London Riverside at Night


London Riverside at Night


There are lots of spots to find views of the Palace of Westminster.
If you head down onto the waterfront area either side of Westminster Bridge (on the opposite side to the Palace), there is a little underpass under the bridge. From here you get great framed views of the building. The lights on the bridge are a great focal point as are any passing boats. This is the perfect spot for sunset into twilight as the street lights start to come on. Long exposures are fantastic to give the River Thames a silky surreal feel.

Houses of Parliament, London, WEstminster, night photography, sunsetHouses of Parliament, London, WEstminster, night photography, sunsetHouses of Parliament, London, WEstminster, night photography, sunset

London Riverside at Night

Light Trails on Westminster Bridge

Once twilight recedes it is time to play with the traffic on Westminster Bridge.
For this to work you need to remember safety – you need to be on the edge of the pavement but not so close that a bus will take you out. Position yourself on the opposite side to the Palace of Westminster, tripod on the curb and Big Ben on the left of the image.

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London Riverside at Night

Underground and Westminster

If you have time, explore the corners around Parliament Square. Telephone boxes, underground signs and trees all frame the Palace of Westminster perfectly to add another dimension to your images.

London Riverside at Night

London Eye and County Hall

The London Eye and County Hall are a magical colour show most evenings. If you stay in the area they will change colour as the evening progresses. Position yourself just downstream from the London Eye on the Embankment (the other side of the river!). This gives a better perspective of the wheel and great reflections in the river. If you feel the desire on the way over Westminster Bridge a view along the river to the London Eye is possible as well.

London, London Eye, night photographyLondon, London Eye, night photographyLondon, London Eye, night photography

London Riverside at Night

Hungerford Bridge and Golden Jubilee Bridges

The Golden Jubilee Bridges are quite non-descript during the day but at night when they are illuminated they become really quite pretty. Standing on the Southbank and looking back across the River Thames to Charing Cross Station allows the colours to reflect in the river.

London Riverside at Night

Millennium Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral

Millennium Bridge crosses the River Thames from the Southbank to St Paul’s Cathedral. At night the bridge is illuminated and gives lots of potential for different perspectives.
The bridge is easily approached from the Tate Modern but there is a gate that is sometimes locked.
Just be aware that you need to watch the time here. The lights of St Paul’s are switched off at MIDNIGHT! Get here slightly too late and the effect is lost.
Just across the bridge is St Peter’s Hill. This provides lovely reflections of St Paul’s Cathedral if there are puddles around.

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London Riverside at Night

The Shard

The Shard is one of the tallest buildings in London and is visible from almost any of the bridges. It is perfectly placed to be photographed from the Millennium Bridge whilst visiting for St Paul’s Cathedral or from Tower Bridge. Clear nights are best as it has a tendency to disappear into the clouds if it is a damp night.

London, London Bridge, River Thames, Shard, Tower Bridge, dawn, fog, night photography, reflection, water reflectionLondon, London Bridge, River Thames, Shard, Tower Bridge, dawn, fog, night photography, reflection, water reflection

London Riverside at Night

HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast is a large ship. She is moored on the south side of the River Thames and the best views are from the embankment just upstream from the ship. If you get to London Bridge you have gone too far. It is illuminated at night with the Tower of London and Tower Bridge standing proud behind.

London Riverside at Night

Tower of London

The Tower of London is one of the oldest building in London and stands proud on the north side of the River Thames. Illuminated at night a walk around the moat will provide exciting angles. Modern and ancient merge giving a sense of the history that has taken place here.
As well as big structures, the cobbles and street lights especially in wet weather give exciting opportunities.
Another photography option is to take views across the river from Potters Fields Park between HMS Belfast and Tower Bridge. This gives views wth The City behind

London Riverside at Night

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge is another location that has lots of opportunities. From light trails as vehicles cross the bridge under the arches to intimate details. The best views of the bridge are from St Katharine Docks and Butlers Wharf Pier where a riverside path runs from just below the bridge on the north and south banks of the River Thames. Reflections are possible with long exposures and you may be lucky enough to have an opening moment.

London Riverside at Night

Java Wharf and Canary Wharf

The old docks are still hidden around corners with views back across to the modern Canary Wharf. One little corner is Java Wharf, just off Mill Street on the south bank. At the end of an open river side walk with cafes and views back to Tower Bridge, is a small bridge. This is gated and locked at 10pm – again you need to time this right! Standing on the bridge there are atmospheric views of the old dock. Just be aware that the bridge is bouncy and busy so long exposures need to be timed well.
From just before the bridge described with Tower Bridge behind you there are good views along the river towards Canary Wharf. Not the best location but it is worth a moment if you are here.

London, alleyways, black and white, gaslights, monchromeLondon, alleyways, black and white, city, gaslights, monchrome

London Riverside at Night

Equipment and Ideas

This is a very small night time tour of London. There are so many options that once you start walking along the River Thames it may be slow progress.

Always remember to keep safe and be aware of your surroundings. You should also be aware that in some areas security guards may challenge you. Be prepared to explain and move on if requested.

Equipment for this tour is minimal. Night photography only requires a camera, tripod and a lens with a small aperture. f/2.8 or lower is ideal but as longer exposures give beautiful effects to the river this is not essential. The only real ideal is to keep your ISO low. This stops noise in your image and increases exposure time. A wider angle lens allows the vast landscapes to be shown but other lenses still provide beautiful images.

Disclaimer: a small number of images are taken from Pixabay and will be replaced with my own images very soon.

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