London is bursting at the seams with restaurants, bars and theatres in an endlessly evolving nightlife scene. But visitors to the capital can also continue sightseeing long after the sun has set, when the landmarks and iconic buildings are often at their most atmospheric. To experience the best of this buzzing city, follow our guide to exploring London after dark.
1. Natural History Museum
See this museum’s exhibitions and be a part of immersive events long after normal hours with the special Natural History Museum Lates series. Encompassing hands-on art workshops, theatrical performances, talks with experts, and even cocktail workshops, these evening events change each month to coincide with the exhibitions on show.
2. Tower of London
As captivating as the Tower of London is during the day, this Historic Royal Palace makes an even greater impression after dark. Visitors can explore the Tower at night by joining a Tower Twilight Tour. From 7pm on selected dates, the Yeoman Warders (better known as Beefeaters) lead visitors between locations such as Traitors’ Gate and Scaffold Site, while revealing each one’s intriguing stories.
3. London Eye
The giant Ferris wheel that’s become so recognizable on London’s skyline is especially striking when it’s lit up at night. But it’s also the view people have from the top that makes the evenings such a special time to go. Take in the expansive views of London at night, then top it all off by stopping by the Pommery Champagne Bar.
4. Science Museum
Another of London’s venues to offer Museum Lates, evening events at the Science Museum change each month according to the exhibitions on display. Each of these events give all those involved a deeper insight into the are of interest, as well as the chance to see exclusive performances and be a part of interactive workshops.
5. The View from the Shard
The views that visitors get from the top of The Shard are certainly hard to beat, with its impressive elevation and central London setting affording spectacular 360-degree views for up to 40 miles in each direction. But as the lights go on across London after dark, the city takes on an entirely new appearance. After soaking up the incredible nighttime views, stop by one of the evening events, like the silent disco.
6. Victoria and Albert Museum
The world famous V&A Museum opens its doors to visitors after hours for its popular Friday Lates. Held in celebration of contemporary arts and design in society, these evening events bring audiences closer to the work of artists and designers through performances, film screenings, and talks.
7. Somerset House
Throughout the year, Somerset House draws in the crowds for its evening events, many of which take place outdoors. From the Somerset House Summer Series of outdoor concerts and Film4 Summer Screen, to Skate at Somerset House outdoor ice rink in the winter months, the venue alone is enough to take your breath away.
8. Tate Britain
Late at Tate Britain is another opportunity for visitors to see great works of art after hours. These events are less frequent than they are at some of the city’s other venues, making each one a special occasion. These free events incorporate hands-on activities, with food and drink available, in addition to the gallery’s exhibitions.
9. Royal Academy of Arts
At each of The Royal Academy of Art’s RA Lates, the venue is transformed to fit the theme of the evening. With appearances by musicians, performance artists, activities and talks, as well as exhibitions and installations, these inspiring events are a multi-sensory experience.
10. The British Museum
The British Museum is known worldwide for its staggering collection of artefacts from throughout the centuries, as well as from across the globe. But the evening events are entirely unique. Catch comedy acts, in-depth lectures and eclectic theatrical performances throughout the year in this very special setting.
Set out on a discovery of London after dark by joining the See London by Night tour with Evan Evans, and gain a unique insight into the story behind one of London’s most infamous criminals on the Jack the Ripper Tour.
Image credits: Cover photo © iStock / Tomas Sereda. Natural History Museum © Flickr / muffinn. Tower of © Flickr / sksamuel. London © Flickr / Robert Pittman. Science Museum © Flickr / Richardjo53. The View from the Shard © Flickr / Mongfish. Victoria and Albert Museum © Flickr / Paul Hudson. Somerset House © Flickr / Kenneth Fleming. Tate Britain © Flickr / Paul Hudson. Royal Academy of Arts © Flickr / Norlando Pobre. British Museum © Flickr / Bill Hails.