Things to do at night in London

London for night-owls

Our very own capital is a delight to explore. From its iconic museums, to its shopping experiences and its fascinating arts culture, there’s something for everyone here.

  1. Enjoy one of the many pubs in London
  2. Attend a show while you’re in London
  3. Marvel at splendid views at the iconic Shard
  4. Visit the Design Museum at night
  5. Go shopping in the evening at Harrods
  6. Enjoy a performance at the Royal Albert Hall
  7. Enjoy the buzz of Brick Lane

You’ll never be stuck for what to do at night in London. From pumping music venues to twinkling views and endless eateries, there’s never a dull moment here. Take a look at our London holidays if you’re tempted.

1. Enjoy one of the many pubs in London

Found on just about every street corner, the pub remains one of the nation’s most enduring social institutions and its popularity in London shows no sign of waning. The City has probably the best choice of long-established drinking holes - though with the average pint costing over £5, it’s worth knowing that you can pay much less at Sam Smith’s pubs. Soho and the East End attract a contemporary crowd, so you’ll find a wide choice of bars and clubs alongside good-old-fashioned pubs. For a riverside drink, head for the South Bank or Docklands, and for a lazy Sunday evening mosey on up to Hampstead or down to Greenwich. Cosying up in a pub is one of the best things to do at night in London.

Best for: Enjoying London’s endless drinking venues

Don’t forget: Book Club in Shoreditch is home to drawing classes, hip-hop quizzes and rip-roaring DJ nights.

2. Attend a show while you’re in London

As well as two top-class opera houses, London has many theatres, most of which are centrally located in the West End districts of Soho and Covent Garden, and boasts more comedy venues than any other city in the world. Although you’ll find clubs and live music venues all across the capital, East London is the centre of the city’s clubland. London is also the LGBTQ capital of Europe, with Soho, the East End and Vauxhall the go-to areas. Enjoying a show is one of the best top things to do in London.

Best for: Evening entertainment

Don’t forget: If you crave the glitz and glamour of a West End musical, try the TCKTS booth on Leicester Square for discount tickets.

3. Marvel at splendid views at the iconic Shard

London’s - and the country’s - tallest building, Renzo Piano’s 1016ft-high, tapered, glass-clad skyscraper The Shard , once seen as hubristic, has become part of the cityscape since it topped out in 2012. It houses a mixture of flats, restaurants, a hotel and expensive top-floor viewing platforms (the uppermost open to the sky). The views are sublime, making everything else in London look small, from the unicycle of the London Eye to the tiny box that is St Paul’s Cathedral, while the model railway of London Bridge is played out below you. Come here in the evening for a glittering view of the whole of London

Best for: Views

Don’t forget: The Sky Garden provides another great view of London - and it’s free!

4. Visit the Design Museum at night

One of the most striking 1960s buildings in London, a concrete-framed structure with a hyperbolic paraboloid roof and the former home of the Commonwealth Institute, has been taken over by the Design Museum. The permanent exhibition, Designer Maker User, features highlights from the museum’s collection of design classics and everyday objects, while temporary exhibitions cover fashion, industrial design, graphics, materials and more. It’s open until 8pm on the first Friday of the month.

Best for: Museum visit

Don’t forget: The Natural History also hosts themed evenings such as silent disco

5. Go shopping in the evening at Harrods

London’s most famous department Store, Harrods, is an enduring landmark of quirks and pretensions. It’s notable for its Art Nouveau tiled food hall, the huge toy department and its range of designer labels. It’s open until 9pm every day apart from Sunday.

Best for: Keen shoppers

Don’t forget: Harvey Nichols is also open until 9pm Monday to Saturday too.

6. Enjoy a performance at the Royal Albert Hall

The Royal Albert Hall is a splendid red-brick, terracotta and marble concert hall built in 1871 that serves as the main venue for the annual BBC Proms summer festival of classical music. It’s also the place for a whole range of popular shows from opera to pop concerts. Guided tours of the opulent building itself include architectural and behind the scenes options. A popular event here is to watch a film alongside a live orchestra which plays the music throughout the film. Past films have included Titanic and ET.

Best for: Film fans

Don’t forget: Don’t miss attending the BFI Film Festival in the autumn if you’re a keen movie fan.

7. Enjoy the buzz of Brick Lane

Brick Lane lies at the heart of London’s Bengali community, whose inexpensive curry houses dominate the southern end of the street. The red-brick chimney halfway up Brick Lane heralds the Old Truman Brewery, founded in 1666 and the largest in the world at the end of the nineteenth century. It ceased operations in 1989 and is now at the centre of a whole series of indoor markets - the Backyard Market , Tea Rooms, the Sunday Upmarket and Boiler House food hall (all Saturday & Sunday) - all of which are buzzing on Sundays, with stalls selling clothes, crafts and food.

Best for: One of the most exciting streets in London

Don’t forget: Why not try a salt beef bagel at Brick Lane Beigel Bake? It’s open 24 hours a day.

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