With its world-class theatre scene, delicious restaurants, and cute British boys, London is one of my favorite places to spend time.

The city reminds me a lot of New York, though the pace is a lot slower and the vibe is slightly different.

I especially love exploring the city in the evening. It gives me the same feeling of excitement that I used to get when I was first experiencing NYC’s epic nightlife scene.

After multiple trips there, and plenty of local recommendations, I’ve created the ultimate list of things to do in London at night. Some of them I’ve done, others are bucket list items for when I return. 

Read on to find out how to best enjoy the nightlife in London!


1. Catch a West End Show


Obviously, as a massive theater fan, catching a West Side show is always the first thing on my to-do list.

Seeing a West End show in London is basically like the equivalent of seeing a Broadway show in New York. They have the best theater in all of Europe. 

Everyone should catch at least one show on the West End while in town.

Because I’m a theater nerd, I always keep up with what’s playing, so shoot me an email if you need any recommendations!



2. Hear Big Ben Chime


We all know Big Ben from watching Peter Pan as kids, and it’s even more magical in person.

Take a walk along the Thames in the evening to catch beautiful Big Ben all lit up. If you time it just right, you can hear him chime.

He’s been ringing out over London since May 31, 1958.

Fair warning, Big Ben is finishing up a massive face lift, so there may still be a bit of lingering construction around him. 

Fun Fact: Big Ben is actually the nickname of the clock tower’s largest bell. The tower itself is properly known as Elizabeth Tower.



3. Attend the Ceremony of Keys


Okay, so this is something that I hadn’t heard of til recently and now it’s on my bucket list.

The Ceremony of Keys has been going on since 1826 at the Tower of London. 

Basically, at seven minutes to ten every evening the Chief Yeoman Warder of the Tower exits the Byward Towerwith, a set of the Queen’s Keys. 

By the time the clock strikes ten, he’s walked these keys over to the outer gate, raises his hat in the air and yells “God preserve Queen Elizabeth”. Once that’s said, a drummer sounds ‘The Last Post’ on a bugle.

The event is free to the public, but you’re required to send an application letter at least two months prior to gain access.



4. Go on the Jack the Ripper Tour


Want to spend the night learning about London’s most notorious murderer?

Join the Jack the Ripper Tour to learn interesting facts and check out some streets in Whitechapel where they happened. 

They stage the walk like an actual investigation, which makes it a ton of fun.

Plus, the guides are knowledgeable with just the right amount of theatrics to make the evening engaging. 

You’ll have a wonderful time checking out Whitechapel while learning a bunch of history.



5. Check Out Sunset Safari at ZSL London Zoo


If you’re visiting with kids, or looking for something fun to do involving cute animals, head to the ZSL London Zoo.

The zoo has fairy lights and animal lanterns that turn on as the evening sun sets. 

They offer a Sunset Safari which allows you to wander around after hours as the lions are getting ready for bed and the nocturnal animals are becoming active.

You can also check out different talks and demonstrations, food trucks, and safari truck rides.



6. See the Stars at Hampstead Observatory


At Hampstead Observatory you can spend your evening gazing at the stars from mid-September to mid-April. 

It’s perfect if you’re looking for either a unique romantic evening or an educational nighttime activity.

Everyone working there is helpful and full of information on the constellations and planets.

Just check before you go, because they’re only open when the weather is perfect for viewing. 



7. Ride the London Eye


Riding the London Eye is basically a rite of passage for tourists. 

Book your tickets early, and plan ongoing during the evening for the ultimate view of London’s glowing skyline.

The best part is the capsules you ride in are air-conditioned and have interactive guides that tell you all about the city’s iconic landmarks. 

The ride moves pretty slowly, so you’ll get about 30 minutes to take in the 360-degree view.



8. Go Gambling at a Casino


Who knew you could gamble in London?

I absolutely had no idea until a friend of mine (who’s a local) mentioned it recently. 

If you want to test your luck, head to one of these popular casinos:



9. Visit the Sky Garden


If you’re looking for a gorgeous 360-degree view of the city that doesn’t involve riding the London Eye, head to the Sky Garden.

You’ll be able to stroll around the garden area, grab a drink at the bar, or enjoy a meal at the Darwin Brasserie.

It’s also got a giant open balcony with some phenomenal views of the Thames and other famous landmarks.

Book your free tickets early because this place is really popular. 



10. Catch Some Live Music


Over the years London has churned out stars like Elton John, Ed Sheeran, the Spice Girls, The Beatles, and even The Rolling Stones.

Imagine being one of those tourists that caught them early on, before they were world famous. How cool would that have been?

While you’re in town, hit up some of these popular live music venues to see if you can catch the next big British music sensation before they hit it big:



11. Take a Tango Class


For a less typical night out, consider booking a tango class.

You can learn a few impressive dance moves and get in a workout!

Head to one of these spots to get your tango on:



12. Check Out a Museum


One of my favorite things about London is that museums are mostly free. 

The only downside to that is they end up totally packed most of the time.

I always try to catch their late-night hours to avoid crowds. Sometimes you can even catch events being thrown in them!

These are museums you’ll check out evening hours and events at while you’re in town:



13. Attend a Comedy Show




14. Catch a Concert


London is basically one of the music capitals of the world, so it should come as no surprise that they have some pretty epic concerts taking place year round.

Check out the line-ups at these popular places to see if you can score tickets to an epic concert:



15. Take an Evening Bus Tour


If you’re only in town for a few days, or just want to save yourself a lot of walking, book yourself a bus tour.

I especially love going in the evenings, because the city is truly beautiful all lit up in the evenings.



Check out some of these popular London bus tours!


16. Visit The Shard


Also referred to as “The Shard of Glass”, this modern skyscraper offers some of the best views of London.

For a basic visit, you can book tickets to The View From The Shard. You’ll get 30 minutes to enjoy the sights from their observation deck.

For a longer visit, book a reservation at TĪNG for dinner with a view from the 35th floor. Or grab drinks at GŎNG, considered the highest bar in all of London!

If you’re feeling like splurging for a view, book a room at the Shangri-La Hotel inside The Shard.



17. Enjoy a Night at The Royal Opera House


If you want to catch world-class ballet or opera, head to The Royal Opera House.

It’s the third largest theater in London and absolutely beautiful.

I recommend arriving early so you can enjoy cocktails in their elegant bar. It’s especially romantic, and perfect for a date night!



18. Sing Some Karaoke


One of my favorite things to do while in town is wander around listening to a playlist of songs about London mixed with classics from British singers. 

My last trip I had Taylor Swift’s song London Boy and Ed Sheeran’s song Take Me Back to London on repeat.

After a while, all I wanted to do was to sing the songs out loud. So thank god for karaoke!

If you’re feeling the need to sing out loud, hit up one of these places:



19. Join a Pub Crawl


There is nothing else in the world like a proper London pub. The best way to experience a lot of pubs in a short amount of time is to join a pub crawl (or create your own).

If you decide to create your own, make sure these popular pubs end up on your tour:



For a planned pub crawl, book a spot with one of these groups!


20. Check Out a Late Night Food Market


After a bit of bar hopping, you’ll be craving some late night eats. 

Thankfully, London has a few late night food markets to satisfy your cravings. Just head to one of these spots:



21. Go on a Ghost Tour


London’s a super old town, so naturally it’s got tons of haunted locations.

If you love ghost stories, then you’ve got to book one of the city’s many nighttime ghost tours.

Fair warning, if you’re overly paranoid like me, you may have a hard time falling asleep after some stories you’ll hear.



Check out this scary nighttime ghost tour of London!


22. Enjoy a Fancy Meal


London has a pretty happening food scene when it comes to fine dining.

They’ve got tons of award-winning restaurants, including over 60 with Michelin Stars!

Dine like royalty at one of these fancy restaurants: 



23. Visit the Houses of Parliament


I’ll be the first to admit this one seems totally out of place on a list of things to do at night.

As it turns out, nighttime is when most tours of parliament take place, since they normally are in session during the day.

Check their website for tour hours, as they are constantly changing based on the Houses schedule. 



24. Catch a Show at The Globe


If you’re visiting in the summer, then you absolutely must attempt to catch a show at The Globe

They perform Shakespeare’s plays in the round, under the night sky, just like back in the day.

Of course, this isn’t the exact Globe that Shakespeare originated, but it’s basically a replica of what historians imagine the original to have been.

Fair warning, don’t book tickets at “The Groundling” level unless you’re okay standing for the entire show.



25. Climb the O2 Arena


If you’re a thrill seeker, then this is the activity for you!

Up at The O2 lets people actually climb up the side of the famous O2 arena and onto the roof!

You can go during the day, at sunset, or at twilight. Obviously, going at sunset or twilight is the ideal time to really get an epic 360-degree view of the city.

This is something that’s been on my London bucket list for a few years now. I’m hoping the next time I’m in town that I’ll finally be able to cross it off.



26. Go on a Dinner Cruise


If you want a view of the city at night without the climbing, book yourself a dinner cruise on the Thames.

You can relax and eat as the city passes you by. 

This is perfect for a warm spring or summer evening, especially if you’re having a date night.

There are plenty of cruise options available, just book your spots early as most of them fill up!



These are some of my favorite dinner cruises to check out!


27. Catch a Show at Regent’s Park


If you’re in town during the summer, you’ve got to check out Regent’s Park.

It’s beautiful during the day, especially the rose gardens.

At night, they have summer plays and concerts on the schedule. Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre is especially well known for their world-class productions.

Book tickets early, because they sell out fast!



28. Visit a Few Famous Pubs


I doubt that I have to convince you that drinking in a historic bar is a great way to spend your evening.

Take in a bit of history while you drink at one of these famous old pubs:



29. Go Dancing


If you want to really turn up, go out dancing at one of these London hot spots:



30. Enjoy a Cabaret


If you aren’t much of a dancer but still want to experience the city’s nightlife, head to a cabaret.

The best part is some of them even offer dinner to go along with the show.

You’ll be in for a delightful time at any of these popular performance spaces:



31. See a Show at Donmar Warehouse


This non-profit theatre has earned them over 100 awards during their 28 year history, so you know they put on a good show. 

I especially love that Donmar Warehouse is a more intimate setting for a show compared to the giant West End theaters.

If you’re under 25, you can enter for their Young and Free program. Then if your entry gets drawn, you can sign up to get a pair of free tickets!



32. Catch a Football Game


If you’re American, you know this as catching a soccer game. But since you’re in London, you’ll want to refer to the sport as “football”.

Truth be told, I don’t know a ton about sports, but thanks to a friend, I have a fair amount of knowledge when it comes to football.

Basically, you’ll want to pick a team, wear their colors, yell a lot when they score goals, and get bitter when the other team scores.

It also helps if you hit up a pub prior for a bit of a pre-game, or grab a few pints at the stadium. 

Whatever you do, book your seats early because there are a bunch of football fanatics that come from all over to catch these games. 



33. Head to a Roller Disco


Want to do something totally random and fun?

Get all dressed up and hit up a roller disco for an epic night of exercise and laughter.

It’ll be one night in London that you’ll never forget!

Book yourself a ride to one of these disco locations:



34. Grab a Cocktail


London has a happening scene when it comes to cocktail bars. I would even say it’s very similar to New York’s top-notch scene. 

If you’re craving a delicious cocktail, hit up one of these bars:



35. Have a Late Night Painting Session


Are you craving an artist outlet?

Then head to Paint Jam London for a night of painting and partying!

There’s a DJ who pumps out tunes while instructors help you perfect your painting technique. 

You get a glass of prosecco on arrival, but I recommend having a few cheek drinks at a pub before the class to really get the party started!



36. Take a Bike Ride


Okay, so obviously biking at night isn’t the safest thing, and absolutely something you’ll want to do while fairly sober.

That said, biking home from the theater and across London Bridge at night was one of my favorite adventures from my last trip. 

It was unexpected, romantic, and exciting despite having to bike in a long skirt. Not to mention the views of the city were stunning, especially of Tower Bridge all lit up. 

If you don’t have a local to lead the way, make sure you check out a map ahead of time so you know where to turn. 

Or make it easy on yourself and pick up your bike near the river. Then you can ride it along the Thames and over any bridges you see.

 There are Santander Cycles stations all around the city. If you download their app, it’ll show exactly how many bikes are available at each station.



37. Go to a Murder Mystery Dinner


Who isn’t intrigued by a good mystery?

I know I am!

Channel your inner Sherlock Holmes by attending one of these murder mystery parties:



38. Walk Along the Thames


If you want to do something totally free with a stunning view, simply walk along the Thames. 

Honestly, this is one of my favorite things to do when I’m in town.

I always walk the South Bank, there are tons of little cafes, and shops that typically stay open late, and obviously the views are lovely. 

If you’re there during the holiday season, grab a spiked cider to keep you warm while you walk!



39. Catch a Film at BFI IMAX


When you want to do something chill, nothing beats relaxing in a movie theater with the latest blockbuster. 

It gets even more fun when that blockbuster is shown in IMAX.

Just head to BFI IMAX to make this ideal chill night out a reality. 



40. See a Show at The National Theatre


Catching a show at The National Theatre has been on my bucket list ever since I saw their production of People, Places, and Things when it transferred to Brooklyn. 

I’ve come close to making that dream a reality a few times, but have yet to score tickets while I’m in town. This place sells out performances fast because they have a reputation for producing word-class theatre.

Their shows are so good, that a fair amount of them end up transferring off broadway. 

Do yourself a favor and book your tickets early on this one!



41. Hang Out at the Barbican


The Barbican Centre hosts classical and contemporary concerts, films, plays, and even art exhibitions. 

Plus, it’s got a library, conservatory and three restaurants!

This place truly has something for everyone. Keep an eye on their website to see what events you can catch while you’re in town. 



42. Enjoy the Lights of Piccadilly Circus


Just like people go to New York to see all the lights in Times Square at night, people go to London to see Piccadilly Circus shining bright. 

I’m pretty sure it’s a must even for the most sophisticated tourists, though they’d never admit it.

As a New Yorker, I think Times Square is a bit more epic, Piccadilly Circus is still worth checking out.



43. Hit Up The Bridge Theatre


I know you’re probably rolling your eyes because I’ve recommended another theatrical option, but The Bridge Theatre needs to be on this list.

I caught a production of Midsummer Night’s Dream here on my last trip, and it blew me away!

So because I’m a theater geek, I did some research.

This theater is fairly new (it opened in 2017) and consistently churns out original productions that quickly sell out. 

Also, this is the most beautifully designed theater that I’ve been to in London.

They even have food by St. John (try the Welsh Rarebit) and a stunning view of Tower Bridge outside the venue.


Wrapping It Up

Things to Do in London at Night 1 2

London is a city everyone should spend a bit of time in. It’s truly one of my favorite cities that I’ve visited. 

The people are friendly, the food and theater are top-notch, the nightlife is on point, and frankly, the accents are adorable. 

I can’t wait until the day that I’m back there bantering with some of my favorite people.

Now that you officially know all my favorite spots for theater and fun in London, let me know in the comments what you’re most looking forward to checking out!

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