Where are the best places for engagement photos in London?
Here's my list of the 25 best places for engagement photos, romantic couples and pre-wedding photoshoots. These are the most hidden gem and secret photography spots in London where you can take some cute couple pictures.
As an engagement photographer in London, one of my favourite things to do is photograph romantic couples. One question I’m always asked is about is the best ‘secret photography place in London’. Whether it’s engagement photography, pre-wedding shoot or you are looking for places for a surprise proposal in London; with such a vast selection of locations to pick from, selecting the perfect one for your photography session can prove to be quite challenging.
London is absolutely beautiful and offers the perfect background for every type of shoot especially for romantic photography. No matter the time of the year for couple photography, there are so many incredible places to choose for an outdoor photoshoot. From the historic to the modern, the public to the more intimate and those quirky off the beaten path spots in town; From famous tourist hotspots like Westminster, the London Eye, and Tower Bridge to London’s hidden gems such as St Dunstan in the East and Pergola Garden, to name a few.
All in all, there is no shortage of locations to create cute couples’ pictures. There is no doubt that London is the best place for the most romantic couples' photoshoots. I am fortunate enough to get to photograph not only Londoners but also couples from all over the world. If you’d like to know more about my couples photography style and approach, my best tips- including what to wear and what to avoid- check out my London couples/engagement photography guide!
If you would like to know the best time of year for engagement or proposal photography in London, I’d say it really doesn’t matter! The city offers a variety of awesome locations for photography that feature their own uniqueness all throughout the year, so timing is no worry. Although I’ve written this post for couples, it is also meant to help anyone who is interested in photography and looking for cool places in London. This post will run you through just a few.
1. Tower Bridge
Address: 48 Shad Thames, London SE1 2LY
The iconic Tower Bridge (not to be confused with the similarly named London Bridge), a classic London backdrop, is a stunning bit of architecture that opened in 1894. When it was built, Tower Bridge was the largest and most sophisticated bascule bridge ever completed and still offers a fairytale location for your photography type of photography.
I believe Tower Bridge is the most beautiful bridge in the world, period. Every time I see it, I can’t quite believe how amazing it is. The structure is so uniquely London and so uniquely iconic.
2. St.Katherine Docks
Address: Marble Quay, St Katharine's Way, Tower Hill, London E1W 1UH
Just a short walk away from Tower Bridge and opposite the Tower of London, St. Katherine Docks is stunning for engagement photography. Its rich history almost takes you back in time. It’s surrounded by old old buildings, lots of boats, restaurants, cafes and so much more, this place is completely hidden from the main attractions in the city. If you are shy or looking for less busy spots close to always crowded Tower Bridge, this place will satisfy you the best. So why not add it to your list while in the area?
3. Shad Thames Street
Address: Shad Thames, London SE1 2LY
Shad Thames is a historic riverside street next to Tower Bridge in Bermondsey and is also an informal name for the surrounding area. Though London has no shortage of pretty streets, this street takes you back in history. The cobbled street is stunning in its own way, filled with converted Victorian warehouses and the overhead gantries making for a dramatic backdrop.
If you can manage to grab that perfect shot holding each other’s hand, its close proximity to Tower Bridge and City Hall makes it an excellent spot for an unforgettable experience.
Address: Westminster Bridge, London SW1A 2JH
The first place that comes to mind when you think of engagement photography in London. Here you can find some of the most famous historic landmarks in the heart of London. The area is the centre of Government for the United Kingdom and Britain’s largest church. However, Westminster is usually the first place tourists head to when they arrive in town. So, the downside is that the area is usually very busy.
5. London Eye
Address: Riverside Building, County Hall, SE1 7PB
It’s a fabulous place to take pictures of the River Thames and the Palace of Westminster. I feel the view from the London Eye, with Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in the background (especially at sunset) is one the most picturesque street photography spots. If you are planning a surprise proposal, get a ticket, hop into your capsule and watch the city lights come to life.
6. Big Ben and Houses of Parliament
Address: London SW1A 0AA
There are a few spots near Westminster Bridge where it’s a little quieter and there are great views of Parliament across the river. Although, both Big Ben and Parliament as historical pieces of architecture offer fantastic backdrops for couple photo shoots, consider the fact that due to maintenance and refurbishment work the Big Ben clock tower is currently fully covered by scaffolding until 2022. This makes it less of a viable option for photoshoots.
There is a small passage that leads under the bridge on the other side- just opposite Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster. The entrance to the passage perfectly frames Big Ben. This will give you the opportunity to take the best shot of the most iconic building in London. Here are a few of the photos I’ve taken of some of the best spots for couples’ photoshoots in Westminster:
7. Westminster Abbey
Address: 20 Deans Yd, London SW1P 3PA
Westminster Abbey is a renowned London church that is the site of coronations and other ceremonies of national significance. It stands just west of the Houses of Parliament in the borough of Westminster. Westminster Abbey has a long tradition of royal weddings and was the venue for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011.
8. Trafalgar Square
Address: Trafalgar Sq, London, WC2N 5DN
Trafalgar Square is situated between Covent Garden and Buckingham Palace, which goes through most of central London. Trafalgar Square is situated between Covent Garden and Buckingham Palace, which goes through most of central London. So, I like to include it in my engagement shoots in town, especially when moving between locations in London. The area boasts many famous landmarks and monuments- namely the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery and Nelson’s Column. It is considered to be the centre of London and used to be notoriously known as the home of thousands of feral pigeons.
9. St James's Park
Address: Set James's Park, London, SW1A 2BJ
This park is one of my favourites London’s Royal Parks. St James’s Park is surrounded by awesome landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Admiralty Arch and many more. There are various beautiful flower gardens, exotic trees and a lake filled with a range of birds from swans and pelicans to owls. You can even enjoy views of The London Eye and Big Ben from the East End, and Buckingham Palace from the West End. If you are heading to the Westminster area for your engagement photography session, you ought to check this place out.
10. Horse Guards Parade
Address: 13 Macclesfield St, London, W1D 5BR
This is where the Changing of the Guard ceremony happens every hour- so there’s plenty of opportunities to photograph it. The building itself and surrounding area offer some of the best photo spots for a romantic couples photoshoot- it’s something you wouldn’t want to miss.
11. South Bank
Address: London, SE1 9PZ
South Bank is such a diverse location to shoot couples. It is London’s cultural district, full of vibrant colours, street food trucks, a skate park, funny buskers and even a huge vintage book fair! Due to its spectacular views and Thames-side location, the South Bank is one of London’s most romantic areas.
It is also the perfect spot for tourists, looking to explore and stopping for photographs. There are many places along the lengthy walkway that make for a prime surprise proposal spot as well. But, since I always try not to include people in my composition and prefer to have only my couples in the shot, I’m always hunting for places that are a bit more private, which is easier said than done in that area.
So instead of taking photos on the main South Bank, why not go a few steps down and walk on the shores, which offer the same amazing view- just without the crowds. The best part yet, is that during sunset, the tide goes out, so you can get some beautiful light in the shot and nobody would even know you’re there!
Quite important though, the tide comes back in, so be cautious or you may get caught in the River Thames.
12. Covent Garden
Address: London, WC2E 8RD
Covent Garden is probably the most popular market in London. It is the former fruit and vegetable market in central London, now home to fashion stores, craft stalls at the Apple Market, and the Royal Opera House. If you plan on taking photos here, you might want to visit at off-peak times, as this place gets pretty busy, quite quickly- unless you are intentionally looking for a busy location. Nevertheless, it’s too beautiful a site not to mention.
13. Thames Clippers
London has many river cruises, sailing from east to the heart of London. This could be a unique experience and perfect for romantic surprise proposal photography. Basically, there are piers near all popular attractions that you can choose from to embark. I’d suggest departing from Westminster Pier towards Greenwich. Just relax and glide along the Thames, before finding an opportune moment to ask for your partner’s hand in marriage.
14. Royal Exchange London
Address: Royal Exchange, London, EC3V 3LR
Standing proud at Bank Junction, the Royal Exchange runs between Threadneedle and Cornhill Street. Today, this elegant building is home to some of the most well-known luxury brand names in the world. The incredible architecture provides some of the best photography backdrops that you won’t find anywhere else in the city.
15. Leake Street Tunnel
Address: Leake St, London, SE1 8SW
Leake Street Arches is a celebration of urban art, dining and entertainment live from Waterloo. These eight former railway arches next to the famous Graffiti Tunnel have been brought back to life to provide a curated collection of independent restaurants and bars that capture the essence of urban culture.
If you are in the hunt for a unique place for couple photoshoots, then head to Leake Street Arches to fuel your creativity and leave your mark- it is London’s largest legal graffiti wall where there’s a never-ending flurry of cool new pieces of street art going up. Get your timing right and you can be the first to grab your photo in front of a newly finished piece.
16. Somerset House
Address: Strand, London, WC2R 1LA
Situated on the Southside of the Strand in central London, overlooking the River Thames, Somerset House is a major art and cultural centre in the heart of London. This is a great photography spot if you’re looking for a historic and luxurious vibe for your engagement shoot. Although it can be busy at peak hours, its outdoor courtyard is large enough that you can usually find a quiet corner.
17. Hill Gardens and Pergola
Address: The, Pergola, Inverforth CI, London, NW3 7EX
If you are looking for a cosy, intimate and more charming spot, my absolute best recommendation for you is Pergola Garden. This location is by far one of my favourite places to take engagement photos- it’s amongst London’s secret spots and hidden gems. Pretty pergolas and a well-kept garden spread out over several levels combine to make this one of the most romantic places to propose in London.
As everyone knows, Hampstead Heath is one of London’s best parks with views out over the city. It’s already got a reputation as one of the best places to take pictures outdoor in London. However, it seems that Pergola and Hill Gardens are lesser known than other areas, which is convenient as you get to have more room for an intimate shoot.
18. St Paul’s Cathedral
Address: London, EC4M 8AD
St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of the largest churches in the world. It’s also considered to be one of the most famous landmarks with a rich history in London. The magnificent cathedral arguably possesses a more dramatic and wide-ranging narrative than any other structure in London.
You cannot go wrong with this location at all. There are lots of great photography spots on each side of the building. Also, the surrounding area offers some of the best photoshoot locations in London. That’s why it is the first place that comes to my mind when I’m thinking about the best place to propose for couples. Honestly, I can spend an entire day taking your photos here and come up with thousands of great pictures that you’re going to love. I cannot stress enough how much of a special place in my heart St Paul’s Cathedral holds.
19. Madison Rooftop Bar at One New Change
Address: 1 New Change, London, EC4M 9AF
The roof of One New Change provides an absolutely breathtaking view of sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece St Paul’s Cathedral. It’s a very special spot to eat and drink and offers spectacular views of lots of London’s iconic landmarks.
20. Richmond Park
Address: London, TW10 5HR
Richmond Park is stunning and offers countless private and cosy spots, especially for those who love nature. It’s got a great natural landscape, lakes, ponds, and thousands of deers roaming free around the park. Summer and autumn are my favourite times of year to take pictures for couples here. I favour the autumn season though, especially when the sky at sunset glows with the most spectacular hues and the sun peeks out between the trees and orangey foliage, creating a magical scene. That’s the best time to get some of those perfect romantic images. However, If you are afraid of strong wind and cold weather, I suggest leaving Richmond Park out of your plans for a winter photoshoot!
21. Natural History Museum
Address: Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, London, SW7 5BD
I cannot stress enough how much I love to take photos of couples at the Natural History Museum. It’s just one of those incredible places for photography that you cannot possibly find anywhere else in the world but London. The museum is located in South Kensington, home to some of the most famous museums in the world such as; the Victoria and Albert Museum and Royal Albert Hall.
The area is filled with restaurants and cafes and is also surrounded by a variety of incredible old and modern architectures. You will also spot houses that have featured in films. Be aware that permission is required if you’d like to take photos inside them.
22. St. Dunstan in the East
Address: Shad Thames, London SE1 2LY
St. Dunstan in the East is certainly one of London’s hidden gems. I promise even most Londoners have no idea it exists. It’s located between Sky Garden and the Tower of London- still standing after being almost completely destroyed in the Second World War. The ruins are now a public garden and definitely one of the best photoshoot locations in London.
A dream spot for a pre-wedding shoot, couple photography sessions or a surprise proposal shoot; St Dunstan in the East Church is like a little piece of heaven in the concrete jungle of London. The location is filled with beautiful trees and black arches covered by ivy, which provides the perfect backdrop.
Moreover, it will also add a bit of a Mediterranean feel to them, which is very interesting- it’s a very unexpected gem, I’d say. The place is open to the public and you won’t need tickets to visit. If you happen to choose St. Dunstan for your photography session, avoid lunchtime as it gets super busy around that time during the week.
23. Leadenhall Market
Address: Shad Thames, London SE1 2LY
Located in the historic centre of the City of London‘s financial district, Leadenhall Market is one of the oldest markets in London, dating from the 14th century. Leadenhall is a thriving Victorian covered retail centre with a wide range of goods on sale. Its cobbled walkways and glass roof makes it one of the best outdoor photoshoot locations in London. Interestingly, It’s still very much in use as a local market, colonised by fashion and accessory retailers, coffee shops and restaurants which I find absolutely amazing.
Leadenhall Market is surrounded by skyscrapers such as The Gherkin, Cheese-grater and Sky Gardens. So you’ll get chances to take photos in a combination of the old and modern backdrop.
24. Millennium Bridge
Address: Shad Thames, London SE1 2LY
Right next to Tate Modern London, Millennium Bridge. It's also known as the London Millennium Footbridge. The bridge links St Paul's Cathedral on the north side of the Thames with Tate Modern. The view of St Paul’s Cathedral from Millennium Bridge is absolutely stunning, something you cannot go wrong with it. It is one of the most insta-worthy and cool places in London for photography.
The Millennium Bridge has it all. It's got amazing views to the surrounding area. But not only this, the stunning futuristic design and lines that lead straight to St Paul’s Cathedral. All of these makes it one of London’s most popular locations and one of my best place to shoot couples. I love the view of the iconic Tower Bridge and the Shard Tower in the background when standing in the middle of the bridge.
Please bear in mind that the area is crowded with lots of tourists and office workers during the day. So, early in the morning just before rush hours or afternoon when people finally have gone home would be the best time to shoot at this place.
25. Old Royal Naval College
Address: King William Walk, SE10 9NN
So there you go, this was my list of 25 top photographic locations for a couple photoshoot in London. Moreover, I tend to pick a few beautiful nearby spots that offer great photo opportunities when it comes to couple photography. Or I look for a location that has some sort of meaning to my couples. That being said, I tried to only mention locations that meet those important criteria. Otherwise, I could add a bunch of other cool spots to this list. Places such as Sky Garden, colourful houses in Notting Hill, Neal’s Yard, Shoreditch, Barbican Centre, Regent’s Park, and etc.
London really is a city of love and dreams and has so much to offer. I hope you’ve found my recommendations of London best places for engagement photos helpful.
If you're looking for an engagement or wedding photographer in London or would love to find out more about London couples/engagement photography, I’d love to hear from you. Also if you’d like to see more romantic photos you can check out my couple engagement photoshoot portfolio.
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