Photos of London at Night: A Walk Along Thames River

London

(London Thames at Night: St Paul’s Cathedral & Blackfriars Bridge)

I started the year combining my two greatest passions – photography and travel – in the Lofoten Islands.  After a few days photographing the Northern Lights and the spectacular Arctic landscape, I returned home to London enthusiastic about my next photographic adventure.  But as this isn’t until March when I explore Western Australia for the first time, I wasn’t quite ready to put the camera down.

So I decided to take the advice I often give to others and headed out to photograph my own city.  Although this is easy advice to follow when you live in London – a city full of photographic opportunities – the weather doesn’t always play ball, and the last few weeks have been plagued with rain, wind, rain and wind.

Yesterday was different.  I woke to clear skies, a mild temperature and a strange yellow circle in the sky.  It was the perfect opportunity to head to one of my favourite parts of London for some exercise, a potential sunset and a collection of iconic structures  lighting the night skies.

I set off for a walk along the Thames, the river that weaves across London and splits the city in a phrase known as “north or south of the river”.

One of the great things about living where I do in West Hampstead is it only takes six stops on the Jubilee Line and fifteen minutes of my time to step out onto Westminster Bridge.

And one of the great things (in fact, the only great thing) about the short days in January is that an early sunset at 4.13pm creates hours of night photography opportunities.    And the Thames is certainly the perfect location for that.

Photos of London at Night: Through my Lens

London at Sunset: Big Ben & Westminster Bridge

(London at Sunset: Big Ben & Westminster Bridge)

I started my walk on Westminster Bridge, amongst a busy crowd who were rushing by instead of taking a moment to enjoy the sunset behind them – somewhat symbolic of how we live our lives today.

 

London at Sunset: Big Ben & Westminster Bridge

(London at Sunset: Big Ben & Westminster Bridge)

Big Ben, sitting on the northern end of Westminster Bridge is one of London’s most famous landmarks.  It provided a beautiful foreground to the setting sun and a soundtrack to match with it’s bells ringing loudly to announce a new hour.

 

London at Sunset: London Eye & River Thames

(London at Sunset: London Eye & River Thames)

One of the greatest photography lessons I’ve learned is to look behind you!  Whilst watching the sun set behind the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, I almost missed this beautiful light behind me.  It’s not every day in London you see it ending with a clear sky of pastel hues.

 

London at Night: Southbank & River Thames

(London at Night: South Bank on River Thames)

From Westminster Bridge, I began my walk, heading east past the London Eye that was still taking tourists up for birds eye views of the city (something I still, ashamedly, have not done despite living here more than thirteen years).  As I stopped briefly to listen to one of many buskers entertaining passers by, I looked around and was reminded how much I love this part of London.  It caters for everyone: tourists having their photos taken in front of iconic structures, couples enjoying a romantic stroll along the river, young kids congregating by the skateboarding ramp, families heading out to dinner, friends enjoying a pre-theatre drink and photographers with their tripods, hoping to capture London at it’s best.  And with that in mind, I continued on…

 

London at Night: Millennium Bridge and London Skyline

(London at Night: Millennium Bridge and London Skyline)

Once the sun had set, it didn’t take long for the river to transform into a kaleidoscope of colours, reflecting from the iconic structures along it’s banks and the bridges that connect north and south of the city.

 

London at Night: Millennium Bridge & St Paul's Cathedral

(London at Night: Millennium Bridge & St Paul’s Cathedral)

The Millennium Bridge, with it’s fluorescent blue lighting, provided an alluring path towards St Paul’s Cathedral.  The only challenge was catching a moment when no one was walking near me – the Bridge adds another dimension to ‘camera shake’!

 

London at Night: St Paul's Cathedral, Unilever House & Blackfriars Bridge

(London at Night: St Paul’s Cathedral, Unilever House & Blackfriars Bridge)

London may be short of sky scrapers, but it not short of iconic landmarks and St Paul’s Cathedral is up there with the best of them.  Even competing here with the vibrant Unilever House and Blackfriars Bridge, you can’t help but gravitate towards it’s white dome.

 

London at Night: St Paul's Cathedral & Southwark Bridge

(London at Night: St Paul’s Cathedral & Southwark Bridge)

It’s not just the buildings standing alongside the Thames that make the river so beautiful at night, but the bridges that connect the south bank with the north.  Whilst each bridge is uniquely different, none of them look out of place alongside each other on the Thames.

 

London at Night: The Scoop, City Hall & the Shard

(London at Night: The Scoop, City Hall & the Shard)

The Scoop is an outdoor amphitheatre that provides a range of entertainment in the summer months and a desolate but attractive foreground to City Hall, the Shard and other buildings in the winter months.  When I reached here, I realised how far I had walked and how many hours had flown by without me realising it.

 

London at Night: Tower Bridge

(London at Night: Tower Bridge)

Until I first visited London, I always thought this was London Bridge (I blame a childhood book that had this pictured alongside the nursery rhyme “London Bridge is Falling Down”). It is arguably London’t most recognisable bridge and I never get sick of looking at it.

 

London at Night: Houses of Parliament, Big Ben & Westminster Bridge

(London at Night: Houses of Parliament, Big Ben & Westminster Bridge)

Hours earlier I had started my walk on Westminster Bridge just as the sun was setting.  I felt so energised after the hours I’d spent walking along and photographing the Thames that I wasn’t quite ready to head home.  Again, taking advantage of the London transport that we all complain about, but makes getting around town ridiculously easy, I made the short walk from Tower Bridge to London Bridge Station within a few stops, exited Westminster Station.  It felt fitting to end my walk where it started.

 

I love to travel and I feel most at home when I’m exploring the world beyond it.  But I also love living in a place like London that let’s me keep exploring my travel adventures!

London at Night: St Paul's Cathedral & Blackfriars Bridge

 

 

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Kellie is a traveller and photographer who is most at home when exploring the world beyond it. Through the intersection of her travel, writing and photography passions, she shares her experiences to inspire others to create there own. The desire to live life instead of existing through it has introduced Kellie to inspirational locations throughout seven continents and from this a passion for landscape and wildlife photography has evolved. She feels a particular connection to the polar regions and Africa. You can see more of her photography at www.kellienetherwoodphotography.com

Comments

  1. Stunning photos. I am taking a night photography workshop next week, and can only hope to someday get skills like yours.

    • A night photography course is a great idea and also just practice, practice, practice. I get out with my camera every chance I get and you will definitely improve the more you shoot. Good luck with the course!

  2. These really are lovely images. I keep meaning to spend an evening in London but might wait until it’s a little warmer!

    • Thanks Kat! I try and get down there with my camera a couple times a year and I’ve been to get there over the past few months, but as you know, the weather just hasn’t been playing ball. I do love how different it feels in each season too.

  3. Your photography completely blows me away!

  4. Excellent photos as usual Kellie

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