What to Do In London At Night

Updated: 13 mayo 2024
 By Margaret

In this post, I cover things to do in London at night, including a top 10 list, free things to do, family-friendly fun, and plenty of places and landmarks to visit at night.

Be sure to also read my master post on things to do in London.


TOP 10 ACTIVITIES AND PLACES TO VISIT

Below is my list of the top 10 things to do at night in London.

There are so much more than just 10, of course, so I've also included links to my pages within my blog as well as external resources.

Tours by Foot offers several pay-what-you-like night tours, including Jack the Ripper, Harry Potter, a Thames River Walk, and a ghost tour so come and see me, or one of the other fantastic guides on tour!


1. See a Show in the West End

London has one of the most vibrant theatre districts in the world. A true experience to the West End of London includes a trip to the theatre.

See what is playing in London when you are in town.

With cheaper tickets easily available and a selection of shows as varied as it is impressive, there’s always a way to enjoy the London's West End on your trip.

London Walking Tours

2. The Ceremony of the Keys

This is one of my favourite thing to do in the city! Every night the Tower of London comes alive with a centuries-old tradition: the Ceremony of the Keys.

This is the official locking and securing of the Tower of London – complete with large rings of keys, secret passwords, Beefeaters, and military music.

Tickets are required and can book months in advance, though, so check out my guide to the Ceremony and how to get your tickets.


3. Go on a Soho Food Tour

There are a lot of great restaurants to eat at in London, and you'll want to stop for dinner at some point in the evening.

With that in mind, I recommend taking a food tour in Soho – one of the hippest and most historic neighborhoods in the city.

During this tour, you'll visit some of the best-kept secrets in Soho including cocktail bars and restaurants, and try out some of the best food in the area.

You can expect a variety of different cuisines, including Spanish and Chinese.

You'll also have the opportunity to sip on unique or interesting cocktails and other beverages along with the yummy waffle.

TIP: If you're interested in this outing, don't forget that Tours by Foot offer several pay-what-you-wish food tours in London that you may also want to consider.


4. Ride the London Eye

The London Eye operates throughout the day and into the night hours on a seasonal basis.

Due to the very late sunset in the summer months, the London Eye's last revolution ends before dark, but for the remaining seasons, you will have the opportunity to ride the wheel after sunset.

Tickets can be bought specifically to see London lit up at night from one of the best vantage points in the city.

Read my post on how to get cheap London Eye tickets.


5. Night at the Museum

Many London museums here have late-night openings to help you squeeze in, even more, culture in your visit to town!

The British Museum, the Tate Modern, the National Gallery, Albert Museum, and even the Transport Museum operate after the sun goes down on selected days.

Most of the museums open at night are free of charge. So having a night bus tour to these museums is a must.

Be sure to check out my guide on free London museums as well as Jessica's free guided tour of the British Museum.


6. Take a Jack the Ripper Tour

An activity that is a unique London nighttime experience.

Help solve this century-old mystery as you walk the creepy backstreets and alleys where Jack the Ripper committed his grisly murders and try to unmask this killer.

Several companies offer Jack the Ripper Tours including, Tours by Foot. You can even walk on your own with a free self-guided tour.

Here, I compare and review all of the best Jack the Ripper Tours available to you.

There are many other evening and night tours of London that offer great experiences, including ghost tours and River Thames walks.


7. Enjoy Dozens of Night Offerings at Concessionary Prices With a Tourist Pass

Before you buy tickets for attractions like The Shard, London Eye, Royal Opera House, a comedy club, a night cruise on the Thames, or a West End show, you might consider getting a London tourist pass.

Just as these passes save you money on your day plans, they can do the same for many of the most popular night attractions, tours, and more.

For a list of passes and what night offerings are included, see the section at the end of this post.


8. Dinner and Champagne on the Thames

Just imagine cruising down the Thames with a glass of wine or bubbly in hand, listening to a jazz band plays away, all while enjoying a 4-course meal.

London's skyline as seen from the River Thames is one of the world's most striking!

Thames Dinner Cruise past Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster, St. Paul's Cathedral, the Shard, the Tower of London, and Tower Bridge.

Read my comparison post on Thames dinner cruises.


9. See London from the Sky Garden

At the top of London’s “Walkie Talkie” building sits a restaurant, bistro, bar…and free public garden!

The views from this building are almost the best views of London and even though the outdoor viewing balcony closes around 5, the atrium stays open until the late hours of the night.

Watch the sunset from the garden and enjoy the sights of London as it lights up the night. Guests MUST pre-book but there is no cost to do so.

Getting tickets can be tricky so check out my post for more information about how to reserve your free spot at the Sky Garden.

Alternatively, you could visit the observation deck of the Shard, the tallest building as well as some great free views of London, some of which you can enjoy at night. Or consider London's newest free viewing platform: Horizon22. (I prefer the atmosphere at SkyGarden but once Horizon22 gets their bar up and running, that could be a game changer!)


10. Take a Pub Crawl or Bar Bus

London Bar Bus

Start the night off with a trip on this interesting bus tour.

In addition to seeing sites such as the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, you’ll also have the opportunity to enjoy a few drinks.

The London Bar Bus features an open-air rooftop bar that serves a variety of cocktails and brews while you travel around the city.

If you'd rather do some sightseeing than go on a pub crawl, this could be an excellent alternative.

  • Tickets: £48 per person | Must be 18+
  • Availability: Daily from July – September
  • Hours: 16:00 (4pm) & 18:30 (6:30pm)
  • Duration: 1 ½ hours
  • Purchase tickets or learn more.

TIP: Before you purchase tickets, make sure to check for sales, because this company usually offers concessions on their services.

Pub and Club Crawls

A time-honored tradition in London is the pub crawl (and the club crawl).

A great option for solo travelers looking to meet new friends or those looking to discover hotspots.

There are crawls geared toward the backpacker, crawls geared toward those interested in visiting historic pubs, as well as those for craft beer enthusiasts.

There's even a Harry Potter-themed pub crawl.

Tours by Foot offers a Historic Pub Crawl, that takes you into some of the oldest venues in the city.

Likewise, London also offers a large and vibrant club scene.

Sometimes, these pub crawls also include entry to one or two nightclubs. There's even a flat-rate nightclub card.

Check out our comparison post which reviews many of the best crawls in London.


Honorable Mentions:

Dungeon Lates

This 75-minute adults-only tour takes you on a walk through London’s gruesome past. It concludes in the London Dungeon Tavern.

Your ticket also includes two alcoholic beverages -- so drink up and steady your nerves!

Find out more in my post about visiting the London Dungeon.


Haunted Exploration Game

If you're interested in discovering the darker side of London's history, this self-guided exploration game will task you with solving a mystery as you explore the city.

This quest will reveal some of the more haunting aspects of the city, and while it typically only takes 1 - 1 ½ hours to complete, you can finish the game at any pace you'd like.

Learn more about the Haunted London game.


Take a Bath

Okay, this is just a personal favourite that I have to include. Night time doesn't always mean high energy, or pounding the pavements. Sometimes it can also mean it's time to relax! This is one of my favourite places to do it: AIRE Ancient Baths.

Located in the centre of the city and open until 23:00 (11:00pm) at night, this is one of London's best hidden gems. It's not cheap - at all - but it's worth it. You can book yourself a massage, or, for a cheaper option, just do what I like to do which is to visit the thermal baths which are lit by candlelight! It's truly magical.


FREE THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT IN LONDON

Several of the listed nighttime activities listed elsewhere in the post are also free, so be sure to read them as well.

Below, I have added a few of my other favourite free nighttime activities.

For more ideas, check out my post, 100+ Free Things to Do in London, which includes many things that can also be experienced at night.


Enjoy the Lights at Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus at Night

Famous the world over, Piccadilly Circus is a large traffic junction in the middle of London, linking Haymarket, Shaftesbury Avenue, Piccadilly, and Regent’s Street.

And it was here just over 100 years ago that the first electric lights in the capital were put on display.

The bright lights here still draw visitors from all over the world who have come to enjoy some of the most famous lights on earth.

Piccadilly Circus is surrounded by other areas that you will likely enjoy a free stroll through, including Soho, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Squarey Chinatown.


Take a Double Decker Bus Tour

London bus at night

OK. Technically, this one isn't free, as you will need to have either a travelcard or you will need to pay a fare, but that is just splitting hairs.

Climb to the top deck and sit back and enjoy the illuminated London sights.

There are several routes that you could do, but I recommend taking the No. 26 from Victoria to St. Paul's, and then switching to the No. 15.

With my self-guided public bus tour, you will see many major icons such as Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, St. Paul's Cathedral, the Bank of England, and more.

There are actually several other free, do-it-yourself double-decker bus tours that run in the evening.


Walk Across Tower Bridge

There is a price to enter the Tower Bridge Experience, but it costs nothing to cross Tower Bridge and it's spectacularly illuminated in the evening.

Sometimes, the bridge is scheduled to open its drawbridge at night. Find out more information on my Tower Bridge post.


Visit the Houses of Parliament

Whenever the House of Lords or the House of Commons is in session, it is totally free for visitors to sit in the public gallery, and watch the parliamentary debates.

It may seem strange to consider this a night activity, however, both Houses of Parliament often work late into the night…sometimes even until 23:00 (11:00pm)!

Check their schedule ahead of time to check if they’re in session, though, to avoid disappointment.

Learn more about how to visit the Houses of Parliament.

Angel Comedy London

See a Free Comedy Show

This is a personal favourite of mine...Angel Comedy runs comedy shows 7 nights a week - and every single one is absolutely free.

Featuring well-known acts and those new to the scene, and Edinburgh Fringe Award winners, it's almost always a guaranteed great night!

It's located just off Upper Street in Islington (a stone's throw from Kings' Cross), one of my favourite London neighbourhoods.

Shows start at 20:00 (8:00pm) but people start queuing early so make sure you give yourself time to grab a spot!


See the Night Sky at Hampstead Observatory

Hampstead Heath is home to the highest point in central London and is a great place to see the London skyline either day or not.

However, for those wanting a real treat, consider visiting the Hampstead Scientific Society.

They open their telescopes for public use from 20:00 (8:00pm) – 22:00 (10:00pm) on Fridays and Saturdays from Sept until mid-April for a truly memorable stargazing experience.


Go on a Bat Walk

The London Zoo isn’t the only place in London where you can see animals!

The London Bat Group is a charity that works toward the well-being and preservation of bat species living in London.

As part of their work, they organise free ‘Bat Walks’ on random days throughout the years where guests are taken to various different locations, taught about bats and their place in London, as well as a great chance to see these fascinating little creatures!

Find out when the next walk is on their website.


Visit St. Paul's Cathedral

In the evenings, St, Paul's Cathedral holds an evensong service every weekday evening at 17:00 (5:00pm). A lot of our guests ask whether it's better to visit Westminster Abbey or St. Paul's Cathedral and I always recommend the tour of the Abbey and the church service at St. Paul's - which is not only impressive and beautifully done, it's also completely FREE.

You don't get to wander through the church, but you can sit down where members of the Royal Family do at big ceremonial occasions without having to spend any money to do it!


Take Advantage of Your Tourist Attraction Concession Pass

Technically, these passes aren't free.

However, if you are considering a tourist attraction concession pass, particularly the all-inclusive versions, the card will pay for itself during your daytime activities and then all-night activities are essentially free of charge.

Take a look at my list of nighttime activities below.

For information on comparing London Tourist Passes, see my post, Which London Tourist Pass is Best?


THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS AT NIGHT

Many of the activities mentioned in the previous sections (Top 10 and Free Things) are also applicable to families, such as the double-decker bus tours, the Ceremony of the Keys, walking through Piccadilly Circus, spending a night at the museum and heading to the Sky Garden.

Below, I have added a few more family-friendly night activities.

For more family-friendly ideas for any time of day, check out my post on free things to do in London with kids.


Harry Potter Tour

On Wednesdays and Saturdays Tours by Foot offer our free tour of Harry Potter London film locations. However, if this daytime tour doesn't match your schedule - I can offer you the next best thing.

You can take my guided, GPS-enabled audio tour. You can even take my free, self-guided tour. At any time of the day or night.

Tours by Foot also run other night tours, including a night tour along the Thames that is family-friendly, and depending on your kids' ages, the Ghost, Dark Side of London, and Jack the Ripper tours are also options during the week.


Take the Kids on a Food Tour

If you're having trouble finding something your children will eat, consider taking a Secret Food Tour through East London to discover some of the best dishes in the area.

Their East London tour is available at 19:00 (7:00pm), which is the perfect time for dinner, and it includes 7 stops with a variety of great samples.

This tour focuses on Indian food, and there are several great options that everyone in the family is sure to love.

If you're looking to experience a side of London few get to see while on vacation, this is one food tour you won't want to miss!

Purchase tickets or learn more.


Street Performers

London is full of people making a living by performance art!

Head to places like the Covent Garden Piazza, the north side of Trafalgar Square, or the Southbank near the London Eye to espy human statues, break-dancers, musicians, magicians, and even some of your children’s favorite cartoon characters come to life! 


The Ghost Bus

A spooky sightseeing tour takes place on a black double-decker bus.

The commentary is creepy but also amusing and takes guests past some of the most famous icons in the city, exploring the dark and grisly past of this ancient city. 

Check out my review and comparison post on London ghost tours, which includes Free Tours by Foot's own pay-what-you-like ghost tour. 

You might also consider taking a night sightseeing bus tour, which is a great option for families. 


Hamley's Toy Store

Hamley's is a two-centuries-old toy store with a few locations in London, one on Regent's Street and one at St. Pancras International.

The St. Pancras store remains open until 21:00 (9:00pm) and is simply a fun place to spend an evening with your children. 


Go to the Roller Disco

The '80s are still alive here in London!

Listen to some great music (with live DJs spinning the cheesiest of 80's music and the best club beats of today) and relive your youth by roller skating throughout the night.

These parties start late and end in the early hours - and people really make the effort to make sure to dress up in their 80s best!

See what's coming up at Skating Haven.


Visit Platform 9 3/4

If your kids are Harry Potter fans, you might consider going to Kings Cross/St. Pancras Station to visit the most famous platform in the world. 

The lines thin out in the evening, so the wait for a photo is much shorter. 

You can also visit the Harry Potter Store, which stays open until 22:00(10:00 pm) on most nights.  A Hamley's Toy Store is nearby, so you could make this a double visit.  

Read my post on how to visit Platform 9 3/4 as well as other Harry Potter locations in London. 

Tours by Foot also run our free Harry Potter Film Locations Tour twice a week.

For more family-friendly ideas for any time of day, check out my post on free things to do in London with kids.


ENTERTAINMENT & NIGHTLIFE

From live music and cabaret performances, to boozy art classes and 3-story clubs, London's nightlife has all these tales to tell.

Below you will find a list of some of my favorite after-dark activities in the city.

Save money on club nights with the London Nightlife Ticket.


Enjoy Live Music

London is stuffed to the brim with music venues for every budget and taste.

From jazz to classical, pop to rock, there’s nothing quite like grabbing a drink and listening to some tunes to while away the nighttime hours.

There are a plethora of venues to choose from but here are a few of my favorites: The Soho Piano Bar, RoundhouseAin't Nothing But Blues, Mr. Fogg's, St. Martin-in-the-Fields (a 17th-century church with candlelight concerts!), and Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club.

All of the above are great but Ronnie Scott's is truly legendary and a popular late-night stop for myself and my friends.


Go to the Cabaret

Get drinks, dinner, and an award-winning show all at one venue!

The Black Cat Cabaret is a London institution bringing the finest cabaret, live music, circus performers, and bon vivant entertainment to the capital.

They run shows all throughout the year and each one is pure glamour that's sure to please!


Skate Down to the Roller Disco

Though many of the original roller discos in London have now closed, you can still find roller disco pop-ups around the city throughout the year.

These are fun roller-skating events that play funky, disco music and feature flashy lights.

Sometimes the nights have themes, so be sure to look up the details ahead of time!

Or, take a trip to my favourite, Roller Nation, which is open every night!


Check Out One of London's Famous Clubs

London has one of the best nightlife scenes in the world, so it should come as no surprise that there are many fabulous nightclubs including comedy club that party on until the wee hours of the morning.

Some of the most famous include Fabric, which spans 25,000 square feet, and Heaven, which is known for its G-A-Y nights on Saturdays.


Play Bingo

Yes, really! This is one of London's newer offerings but it's one that I have become addicted to. Hijingo is billed as "a glimpse into the future of bingo." It's a mix of live entertainment, wild music, and neon lights - all enjoyed while playing a game of bingo with real cash prizes, including holidays!

I still have yet to win but I keep going back! Not just for the games, but for their fantastic cocktails and indulgent snacks. It really is one of London's most unique evenings out.


THINGS TO DO TONIGHT IN LONDON

There is no shortage of things to do at night in London!

Every evening you can find special events, theatre performances, late-night museum openings, pop-up bars, nightlife and entertainment, and much more!

As noted above, Tours by Foot offer several evening walking tours. If you want to know which are running tonight, check out our full calendar.

The best place to learn more about everything that is happening each night is through one of the many local media websites.

They publish news and reviews about events happening in London every day/week. Below are some of my favourites:


THINGS TO DO BY MONTH AND SEASON

I have also created guides based on the time of year, each with its own nighttime section.

Click on the links below for the corresponding time that you plan on being in London.


NIGHT ACTIVITIES INCLUDED IN LONDON TOURIST PASSES

Below is a list of the various tourist attraction concession passes and the night activities that are included for free or with an offer.

If you are considering one of these passes, particularly the all-inclusive versions, the card pays for itself during your daytime activities and then all-night activities are essentially free of charge.

London Pass

  • The Shard (open until 21:00 (9:00pm) or 20:00 (10:00pm))
  • Concessionary West End Shows (up to 40% off)
  • Pub Passport
  • Dinner Cruise (15% saving on Bateaux London)
  • The London Cabaret Club Offer
  • Movie Pass at Curzon Cinemas
  • Free Session of Ice-Skating at Queens Skate Dine Bowl
  • Namco Funscape - Free Games Tokens worth £3 plus a further 'buy five and get five' free
  • Concessions at Westfield Mall open until 21:99 (9:00pm)

Other Passes

  • Turbo Pass - The Shard
  • London City Pass - London Eye
  • Explorer Pass - London Eye
  • Various Bus Combo tickets - may include The Shard, London Eye
  • Several other passes with concessions on major attractions, West End shows, pubs, meals, and more.

What is the centre of London's nightlife?

London's West End is the centre of its nightlife. You will find variety of great clubs in the area, and it's also home to the most vibrant theatre scene on this side of the Atlantic!

Is it safe to walk around London at night?

London is usually a walkable city and you will find it alive 24 hours even at night. All the places and streets are well-lit and you will rarely find a dark area. As a woman often out at night by myself, I have very rarely felt scared with walking the streets of our city.

Which street is best for clubbing in London?

The best street in London when it comes to clubbing is Bond Street, but stay away if you're a traveler on a budget.

What time do people go clubbing in London?

Though time can get away from us when it comes to having fun, some people in London go clubbing from as early as 16:00 (4:00pm) on weekdays and 18:00 (6:00pm) on weekends. Personally, I like to go early but many of my friends won't get to the club until Midnight!


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About The Author

Margaret

An American simply by accident of birth, Margaret moved to London over 16 years ago and hasn’t looked back since! With a keen interest in History – and a BA degree to match – Margaret prides herself on her knowledge of the amazing city she calls home and she's been guiding here now for nearly a decade. Social history is her real expertise, with sound understanding of the day-to-day lives of Londoners over the past centuries. Read More...
Updated: mayo 13th, 2024
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