The Night Tube: Our Guide to London After Dark
With the first Night Tube services now running on the Victoria and Central lines, with services on the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines due to be rolled out in Autumn, running to catch the last tube is finally a thing of the past. This adds a whole new realm of possibility to your next visit to the capital, so we’ve got the lowdown on the top ten things to do in London after dark.
- See the night sky at Hampstead Observatory
A simple idea, yet by no means underwhelming, a late-night visit to Hampstead Heath for a spot of stargazing is as romantic as it is inexpensive. In the Autumn and Winter months, Hampstead Scientific Society open their telescopes for public usage every Friday and Saturday evening. Hampstead Heath is also home to the highest point in Central London, so you can enjoy an unbeatable vantage point and admire the city’s illuminated skyline.
- Visit the Houses of Parliament
Did you know, both the House of Lords or the House of Commons often work late into the night? Whenever either is in session, visitors can enter for free and watch the parliamentary debates from the public gallery. Whether you’re planning an extraordinary first date, or looking to do something a bit different after night-fall, an evening jaunt to the Houses of Parliament will surely be a memorable one. Check the schedule ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
- Hear Big Ben strike midnight
No trip to London is complete without the obligatory selfie in front of Big Ben. Why not buck the trend and see the world’s most famous clock-face in all its illuminated glory at night? Since the Clock Tower sits right on the banks of the River Thames, neighbouring Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, and the London Eye, and a short walk from Buckingham Palace, you can admire some of the capital’s most iconic landmark on a moonlit self-guided tour.
- Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club
Over the decades, London’s music scene has made important contributions to popular culture across the globe, so it would be silly to pass up on the opportunity to enjoy a drink at one of the most prominent jazz clubs in the world: Ronnie Scott’s. This Soho institution hosts nightly live performances from house and guest musicians, with past performers including Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Jamie Cullum, and even Jimi Hendrix.
London is home to thousands of bars and pubs, but there’s none quite like Icebar London – the UK’s only permanent bar made of ice. The walls, tables, chairs, impressive ice sculptures, and even your glass, are made entirely from the purest, crystal clear ice, harvested from the frozen Torne River in Jukkasjärvi, Northern Sweden. Perfect if you’re looking for an unforgettable evening that will, quite literally, give you goosebumps!
- Primrose Hill
As well as being one of the capital’s classiest neighbourhoods, home to a host of celebrities, politicians, and VIPs, Primrose Hill boasts one of the best – if not the best – views of London’s skyline. By day, this lush, undulating space is the perfect picnic spot, but by night it is the perfect vantage point from which you can enjoy a truly enchanting view of the capital.
- Frank’s Café, Peckham
Located on the tenth floor of a multi-storey car park, Frank’s café is a rooftop bar that embodies Peckham’s thriving alternative culture. Sip on a pint or Pimm’s as you enjoy a midsummer sunset over the South London skyline, with a spectacular view of The Shard, the Gherkin, and The City. There’s also a tempting street-food style menu, served until 11pm. Frank’s Café don’t take reservations, so make sure you arrive early to avoid disappointment.
- Museum Lates
If it’s an evening of culture you’re after, then you’re in luck. Most of London’s museums have late-night opening hours at least once a week, so you can avoid the weekend rush. Whether you fancy spending your evening with the mummies at the British Museum, or want to wander through the National Gallery, pondering the works of Monet and Van Gogh, there’s something for everyone. Check online for dates and opening hours, and start planning your itinerary!