Things to Do in London at Night

Top 20 Best Things to Do in London at Night

Night-time adventures are always associated with fun, entertainment, and a little bit of scare. Fortunately, your London night tour will include all these aspects if you follow our list of the top 20 best things to do in London at night.

With the lively markets, live entertainment shows, frightening dungeons, and adventurous rides, the possibilities are simply endless. The capital even hosts some late-night museums if exploring the history is what piques your interest. On the flip side, if you’re looking for late-night ghostly tours, you can take the scary “London Ghost Walks” around London’s old and haunted places.

So, let’s get straight to the list. You can easily plan a late-night weekend around these 20 places and explore a whole new side of the capital.

1) West End Theatre Show

West End Theatre Show
West End Theatre Show

West End is a proactive district in Central London. The district holds extreme importance for its wide range of shops, entertainment hubs, restaurants, shopping centres, and even government offices. But the highlight of the West End, especially for night tourism lovers, is the West End theatre.

Most West End shows and live performances go on for 2 hours and 30 minutes. The shows are categorised as Matinee shows (running during the daytime and in the afternoon) and evening shows. The evening shows start at 19:30 and go on up to 22:00. You can pre-book the evening shows directly from the website.

Some popular shows at the West End theatres include:

  • The Lion King
  • Harry Potter
  • Les Miserables
  • Hamilton
  • Phantom of the Opera
  • Mamma Mia
  • Wicked
  • Matilda

2) The London Eye

London Eye
London Eye

The night at the London Eye can be a romantic adventure with your partner or a relaxing experience with your families and kids. The London Eye, the giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames offers an excellent night-time adventure for the tourists.

Take a standard flight during the evening to enjoy the amazing sunset view of the city’s skyline. See how the city comes alive at night with a 360-degree view of the cityscape from your glass pod.

Aside from a classic London Eye flight, you can engage in several other nighttime experiences at the attractions nearby. If you’re with a family and kids, you’d love to visit the SEA LIFE London Aquarium located in front of the London Eye.

For teens and adults, a scary adventure awaits at London Dungeons right next to the SEA LIFE Aquarium. This attraction recreates the most frightening stories associated with the capital such as Jack the Ripper, Sweeny Todd, and more.

3) Sky Garden

Sky Garden
Sky Garden

Located on the 43rd floor of London’s iconic “Walkie-Talkie” tower, the Sky Garden is quite literally a garden in the skies. It’s an amazing observation deck that features two destination bars and restaurants with the superb aesthetics of a garden.

A night at Sky Garden would be unforgettable for many reasons. It’s a perfect way to spend a night out with your partner at a cosy, high-rising restaurant. Reserve yourself a perfect spot near the observation deck and have outstanding city views from the top storey of the building.

You can book a table at one of the restaurants, reserve a spot at the bar, or simply get a music night package that includes live jazz music at the lavish restaurant. If you’re not willing to spend much, the free tickets are also available. However, they’re limited and get sold out almost immediately. So, book a ticket a few days earlier.

4) Soho Nightlife

Soho Nightlife
Soho Nightlife

If there’s one destination in London that comes alive at night, it’s Soho. It’s a West End district known for its buzzing nightlife, shopping, entertainment, and adventure. You can enjoy endless activities in this active neighbourhood of London, from bars and clubs to theatres and street fairs.

The most important places to visit in Soho include Soho Square, Leicester Square, and Carnaby Street for Shopping, and the Photographer’s Gallery. Something you must not miss out on is Soho’s famous bars presenting a unique mixture of traditional and modern venues. The best bars to visit in Soho include:

  • The French House: Serving since the late 19th century, the bar is known for its signature pilsner.
  • Bar Swift: This is arguably the best cocktail bar in London, with countless options for different cocktails.
  • Piano Works: If you love having a fun time at a bar backed by live music, visit Piano Works and enjoy the soft tunes of the piano with a glass of Prosecco.
  • The Box Soho: Expect thrilling live performances in the cabaret bar and nightclub at Walker’s Court in Soho. 

5) Thames River Night Cruise

Thames River Night Cruise
Thames River Night Cruise

The River Thames is always loved for the remarkable afternoon tea cruise adventure it offers. You can level up this cruise tour with a night cruise over the Thames. Instead of afternoon tea, this tour offers a fine dining experience for dinner and late-night supper.

Enjoy delicious meals from local and international cuisines. You’ll be riding on a luxurious cruise that will take you from Greenwich to Westminster City via the River Thames. If you want a budget experience, you can cut off the dining experience and book a simple yet relaxing boat ride for a superb sightseeing experience from the Thames.

The tour durations of the Thames River Night Cruise slightly vary with the kind of option you choose. But most tours last from 90 to 120 minutes.

6) Jack the Ripper Tour

Jack the Ripper Tour
Jack the Ripper Tour

Prepare for a late-night walking tour on a haunted and creepy theme of Jack the Ripper. This spine-chilling walking tour includes the real-life locations associated with the infamous Jack the Ripper. These are guided walking tours that start from Aldgate East Tube Station and take you through the major murder locations.

The entire route gives out dark and chilly vibes with classic 19th-century aesthetics. Walk along the cobblestoned street like a true investigator, inspect different locations, and collect anecdotes from each one to figure out the traces of the murderer. 

Every passing location reveals more about Jack the Ripper and his gruesome crimes. As you will pass through each location, you will realise how his crimes became even more ferocious over time.

The best thing about the tour is the knowledgeable guide. The moment you get closer to a murder location, your guide will tell you the backstory to the heinous crime committed here, putting things into a realistic perspective.

7) Rooftop Bars

Rooftop Bars
Rooftop Bars

Looking for something relaxing? Probably a calming and refreshing drink at a rooftop bar in the middle of the night? London has plenty of these. The capital’s pub culture is among the liveliest ones in the world. So, you can expect lots of rooftop bars spread around the city, ranging from the top of skyscrapers to the classic bar terraces. These are the three best options for a refreshing cocktail night out in the capital:

  • London Bridge Rooftop Bar: Reach this bar in the evening to have a spectacular view of the sunset over London’s skyline. The bar is known for its incredible location offering a unique view of The Shard, located just a few metres away from the bar.
  • LSQ Bar: Located a few minutes of walk from the Moorgate station, LSQ Rooftop is another high-rising bar known for its superb panoramic views of the city, from the London Eye at one end to the skyline of Canary Wharf at the other.
  • Aqua Spirit Bar: Move to Soho for a rooftop bar as lively as the town itself! The setting on the rooftop is all about the stunning views of Westminster City. A menu highlight is Aqua Spirit’s very own “Pink Pigeon” featuring Dry Gin, Celery Shrub, and Wight Tomato Chilli.

8) Historic Pubs

Historic Pubs
Historic Pubs

London is home to over 3000 public houses (or pubs), but only a few of them have the historic status. These historic pubs can be a great way to spend your evening if you love vintage ambience and classic drink menus.

One of the oldest pubs in East End along the River Thames is The Prospect of Whitby, with a history dating 5 centuries into the past. The pub enjoyed a reputation as “The Devil’s Tavern” back in the time when pirates and smugglers frequently used to visit it.

Another great night-time historic pub is flowery The Churchill Arms, located on Kensington Church Street. Its award-winning display of over 200 organically grown flowers makes it stand out. The bar also has an extensive menu for drinks and snacks.

9) Jazz Club (Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club)

Jazz Club
Jazz Club

Ronnie Scott’s is arguably the best late-night Jazz Club in the UK, and for a good reason. Located on Firth Street in Soho, the club opens at around 6 PM, offers live performances until late at night, and closes at 3 AM. The club has a remarkable history of patrons including Princess Diana, the Rolling Stones, Ella Fitzgerald, and Kate Moss.

Ronnie Scott’s offers music performances in various musical genres including acid jazz, afro-cuban, blues, funk, electronica, fusion, hip-hop, and more. Enjoy delightful snacks, a la carte, and drinks as your favourite music is played live under a stunning ambience. You can pre-book your spot at the club or become a member to enjoy exclusive late-night performances without any hassles.

10) Late-Night Museums

Late-Night Museums
Late Night Museums

Many of the museums in London operate till late at night for a touch of thrill and fun to your visits. One of the best reasons to include museums in your late-night tours is the atmosphere is quiet and child-free and allows you to explore deep inside the artefacts and exhibits.

The V&A, the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum, Tate Britain, and the Barbican Art Gallery are the most popular museums opening their doors for after-work visitors. The first three iconic museums, located in South Kensington, operate till 10 PM on event nights and even run occasional sleepovers.

Tate Modern holds late events known as “Tate Modern Lates” from 6 PM to 11 PM. The events include Social Spaces, Music Nights, Workshops, and Films held at different locations in the museum. The Barbican Art Gallery remains open till 11 PM. Although, the art exhibits close at around 8 PM, there are still plenty of things to do around the gallery.

11) Southbank Centre

Southbank Centre
Southbank Centre

One of the liveliest late-night spots in London, the famous Southbank Centre is located on the South Bank of the River Thames. The centre holds various cultural and fun activities, indoor and outdoor, most going until late at night. Kids will love playing Children’s Orchestra and Disappearing Rooms at the Vanishing Fountains.

Be sure to book a ticket for the live performances at the Royal Festival Hall until 11 PM daily. These include live musicals, talks, classic orchestras, comic performances, and a display of various performing arts. Check out the upcoming late-night events from the official website and reserve your spot in advance for a smooth experience.

Southbank Centre is also known for individual street fairs. So, if you don’t feel like spending a lot, watch the free street performances that go live after the sunset.

12) Camden Town

Camden Market
Camden Market

Camden Town is home to the well-known Camden Market, which offers an absorbing evening walk along the Regen’s Canal and some amazing scenery. Once you complete the walk, continue your journey towards the “Stables Market”. It’s a covered market with hundreds of street stalls selling souvenirs, jewellery items, and food.

Of course, a night adventure in the lively Camden Town would be incomplete without visiting the pubs and clubs. The two most famous clubs in the neighbourhood are KOKO Club and The Jazz Cafe. Both clubs remain open late after the evening and continue to hold electrifying live performances. For a more calming and refreshing drink without much activity, visit Dublin Castle, BrewDong, or Electric Ballroom.

13) Street Food Markets

Street Food Markets
Street Food Markets

Late-night suppers can be awesome at a fancy restaurant. However, getting through the busy streets and enjoying the international cuisines for dinner is even better. The capital comes up with hundreds of street food varieties, stalls, and small shops at different markets. However, two of these markets stand out: The Brick Lane and Borough Market.

Brick Lane Market, located in London’s East End, is like a one-stop food point for delicious Indian Cuisine. Discover several “curry houses” serving the famous tandoori dishes prepared with exotic spices from the subcontinent.

The Borough Market, however, closes at 6 PM. But countless food stalls lined up outside the market remain active until late at night. So, you can spend an afternoon at the market and end your busy day with delicious continental cuisine for dinner at one of the food stalls nearby.

14) Fine Dining

Fine Dining
Fine Dining

If you’re a fan of luxury and sophistication, the fine dining options in London are second to none! The city is loaded with high-end restaurants, one of which is The Ivy in Covent Garden, West End. It’s a lavish restaurant with the finest options for the late-night dinner. Being a theatre restaurant, The Ivy offers a unique setting of high-end food and live musical ballads.

Another unique restaurant for fine dining is “Sketch”. It’s a quirky-themed restaurant + gallery that offers different settings for a remarkable dinner experience. The best of all the settings is the iconic golden interior giving a luxurious feel of the Great Gatsby.

For an experience that combines traditional cuisine with luxury, head to Duck & Waffle located on the 40th floor of 110 Bishopsgate building. This stunning restaurant offers panoramic views of the city in its high-rising and high-end setting. The late-night menu includes options like snackbites, fillers, desserts, and sides.

15) London Ghost Walks

Ghost Walks London
Ghost Walks Various Locations

Ghosts are associated with darkness, so one of your night tours of London must include the late-night ghostly walks around the city. You have different options to explore for the ghostly walking tours that mix up folklore and fantasy with real events. These are some famous ghost walks you must take on a London Night Tour:

  • Jack the Ripper Walking Tour is the best London Ghost Walks, as the locations are authentic and the character was real and was never caught.
  • Ghost Bus Tours of London take you to different haunted places in London at night. The vintage double-decker bus is adorned with a spooky theme and the guides wear scary costumes to add a bit of thrill to your trip.
  • Take a walking tour of the haunted pubs of old London with some legitimate ghostly stories associated with each. Most of these pubs still actively serve their patrons, so be a guest over there.

16) Comedy Clubs

Comedy Clubs
Comedy Clubs

Head to The Comedy Store in Soho, West End for some stand-up fun combined with ravishing food and drinks. The bar & diner at The Comedy Store opens at 7:30 PM and serves till late night at 11:30 PM. The dining options are available as pre-show and interval dining with a vast seating for 25. The dining deals are also available, but they must be pre-booked on selected days.

Another evening comedy spot is the Angel Comedy Club active at two different venues, The Bill Murray (39 Queen’s Head Street) and The Camden Head (2 Camden Walk). Enjoy free stand-up comedy sessions every night.

The exclusive shows at Angel Comedy Club feature top UK comedians like Tim Key, Simon Amstell, Stewart Lee, and others. The club doesn’t offer a dining experience, as its sole focus is featuring the highest number of stand-up shows every week by any club in London.

17) Primrose Hill

Primrose Hill
Primrose Hill

Primrose Hill is an ultimate relaxation point, arguably the best place to rewind and relax after a long day tour. It’s a lush green, extensive hilltop park located just North of Regents Park in Camden Town. The park remains open round the clock during weekdays and is free to enter. So, no time or budget constraints whatsoever.

At the Hilltop, you can enjoy the stunning sunset views over London’s skyline. Bring a picnic with your family to enjoy the village-like atmosphere of the park. Choose a perfect spot at the hilltop facing South to have a clear view of the Regents Park.

18) Electric Cinema

Electric Cinema
Electric Cinema

Enjoy some intriguing evening and night shows at the classic “Electric Cinema” in Notting Hill. Opened in 1910, it is one of the oldest movie theatres in the capital. The movies and shows go on from 9 AM to 12 AM during the entire week (except for Sundays when the cinema closes at 11 PM). It has high-end luxurious seating with a great menu for a private restaurant + cinema experience.

The cinema is located on Portobello Road, so once you conclude a show, you can explore the famous Portobello Market on your way back. Enjoy the roadside shows and the busy nightlife of the market.

19) Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens After Hours

Kew Gardens in Richmond is famous for its massive greenhouses and exotic collection of flowers in the Botanical Gardens. Engage in various after-hours and evening activities at Kew Gardens. These include creative workshops, family-friendly activities, exhibitions, and wellbeing activities. Visit the Victorian-style Greenhouses where some of the world’s rarest plants and flowers are preserved.

Since it’s a well-managed Botanical Garden, the garden closes at 7 PM during the weekdays and 8 PM on the weekends and bank holidays. The tickets need to be booked in advance and the last entry is typically one hour before the closing time. Kew Gardens also has a range of cafes, restaurants, and shops for eatery and shopping.

20) The Shard

The Shard
The Shard

Welcome to the tallest skyscraper in the UK! The Shard is a high-rising tower located in the London Borough of Southwark. The Shard is home to different offices, business headquarters, and entertainment points. For tourists, the most exciting experience is The View from the Shard. It’s an observation deck located between floor 68 and floor 72 of the building.

The night view from the Shard is truly delightful, particularly the high-rising skyline of the Canary Wharf. Spot the famous London landmarks from the top including the London Eye, Westminster Palace, and Buckingham Palace. You can also delight your senses with the Champagne Bar on the 68th floor. Don’t forget to get your digital photo package at the open-air sky deck located on the 72nd floor.

Conclusion

These 20 places and activities easily cater to the nighttime adventurer in you. Plan a weekend around these activities and see how the capital comes alive under the cover of stars. From the relaxing rooftop dining to the proactive walking tours, the nightlife in London knows no bounds. So, summon your night explorer and get ready to see how fast the night changes in the capital.

FAQs

Is London safe at night for tourists?

London is perfectly safe for tourists at night. The general safety guidelines should still be implemented. Don’t accept drinks from strangers at bars and clubs. Use guided tours in relatively dark and quieter neighbourhoods.

What is the best time to visit the London Eye at night?

The London Eye lights up with the “nightly light show” happening after sunset with a half-hour interval. So, make sure you visit the London Eye during these hours to enjoy the show.

Do I need to book tickets in advance for London’s night attractions?

Most attractions like pubs, bars, comedy clubs, restaurants, and cafes offer walk-in reservations. Some do not require a paid ticket at all. But you need to book tickets in advance for more premium destinations like Kew Gardens, Ghost Walking Tours, West End Theatre Shows, and Thames River Cruise.

What are some budget-friendly nighttime activities in London?

Visit the local markets like Borough Market, Portobello Roaf Market, and Camden Market to enjoy street fairs and street shows. Visit South Bank Centre premises to watch the proactive nightlife along Thame’s South Bank.

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