Lower Sunbury is on the north bank of the River Thames with the historic centre alongside. Open areas adjoining the river break through in places but generally the built-up parts turn their backs on the river, and particularly at the eastern end form a very narrow, tightly developed urban environment with those properties on the north side of Thames Street. Views across the river from the southern towpath are, however, equally important, and the tower of St. Mary’s Church is particularly fine.
During the 18th and 19th centuries Sunbury was little more than a small riverside village, with large mansions and their parkland in the surrounding area. In recent times, however, the area has seen housing development to the north and the riverside centre remains physically distinct as an area of character with many buildings of interest.
The narrowness of Thames Street, which is such an important part of its character, has also posed a major problem for modern traffic volumes and vehicles.