Night owls in London really have a plethora of activities to choose from, not just the typical bars, pubs, and nightclubs. There are so many other interesting and fun activities that even children can enjoy if they are allowed to stay up late at night. Visit London and check out all the must-do things that happen after dark!
From cruising the Thames to visiting museums, there is something to see and experience in London at night. See London's history by taking a night tour. Enjoy a show in the West End, visit Soho and the Covent Garden, take a food tasting tour or wine tasting tour, or even enjoy a bus dinner tour. All are wonderful ways to enjoy London. Store your backpacks and bags at one of our London luggage storage lockers and let the evening begin!
Enjoy a Cruise on the Thames River
The River Thames is the longest river in England and is 215 miles long, and the Severn River is the second-longest river. Walking along the River Thames in London is a nice way to see some of the sights but a night cruise along the Thames is an even better way to see more of the city.
Many tour companies offer dinner cruises where you can see London lit up at night, which is a sight to behold! You will see many of the iconic places in the city that were built along the Thames. Your expert guide will keep a running commentary as the boat meanders down the river.
Take a Ride on the Hotel Barge Magna Carta
The Hotel Barge Magna Carta has been dubbed a floating country hotel and can accommodate eight guests. It was built in the 1930s and is a magnificent boat with attractive detail and oak, teak, and mahogany wood throughout. The large dining area and saloon make the perfect place to sit back and relax as you float by the sites.
Slowly breeze past riverside villages, royal palaces, and the breathtaking countryside. Snap great photos of Windsor Castle, stop at an old Viking trading post, and visit several interesting places including the real Downton Abbey, art galleries, and boatyards. Book your passage early, this hotel fills up quickly!
Be Thrilled With a Show in the West End
The West End Theatres is similar to Broadway in New York City and boasts several sensational shows that have become worldwide phenomenon including Phantom of the Opera, Cats, and Les Miserables. There are also several family-friendly shows playing here so the entire family can have a blast. You can even check out some works by William Shakespeare.
London's West End has the biggest concentration of historic landmarks, restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues in the entire world – it is even bigger than Times Square and Broadway in New York City! With over 40 different theatres, 30 galleries and museums, and more than 2,500 bars, pubs, and restaurants you can easily spend a night partying in London. The next day, sleep in and then head out for a terrific brunch in London.
Explore London's Soho and Covent Garden
Soho’s colorful past played a huge part in the music scene of England and was home to dilapidated music halls and grungy bars and pubs. It is where musicians like the Sex Pistols and David Bowie once played before becoming stars. Today, it is becoming a trendy place to hang out with great live music venues, instead of being the seedy backstreets of London where illegal activity took place.
The Soho Pub Tour is a self-guided walk that takes you through an illuminated display that honors the history and culture of the area. You will also walk through Covent Garden, another trendy neighborhood located on the eastern edge of the West End, best known for the former farmers market and Christmas market that was held in the central square.
See the National Gallery of London
Evening tours of the National Gallery of London last about two-and-a-half hours. The gallery is home to sculptures ranging from the 1300s through the 1900s and has several incredible paintings, including Sunflowers by Van Gogh and several pieces by Rembrandt and Botticelli Monet.
Stroll along through the art gallery with your knowledgeable guide and listen to the stories of the different artists and how art shaped their lives. You will also see how art has evolved through the centuries including the different mediums that were used. With over 2,300 paintings and sculptures to view, the tour is filled with interesting tidbits and intriguing artwork.
Try London Food Tasting
Foodies always take delight in eating their way through London, and the gastronomical experience ranges from vibrant and cheap to high-end fine dining. The trick is finding which places best suit you and your likes. Sign up for one of the London food tasting tours that happen at late night to sample the delightful dinner foods that are available.
While there are many food tours in London during the day, there are fewer tours for the evening. But the evening tours that do take place are more intimate and less hurried. You get to stroll through the London streets and drop in for fabulous tastings at specific restaurants ranging from trendy and inexpensive to more upscale or high-end.
Tour Friendly London Pubs
No list of things to do in London at night would be complete without including the iconic London pub scene. The English pub is literally a way of life in London. This is the place where locals spend their evenings having a few drinks, visiting with friends, and catching up on the local gossip while listening to live music.
Many pubs offer craft beers and you can even sign up for a pub crawl or two to learn more about the welcoming atmosphere that is the English pub. With over 3,500 pubs in London alone, you can spend months visiting new ones each night and still not see them all.
If you only check out a few pubs, you will want to check out the Auld Shillelagh and Ye Olde Mitre. The Auld Shillelagh is an Irish pub located in North London’s Stoke Newington neighborhood. Ye Olde Mitre is a hidden gem has been a part of London’s pub scene since 1546 and is hidden in an alley off Hatton Garden.
Dance at Exciting Nightclubs
The London nightclub scene is different than its pub scene and is filled with marvelous energy, vibrant lights, and loud live music. Leave the kids with a sitter and hit the club or if you are single and free, grab your friends and dance the night away at Ministry of Sound. If you are looking for something smaller, go to Discover Strawberry Moon, a small club with tapas, drinks, and music.
From dive bars to basement clubs, London’s nightclub scene has a bit of everything. You may even find yourself face-to-face with a celebrity or two while out clubbing. Listen to DJs spin tunes or dance to live music; either way, the music will vibrate through you and keep you moving. Most of the London nightlife stay open well into the early hours, so plan on having a late night!
Take Part in a Bus Dining Experience
Is there really anything better than a dinner tour of London where you can see the streets lit up and the iconic buildings shadowed against a full moon? You do not want to miss the chance to sign up for a bus dining experience that will take you through the streets of London at night. You will have an opportunity to see more of central London and East London on this tour.
The Luxury 6 Course Bus Dining Experience offers a six-course gourmet dinner complete with a glass of wine. Kick back and relax in cushy seats and watch as the bus rolls past many of London’s most famous attractions against the night sky. With these night buses, you can hop on and off to check out the landmarks up-close-and-personal and do a little late-night shopping.
Enjoy Wine Tastings
Sign up for a wine tasting master class where you will spend an evening sampling delightful and flavorful wines along with tapas that complement each sample of wine. You will certainly learn a lot about the art of wine tasting and pairing foods with certain wines.
You will even get to learn about the wine-making process and the different techniques that are used. Blind tasting games will test your new skills and see if you have mastered the ability to distinguish wines. Friday and Saturday nights are great times for wine tastings.
Go on a Helicopter Sightseeing Adventure
There really is no better way to experience London at night than taking a helicopter ride over the city. See the lights illuminated across the beautiful night sky. Sip champagne as you take in several of the most famous landmarks in London including Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Tower of London, Westminster, and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
It can be pretty pricey to take a helicopter sightseeing tour, but is definitely worth the experience and is a great date night activity. You can choose from a 50-minute ride for two or a 30-minute ride for two, and each tour includes different highlights.
The 50-minute ride includes flying over the River Thames and viewing the London Eye, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, and The Shard. The 30-minute ride includes a flight from Essex over London where you will see The Gherkin, St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Houses of Parliament, and Tower of London.
Hop on the Airline Cable Car
The Airline Cable Car stretches just over half a mile over the River Thames where you will soar between the Greenwich Peninsular and the Royal Docks. As you zip along, you will pass several intriguing landmarks such as the Westminster Museum and the Tate Modern.
This is a very popular attraction in London and is great to hop on right at sunset for breathtaking views of the night sky and a romantic evening for you and your partner. Kids love to keep busy in London, too, and adventurous kids will love this excursion. It is relatively inexpensive to ride the cable car and is one of the best things to do in London at night.
Be Brave on Ghost Night Tours
If you are looking for a scarily good night, one of the best things to do in London at night is to take a ghost tour. London seems to be a hotbed for paranormal activity and there are several tours that guide you through city streets and the best-known haunts in town; this is one of the best night tours.
Listen to takes of the demon barbarian that terrorizes Fleet Street and Jack the Ripper. One of the leading authorities on the ghosts of London, Richard Jones, offers Ghost Walks to the brave at heart and spins the harrowing tales of the supernatural along the way. While encounters with any paranormal being are not guaranteed, it is always suspenseful when on this walking tour.
See the Sky Garden in Central London
While Sky Garden is breathtaking during the day, accessing this beautifully landscaped garden at night is an experience like no other. Head to the observation decks and look out over the London skyline as it is lit up for the night. A walk along the open-air sky deck makes a great romantic spot for couples to enjoy.
The three storied gardens are at the top of the Walkie Talkie building and give you some of the best views of London. It is totally free to visit the Sky Garden, but you have to make reservations in advance to be able to get in. This is a very popular spot for locals and tourists as one of the best free things in London.
From Late Night Shopping to a Walk Through Hyde Park
Whether you plan to check out an evening performance in the West End, stroll through the National Portrait Gallery, check out the London clubs, or kick back in a comedy club, night activities in London have never been so festive or varied. London's nightlife truly shows why this bustling city is the place to be for a memorable evening!