Solway Firth, Cumbria
There’s more than a spectacular sunset to watch on the Solway Firth. The coastline that separates England from Scotland is also renowned for its birdlife – herons, oystercatchers and short-eared owls are often seen along the banks. At sundown, the low cliffs and hills of the Scottish coast glower against a vast sky shot through with rose-yellow hues, with the swathe of sand glowing in the last of the rays. Stay at the Steamboat Inn, right on the shoreline on the Scottish side, for unfussy pub dishes and simple but comfortable rooms – but world-class views (doubles from £110 B&B, thesteamboatinn.co.uk).
Ditchling Beacon, East Sussex
Rising up like a giant wave, the East Sussex Downs come to a peak at Ditchling Beacon, offering spectacular views southwards to the sea and northwards over the wooded Sussex countryside. On a clear day, the sky floods apricot and pink over Devil’s Dyke and mid-Sussex as the sun sinks below the horizon, flooding the sea with a vivid, gold light. The Beacon is five minutes’ drive (or a stiff uphill walk) from Ditchling village, where the Green Welly café (thegreenwellycafe.co.uk) does an excellent line in restorative tea and cake, and the Bull offers classic pub dishes and stylish rooms (doubles from £119, room only, thebullditchling.com).
Mynydd Illtyd Common, Brecon Beacons
Walk from the visitor centre at Libanus on to Mynydd Illtyd Common, a wide open space swathed in heather and bracken, that offers 360-degree views of the surrounding peaks. Head to the vantage point at Twyn y Gaer to see Pen y Fan – the region’s highest mountain – blaze with rust-coloured hues in the last of the light, while the forests and hills in the westerly direction slowly fade to silhouette. Warm up with a stay at Peterstone Court, a country house hotel on the outskirts of Brecon with a cellar spa and a fine dining restaurant (doubles from £170 B&B, peterstone-court.com).
Talisker Beach, Isle of Skye
Talisker is a photographer’s dream of a beach, with a long, sweeping arc of sand and a rocky shoreline of black boulders that provides an ideal foreground to the flaming skies beyond. The beach faces due west so on a clear winter’s day the outline of South Uist – the second largest of the Outer Hebrides – is set against the horizon as the sun gradually disappears. It’s a bit of a drive to Talisker, so reward yourself with a stay at the Broadford Hotel, with leather Chesterfields in the bar and wonderful dinners of locally caught seafood (doubles from £85 B&B, broadfordhotel.co.uk).
Greenwich Park, London
The ever-changing London skyline is at its most eye-catching at sunset, when the towers, spindles and historic domes are silhouetted against a flaming sky. Take the riverboat to Greenwich Park for widescreen views from the City and Canary Wharf to the London Eye. Spend the hours before sundown dipping into Greenwich’s bustling market, or discovering Britain’s seafaring history at the National Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark (rmg.co.uk). Stay at the Pilot, which has 10 individually designed bedrooms and a buzzy, open-plan kitchen (doubles from £139 B&B, pilotgreenwich.co.uk).
Last year, Sandbanks was voted the best sunset-watching spot in the UK, and this long spit of sand, leading to one of the country’s most exclusive (and expensive) communities, offers plenty to do on a wintry beach day. Hop on the ferry to Studland Bay, and explore the romantic ruins of Corfe Castle before hot chips, eaten walking along the sands on Shell Bay. Time the return journey to watch the sunset from the water – but be quick, the crossing takes around four minutes. Stay at the Hotel du Vin in Poole, with a buzzy brasserie and wine cellars (doubles from £95 room only, hotelduvin.com).
Zennor Head, Cornwall
Wear plenty of layers, take flasks of coffee and get your phone ready for glorious, windswept sunsets on a walk out to Zennor Head, a 750-metre long promontory stretching into the roaring Atlantic Ocean. Park in Zennor village and follow the coastal path to the headland, keeping an eye out for kestrels on the clifftop, and seals bobbing in the waters below. Book into the Gurnard’s Head, unmissable with its egg yolk-yellow frontage, for tangy fish soups, hearty meat dishes and indulgent puds, all made with locally-sourced ingredients. Afterwards, retire upstairs to one of the eight super-cosy rooms (doubles from £142.50 B&B, gurnardshead.co.uk).
Broadway Tower, Cotswolds
The highest point in the Cotswolds near one of its prettiest villages, at 312 metres above sea level, this former folly boasts 60-mile views across 16 counties. At sunset, watch the sun drop behind the Welsh skyline, the river Severn glowing in the half-light, and pick out Oxford’s gleaming spires. There’s a lovely circular walk, a visitor centre, shop and espresso bar in the Tower Barn. Stay at the 16th-century Broadway Hotel, with slick contemporary rooms (doubles from £99 B&B, broadway-hotel.co.uk).
Spurn Point, East Yorkshire
A three-mile long, constantly moving spit of sand between the North Sea and the Humber estuary, Spurn Point offers some of the most spectacular skies in the country. Pop into the visitor centre before strolling along the sands. At sunset the sea floods gold, roe deer skitter across the scrub and you may even see porpoises bobbing in the water. Check into the Dunedin Country House, a charming Georgian manor within walking distance of the picturesque village of near Packington (doubles from £120 B&B, dunedincountryhouse.co.uk).
Rhossili Bay, Gower peninsula
The three-mile stretch of sand at Rhossili Bay is pretty spectacular at any time, but sunset ups the ante several notches. The beach faces due west, which means front row seats for a flaming winter sky that turns the sea a deep, metallic teal. It’s easy to spend a whole day on Rhossili – at low tide, walk across the causeway to the rocky Worm’s Head island to get a fantastic perspective on the entire stretch of beach. Stay at the Worm’s Head Hotel, right above the bay, to watch the sunset from the privacy of your own balcony – or from its hearty food-serving restaurant (bay view doubles from £93 B&B, thewormshead.co.uk).