One of the things I love about London is that there’s always something going on. Whether it’s early in the morning or late in the evening, the city has an energy to it. And while a lot of my blog posts center around things to do in London during the day, there’s enough to do in London at night that I want to use this post to focus on what to do in the city after dark.
London at Night
The good thing about a city as big as London is that there’s something for everyone at night. Whether you’re into theater or clubbing, sightseeing or opera, this city has something world-class for you to experience when night falls.
London Pubs, Bars, and Clubs
Given drinking is a national sport here, I’ll start with entertainment of the alcoholic variety. London has no shortage of pubs, bars, and clubs to choose from, and it’s easy to spend a leisurely evening at a pub or an intense one bar hopping. Clubs stay open late, so they’re a good option if you want to make your night last until morning.
I’ve written extensively about my favorite pubs in London, and when it comes to bars I like to go to Shoreditch, where there’s one on every corner. Clubs are dotted throughout the city, and Mayfair and Chelsea are good bets for a big night out.
For something a bit more intellectual, pub quizzes are a great way to spend your time in London at night. Many pubs around London do an organized quiz night once a week, and groups can participate for the chance to win prizes. Just make sure to brush up on your British cultural knowledge if you want a chance of winning (I always get stumped on the cricket history questions).
London Performing Arts
If you want something to entertain you, London has no shortage of theater, ballet, opera, comedy, and other performing arts. The West End is rife with musicals, and Shakespeare’s Globe brings The Bard’s plays to life on the South Bank.
The Royal Opera House is also known for its world-class opera and ballet. Soho has great comedy clubs and other entertainment venues, and there are always creative and cutting-edge shows on at independent venues across the city.
London Live Music
Beyond performances, London has no shortage of live music on offer. The O2 attracts the biggest stars, but smaller venues around the city are great for seeing local acts and intimate gigs.
Jazz clubs like Ronnie Scott’s in Soho are staples, and Camden always has a show or three on in its various venues.
London Sightseeing at Night
If you don’t want your daytime sightseeing to end, there’s plenty to see in London at night. Walking along the South Bank is great for riverside scenery, and Piccadilly Circus and Regent Street are always lit up at night.
Chinatown also comes alive in the evenings, especially when the red lanterns are out. Around the corner, Leicester Square glows in the night lights and nearby Covent Garden and Soho always have something to catch the eye in the dark.
River cruises are another great way to see London at night, especially if you time your trip with the sunset.
Indoors, many of London’s museums have late opening hours on Friday and/or Saturday nights, including the National Gallery and Tate Modern.
Others have special free late openings once a month with DJs and cocktails. The V&A does a particularly good job with this (just don’t try sneaking off into the permanent collection with your drink).
London Night Views
Speaking of cocktails, there are some great places to have a drink with a view in London at night. The Shard is the perfect place to take in the London skyline from above, what with its variety of bars and highest views in the city.
Heron Tower’s 24-hour scene means there’s always time for one last drink with a view from the 40th floor. It’s a great place for late-night dining in London, too, as Duck & Waffle stays open around the clock.
I hope this post has given you some good ideas for how to spend your time in London at night. There’s so much to do and see in this city that it’s worth staying up late to get it all in.
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