrise in London, 10 Bridges in London Not to Miss and Cotswolds tour from London options.
15. The Top of the O2
The O2 arena is one of London’s most well-known landmarks. Did you know that you can actually climb up to the top of the O2? And you can book your climb for sunset or twilight (as well as during the day of course). The O2 offers some great sunset views of Canary Wharf and Greenwich.
Top Tip: If you’re visiting London during the summer do google St Paul’s Cathedral sunsets. In 2019 St Paul’s ran a summer lates event which allowed visitors to climb the stairs to the top of the Cathedral to get some amazing sunset views. This doesn’t run as a set program but it is worth checking if it is on when you visit.
NB: Several posts that I read whilst researching this article mentioned Kensington Roof Gardens. Unfortunately this lovely spot has closed.
A Footnote on London’s Sunsets
We can often get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life that we forget to take a minute to appreciate the world around us. Watching the enchanting sunsets dipping under London is one of those magical moments; where nature and the city seamlessly merge.
No two sundowns are ever identical. From rooftop bars to majestic parks, where’s your favourite place to catch the sunset in London? Please share your thoughts, I’d love to know?
Psst… Got time to spare? Why not fill up your belly on a London food tour before heading off into the sunset?
Boutique Hotels in Londons
Artist Residence is located in Pimlico which is fabulously central. It is in a gorgeous 5 store regency building and has a cute bar.
The Portobello Hotel is located in one of London’s best known and cutest neighbourhoods Notting Hill. This is also the hotel where Kate Moss and Johnny Depp filled up the bath with champagne. The hotel is located on a quiet street but is a great location.
The Great Northern Hotel is ridiculously close to Kings Cross and St Pancras stations which is incredibly convenient. The hotel dates back to 1854 but has had a major refurb so it feels fresh and modern.
The Hoxton hotel is in the heart of East London in Shoreditch and a perfect base for exploration. The rooms aren’t huge but the location makes up for it – as does the great value for London with rooms starting at £99 a night.
Getting to London and Getting Around
Best Ways to get from the airport to London
London has several airports. It can be confusing and expensive to get from each of the airports into central London. And the last thing you need after a flight! It is much easier to organize tickets before you fly.
Heathrow is the most common airport for international flights. The fastest way to get from Heathrow into Central London is the Heathrow Express.
This train only takes 15 minutes to get from Heathrow to Paddington Station and runs 4 times an hour. The Heathrow Express is much faster than a cab or any other option.
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The lowest cost way to get from Heathrow to central London is the tube. The tube is actually one of the fastest options as well – and will get you the closest to your final destination.
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There is also a bus or coach option which drops passengers at Victoria Station. This is a cheap option but you will have to deal with London traffic! If you are taking this option during peak hour it could take up to 2 hours each way.
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Gatwick Airport is south of London and can be quite the distance in a car. The Gatwick Express is the fastest option into London and runs directly from Gatwick to Victoria Station.
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If you don’t need the express option there is a slightly slower-moving train that has several more options in terms of stops including Clapham Junction, Kings Cross St Pancras, and London Bridge.
⇒ Planning a trip to England or Wales? Don’t miss my posts on the 40 Top English Landmarks, The Crown Filming Locations, Most Beautiful Castles in Cornwall and Boutique Hotels in Cornwall, Boutique Hotels in Kent, Where to Stay in the Cotswolds, 61 Magnificent Landmarks of the UK, Places to Visit in South Wales, Fun Things to do in Cardiff, Luxury Hotels in Yorkshire, Spa Hotels in the South West, Day trip to Brighton, Things to do in Exmouth, Cafes in Exeter, Pubs with Rooms in the New Forest, Ockenden Manor Spa and the Best Things to do in Winchester.
The third option is the national express Gatwick airport coach transfer. This is the least expensive option but it can take some time with London traffic. There is one departure an hour and the average journey time is 90 minutes.
There are a number of Brit Rail passes available. The BritRail London Plus Pass is the best option if you are planning to base yourself in London and take a few day trips. The Britrail England pass covers all of England including getting to and from the airport.
If you are planning on travelling around the south-west of England then BritRail South West Pass is the best option. Finally, if you’re planning on travelling around England and Scotland then the best option is to buy the BritRail GB Pass.
Getting around London
When in London the tube and buses are absolutely the best way to get around town quickly and cheaply. The best way to pay for this is to get a London visitor oyster card– which you can order before you leave home.
⇒ Heading to Scotland? Check out my Scotland Itinerary 10 Days, Scotland Itinerary 7 Days, Glasgow Tours, Edinburgh vaults tour, things to do in Dumfries and Galloway, things to do in Ayrshire, my guide to Climbing Ben Nevis, 11 Places to Experience the Sunset Edinburgh style, 18 Beautiful Places in Scotland and 9 great Spa Breaks Scotland.
As I live in London, I covered all of the costs associated with writing this post. However, this Sunsets in London post does include affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.