See London in a different light
Watch day turn into night in our interactive gallery for a taste of the nocturnal delights you’ll see on the Shine Night Walk on Saturday September 27
Wed Jul 30 2014
Photography by Ed Marshall
For a close-up look at London’s nocturnal beauty, sign up for the Shine Night Walk – Cancer Research UK’s night-long full or half-marathon, taking place on Saturday September 27. As well as raising money for an extremely worthy cause, the event also offers the opportunity to check out scores of iconic London locations in their sparkly bedclothes.
The full route has now been revealed for both the half marathon and the full marathon so you can have a look at the Shine route map and see which lit-up landmarks Shiners will be passing by on their walk. In the meantime, here's a sneak preview – between the romance of a skyline pinpricked with multicoloured light and centuries-old buildings illuminated with floodlights, there’s something undeniably dreamy about London’s post-sunset glow.
Use the red sliders on the images below to flick between day and night.
Ever since recent development brought a new wave of lively bars and restaurants to the area, the South Bank has become a part of the city that never really sleeps. It certainly takes the odd nap, though, and the small hours offer an opportunity to study its many charms without the need to weave through gaggles of tourists, theatregoers and crowd-pulling street performers.
For dazzling displays of decadence, nowhere in London comes close to Brompton Road. Between the supercar showrooms and twinkling windows of designer jewellery, it’s not hard to see why tourists flock to the area, or why nearby flats rarely sell for less than £1 million. When the sun sets, there’s an altogether different variety of bling on show, as the exterior of Harrods is illuminated by 11,500 lightbulbs.
Although it’s gradually being dwarfed by City skyscrapers, the dome of St Paul’s remains one of the most imposing and iconic features of the London skyline. By night, the impact of Sir Christopher Wren’s baroque beast is greater still; as neighbouring offices shut down, the cathedral is bathed in light, casting dramatic shadows and sending camera shutters clicking.
Western Europe’s tallest building opened with a stunning light and laser show in July 2012 and, two years on, the Renzo Piano-designed glass-clad behemoth still looks its best at night, when you can see it in all its sparkly glory. As the pinnacle of the London skyline, the Shard also offers one of the best views of the city from its 72nd-floor viewing platform.
No matter how long you’ve lived in London, the sight of the city’s most famous building, the Houses of Parliament’s clock tower, looming over the Thames never gets old. As well as the wonderful sight of the tower bathed in golden light against the night sky, visiting after dark also offers the chance to hear the reassuring chimes of Big Ben minus the din of a city going about its business.
Despite the arrival of a few modern neighbours, Tower Bridge remains as much of a London icon in the 21st century as it’s always been since it opened 120 years ago. As well as being one of the city’s most photographed structures, it’s also one of the best places to admire views of the Thames. Shine walkers crossing the bridge at dawn should be sure to look east to take in a stunning sunrise over the river.
Heaving with visitors from all corners of the earth during the daytime, Trafalgar Square takes on a peaceful, atmospheric calm once the tourists are all tucked up in bed, giving you a chance to appreciate the elegance of the buildings – and that’s before you consider how heroic Nelson looks gazing down from atop his column against a backdrop of stars.
Inundated with visitors during the day, by night the Queen’s driveway becomes so peaceful you can almost hear Prince Philip snoring. Okay, so you’ll see no royal parades after dark, but the trade-off of an opportunity to admire a dormant Buckingham Palace and the golden Victoria Memorial glimmering in the lamplight is not to be sniffed at.
Royal Albert Hall
As commemorative gestures go, Queen Victoria commissioning a 5,000-seat concert hall in her late husband’s name takes some topping. As the venue approaches its 150th anniversary, it’s still the go-to choice for classical concerts and awards shows. One glimpse of its grand Italianate architecture, with its stone arches and decorative panels emphasised by lights after dark, is all it takes to see why.
Shine Night Walk 2014: sign up
Men, women and teenagers will raise money for Cancer Research UK on the Shine Night Walk on Saturday September 27. Sign up now before it's too late. Many of the places are already taken, but you can still join the 26-mile marathon walk or the 13-mile half-marathon, passing landmarks like the London Eye in the calm of the night. You can choose to fund research into 12 specific cancer types, or general lifesaving research. Join the fight that doesn't sleep and sign up for Shine now.
A tour through gardens and quiet streets from Zoe Swindells who is raising money for research into breast cancer.
A walk along cobbled streets and through markets from Wayne Dhesi who is raising money for research into skin cancer.
Rich history and amazing architecture on Liz Mills's training walk raising money for Cancer Research UK.
A magical view of the Houses of Parliament, skateboarders and people-watching as Ryan Mullan raises money for Cancer Research UK.
A peaceful route through Hyde Park and Green Park from Sophia Ratcliffe who is raising money for research into all cancers.