What to Do In London At Night
This post covers things to do in London at night, including a top 10 list, free things to do, family-friendly fun and what is going on tonight. Be sure to also read our master post on things to do in London.
- Top Ten
- Free Things To Do
- Entertainment & Nightlife
- What’s Happening Tonight
- By Month and Season
- Discounts on Late Open Attractions
TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN THE EVENING IN LONDON
Below is our list of the top 10 things to do at night in London.
There are so much more than just 10, of course, so we also include links to our pages within our blog as well as external resources.
Also, be sure to check out our guide of things to do during Christmas, most of which take place at night.
We offer several pay-what-you-like night tours, including Jack the Ripper, Harry Potter, a Thames River Walk, and a ghost 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 discount tickets easily available and a selection of shows as varied as it is impressive, there’s always a way to enjoy the West End on your trip to London.
2. The Ceremony of the Keys
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.
The event is free, but tickets are required and can book out months in advance, though, so check out our 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, we recommend taking a food tour in Soho – one of the hippest and historic neighborhoods in the city.
During this tour, you’ll visit some of the best-kept secrets in Soho 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.
- Ticket Price: £99 per person
- Availability: Tue – Fri at 4 pm/4:30 pm
- Duration: 4 hours
- Purchase tickets or learn more.
TIP: If you’re interested in this outing, don’t forget that we 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 our 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!
Most of the museums open at night are free of charge.
6. Take a Jack the Ripper Tour
An activity that is a uniquely 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.
We 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 discount prices with a tourist pass
Before you buy tickets for attractions like The Shard, London Eye, 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 play 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.
Cruise pass Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Shard, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.
Read our 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 unrivaled in 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.
Learn more about how to reserve your free spot at the Sky Garden.
10. Take a Pub Crawl or 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 which 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: £25 per person | Must be 18+
- Availability: Daily from July – September
- Hours: 4 pm & 6:30 pm
- 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 discounts 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.
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.
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 about visiting the London Dungeon.
Several of the listed nighttime activities listed elsewhere in the post are also free, so be sure to read them as well.
Below, we add a few of our other favorite free nighttime activities.
For more ideas, check out our 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
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.
Take a Double Decker Bus Tour
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 we recommend taking the 11 Bus.
With this 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 is drawbridge at night. Find out more information on our 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 11 pm!
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.
See a Free Comedy Show
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). Shows start at 8:00 pm 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 8 – 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays from Sept until mid-April for a truly memorable star-gazing 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’ at 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.
Take Advantage of Your Tourist Attraction Discount Pass
Technically, these passes aren’t free. However, if you are considering a tourist attraction discount pass, particularly the all-inclusive versions, you can have the card pay for itself during your daytime activities and then all night activities are essentially free of charge.
Take a look at our list of nighttime activities below.
For information on comparing London Tourist Passes, see our post, Which London Tourist Pass is Best?
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, we add a few more family-friendly night activities.
For more family-friendly ideas for any time of day, check out our post on free things to do in London with kids.
Harry Potter Tour
On Mondays (and other select days) we offer our free tour of Harry Potter London film locations. The tour starts at 19:00 (7 pm).
We also run other night tours, including a night tour along the Thames that is family-friendly, and depending on your kids’ ages, our Ghost, Dark Side of London and Jack the Ripper tours 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 7 pm, 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!
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!
Nearest Tube: Covent Garden, Charing Cross or Waterloo.
The Ghost Bus
A spooky sightseeing tour that 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 our review and comparison post on London ghost tours, which includes our 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 story remains open until 21:00 (9 pm) and is simply a fun place to spend an evening with your children. http://www.hamleys.com/
Go to the Roller Disco
The 80’s are still alive here in London! Listen to some great music (with live DJ’s 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 your 80’s 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 21:00 (9 pm) on most nights. A Hamley’s Toy Store is nearby, so you could make this a double visit.
We also run our free Harry Potter Film Locations Tour several evenings each week starting at 19:30 (7:30 pm).
For more family-friendly ideas for any time of day, check out our post on free things to do in London with kids.
From live music and cabaret performances to boozy art classes and 3-story clubs, London’s nightlife has it all. Below you will find a list of some of our favorite after-dark activities in the city. Save money on club nights with the nightclub pass.
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 night time hours.
There are a plethora of venues to choose from but here are a few of our favorites: Koko, Roundhouse, St. Martin-in-the-Fields (a 17th-century church with candlelight concerts!) and Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club.
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!
Explore Your Inner Artist
Paint Jam London operates pop-up painting events throughout the year – including events for night owls.
These nighttime parties incorporate paint, music, and drinks to create a fabulous and fun evening. Part painting class, part pure party, see what’s coming up on their schedule by clicking here.
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!
Check Out One of London’s Famous Clubs
London has one of the best nightlife scenes in the world, so it should come at no surprise that there are many fabulous nightclubs that party on until the wee hours of the morning.
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, we 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 our favorites:
We 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.
- Christmas Season
Below is a list of the various tourist attraction discount passes and the night activities that are included for free or with a discount.
If you are considering one of these passes, particularly the all-inclusive versions, you can have the card pay for itself during your daytime activities and then all night activities are essentially free of charge.
- The Shard (open until 10pm / 22:00)
- Discounted West End Shows (up to 40% off)
- Thriller Live
- Kinky Boots
- A Meal at Planet Hollywood
- Pub Passport
- Dinner Cruise (15% saving on Bateaux London)
- The London Cabaret Club Discount
- 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
- Discounts at Westfield Mall open until 9 pm
- The Shard
- London Eye
- MBNA Thames Clippers-night
- Ghost Tour Bus
- London By Night Bus
- Sundowner and River Lights Cruise
- Theatre People Tickets
- Saturday Night Disco Party Cruise
- The Medieval Banquet London
- Pub Passport
- Turbo Pass – The Shard
- London City Pass – London Eye
- Explorer Pass – London Eye and Planet Hollywood
- Various Bus Combo tickets – may include The Shard, London Eye
- Several other passes with discounts on major attractions, West End shows, pubs, meals and more.