Top London Nightlife Destinations (According to Locals)

London is one of the most iconic cities in the world. Its influence in theatre, sports, fashion, and music stretches across the globe. At times it seems the city never sleeps, and that includes the small hours of the morning!

From engaging drama productions, first-class clubs, or getting a look at the history of the city - London never disappoints. Here's a sampling of what London has to offer anyone who finds themselves there after dark!

Can’t-Miss London Theatres

The Old Vic

The Cut, Lambeth | The Old Vic's website

This theatre has been entertaining London crowds for over 200 years and shows no signs of slowing down. The Old Vic prides itself on showing experimental theatre that breaks boundaries and starts conversations. In addition to drama pieces new and old, it’s home to engaging comedy performances and operas. As an independent and not for profit theatre, it creates entertainment options that are accessible to anyone. Seats start at just under $13.

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

21 New Globe Walk, Bankside | The Shakespeare's Globe website

There is perhaps no more iconic theatre anywhere than Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. The current building was built on top of the original theatre that opened to the public in 1599. After restoration work in the 1990s, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre was opened as a working theatre. It strives to bring Shakespeare to everyone in a unique space that seems to take on a character of its own. You can catch performances here year-round. You can also take a tour and learn all about the history of the theatre, and the impact Shakespeare has had on this art form.

National Theatre

Upper Ground, Lambeth | The National Theatre's website

No list of must-visit London theatres would be complete without a nod to the National Theatre, which is the conglomeration of three separate stages. The plays shown here are always one of the hottest tickets in town. This theatre brings shows to the national stage, so any performance you catch will set the bar high for other dramatic performances you might see!

Best Spots to Catch London’s Music Scene

Scarfes Bar

Rosewood Hotel, 252 High Holborn, Holborn | Scarfe's Bar website

Besides theatre, London is also known for its eclectic music scene. You'll find music ranging from punk, indie, classical, and dubstep - and at Scarfes Bar, jazz. This low-key establishment is located in the fun Covent Garden area. It is the perfect spot to grab an artfully created cocktail while you listen to smooth live jazz. Don’t forget to check out the artwork that adorns the walls - created by none other than famous caricature artist George Scarfe.

The Half Moon

93 Lower Richmond Rd., Putney | The Half Moon's website

If you want to delve into the history of London’s music scene, then visiting the Half Moon is a must. This London icon has been host to music legends U2, The Who, The Rolling Stones, and Frank Sinatra. In addition to contributing to the thriving music scene of London, the Half Moon is a fun place to stop and have a couple of pints of beer. No matter what type of music you’re into, the Half Moon’s event calendar is sure to have something to your liking.

Slaughtered Lamb

34-35 Great Sutton St., Clerkenwell | The Slaughtered Lamb's website

Despite sounding like the name of a metal band, the Slaughtered Lamb is a haven for all kinds of music. It seeks to keep the music of London alive and well on a small and intimate stage. You can catch live music acts here almost any night of the week, and always on weekends. If you plan to go, make sure you get there a little early, as the place tends to fill up quickly. The Slaughtered Lamb has a simple bar menu offering sustainable meat and seafood to go with your musical evening.

Nighttime Tours of London

The London Ghost Walking Tour

PO Box 53131 | The London's Ghost Tour website

Taking a tour of London at night is a fantastic idea - especially when it involves all the haunted locations of the city! The Ghost Walking Tour is led by expert Richard Jones, who has written many books on the paranormal beings who inhabit London. The long history of London makes this a very interesting tour. You’ll be taken to many of the haunted hot spots that are still seeing activity today. You’ll travel through alleyways and graveyards that may seem ordinary during the day, but are extremely spooky at night! If you’re brave enough, consider signing up for a tour!

Jack the Ripper Tour

9 The Shrubberies, George Lane | The Jack the Ripper Tour website

Another tour that is as interesting as it is macabre is the Jack the Ripper Tour. It takes customers on a tour of all the places that London’s infamous serial killer haunted. These tours are guided by experts and authors on the Jack the Ripper case. You’ll get to see first-hand the location in Whitechapel where Jack took his victims. Then you'll follow the trail to all the places that the original 19th-century detectives observed and gathered clues from. Guides will transport you back to the Victorian era East End, and you might feel a little uneasy as you move through the dark streets and alleyways. This tour also gives participants access to documents and photos that the actual detectives used - who knows, perhaps you can help solve the crime!

Iconic London Pubs

Ye Olde Mitre

1 Ely Court, Ely Place, Holborn | Ye Olde Mitre's website

This must-visit pub in London was built in 1546 for the servants and household staff of the bishops of Ely. It has been in the same location operating as a pub since then. It was the place where all future pub owners in the Cambridge area would visit to get their licenses. Visitors and locals alike appreciate all the charms that come with this time-worn place. The friendly staff serves up homemade food and some of the best ales in Britain.

Spaniard's Inn

Spaniard's Road, Hampstead | The Spaniard's Inn website

This storied pub was opened in 1585 as a tollgate for the Finchley boundary. It was named after the Spanish ambassador the King James I, Diego Sarmiento de Acuña. This place is teeming with British literary references. It was mentioned in Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers, and was the place where John Keats wrote “Ode to a Nightingale.” It is a charming building that still retains much of its original works, with just a few modern additions. This pub should offer anyone an interesting evening, whether you’re at one of the large booths inside, or outside in the walled beer garden!

The Grapes

76 Narrow St., Poplar | The Grapes' website

This pub has been situated right along the Thames for over 500 years, and saw explorer Sir Walter Raleigh leave for his third voyage to the New World. This pub continues to give patrons a fantastic place to grab a pint and relax. It offers them a candlelit dining room to have a more intimate meal, complete with spectacular views of London. If you’re looking for an authentic British pub experience, complete with warm and welcoming staff, look no further than The Grapes.

London Dance Clubs


77A Charterhouse St., Farringdon | Fabric's website

The DJs at Fabric are sure to have you dancing well into the night - and having the best time doing it! This club has been a staple on the dance and EDM scene since 1999, and it shows no sign of cutting back. There are three stages at this nightclub, all with their own acoustics that guarantee you’re going to feel that bass. This spot features internationally-known acts, but also showcases up and coming talent.

Night Tales

14 Bohemia Place | Night Tales' website

The ultimate in luxe lounge, Night Tales has the perfect welcoming 5,000 ft. terrace complete with soft couches and plenty of tables. Grab some cocktails and prepare for the night ahead! Once you decide it’s time to visit the club, you’ll be transported to all the best that London’s DJ scene has to offer. Showcasing acts from the world over, you’ll feel like staying until the 3 am closing time!

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