London has a large range of after-dark activities for night owls. Whether you're in the mood for loud music or a quiet moonlight stroll, you're bound to find something that suits you on any given night. Don't be discouraged when you see some shops closing in the evening. London has plenty of places that stay open late into the night to entertain residents and visitors.
Nobody over the age of 18 can leave the United Kingdom without participating in a traditional British pub crawl. Start the night at a traditional tavern, and when the scene gets dull, move on to another. If you make it to an East London pub with a "Fives" dart board--such as the Palm Tree on Grove Road, near the Mile End tube station--play a round of London fives, also known as East End darts. The Time Out London website recommends the Monopoly pub crawl route, which includes 26 pubs (see Resources).
Although parts of London are dangerous to walk around in at night--especially if you're alone--other places stay alive with people and things to see. Take a walk along the Thames River and gaze at the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and the London Eye lit up for the night. If you're in the mood for a guided tour, try a London ghost walk or a Jack the Ripper tour, which typically start around 7:00 PM (see Resources).
Many young Londoners love to go clubbing at night, regardless of the day of the week. Time Out London's website recommends Matter, which has huge speakers that purposely let you feel the bass waves as you dance. For a party feel with an arts venue, try Corsica Studios, recommended by London Town website.
If you don't have tickets to a music gig, don't despair. London has music gigs going every night, with plenty of opportunities to purchase tickets at the door. Head to Camden, the music centre of London, and see if any gigs are on at the Barfly, the Roundhouse, the Electric Ballroom or Koko.
The London Eye, which looks like a giant Ferris wheel, continues running until 8:00 PM in winter and 9:00 or 9:30 PM in summer months. Board at sunset or after dark to see the lights of London begin to illuminate as the sun goes down. You can make a party out of it by booking a private capsule in advance and ordering food and wine, though the price tag for a private capsule is hefty. Otherwise, visitors can share a capsule with others for an inexpensive single ticket, and on quiet days, you and a few guests may get a capsule all to yourself.