Once the main attractions close and daylight begins to wane, London still has plenty going on… you just need to know where to look.
Below are 10 classic things to fill your evening in London:
See a play at Shakespeare’s Globe
If you’ve passed Shakespeare’s Globe on the Southbank during the day, take it a step further and attend a play. You’ll be taken back in time in this thatched-roof theatre, as men and women dressed in period clothing perform Shakespeare’s greatest works (look online to see what’s currently playing).
For tickets on the cheap, stop by the box office during the day and buy groundling tickets. These standing spots were reserved for the working class in Shakespeare’s London, and allow you to stand alongside the stage on the ground (hence, groundling) for about £7.00.
If you’re not convinced Shakespeare is for you, it’s true what they say… Shakespeare is actually funny when performed live.
Enjoy the skyline at Sky Garden
Several places in London boast the best views of the city, but can they give it to you for free? Sky Garden can (after 6 pm). Even if you rode the London Eye, taking the elevator to the top platform will give you views of the city skyline all lit up without costing you a penny.
You can add a cocktail to the mix from the on-site bar, if you fancy, though keep in mind those aren’t free.
Drink up at Alchemist Bar
As the name suggests, you’ll be drinking cocktails that smoke, glow, light on fire, and more at one of these trendy bars. They’ve been popping up all over England (and the world) — not a dull way to get buzzed by any means.
Test your brain with a pub quiz
I love pub quizzes, and they are quintessentially British. Basically, it’s a trivia night — your team will be pitted against other teams in the pub, all answering questions on music, sports, pop culture, politics, and general knowledge.
To discover what the hype is about: find a pub with a quiz on, pay your entry fee (usually £1 to £3 per person), settle in with drinks and food, and see if your brain is up for the trivia test.
Oh, and the winning team usually gets a free round of drinks or cash… not a bad end to a long day.
Experience a West End musical
Like seeing a Broadway musical in New York, going to a West End show is a must in London. Big name, long-running options as well as obscure, sidestreet acts are always playing.
For a classic, you could go for The Lion King, Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, or Wicked — of which I highly recommend the last one (though they’re all great). For something spunkier, The Book of Mormon and Kinky Boots (my favourite show in London) will keep you laughing.
For more on securing tickets, read this post.
Climb (or ride to) Primrose Hill
Another option for views, the grassy part on Primrose Hill has free panoramic vistas over London. You’ll also get outside of the city centre, so you can see what the city’s suburban life looks like.
Find a local
Pub, that is. If you decided against a pub quiz, you should at least stop in a pub for a pint or two. They tend to be similarly named, so find the nearest one to you (it’s probably called ‘The Lamb’ or ‘The Red Lion’) and sit back for a beverage.
Join a Jack the Ripper tour
If you’re into scary stories, several companies run Jack the Ripper tours throughout London.
Jack the Ripper was a serial killer in Victorian times, who preyed primarily on female prostitutes. His acts were gruesome, though the actual killer was never caught, so mystery exists around who he really was and how the murders were connected.
Become part of the movie at Secret Cinema
Secret Cinema runs full-on, immersive movie nights, and has been since 2007 in London. After you buy your ticket, you’re sent a secret email detailing where you need to be, what time, and what to wear.
You’ll arrive in costume, into a transformed world. For instance, a showing of Moulin Rouge places you in the heart of a cabaret act in Paris, Shawn of the Dead means a zombie apocalypse, and Grease has you dancing in a 1950s high school. And it’s more than a costumed film screening — events and food accompany the event, so you’ll feel like you’re living in the movie.
Take on the town
Like most major cities, London’s nightlife is nothing to scoff at. Cabaret, drag shows, nightclubs, fancy bars, pubs, and secret events… you just have to look to find something that suits your night time fancy.
Whatever you choose to add to your itinerary, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be excellent. London takes its evening entertainment seriously and will be happy to show you a good time.
What’s your favourite way to spend an evening in the capital? Let me know in a comment!