London, the capital of England, is known for its rich history and famous sights. Yet, with the city lights flashing on, London at night has a special charm and vibrancy. Whether you’re with family or on a date, there are nighttime activities for everyone’s tastes. We’ll show you the most popular places for walks, pub crawls, shopping, and live shows. Or if you just want to admire the views, we have a few suggestions for that too. But before you head out, here are our recommendations for the best things to do in London at night.
Best Views of London
To see sparkling London at night, you best head up to the Shard’s Viewing Gallery or Sky Garden. They both provide live entertainment and fine dining, along with panoramic views. For special occasions, a VIP Experience at the London Eye has amazing vistas too.
Best Places to Walk at Night
If you want to capture London’s essence, walk by the Illuminated River Installation. For history buffs, we recommend going to Piccadilly Circus or Trafalgar Square. You can also join in on one of the guided tours for local insights.
Best Things to do in London at night with Family
If you’re on a family holiday, you must visit Oxford Street to buy souvenirs. Kids will love the ghost tours, eating delicacies, or singing karaoke in Chinatown. Come during Christmas, when ice-skating as a family around Hyde Park is magical.
Most Romantic Places in London at Night
A Thames River dinner cruise is one of the most romantic dates you can take your partner. Besides the great food, you’ll see most of the famous landmarks at night. Alternatively, go to the Shard, Sky Garden, or London Eye for better views. For a truly romantic experience, see a candlelit performance at Shakespeare’s Globe. You can also check our guide on Romantic Things To Do In London at Night.
1. Thames River Dinner Cruise
A Thames River Dinner Cruise is one of the must-dos in London at night. With fine dining and live music on board, most cruises will go for 3 hours. You also have access to exclusive views of brightly lit attractions along the Thames. Boats usually depart from several locations: Westminster Pier, Embankment Pier, or Canary Wharf. During the cruise, you’ll see famous sights such as HMS Belfast, Tower Bridge, and the O2. And while you’re passing these attractions, a three to five-course meal is served. There are cruises where you can dance to West End musicals, or just relax and listen to jazz. It’s best to book early so you don’t miss out.
- Opening Hours: Cruise tours from 6:30pm
- Address: Thames River, London
2. London Eye
Built in 1999, the London Eye is a huge Ferris wheel along the River Thames. Standing at 135 meters, it has 32 pods with a capacity of 25 passengers each. The 30-minute ride offers the most amazing 360-degree panoramic views of London. On a clear day, you can see famous sights like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and even Windsor Castle. At night, the London Eye provides visitors with a different, but still breathtaking outlook of the city. Try to visit at sunset as the city transitions to beaming lights at night. During winter particularly, it is an incredible experience as you see London in its full Christmas glory. Special VIP Experiences, such as the Champagne Experience or Cupid’s Pod can be pre-booked. It’s a great way to celebrate special occasions in a private setting.
- Opening Hours: June to August 10am-10:30pm; Rest of the year 11am-6pm
- Address: Riverside Building, County Hall, London SE1 7PB, United Kingdom
3. The Shard Viewing Gallery
With its 310 m height, The Shard is Western Europe’s tallest building. The Viewing Gallery is the highest viewing platform in London. Inspired by the concept of “A Vertical City”, the Shard is a place where you can live, work, and relax. It is home to private offices, apartments, the Shangri-La hotel, bars, and award-winning restaurants. If you want to feel how London lights up at night, head up to the Viewing Gallery on levels 68, 69, and 72 floors. Here, you can indulge in panoramic views of the city in every direction. Step out to the open-air deck, on floor 72, to further take in the sights and sounds below. Before you leave, sit down in one of the restaurants or bars on the lower levels. For couples, it’s the perfect romantic date night at the Shard.
- Opening Hours: Generally, Saturday 10am-10pm; Sunday to Friday 11am-7pm; Monday & Tuesday closed
- Address: 32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG, United Kingdom
4. London Sky Garden
Haven’t marveled enough at London’s skyline? Then make your way up to the 43rd floor at the walkie-talkie building – Sky Garden. On arrival, you’ll feel the hidden oasis vibes in the middle of the hectic city. Lush greenery and fragrant flowers enchant all who take a stroll around the garden. Designed by critically acclaimed architect Rafael Viñoly, Sky Garden is free to visit. But make sure you book in advance, as spaces are limited. Dress accordingly, especially if you want to check out the views from the outdoor terrace. Sundown brings live music and occasional DJ sets to Sky Garden. With two bars and two restaurants onsite, it’s a great place to visit at night in London.
- Opening Hours: Daily til 12am; Friday til 1am
- Address: 20 Fenchurch Street, London, United Kingdom
5. Shakespeare’s Globe
What’s better than getting to know Shakespeare firsthand while in London? Paying homage to the original Amphitheatre, the Globe Theatre has welcomed visitors for over twenty years. Please your cultural craving by seeing plays like Henry V. or The Winter’s Tale. They truly transport you back into the Shakespearian Era but with a modern twist. Bring your coat with you, because the Globe Theatre is an open-air theatre. Or book a ticket to an indoor, candlelit performance at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. After that, walk next door, to Swan Bar & Restaurant. Stunning views of the Thames elevate your gastronomic journey to the next level. Swan’s wine selection also comes highly recommended.
- Opening Hours: Shows from 7pm; Swan Bar & Restaurant 11:30am-8:45pm
- Address: 21 New Globe Walk, London SE1 9DT, United Kingdom
6. Wembley Stadium
Ever wished to walk out pitch-side like a pro? During the day, you can take a tour of Wembley Stadium and live out your personal fantasy. But it’s at night when things liven up for a concert, football match, and other sports. Go on the VIP Matchday Tour Experience to see the player’s locker rooms, field tunnel, and pitch. Behind the scenes, you can watch the team warm up and even interact with the players. The 90-minute tour pass also gets you a discount card to the shops of the London Design Outlet, next to the Stadium. Easily reached with the Night Tube’s Jubilee Line, Wembley is the best place for live events. Check the official site for the latest events at the stadium.
- Opening Hours: Events and match times vary
- Address: Wembley Park, Wembley, London, England
7. Piccadilly Circus
Meet with locals at London’s most popular gathering place. Piccadilly Circus has served as the center of London’s nightlife since 1819. It is located between Coventry Street, Shaftesbury Avenue, and Regent Street. Piccadilly Circus leads you to the theatres of the West End, late-night shopping areas, and nightclubs. Make sure you sit on the steps under the crowned statue of Eros. Or, take a picture in front of the Piccadilly Lights. The distinguished Lilywhites department store is a must-visit as well. Dotted with bright advertisement screens, Piccadilly Circus is the perfect place to see at night. Prepare for crowds and general busyness, so keep a keen eye on your belongings.
- Opening Hours: Daily 24/7
- Address: Piccadilly Circus, London, W1J
8. Carnaby Street
Catering to the hippie movement from 1960s, Carnaby Street has evolved into London’s most vibrant shopping street. It has an electric atmosphere and positive vibes at night. As you walk down the street, you’ll see fun-colored buildings and quirky side alleys. Aside from luxury brands, there are independent boutiques, pubs, and cafés here. Make sure you stop by Kingly Court and try one of the 25 trendy restaurants. If you have kids, look out for Crumbs & Doilies, a cupcake bakery on the ground floor. Carnaby Street goes all out with its Christmas decorations. Previous themes include Rolling Stones, Choose Love, and Kaleidoscope. You can reach this lively area by getting off at Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus subway.
- Opening Hours: Daily 24/7; shops & restaurants vary
- Address: Carnaby Street, London, United Kingdom
9. Trafalgar Square
Venture into Trafalgar Square to learn more about London’s multicultural history. It is the capital’s most emblematic open space. Highlights of the Square include Nelson’s Column, The Fourth Plinth, and the Police box – the relic of the smallest police station in London. At night, you can also admire the grand fountains illuminated by LED lights. Thrill seekers can make their way down to Café in the Crypt, under St Martin-in-the-Fields Church. Trafalgar Square hosts a range of free events like Pride in London and Chinese New Year. Visit in December to see the annual Christmas tree, which has come from Norway each year since 1947.
- Opening Hours: Daily 24/7; the National Gallery Friday 10am-9pm
- Address: Trafalgar Sq, London WC2N 5DN, United Kingdom
10. Chinatown London
If you’re looking for amazing food, Chinatown London is your next destination. Positioned between Soho and Theatreland, it is easily accessible on foot. Open late into the evening, Chinatown invites you to an authentic East-Asian dining experience. Crave dim sum? Golden Dragon is your place. Want to try Hong Kong-style egg waffles? Stop by Bubblewrap. And for fancy fruit-based boba drinks, Yi Fang’s got you covered. Besides dining, Chinatown is the ultimate cultural melting pot of London, celebrating diversity. Join a walking tour at night to learn more about its history and significance.
- Opening Hours: Daily 24/7
- Address: Chinatown, Westminster, England, W1D
11. Leadenhall Market
If there’s heavy rain at night, Leadenhall Market is a great place to explore. A 3-minute walk from Sky Garden, it is a covered market buzzing with pedestrians. Leadenhall Market first became known as the center of Roman London in the 1320s. Nowadays, you’ll find various shops, restaurants, and bars open til late. The market is still brightly lit after all the shops close – it’s the best time for a photo. Harry Potter fans might recognize some shops from the first movie. It was frequently used as a filming location. Join one of the walking tours if you want to see the pub they used as the Leaky Cauldron.
- Opening Hours: Public area open daily 24/7; shops vary
- Address: Gracechurch St, London EC3V 1LT, United Kingdom
12. Late Night Shopping
Most shops in London will close at 8pm, generally from Monday to Saturday. On Sundays, the few shops that are open are likely to shut their doors by 6pm. July also benefits from longer business hours, due to the summer sales. If you are heading out shopping at night, there are some areas where there’s a bit more buzz. Most of them are large malls with big brands and restaurants open til late. Here are some recommended places to visit for a late night shopping spree.
- Harrods – Monday to Saturday 10am-9pm. Also check out Knightsbridge shops nearby.
- Oxford Street – Most shops Monday to Saturday 10am-9pm
- Selfridges – Monday to Friday 10am-10pm; Saturday 10am-9pm
- Westfield Stratford City – Monday to Friday 10am-9pm; Saturday 9am-9pm
- Westfield London – Monday to Saturday 10am-9pm
If you’re not sure where to start, follow a tour guide who can direct you to the best shopping areas. For more shopping areas, check our guide:
13. Pubs and Bars
Go out for a drink or two after dark like a Londoner. Participate in a pub crawl in West End or Camden Town. Or take the Night Tube to Hackney for its buzzing bar scene. Rooftop bars, such as Aviary and Skylight will spoil you with splendid London views. While The Mayflower and Trafalgar Tavern have ever-changing sceneries of River Thames. If you’re after the weirdest venue in the city, the WC bars might surprise you. But if you desire the perfect cocktail in London, head to Untitled. ABQ London even lets you make your drink of choice. These are just some of the places to drink in London, but there are definitely more. Join a local guide to see the best venues, particularly historical pubs.
- Opening Hours: Daily until 11pm
14. Ghost Tours
Spooky season is an all-year affair in London. Ghost tours happen daily, encouraging curious minds to join. As London’s history is rich in murders and executions, there are many tales to tell. Local guides will take you through different routes on 2-3 hour tours. In Whitechapel, you are told the true story of Jack the Ripper’s murders. Whereas, the Cloak and Dagger tour recreates the bloody crimes committed in Southwark. If you’re a fan of the comedy-horror genre, hop on the Ghost Bus. In the 1960s, this refurbished Routemaster bus has been used to carry corpses to funerals. For families, Hidden City organizes eerie scavenger hunts, inspired by Alice in Wonderland.
- Departure Times: Tours from 6pm
15. London Tours at Night
London truly comes to life as the sun sets. Let the alluring ambiance of the city guide you through the night. If it’s your first time in London, catch an open-top bus that drives by top attractions. It’s the easiest way to see the city and the lively buzz in the streets. There are also plenty of walking tours at night. One of the more popular routes is along the Thames River, where you’ll see the Illuminated River Installation. For those who love a chat, join a pub tour and let the drinks lead the fun. The best time to visit is in December when the streets are decorated with Christmas lights.
- Departure Times: Tours from 6pm
London Nightlife Map
|London at Night||Hours|
|Thames River Dinner Cruise||Cruise tours from 6:30pm|
|London Eye||June to August 10am-10:30pm; Rest of the year 11am-6pm|
|The Shard Viewing Gallery||Saturday 10am-10pm; Sunday to Friday 11am-7pm; Monday & Tuesday closed|
|London Sky Garden||Daily til 12am; Friday til 1am|
|Shakespeare’s Globe||Shows from 7pm; Swan Bar & Restaurant 11:30am-8:45pm|
|Wembley Stadium||Events and match times vary|
|Piccadilly Circus||Daily 24/7|
|Trafalgar Square||Daily 24/7; the National Gallery Friday 10am-9pm|
|Chinatown London||Daily 24/7|
|Leadenhall Market||Public area open daily 24/7; shops vary|
|Carnaby Street||Daily 24/7; shops & restaurants vary|
|Late Night Shopping||Monday to Saturday 10am-9pm|
|Pubs and Bars||Daily until 11pm|
|Ghost Tours||Tours from 6pm|
|London Tours at Night||Tours from 6pm|