London officially became a city that never sleeps after the arrival of the Night Tube. The 24-hour Tube operates on Friday and Saturday nights on the Victoria, Jubilee, and most of the Central, Northern and Piccadilly lines.
From exploring museums after hours to taking part in an immersive theatre show, here are 101 of our favourite things to do in London at night.
While London's venues are temporarily closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, make the most of your nights at home. Check out our Virtually London guide, which is full of the best live performances, online classes, virtual activities and more.
Free things to do in London at night
- Bop along to roots, reggae, ska and folk music at Hootananny Brixton, which offers loads of free gigs.
- Bring your camera to snap the city’s famous landmarks as they’re dramatically lit up at night. Top picks include Tower Bridge, Piccadilly Circus, Houses of Parliament and Harrods.
- Enjoy a giggle at the famously free Angel Comedy Club at the Camden Head in Islington, open seven nights a week.
- Apply for tickets to be in the audience of a major TV show.
Cheap night out in London
- Enjoy free or discounted entry in nightclubs, offers on attractions and tours and more with the London Nightlife Ticket.
- Dine out at one of the city's cheap eateries, where you can tuck into everything from bao buns to sourdough pizza.
- Visit a bar or pub during happy hour for cut-price drinks. Dirty Martini offers half-price martinis and cocktails during its daily happy hours.
- Bag yourself some wallet-friendly tickets to a cheap gig in London.
- Get cheap tickets for major West End shows by visiting the TKTS booth in Leicester Square on the day of the performance.
See a theatre show
- Be part of the action at an immersive theatre show, such as The Great Gatsby and Witness for the Prosecution.
- Treat yourself to a glittering night out at a top West End musical, such as The Lion King or Wicked.
- Enjoy a pint and a play at one of London's pub theatres.
- Go back in time at a Medieval banquet as you watch knights, jesters and more entertain you before a post-meal evening disco kicks off.
Live music venues in London
- Swing by the legendary Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in Soho to see top jazz stars perform.
- Follow in the footsteps of music legends Oasis and The Sex Pistols during an evening at The 100 Club.
- See a secret gig in an unusual venue with Sofar Sounds.
- Tap your feet to a brilliant jam session at the intimate Ain’t Nothin’ But Blues Bar, open seven days a week.
- See up-and-coming bands at Camden's The Dublin Castle, where Blur and Coldplay have graced the stage.
- Enjoy a night out at the Grade II-listed Roundhouse, which counts The Doors and Jimi Hendrix among its past performers.
- Visit revamped music venue KOKO, where Madonna had her first UK show.
- Hear pianists perform audience-requested playlists live at The Piano Works.
Late night shopping in London
- Discover more than 265 luxury and high-street shops under one roof at Westfield London.
- Shop at one of the largest urban shopping centres in Europe at Westfield Stratford City.
- Flex your credit card until late along London’s famous Oxford Street, home to department stores, designer brands and high-street favourites.
- Shop at big-brand stores, including Boggi and Joseph, through the evening at Duke of York Square.
Night bus and boat tours
Night-time walks in London
- Follow an eerie route through the old alleyways of the East End on a Jack the Ripper Ghost Walk, and see the infamous murderer’s story come to life with The Jack the Ripper Tour with Ripper-Vision.
- Enjoy a stroll along the Thames to see bridges glow as part of the Illuminated River installation and admire some of the capital’s top attractions prettily lit up at night, including the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament.
- Keep an eye out for bat walks on select dates in London's Royal Parks.
Explore London's nightlife scene
- Experience the cream of London’s nightlife scene at one of its top 10 clubs.
- Enjoy a giggle at a stand-up comedy night.
- Expect an eye-popping display of sequins and much more at a risqué cabaret or burlesque show.
- See a movie in plush surroundings at an intimate independent cinema, where you can expect leather armchairs and posh snacks.
- Enjoy a flutter at the UK’s largest casino, The Hippodrome Casino.
- Sing your heart out to your favourite songs at one of London's karaoke bars.
- Sip a pint or two in one of London's old haunted pubs, including The Grenadier, The Spaniards Inn and former jail The Viaduct Tavern.
- Soak up hundreds of years of history in a traditional pub, such as Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese where Charles Dickens used to drink.
- Enjoy a drink with a view at a riverside pub.
Top London bars
Late-night dining and 24-hour restaurants in London
- Chow down on steaks and burgers until the early hours at swanky Soho brasserie Balans Soho Society.
- Pick up a tasty bagel after the clubs have shut at Brick Lane Beigel Bake, open 24 hours a day.
- Fill up on crispy leg confit and fried duck egg washed down with champagne cocktails at London’s highest 24/7 restaurant Duck & Waffle.
- Feeling peckish at 5am? Grab a late-night snack at 24-hour diner VQ Bloomsbury.
- Follow in the footsteps of musicians and film stars by grabbing coffee and cake at late-night Soho institution Bar Italia.
London foodie hubs
- Feast on global street food galore at pop-up malls Boxpark Croydon, Boxpark Shoreditch and Boxpark Wembley, each home to a different selection of top-notch independent food and drink vendors.
- Try everything from handmade pasta to Argentinian steak at food market Mercato Metropolitano.
- Eat out in one of more than 20 restaurants and cafes at alfresco dining destination Kingly Court in London's West End.
- Check out north London's bustling food hall Bang Bang Oriental, where you'll find 27 kiosks serving up top-notch Asian fare.
- Discover eclectic eateries, cocktails and live music at foodie hub Flat Iron Square under the railway arches at Southwark.
- Head to Chinatown, where you'll find around 80 restaurants serving up everything from sushi to satay, Szechuan to stir fry.
- Treat yourself to dinner in Soho, where you'll find a rich mix of opulent and down-to-earth restaurants.
Late-night London culture
- Many museums and galleries regularly open late for talks, performances, workshops, films, food and drink, DJs and more.
- Take an exclusive twilight tour of the Tower of London with a Yeoman Warder.
- Soak up the atmosphere of the home left behind by an imaginary 18th-century family at Dennis Severs' House, open after dark every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
- Watch some of the world's finest opera stars at the Royal Opera House.
- Witness a 700-year-old ceremony with the Tower of London's Ceremony of the Keys.
- Take a guided history tour of the world's oldest and last surviving grand music hall, Wilton's Music Hall.
See Sir John Soane's Museum by candlelight during one of its after-hours events.
Sleepovers at London attractions
- Spend the night at the Natural History Museum with Dino Snores, which includes a torch-lit trail.
- Sleep within roaring distance of the majestic Asiatic lions as part of ZSL London Zoo’s Lion Lodge experience.
- Children can sleep overnight in real sailors’ bunks on board HMS Belfast and experience life below deck.
Sporty things to do at night in London
- Ice skate until late all-year-round at weekends at Alexandra Palace Ice Rink or during winter at the city’s magical outdoor ice rinks, most of which open from November to January.
- Go climbing at London’s largest indoor bouldering space at Stronghold Climbing Centre in Tottenham.
- Glide down the slopes of London at the capital’s largest indoor ski centre, Chel-Ski.
- Take a dance class at Pineapple Dance Studios, where classes vary from tap and ballet to urban and contemporary styles.
- Go bowling in style at the plush All Star Lanes, which also offers great cocktails and American fare.
Learn something new
- Enjoy lates at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, with stargazing and film screenings.
- Attend a late-night debate at the Houses of Parliament.
- Cook up a culinary masterpiece at the Cookery School at Little Portland Street, which runs evening classes for all abilities.
- Learn something new at Drink, Shop & Do, where you can craft everything from silver jewellery to tote bags.
Creative things to do in London at night
- Experience “hairclubbing” at Blade Soho, where you can sip cocktails while getting your hair cut or treated.
- Sing along to your favourite movie at the Prince Charles Cinema, where you can croon along to Grease, Frozen, Dirty Dancing and more.
- Choose from more than 800 games to play at board game cafe Draughts.
- Get a hole-in-one at quirky mini-golf bar Junkyard Golf Club.
- Play darts in style while drinking craft beer and cocktails at cool bar Flight Club Shoreditch.
- Battle your way out of an escape room using brainpower and teamwork on a nail-biting night out.
Things to do at night in winter
- See Kew Gardens lit up with more than one million sparkling festive lights with Christmas at Kew or wander through the illuminated grounds of Eltham Palace, with Enchanted Eltham Palace.
- Go on a festive adventure with ice skating, fairground rides and Christmas markets at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland.
- Peruse the stalls and enjoy mesmerising shows at the annual Christmas in Leicester Square.
- Marvel at London’s dazzling Christmas lights.
- Celebrate Yuletide with a Christmas market and festive shows at Winter Festival at Southbank Centre.
- See a play at the intimate candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse next to Shakespeare’s Globe.
- Snuggle up with a pint next to a crackling fire in one of London’s cosy pubs.
- Sample tasty winter cocktails at one of London's many rooftop bars.
Things to do at night during summer in London
- While away a balmy summer night in a beer garden.
- Spend a leisurely evening at an alfresco restaurant.
- See one of the Bard’s famous plays at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, a reconstruction of the original open-air playhouse.
- Catch a movie in the great outdoors at one of the city’s open-air cinemas, where movies are screened everywhere from rooftops and atmospheric cemeteries.
- See theatre under the stars at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.
- Watch the sunset with a picnic on Primrose Hill.