Looking for something to do in London after dark? From wild parties to cultural experiences, there are all kinds of activities to try in the capital once the sun sets. Here are just fifteen ways to spend a night out in London.
Go on a pub crawl
London has no shortage of places to grab a drink. In fact, there’s an estimated 3500 pubs in London. A pub crawl could be a great way to spend your evening if you’re with a group of friends. There are bars suited to everyone’s tastes from real ale pubs to cocktail bars to trendy wine bars. Some of the most popular areas include Shoreditch, Soho, Brixton and Camden. Drinks are notoriously pricey in London, but they do vary from area to area (the likes of Wetherspoons are where you’ll find the cheapest drinks, but may not be as exciting as some of the independent pubs). If you’re with a big group of friends, it’s worth looking into minibus hire in London. Be wary that many of the pubs close at 11pm.
Hit the nightclubs
For those that want to party long into the night, London also has a number of clubs to choose from. Fabric, XOYO and Ministry of Sound are some of the most popular in the city. Such clubs can be great places to see world famous DJs perform sets. There are also alternative clubs around the city for more niche music interests, as well as smaller mainstream clubs for those on a tighter budget (you’ll also get shorter queues at these clubs).
Take in views from the top of The Shard
The Shard is the tallest building in the UK and is the perfect place for experiencing breath-taking views of the city. On most nights it is open until 10pm – there is a bar at the top where you can grab a drink (although expect sky-high prices). There are a number of special late night events held throughout the year at the top of the Shard including silent discos and champagne parties, which could be worth looking out for to make the most of your experience. In most cases, you’ll need to book ahead. London’s Sky Garden is another great hotspot for taking in night-time views of the city (it’s also free to enter on most nights).
Visit the Hippodrome Casino
The Hippodrome is the largest casino in the UK. It has three floors of gaming where you can play everything from roulette to blackjack. Dating back to 1900, the building is a place of grandeur and worth visiting just for a look around inside. The building also contains a theatre, bar and restaurant.
See a theatre show at the West End
Alongside New York’s Broadway, London’s West End is regarded as one of the greatest theatre capital in the world. Hear, you can regularly see acclaimed actors playing leading roles in everything from musicals to Shakespeare plays. West End show tickets sell out quickly, so you’ll want to book a theatre show in advance. Whilst there are daytime shows available of some productions, the evening shows are the most popular.
Watch some live comedy
Another way to enjoy a night out in London could be to visit a comedy show. There are comedy clubs all across the capital where you can watch world-famous comedians or scope out upcoming talent. Some of these venues are large, whilst others are small and intimate. When it comes to big names, you’ll probably want to book ahead.
Check out the live music scene
London also has a buzzing live music scene. The O2 arena and Wembley Stadium are where you’ll see some of the biggest acts performing live. Meanwhile, there are smaller venues across Camden and Brixton where you can see some of the best names in indie and underground music. On top of this, there are plenty of bars and restaurants across London for catching upcoming talent (you generally won’t need to book in advance for these shows and they won’t cost as much).
Go late night shopping on Oxford Street
Whilst many shops shut at 6pm in London, many of Oxford Street’s stores don’t close their doors until 8pm (and sometimes as late as 10pm on a Thursday). This makes it an ideal location for some late night shopping. Shopping on a weekday will generally guarantee smaller crowds and these tend to shrink the later you shop. Oxford Street is particularly worth visiting at night in December – not only are the Christmas lights turned on, but many of the shops will have incredible window displays.
Enjoy some late night dining
There are also countless places to eat in London after dark. Many restaurants stay open until 10pm and some later (there are even 24 hour restaurants such as Duck and Waffle and Polo Bar on Liverpool Street). Those wanting to really splash out can find several Michelin Star restaurants throughout the capital. You can also try some international flavours – Chinatown is the best place for trying authentic Chinese food, whilst Southall is home to some of the best Indian restaurants.
Attend a medieval banquet
London’s Medieval Banquet experience is a dinner, theatrical show and historical experience all in one. Located in St Katharine Docks, this 4 course dinner show contains magicians, jugglers and nights. Guests can dress up in costume and there are plenty of interactive games throughout the night. This is something you’ll want to book in advance.
Spend a night at the museum
Many of London’s museums and art galleries have special nights in which they open late. These include the Natural History Museum, the Tate Modern and the Science Museum. You’ll often find unique exhibitions on during these nights and there are often pop-up bars, allowing you to take a drink around with you. It’s also a great opportunity to skip the daytime crowds.
Take a twilight tour of the Tower of London
The Tower of London is one of the city’s most famous daytime attractions, but did you know that you can also visit this historical landmark at night? On certain evenings, the tower hosts twilight tours. Led by a beefeater guide, these tours allow you to learn about all the grisly events that once took place in the tower. The night time setting helps to add a spookiness, whilst you’ll also not have to fight through the crowds. Such events often sell out, so you’ll want to book them in advance.
Go on a ghost tour
There are various night tours across London that can be great opportunities for learning about the city’s history. These include bus tours and walking tours. The most popular of London’s night tours are the ghost tours, which explore various popular spots for hauntings whilst delving into the tales behind them. On top of these ghost tours, you can also try a Jack the Ripper tour, which follows the killer’s footsteps across London whilst visiting the sites of each of his gruesome murders.
Take an evening river cruise
For a leisurely sightseeing opportunity after dark, you could also try taking a river cruise down the Thames. Dinner cruises are some of the most popular night cruises, allowing you to eat fine food whilst passing by all the most famous sights. Some of these dinner cruises also come with live music ranging from jazz to rock. These are great experiences if you’re looking for something romantic to do with a partner.
Enjoy a stroll along the Thames
If you’re looking for something free to do after dark, there’s always the option of taking a stroll along the Thames. From St Pauls to Westminster can be a great walk for taking in some of London’s greatest sights at night. In the evening, you’ll find lots of entertainment along the banks. It’s also a fairly safe place to walk at night given the amount of activity (in fact, the day is often worse for crime as this is when the pickpockets come out).