London does sunset really well. Like, really well. Think Monet’s Houses of Parliament, or The Fighting Temeraire by Turner. Or the opening scene of The Apprentice. All classics, all London sunsets.
In a glass and concrete metropolis so at odds with the natural environment it’s the one thing that connects us back to nature, tying us to the universe and a beauty shared by everyone, rich, poor, young and old alike. Although maybe not the colour blind. Or Scandinavians for half the year. Whatever, you get the significance.
Given how much we all love a good sunset, then, how better to celebrate the daily best show on earth, than by raising a glass (and a fork) at these London sunset dining restaurants?
If you go far enough west surely you’ll be able to touch the sunset? Well en-route make sure you stop at The Petersham.
The hotel and restaurant boast not only one of the best sunset views in Richmond, looking down to Petersham meadow and the slowly flowing Thames, but also some of the best food.
An accolade that can be put squarely at the door of Head Chef, Jean-Didier Gouges. The Frenchman is responsible for some of the most incredible dishes in South West London, but the restaurant’s West-facing plate glass windows give him a good run for his money as they look out across an iconic view that was once painted by Turner.
Where: The Petersham Hotel, Nightingale Lane, Richmond, TW10 6UZ
Not only does Hutong have an uninterrupted view of the sunset, it’s so high up and it’s practically in it.
But if you’re willing to risk turning Iccarus then it’s well worth booking a table and watching the golden orb that is our star sink into the horizon as you knock down half a dozen dim sum and a chicken chow mein.
Any reason to venture up The Shard is always a treat and the authentic Chinese restaurant, named after the narrow passages (hutong) that abound in northern Chinese, is certainly up there in more ways than one.
Where: Level 33, The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, Borough, SE1 9RY
Bingham Riverhouse remains a Handbook favourite.
Perched on the banks of the Thames, the restaurant is spread across numerous rooms, each well appointed with fabulous art, but for the real artist’s appreciation head out and eat on the balcony to get an eyeful of the setting sun.
It’s the perfect hideaway and never ceases to give us pleasure.
Where: 61-63 Petersham Road, Richmond, TW10 6UT
Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar
(Sun) set in one of London’s most iconic buildings, the old County Hall, Gillray’s enjoys one of the best views of any restaurant in London.
Peering out across the water guests can’t fail to be impressed by the Houses of Parliament opposite. But get there at the right time and beyond the gothic ediface of the Elizabeth Tower you’ll see the red haze of a London sunset, almost as bloody as your steak you just ordered.
Where: Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar, Westminster Bridge Road, South Bank, SE1 7PB
Galvin at Windows
The clue’s most definitely in the name here, but Galvin at Windows does have a bloody good view.
Located at the top of one of the tallest buildings in West London, the Hilton on Park Lane, the hotel famously looks out onto the garden of Buckingham Palace (The Queen famously refuses to attend any events there in protest), but look beyond the monarch’s back yard and you’re in the perfect position to witness the sun setting over London.
Just make sure you request a window table…
Where: 22 Park Lane, Mayfair, W1K 1BE
Designed in the shape of the NatWest bank logo, Tower 42 (formally known as the NatWest Tower) has 14 sides, of which at least seven look toward the sunset. So City Social was already off to a good start.
The fact that Michelin Starred Jason Atherton’s restaurant sits 24 floors up only adds to the drama of the sun setting across an iconic spread that takes in St Pauls, the Thames and South and South West London.
The modern British fare from the star chef only adds to the occasion.
Where: Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, EC2N 1HQ
Le Pont de la Tour
The river Thames offers an ever constant flow of sunset views, running west to east with open reddened skies, there’s few riverside terraces that don’t enjoy an eye-ful.
Le Pont de la Tour shares the sunset with its enviable view of both the Tower of London, the capital’s original iconic building, and the somewhat more arriviste Tower Bridge.
But the sunset you watch from terrace tables at the restaurant, filling the sky between all three world famous towers is both timeless and, of course, marking marking time itself. The cheese is pretty good too.
Where: 36d Shad Thames, Butlers Wharf, SE1 2YE
Forget walkie talkie and prepare for sittie watchie as you enjoy the sunset through one of the biggest most imposing windows in London.
At the top of the so-called Walkie Talkie tower, more accurately known as 20 Fenchurch Street, lies one of the most memorable spaces in London for dining, drinking or just enjoying the view and London’s highest public garden.
For a slap-up dinner head to Fenchurch Restaurant, perfect for taking the sunset and the British contemporary menu.
Where: Sky Garden, 20 Fenchurch Street, The City, EC3M 8AF
Acknowledged as one of London’s best terraces, Aqua Nueva overlooks Regent Street and is perfect for outdoorsy dining.
But another advantage of venturing outside is the dusk-time view.
The Spanish food, the view and the vibrant surroundings will transport you to Madrid or Barcelona on a London summer’s evening.
WHERE: 30 ARGYLL STREET, ‘CARNABY’ (ARE WE SERIOUSLY STILL CALLING IT ‘CARNABY’?), W1F 7EB
Searcy’s At The Gherkin
The city has bloomed over the last decade. Where there used to be just a few select skyscrapers, the likes of Tower 42 and the Lloyds building, The Gherkin heralded the start of the City’s statement tall buildings. But while quickly joined by others including the Heron Tower and the Walkie Talkie, The Gherkin has remained a building set apart. It really is special.
And nowhere more so than in the restaurant at the very summit. Searcy’s Restaurant at The Gherkin really is as fantastic as it looks.
This is a sunset you will likely remember for the rest of your life.
Where: 30 St Mary Axe, The City, EC3A 8EP
Sabine hasn’t opened yet and yet we’re so excited about its arrival, and of course its sunset views, that we’re going to rave about it sight-unseen!
The rooftop bar overlooks St Paul’s and will serve ‘seasonally-changing bar-friendly bites and impressive sharing plates’.
All of which you’re going to want to wolf down as you watch the sun setting from your 7th floor vantage point.
Where: 7th Floor, Leonardo Royal Hotel London St Paul’s, 10 Godliman Street, The City, EC4V 5AJ