Discover the timeless beauty of the UK at the 10 best sunset spots, offering breathtaking views that captivate all year long.
1) The View from the Shard, London
Renzo Piano’s ‘Lighthouse for London’ – the capital’s tallest building – opened in 2013 and now seems as much at home in the city as Tower Bridge or St Paul’s. The viewing platform has played a big part in endearing it to Londoners, embracing various themes and events, from Wimbledon Fortnight to Silent Disco, and even includes a London restaurant with a view. A simple sunset with a flute of champagne is one of the most rewarding ways to enjoy the view. In fact, the experience even has its own hashtag – yep it’s #shardsunset.
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2) Greenwich Park, London
Richmond Park, in south west London, has red and fallow deer and a view of St Paul’s Cathedral. But Greenwich Park, to the east, boasts an astonishing view of the Thames and the City beyond, framed by the graceful colonnaded walkways of the Naval College, making it a beautiful spot to bask in a London sunset. The Royal Observatory is of course where GMT time scale originates. As the sun lowers in the sky, ramble across Greenwich Park, pick up an ice cream or two and settle down for a sunset and London view as good as this.
3) Exmoor National Park, Devon
With its wild ponies and goats and empty rolling hills, Exmoor feels a little like the land that time forgot. Which of course is part of its charm. As the sun slides down the sky, find a rocky outcrop to watch the changing colours and then stay out later for another fine display: Exmoor is an internationally recognised Dark Sky Reserve, affording magnificent views of the heavens above, making it the perfect sunset view park.
4) British Airways i360 Viewing Tower, Brighton
For sweeping south coast views, from the chalky arches of the Seven Sisters all the way to the Isle of Wight, board the Brighton i360, formerly known as the British Airways i360 viewing pod for a ‘flight’ above Brighton.
Watching the sun melt into the sea from 450 ft is a must-do Brighton experience (check out #BrightonsBestSunsets). For the perfect sundowner, toast the Brighton view with a glass of Nyetimber English sparkling wine from the Sky Bar on board.
5) Gower Peninsula, Wales
This dramatic finger of southern Wales was the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and with mile after mile of empty beaches, sand dunes and cliffs that seem to rise directly from the sea, you can see why. Take it in from the Wales Coast Path (you don’t have to walk all 870 miles) or find a spot at Three Cliffs Bay and marvel at the sight of the sun going down behind the rocks and a sunset over the sea.
6) The Mersey Riverbank, Liverpool
When the sunset hits the Mersey, you’ll perhaps understand why this gritty city is also one of our most creative. The Three Graces – the Port of Liverpool Building, the Royal Liver Building and the Cunard Building – are the pride of the waterfront, and when bathed in a purple glow of the evening light, they couldn’t fail to inspire. Join the locals and take in the view from the riverbank opposite, camera in hand.
7) Talisker Beach, Isle of Skye
Sunshine in the Highlands and Islands seems to have passed through a whiskey filter, imbuing it with an ethereal orange glow. With summer sunsets happening as late as 10.30pm, there are many beaches from which to enjoy a late evening sunset, but Talisker on the Isle of Skye is undeniably stunning. So enjoy a dram of the good stuff while the surf slips over brooding black rock, and the sea soaks up the sky above.
8) Derwentwater, Lake District
Where Victorian poets came for wildflowers and fresh air, generations of adventure seekers followed. Such is the endless beauty of the Lakes, it is impossible to single out one view as the prettiest: Loughrigg Fell, Nidderdale, Ullswater, Grasmere, Coniston… there is never a bad angle. But the sheer size of Derwentwater and the play of light on the water around simple jetties like this make it a favourite among sunset connoisseurs.
9) Rooftop Pool at Thermae Bath Spa, Bath
There’s something hugely decadent about wallowing in warm waters high above city rooftops as dusk settles; and nowhere does rooftop pool better than Thermae Bath Spa. The Twilight package includes evening access to the pools and wellness suite plus dinner and a glass of wine in the restaurant. With the church domes lit up around you as you stretch out in the pool, and the stars coming out overhead, this is an elegant and romantic experience.
10) Bold Tendencies, Peckham, London
Bold Tendencies comes but once a year…although thankfully it stays all summer. This non-for-profit organisation, running on the top four floors of a multi-storey car park in Peckham, kick-started a genuine scene 10 years ago; helping turn Del Boy’s old haunt into one of the coolest neighbourhoods in South London. You can expect art, architecture, opera, orchestral music and dance, as well as quality cocktails at Frank’s Cafe, all situated on top of one of the best views of the city. But get there early to avoid the queues. Reopening for the summer in May of 2024.
Photography in this article is by courtesy of Shutterstock, Bath Thermae Spa, View from the Shard and Richard Wentworth Agora commissioned as a permanent work for the Bold Tendencies 2015 © Bold Tendencies, courtesy Bold Tendencies, photography: Quintin Lake.