Horizon hues: What are the best places to see the sunrise and sunset in London?

London may be known for its drizzle and overcast skies, but don’t despair! There are moments when the sun does deign to grace this city with its presence. If you’re lucky enough to be here during one of those rare celestial events, you’ll want to make the most of it.

Today, I’ll show you the top spots to catch awe-inspiring sunrises and sunsets in our city. After all, it might be the only time you see the sun during your whole trip!

Best places to see the sunrise in London

Greenwich Park

Media from wjames_reuters

Location: London SE10 8QY, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 300 061 2380

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Sunday – 6:00 AM to 7:00 PM

Website

Ever tried watching a London sunrise crammed onto a crowded sidewalk? Yeah, not magical. Luckily, Greenwich Park gives you space to spread out, find a quiet spot, and make the sunrise experience completely your own.

Oh, and Greenwich Park isn’t just a pretty face. It’s got royal roots and is home to the Royal Observatory (think: Greenwich Mean Time!). Catching the sunrise here means you’re soaking up the magic of a place that’s seen centuries of sunrises.

Butler’s Wharf Pier

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Location: Butler’s Wharf Pier, Shad Thames, London SE1 2YE, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7378 1211

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

Website

Here, you’ve got front-row seats to the Thames River, a shimmering stage where the sun makes its grand entrance. Tower Bridge and the quirky Gherkin skyscraper complete the iconic London skyline. 

But here’s the kicker: Butler’s Wharf Pier is on the south bank of the Thames, giving you the perfect angle for that glorious sunrise light show. And the best part? After your sunrise adventure, you’re surrounded by cosy cafes to fuel up with a coffee and croissant. 

Hampstead Heath

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Location: London, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7332 3322

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

Website

Hampstead Heath boasts a lofty vantage point (Parliament Hill), offering an unobstructed view of the horizon. Think of it as London’s natural balcony for watching the sun paint the sky.

This place has also been a beloved spot for chasing sunrises for centuries. Romantic poets? Check. Early risers yearning for a moment of peace? Check. 

Bankside Beach

Media from centlane

Location: 52 Hopton St, London SE1 9JH, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7332 3322

Website

From the sleek contours of the Shard to the historic majesty of Tower Bridge, the view from Bankside Beach serves up a feast for the eyes that’s sure to leave you spellbound. 

Plus, it’s nestled amidst the gentle lapping of the Thames and the soft sands beneath your feet, so you’ll find a serene escape from the urban hustle!

Just remember, check the tide times – you don’t want the Thames dampening your sunrise experience!

St Katharine’s Dock

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Location: 50 St Katharine’s Way, London E1W 1LA, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7264 5312

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM 

Website

Nestled right beside the iconic Tower Bridge, this historic dock-turned-marina gives you a front-row seat to the sun painting the sky. 

Here, the calm water reflects the golden light and with cafes lining the waterfront, a post-sunrise coffee and croissant is practically a must. 

It’s a picture-perfect way to kick off your London adventure and a unique spot most tourists will miss!

Millennium Bridge

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Location: Thames Embankment, London EC4V 3QH, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7606 3030

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

Website

Millennium Bridge’s sleek design offers a panoramic view of the Thames, with the iconic dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral as a stunning backdrop. The sunrise casts long shadows and dramatic reflection creates a truly breathtaking scene.  

Since it’s often less crowded than traditional sunrise locations, you’ll have more space to enjoy the show. For the best experience, try to arrive a little before the sun breaks the horizon – the pre-dawn light casts a soft and ethereal glow that’s perfect for photography.

Best places to see the sunset in London

Primrose Hill

Media from secret.london

Location:  London Borough of Camden, London, United Kingdom

Contact: (020) 7586 8327

Website

If you want a classic London sunset experience with a spectacular view, Primrose Hill is a top choice. It’s one of the highest points in Regent’s Park, giving you a truly panoramic view of the city. 

Here, you’ll see everything from the London Eye and the Shard to the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf.  The colours of the sunset reflect beautifully against the cityscape, and the gradual dimming of the city lights is mesmerising. 

Make sure to bring a picnic blanket and some snacks (there are also cafes nearby if you forget). It gets busy, so plan to arrive a good hour before sunset to claim a prime spot and soak up the atmosphere.

Tate Modern

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Location: Bankside, London SE1 9TG, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7887 8888

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Sunday – 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Website

Tate Modern’s elevated position offers a spectacular vantage point of the Thames, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Millennium Bridge, and the city skyline – perfect for a London sunset. 

Bonus: there’s a bar up there, so you can grab a drink and toast to nature’s masterpiece. Don’t forget – it’s free to access the viewing platform, a major perk in pricey London!

Emirates Air Line

Media from visitlondon

Location: 27 Western Gateway, London E16 1FA, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 343 222 1234

Website

The Emirates Air Line offers one of London’s best sunset experiences for a few reasons. Here, you’re propelled 90 metres above the Thames which grants you a panoramic view as the sun dips below the horizon.

The glass pods provide a full 360-degree vista, so you can catch both the fiery city sunset and the soft pastels reflected over the river. Also, the ride’s 10-minute duration is the perfect length to appreciate the sky’s gradual transformation. 

The London Eye

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Location: Riverside Building, County Hall, London SE1 7PB, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7967 8021

Opening hours

  • Monday to Friday – 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM
  • Saturday to Sunday – 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM

Website

The London Eye transforms into a prime sunset viewing spot for several reasons. First, you’re soaring 135 metres above the city, offering a wonderful perspective of the sunset.

Plus, the gentle 30-minute rotation delivers a seamless sunset experience – think of it as your own private, slow-motion sunset show. Just remember, those coveted sunset slots are in high demand, so book your tickets in advance!

Richmond Park

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Location: Richmond, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7967 8021

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

Website

Richmond Park, London’s largest Royal Park, offers an awesome escape for sunset chasers. Its vast meadows and ancient trees provide a sense of tranquillity – a stark contrast to the city buzz. 

Head to King Henry’s Mound for an elevated view, or find a quiet spot by Pen Ponds. The reflections of the sunset on the water are simply magical. Want to add a dash of history? Pembroke Lodge offers stunning views alongside the option for a pre-sunset drink or dinner.  

Sky Garden

Media from sg_skygarden 

Location: 1, Sky Garden Walk, London EC3M 8AF, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 333 772 0020

Opening hours

  • Monday – 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM
  • Tuesday to Thursday & Sunday – 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM
  • Friday to Saturday – 8:00 AM to 12:00 AM
  • Sunday – 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM

Website

Perched atop a skyscraper, Sky Garden elevates your sunset experience by whisking you away to a lush indoor garden high above the bustling city. 

Here, you can watch the sun dip below London’s skyline. And if you’re feeling bold, you can step onto the open-air terrace for breathtaking unobstructed views and watch the city transform as the sky fades into twilight. 

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