Best Sunsets in Leeds

Author profile image of Robert Marshall
Author: Robert Marshall
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Best sunsets in Leeds

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Sunsets are a thing of beauty. Like clockwork the sun gradually welcomes nightfall by dropping below the horizon. These events last no longer than an hour. And although they are a thing of frequency, experiencing one can feel entirely unique to the other. 

From dazzling pink to blends of scarlett; suns that are deep orange or translucent yellow; and fluffy clouds that add layer upon layer of texture. 

When the sun sits low on the horizon, the light passes through more air, way more than when the sun is just starting to rise or is high in the sky. This is why are sunsets more colourful than sunrises. 

Having a longer path of sight creates a bigger atmosphere and in turn more molecules to scatter the blue and violet lights. This gives the sunset its distinctive yellow, orange and red colour. Add in higher cloud formations that compliment these rays and you’re on for a special sunset. That is how do you know if the sunset will be good

We’ve found the best spots where you can watch sunset in Leeds. From the rooftop bar to the secluded green space. Here’s where you can catch some of the best sunsets in Leeds. 

Primrose Valley Park copy-link-to-section

Primrose Valley Park is a mixture of open green space and woodland; the Wyke Beck Valley Way runs through it. You want to head to the top of the hill in the northern end of the park, the quickest way to get there is over the railway bridge from the York Road way entrance. 

Take one of the benches at the top of the hill and settle in for a westward view of the city centre and the sprawling suburbs of Osmondthorpe and East End Park between it. As the sun sets in the west you’re set up for a decent vantage point. 

With the sun firmly behind your line of vision, there’s a chance of some fantastic silhouettes.

If you plan on making this sunset a little more comfortable, we recommend picking up some snacks at Asda Killingbeck on your way to the park

Gledhow Valley Woods copy-link-to-section

Gledhow Valley Woods is an inner-city strip of ancient woodland in the north-east of Leeds. A particular pleasure of this green space is the innumerable number of secret paths that will have you finding new routes all over the woods. 

If you are wondering what month has the best sunsets, surprisingly, you might want to take in a Gledhow Valley Woods sunset in the winter months, where the hue of sunset colours are strong. 

There’s not one good spot in the woods to take in the sunset. The beauty of this sunset is the way the light hits the ancient trees. As many of the highpoints of the woods look east you can expect the sunset to fall behind you casting light out over the woodland. This type of sunset deceptively throws beams creating a beautiful clash of light and object.

Unfortunately the uneven terrain in Gledhow Valley Woods may make this difficult to access for a wheelchair or pushchair user.

Ilkley Moor copy-link-to-section

Ilkley Moor climbs a generous 400-metres above sea level, making it one of the highest sunset spots in Leeds. To get the best sunset view you’re going to have to do a little rock climbing to get up onto the Cow and Calf rocks. 

Park at the Cow and Calf car park before beginning your mini ascent to find a viewing spot. 

Once you’re settled it’s hard not to get mesmerised by the views north of Ilkley and Burley in WharfeDale. Directly in the line of sight of the cascade of ambers, yellows and crimson emanating from the west is vast rolling greenery interspersed by the small towns of Silsden and Riddlesden. And if that doesn’t impress, maybe Ilkley Moor’s famous pink heather under a sunset will. 

To make this more of an adventure why not catch a train to Ilkley and walk to the Cow and Calf stones over the moors. It would be rude not to have a quick one in the Cow and Calf pub before heading home!

Otley Chevin – Surprise View copy-link-to-section

Otley Chevin Forest is a contender for one of the most beautiful spots in Yorkshire. Just thirty minutes from Leeds city centre is a surprise view waiting to be discovered. There’s an easily accessible car park on-site and plenty of benches to relax and take everything in. 

In places like Otley Chevin where there’s a breath-taking panoramic sight for miles around. This is where you could see the prettiest sunsets. The Surprise View has distance and depth; on a clear day you can see Skipton and the Minster spire in York. These northward landscape views blend nicely with the sunset on your left. 

A favourite place for a drink and something to eat is a short 10-minute walk around the corner to the Chilli Barn.

Angelica’s Rooftop Bar copy-link-to-section

Angelicas Rooftop bar Sunset

Credit: Angelicas

Angelica’s Rooftop Bar is a stylish modern terrace bar that comes with a reputation of being one of the best UK rooftop bars around. This modern classy bar cuts an attractive contrast alongside the centuries old stonework of the Holy Trinity church. 

Once you’ve settled with a drink – the cocktails are good! – find one of the outside sofas under a parasol and heated lamp, and make yourself comfortable.

The sunset view looks out towards the south of Leeds. It’s a gaze of Vicorian-esq stonework on Boar Lane and beyond. Most notably you will see the 19th century spire of the Holy Trinity church close up. The rays glinting off the geometric stonework at sunset are amazing!

Angelica’s Bar hosts the ‘sunset sessions’ with curated sunset themed DJ sets every Friday from 7pm – 12am on their beautiful terrace. Enjoy the sunset with a drink while listening to some lovely tunes!

Sky Lounge – Doubletree copy-link-to-section

Leeds Hilton Skylounge Sunset

Credit: Doubletree Hilton

Leeds; waterfronts are something of a hidden gem. Or gems, given the multitude of docks and wharfs to choose from. Discreetly tucked away at the bottom of Granary Wharf is the highest rooftop bar in Leeds – Sky Lounge DoubleTree

Grabbing a drink and settling in to watch the sunset is a fantastic way to begin an evening out. The floor to ceiling windows 13-stories up offer some of the best views in Leeds city centre. The panorama from the terrace is of south Leeds towards Hunslet and the industrial landscape of Temple. 

One of the best things about this sunset view is the landscape – it is flat and unbounding in its scope. The only building and architecture that stands out (literally skyward) is the dalek-like building of Bridgewater Place – the second tallest building in Leeds. Depending on whether you’re inside or on the terrace there’s a mix of cityscape silhouettes that hold your gaze during these stunning sunsets.

Hare & Hounds Pub copy-link-to-section

Hare and Hounds pub Tingley sunset

The Hare and Hounds Pub is a dog friendly pub with a massive beer garden in Tingley. A traditional pub, with a decent rang of food and drinks.

If you are looking for somewhere to enjoy a warm summers night, and watch the sun go down – this is the place! They have an outside bar, so no need for the long walk to the indoor bar. As well as pods if it gets a bit chilly (these need booking).

The sun sets over the fields to the back of the pub, so you get the full view whilst in the pub garden, all the way until it clips behind the tree.s

Headrow House copy-link-to-section

Headrow House is a multi-use venue serving up drinks and great music in the centre of Leeds that boasts two rooftop terraces. The first one – Redondo Beach cocktail bar – is a spacious communal area with benches and parasols. A level up is Kennedy Meadows that contrasts with covered huts and open air seating. The latter makes the best spot for taking in the sunset views of the Victoria Quarter area.

The sunset view is a bit of a compact one because unlike many of the high rise rooftop bars in Leeds, Headrow House is taking the skyline perspective from the 4th-floor. This pulls you in close to the tops of the surrounding redbricks. A favourite of the Headrow sunset is the way the sun hits the elegant stain glass domes of the Victoria Quarter shopping arcade.

IF Rooftop! copy-link-to-section

When considering where to watch sunset in Leeds city? IF Rooftop offers a delightful Mediterranean meets urban-chic cool place to do this.

Whereas some rooftop drinking spots can be a little stifled by the formality of dress code and unwritten rules on who you attend with. IF Rooftop is a breath of fresh air that leads with a fun and relaxing environment. Ideal if you want to enjoy a sunset without over-worrying about the social etiquette. 

The views over Leeds, in particular the Town Hall, provide a beautiful backdrop at sundown. And once the sun has dropped you’ll appreciate the colourful lighting of the town hall spire.

Post Hill copy-link-to-section

Post Hill is one of the most romantic places to watch the sunset in Leeds. The meandering woodland alongside a picturesque stream is only the start of a walk that ends with a breath-taking view. Getting to the top of Post Hill – all 527 feet high – can be a challenge on your calves so brace yourself.

The challenge of getting to the tip is worth the view at the top. Post Hill gives you a far reaching and sweeping view of Pudsey. And at sunset you will be looking directly west into the dropping sun on the horizon. Post Hill is our pick for a quiet and peaceful sunset view because the footfall at Post Hill is sparse, so there’s a good possibility you’ll have this sunset to yourself!

Beggars Hill in Beeston copy-link-to-section

Holbeck Park is memorable for the beautiful views it has over Leeds. The best skyline view is from the top of Beggars Hill next to the cemetery. The view overlooks the football ground of Leeds United and the edge of the city centre on the other. 

For football fans this spot will give you a sight of the hallowed turf of Elland Road. With the sun going down behind it in the west; the struts of the east stand look impressive in the diminishing sunlight! On a mid-week match evening this spot has a pretty special ambience about it. 

With views as captivating as the ones at the top of Beggars Hill; It’s worth taking a blanket and a picnic to Holbeck Park. A small supermarket for provisions can be found on Beeston Road.

Sugarwell Hill Park copy-link-to-section

Sugarwell Hill takes its name from the time when people made cocktails of sugar water and liquorice root. 

Although the people of Leeds don’t gather to drink this on the grassy banks of the park, the sentiment to unwind on this hill hasn’t been lost. It  is a stunning place to have a picnic and watch the sunset and one of the best place to watch sunset in Leeds. 

The park drops steeply into the chasm of Meanwood Valley. It has amazing panoramic views across this expanse of land and beyond of the Leeds city centre skyline. Consider that some of the paths will be unsuitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs when accessing Sugarwell Hill. 

Roundhay Park copy-link-to-section

Roundhay Park is one of the biggest urban parks in Europe. It is the perfect place to watch the sun go down. There’s several spots in this large park to capture a different angle of the sunset making it one worth coming back for.  

One of the best places to take in the sunset is in the open air around Waterloo lake. The silhouettes of the swans and the bandstands reflect serenely off the water. Or nestle amid the wildlife in a secluded spot. Alternatively, it’s clear that sunsets better in some places off the beaten track, like the Monet and Alhambra flower gardens at the northern end of the park. 

Dining al fresco with a picnic within the park is both permitted and recommended. Roundhay Park is recognised as one of the best picnic spots in the UK. And the Roundhay Fox pub is the ideal place to grab a drink once the sun has dropped. 

Predicting Sunsets in Leeds: Key Indicators of a Stunning Display copy-link-to-section

Predicting an outstanding sunset isn’t a guaranteed science. However, understanding certain conditions can enhance our appreciation and anticipation of these twilight displays. When writing this piece we were interested in how to know if there was going to be a sunset in Leeds, what caused it to occur. This is what we found…

Cloud Dynamics copy-link-to-section

A perfect Leeds sunset often isn’t about a cloudless sky. Instead, it’s about balance. A mix of cloud types, especially the high-flying cirrus or cirrostratus, can set the stage for a vibrant show. They scatter the sun’s rays in varied patterns, offering a canvas of brilliant hues. Conversely, a fully overcast sky might suppress the vibrant play of colours, while a clear sky might not be as dramatic.

Cirrus and cirrostratus are types of high-altitude clouds that form in the upper layers of the troposphere, typically above 20,000 feet (around 6,000 meters).

Cirrus Clouds

Cirrus clouds often present themselves as thin and wispy formations, resembling white delicate filaments, tufts, or curls in the sky. Primarily composed of ice crystals, they form at high altitudes where temperatures are particularly cold. Beyond their ethereal beauty, cirrus clouds often serve as harbingers of impending weather changes, frequently indicating the approach of a front.

Their aesthetic charm is especially evident during sunrises and sunsets, where they beautifully reflect the sun’s light in a palette of vibrant colours.

Cirrostratus Clouds

Cirrostratus clouds manifest as thin, ice-crystal formations that blanket the sky, often imparting a milky or hazy ambiance. Sharing similarities in composition with cirrus clouds, they are predominantly made up of ice crystals, a result of the frigid temperatures at their lofty altitude.

These clouds are particularly notable for the halos they produce around the sun or moon, a captivating phenomenon caused by light refracting through their ice crystals. Depending on their spread, cirrostratus clouds might envelop the entire sky or merely a segment, and their appearance can be a precursor to impending rain or snow within the subsequent 12 to 24 hours.

After the Rain copy-link-to-section

Leeds weather can be unpredictable, but one consistent observation is that the period following a rain shower often brings spectacular sunsets. Rain cleanses the atmosphere, eliminating many of the larger particles. This leaves behind smaller particles that scatter the sunlight in magnificent ways, painting the sky with a breath-taking palette.

The Role of Moisture and Pollutants copy-link-to-section

Leeds, like many urban centres, sometimes has pollutants in the air. Though we often view pollution negatively, it can inadvertently enhance sunset colours. The scattering effect, intensified by dust, smoke, and certain pollutants, often results in richer reds and oranges. Coupled with Leeds’ moisture-rich air, we’re often treated to an intensified visual spectacle.

Author profile image of Robert Marshall
Robert Marshall

Rob has been a resident of Leeds for over a decade, having moved here as a student and lived in various parts of the city. With a love for exploring Leeds’ parks, woods, and the local food and drink scene, he is always on the lookout for hidden spots. Spending time exploring the city has led to discovering places that offer a break from the busy urban life or a taste of Leeds’ diverse culinary offerings.

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