London is well known for having some of the best nightlife in not only the UK, but Europe too. From immersive theatre to the best in techno, paying the bill for dinner at the Montcalm London City needn’t be the end of your evening.
London’s 32 boroughs offer a lot of evenings out, meaning that there’s always something for night owls to do, whatever their tastes or interests. This blog will explore just some of the many events and attractions for guests of London hotel packages to capitalise on during their visit.
Enjoy A West End Show
London’s West End is teeming with excitement, and draws not only the best in British creative talent to perform, but international too. From the Adelphi to the Harold Pinter Theatre, guests can enjoy everything from Broadway drama transfers from Oscar winning writers to home grown musicals from the likes of Andrew Lloyd Webber. There’s something for everyone on the West End, and around 40 shows to choose from on any single day.
Or Explore Further Afield
It’s not just the West End where you can top notch performances. Theatres like the Royal Court in Sloane Square, the Arcola in Dalston and the Hampstead Theatre in, well, Hampstead, are all examples of performance venues where many of today's most famous theatre and television makers cut their teeth in the business. If you discard the West End, there are more than 150 other theatres across the city. These include pub theatres, off-West End venues and hybrid arts spaces such as the Barbican.
Late At Tates
Every last Friday of the month, the Tate Modern or Britain, two of the city's most popular art galleries, programme a night of music, workshops and art exhibitions. These unique, often themed events incorporate local talent and younger creatives, providing both a creative hub for artists to socialise in as well as a stellar night out for London visitors. Not one of the lates are ever the same, and they’re often free to attend as well.
Drink In The South Bank
When we say “drink in”, we mean it both figuratively and literally. Not only does London’s most scenic stretch of the Thames offer beautiful views of the city, but it has a great deal of bars too. Many are located in the South Bank’s trio of cultural centres, which we’ll get onto in just a moment.
The easiest route to the South Bank for guests of spa hotels in London is via Waterloo Station, just a few minutes walk away. You can also find docks for the London River Cruise here, as well as the London Eye, which is open every day till 6 pm.
The National Theatre represents the best of England’s theatre makers and performers, providing thought provoking new writing, much-loved classics and family friendly theatre all year round. With great value tickets, the brutalist structure overlooking the Thames also houses several bars and an extensive bookshop teeming with play scripts.
British Film Institute
Your one stop shop for international cinema, the British Film Institute might as well be called the “World” Film Institute considering the diversity of its themed programming. The cinema and its associated funding body has birthed some of the best filmmakers in the country. With two separate bars, a free to use library and multimedia suite, the British Film Institute is a cinephile's dream.
The Southbank Centre, Hayward Gallery And Royal Festival Hall
The Southbank Centre and adjoining Royal Festival Hall are live music and performance venues that offer classical and pop concerts, and everything in between them. The Southbank Centre also has a connected art gallery called the Hayward, which programmes contemporary and modern art, photography and sculpture exhibitions - though these may be closed during the evening.
London’s Best Clubs
London’s nightclub scene is a sought after booking for many of the world’s best DJ’s. The superclubs, underground (sometimes literally) dance halls and pop up venues promise some of the best in techno, house and everything beyond. Venues to keep on your nightlife radar include Corsica in Elephant and Castle, Printworks in Rotherhithe, Bussey Building in Peckham and for guests of hotels near Finsbury Square London, Village Underground in Shoreditch. All these venues and many more offer a vast selection of dance music genres. If you weren’t a night owl before, you definitely will be after sampling London’s nightclub scene.
Live Music Hot Spots
Often blending into the nightclub venue programming is live music. Gigs in London usually take place between 7 pm and 11 pm and with the amount of home grown talent that comes out of London, you can expect multiple high profile gigs for every day of the week. Below are some of the best areas for enjoying live music in London.
From Brick Lane’s Rough Trade East record shop and venue to the Village Underground (mentioned above), Shoreditch’s trendy atmosphere and vibrant arts culture make it the perfect night out for music lovers. Try a curry on Brick Lane before your gig, but don’t get too bloated, you’ll be dancing all night!
Hackney And Dalston
Another East London must-visit, Hackney and Dalston serve up the best in not only Turkish cuisine, but alternative, electronic and queer-friendly chaos most nights of the week. For Hackney, check out the events at MOTH club and Paper Dress Vintage on Mare Street. For Dalston check out EartH and the Shacklewell Arms for near-daily live music.
Thanks to its history of Afrocarribean culture and punk music, Brixton has grown a dizzying array of medium sized to large event spaces that cater to a variety of genres. These include the DIY ethos of Brixton Windmill, the O2 Academy and the Electric Brixton.
London’s Comedy Scene
From the Soho Theatre to the Angel Comedy Club, live standup in London spans from open mic fresh faces to city stalwarts and even international comedy stars. There’s always a laugh to be had in the capital, and the best venues include the London Comedy Store, the Camden Comedy Club and the Bill Murray.