Around 65% (two-thirds) of Londoners are regularly active at night, taking advantage of their free time to run personal errands, socialise, and take part in cultural events—as found in the executive report entitled London at night: an evidence base for a 24-hour city. The findings show that London is, indeed, a city that never sleeps, which workers in a plethora of venues keeping it open 24/7. Because London is a city in continuous growth—and one of the most visited cities in the world—it will continue to enjoy a high demand for nighttime experiences. If you plan on visiting this beautiful city soon, make sure you enjoy the following experiences.
Visiting the Shard for a Romantic Dinner
The Shard, a stunning structure that stands proud at 309.6 metres high, is the tallest building in the UK and by day, it affords what is arguably the most stunning panoramic view of the city of London with all its majestic landmarks. By night, however, the Shard takes on a distinctly romantic vibe, as it is home to three trendy gourmet restaurants—Oblix (serving contemporary cuisine on the 32nd floor), Hutong (tempting diners with Northern Chinese cuisine on level 33), and Aqua Shard (serving British dishes on the 31st floor). If you have the budget for it, stay overnight at one of 202 guestrooms and suites at Shangri-La The Shard.
A Night Ride on the London Eye
One of London’s most famous attractions is the London Eye, a big wheel that looks out over the sparkling lights of the city. From way up in the clouds, look for monuments like the Shard, Big Bem, Westminster Abbey, Tower Bridge, and of course, Buckingham Palace. Queues can get quite long during peak season, so make sure to get your hands on skip-the-line tickets so you can get to see many more sites asap.
Catching a Theatrical Performance
London is home to a number of theatres, with close to 40 being located in the West End alone. Currently on are shows like Dirty Dancing, Wicked, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical, Mamma Mia!, Book of Moron, and more. Visitors can always find a blend of current and traditional shows featuring classics such as Macbeth and Hamlet. Other theatres with programmes worth checking out are the National Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe, Young Vic, the Barbican Theatre, and of course, the Royal Opera House.
Enjoying a Game of Bingo
After a day’s shopping or after an evening show, you may feel like testing your luck with a bingo game in London. Bingo has actually made a big comeback in this city and many events are themed. Thus, you can take part in musical, drag, brunch, and late-night bingo, depending on your tastes. Top venues for this game include Palace Bingo at the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre, the giant Buzz Bingo Stratford, and Mecca Camden Town. Many venues offer special menus and cheap nights, making them an ideal place to enjoy a cheap but cheerful night out before heading to a disco or bar to spend some of the night’s wins.
Cruising the Thames
Few things beat a Champagne dinner cruise on the Thames and London has a plethora of companies offering this service. Most cruises take you to see London’s best riverside landmarks, such as the London Eye, Tower Bridge, and Tower of London. Some also offer themed parties, making them ideal for birthdays and holidays.
There are so many things to do and sights to catch by night in London. Some are completely free—such as taking a romantic walk along the River Thames. Others—such as staycations at The Shard, are catered to those wishing to enjoy a luxurious vacation. The city is also home to a plethora of museums, theatres, bingo halls, and monuments that will keep you entertained at all hours, both day and night.