Other than its larger-than-life landmarks, London nightlife is known for its world-class and vibrant tourist districts. Being the capital of England and also the most populous of cities, it has provided non-stop entertainment for both its locals and tourists. It is also dubbed as the most visited city in the UK attracting twenty million visitors each year.
London is no stranger to most people as it is home to international music icons from The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Coldplay, Freddie Mercury, and pop groups like One Direction and Spice Girls. More rocks stars to classical composers have started their humble beginnings in some of the in-demand music venues in London and piano and jazz bars which are mostly scattered in Camden, Soho, and Mayfair.
If you are searching for the best cocktail bars and romantic dinner spots in London, you can head over at South Kensington, known to be the wealthiest neighborhood in London. For gay bars and sports bars, the best place to visit would be in East London. For a complete nightlife experience, check out our guide below. Enjoy!
Best Nightlife in London
Best Nightlife Spots: Bars, Lounges & More
More Nightlife in London
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THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO LONDON NIGHTLIFE
PREPARING FOR YOUR TRIP TO LONDON
London: What it’s really like
If your next Euro trip will be in London, then expect a night filled with surprises, from rooftop bars with sweeping views and themed parties at the hottest nightclubs in the city.
You can never go wrong with the colorful London Nightlife – whether grabbing a classic cocktail in Soho, pub crawling in Hoxton, walking tours, or visiting the up-and-coming live music venues in the city – everything is a must-experience.
It is home of the “Wembley” football team and musicians like Adele, Freddie Mercury, Eric Clapton, and Amy Winehouse to name a few. There are internationally known bands hailing from London, including Coldplay, The Police, Fleetwood Mac, Mumford and Sons, and more!
If you want to see more cutting-edge bars and experience unique attractions in the city – lucky you! – as we’ve rounded up some pretty London nightlife attractions, tips, restaurants to try worthy of your future visit.
Why you should visit
- Soho. Did you know that Soho is named as the heartbeat of the city, as you can visit various nightlife attractions from jazz clubs, drinking holes, countless cafes, as well as LGBT bars? The Soho area is an edgy epicenter in London where you can see fashionable galleries and record shops as well!
It’s also a perfect bohemian hangout and was in fact visited by most celebrities from different parts of the world.
- Hampstead. If you want to take a break from partying and pub crawling, then Hampstead is the place to be. This area, as a matter of fact, is one of the city’s largest and wildest green spaces. If you still have more time, we recommend you take a short drive from the city center and visit Hampstead Heath – famous for being a movie location of the popular Julia Roberts’ film Notting Hill.
Get your cameras ready and take that Instagram-worthy shot in this area’s charming streets, side streets, boutiques, pubs, and scenic landscapes.
- Clapton. Wandering around Clapton feels like walking in Manhattan, because of their transformed warehouse spaces, food markets, as well as lovely pubs. Check out Clapton Hart if you’re into vintage vibe!
What most people don’t know is that Clapton is increasingly gaining more visitors because more independent bars and restaurants are opening from time to time.
If you’re into luxury shopping, you may visit the Hackney Walk and the Stoke Newington High Street!
- Camden. Want to experience a more youthful vibe in London? Visit Camden and check out art galleries, food stalls, and vintage stores. This northern district in London is also home to the hottest live music venues where some of the greatest musicians started out, from Pink Floyd to Amy Winehouse!
- Notting Hill. You’ve probably watched the movie a hundred times, but mind you, this area in London is much better in real life. It’s famous for its pastel-colored houses, Portobello market, and art galleries. Best restaurants situated here at Notting Hill include The Electric Diner, Valentina, and one of London’s Michelin star restaurants – The Ledbury.
For a quick drink, you may indulge in the following pubs and bars: The Cow, The Elgin, Cock and Bottle, Hillgate or Beach Blanket Babylon for tasty cocktails!
There’s just some essential you can’t miss on your bags. Agree? Apart from the passport, visa, and other travel documents, here’s a checklist which might be of help on your London trip.
- Bring a U.K Power Adapter. Just in case you missed it, other parts of the UK uses a 220v three pin system so you’re going to need an adapter to plug in your charger/device.
- Classy Outfit. You don’t want to be stepping inside a club underdressed, right?
- Raincoat. Due to London’s rainy weather, it’s best to bring a raincoat – pick out a stylish one!
- Travel insurance. Whether you’re going to London or any other country in the world, always bring your travel insurance with you.
- Camera. Now you don’t wanna miss out the good parts in traveling to London, don’t we?
- Reusable Water Bottle. Drinking water does not come cheap in London. Bring a reusable water bottle – in that way – you save money and you save the environment!
If you’re preparing for your next Euro trip for the holiday, it’s a must to learn about their weather so you know what type of clothing to bring.
- Peak season usually happens during summer, in the months of June to August. Hotel prices and temperature are also at its highest during this time.
- If you want to enjoy glowing sunsets and see London in its full color, then September to November is the perfect month to visit. Bring in the most comfortable yet stylish party wear and experience London nightlife!
- Did you know that Spring is one of the most favorite seasons of Londoners? Various events from restaurant openings, musical shows, and art exhibitions to name a few.
And since the weather in London is very unpredictable, it is recommended to bring a brolly, short-term for umbrella especially if you’re spending most of the time in the outdoors.
Booking a Hotel – Where to Stay
- The Dorchester. Feel like royalty in one of London’s 5-star hotel situated at Park Land and Deanery Street. Since it’s one of the most expensive hotels in the world, plenty of renowned artists, celebrities, and politicians around the world preferred to stay at this hotel and experience their upscale amenities, services, and quality rooms, of course.
Guests are also entitled to easy access to nearby luxury shops and restaurants. But if they prefer staying in the hotel for the day, worry not, because they house The Promenade, The Grill offering the best signature British cuisine, and the three Michelin-star Alain Ducasse focusing contemporary French cuisine.
- The Ritz London. Two things; Afternoon tea and a Michelin-starred restaurant. Yes, you’ve read it right, this hotel located at Piccadilly has its own fine dining restaurant everyone is talking about in the city. Did you know that their Ritz Restaurant is considered by many to be the most beautiful dining room in the world?
Interior here is timelessly elegant and one will feel like majesty even just stepping foot in the lobby. Visit it for yourself and check out why it’s worthy of praises.
- The Langham London. Believe it or not, The Langham’s superior rooms has its own Nespresso machines! Talk about luxury in the West End! Everyone is definitely going to love its contemporary design, lush beds, and fine furnishings!
Let’s not forget the dining experience at The Langham. They also house the Artesian bar known for their cocktails and amazing concoctions. It was named Artesian because of the original 360 feet deep well under the hotel. Now if you want to hop into an afternoon tea session, there’s the Palm Court famous for its timeless elegance theme for its interior.
- The Hoxton. Guess what, some Londoners considers The Hoxton as a hotel destination in the city. Interior here is very chic, its beddings it pretty modern, and has put in some clever accents as well!
They even have their own restaurant and cafe where anyone can enjoy popping in a coffee or a cocktail! Plus! It’s located at Shoreditch, what more can you ask for?!
- Covent Garden Hotel. Anyone who fancies earth-toned colors and discreet glamour, then Covent Garden Hotel is a perfect place to be. It’s a boutique hotel in London located at 10 Monmouth Street featuring its own state-of-the-art cinema and high-tech gym. It also has its own Fresh Brasserie called Brasserie Max with a menu specializing in modern European cuisine.
Getting a Visa
London is the top of mind destination of every traveler in the world and that’s a fact – however having just a passport is not enough – especially if you’re from a faraway country.
Before you go to London, decide for the purpose of your visit. Is it a month-long excursion or just a week’s visit? If one of your purposes is discovering the bright London nightlife, then you have to apply for a Standard Visit Visa. To identify more types of VISA, click here.
Booking Your Flight – Getting there
There are plenty of online booking sites here you can book your flight going to London.
However, there are other options in other cities where they can choose for a train ride going to London. Check out seat61, www.trainline.eu or goeuro.com for train tickets. Nearby destinations that can reach London via train are Amsterdam, Venice, Barcelona, Rome, and Brussels to name a few.
MAXIMIZE YOUR EXPERIENCE IN LONDON
Arriving from the airport
Just so you know, Heathrow Airport or also known as the London Heathrow is the busiest international airport in the world. It is among the six international airports serving Greater London, has four active terminals which are currently used by 80 airlines flying to hundreds of destination in 84 countries.
But the question is, how do you go to the city center upon your arrival? Well, here are some options to check out!
- London Tram. Probably one of the easiest and most accessible transportation modes in London. It is also built to cater to passengers with special needs and with disabilities.
- Taxis and Black Cabs. Experience riding in the city’s famous minicabs and black cabs. Take note that they can only be hailed on the streets and black cabs’ minimum fare starts at £2.60.
- Double Decker Buses. No London nightlife and a trip are ever complete without riding its popular double-decker bus. It doesn’t only comes cheap but is definitely quicker than most transport in the city.
- Uber. In a report by CNBC, Uber was granted a 15-month license to operate in London, with some road conditions.
- Mayfair. Named as one of the most affluent and expensive districts of London, you can check out various gourmet restaurants, blossoming art scene, and upmarket shops especially in the areas of Piccadilly and Park Lane. Must visit areas include the Mount Street Gardens to escape the busy urban. Then there’s also the famous travel-themed bar like Mr. Fogg’s Residence.
- Marylebone. From good ‘ol British pubs, quirky bars, and cocktail bars, Marylebone has got something on for a perfect London nightlife! For Negroni fans, check out Bar Termini Centrale! Other things to do here include strolling at Regent’s Park, Paddington Street Garden, or visiting Sherlock’s museum.
- Kensington. Be in awe with Kensington’s glorious and elegant establishments such as history museums and the popular Kensington palace. Get to try some local delicacies at artisanal cheese shops and pastry shops!
- Notting Hill. Situated at West London, Notting Hill is popular for so many reasons – including its unique charm, cutting-edge theaters, bookshops, pastel-colored houses, and live music.
- Soho. London nightlife is centered here in this lively Soho district. Try dropping by the Old Compton Street, check out some boutique shops. Catch some Westend shows, and watch live music as well! You’ll wonder why it attracts a wide mix of crowds from different parts of the world.
Transportation in Barcelona – Getting around
As mentioned earlier, London will give you plenty of options when it comes to commuting. No corner is ever dull, thanks to its timeless charm and glorious landmarks. Here are the following transportation options for you:
- London Underground. Divided into nine zones, the London Underground runs from 5 am until midnight with reduced time on Sundays. If you’re going to some sightseeing in the city, it’s best to get a London Pass to save money. Click here to know more.
- London Buses. Once in a while, it’s every traveler’s dream to ride one of London’s double-decker bus. London bus fare costs £1.50 and can be paid via Visitor Oyster card, an Oyster card, a Travelcard or with a contactless payment card. And just in case you missed it, London nightlife is even made more exciting as it runs for 24 hours. COOL!
- Cable Car. Ever want to enjoy great views of London at great heights? Try riding the Emirates Cable Car which will approximately run in 10 minutes. It is open seven days a week accompanied with music and video in cabins to enhance your in-flight experience.
- River Bus Services. Travelers opt to go for this ride and check out the breathtaking view of London. There will be different river routes which fares can be paid via Oyster cards and Visitor Oyster cards.
Places to Avoid
London nightlife is one of the most desired experiences in the city. It is generally a safe city, especially for women travelers. However, there are places in London you should be aware of and places to skip if you want to make the most out of your time. Check out our list here:
- Leicester Square. Plenty of travelers know that Leicester Square is a touristy place in London with film premieres. However, there are restaurants that hike up their price which wouldn’t be budget friendly for you. Try out the Soho area and check out some independent restaurants!
- Oxford Street. This area is ever shoppers’ dream in London. Some of the biggest retail and luxury brands can be found here in this street – and is only walking distance from more than 500 restaurants. But be aware of pickpockets. You wouldn’t know who you run to.
- East End. This might be one of the most exciting areas in London but some areas East End are better avoided at night since there are recent reports of muggings.
From the majestic Big Ben, iconic double-decker buses, gigantic London Eye, there is more to London than meets the eyes – for example, the vibrant London nightlife. Lucky for those who are reading this, we have rounded up some of the unique places to visit if you happen to visit this lovely city in the future.
Best Sights – Unique Places in London
- Buckingham Palace. If you’re a first-timer in London, then this place is a must-visit in the Central! Get to see the grand staircase, throne room, and staterooms which are certainly a feast in the eyes. However, you can only visit the palace if the queen is not in residence, usually between August and September.
- London Eye. Take your cameras out and witness the glorious London Eye located at the South Bank of the River Thames. This attraction has been really popular worldwide as this Ferris wheel offers a view of the city like no other, and is also the tallest in Europe.
- Westminster Abbey. Do you want to experience how it’s like being inside a royal church where ever royal wedding takes place? Then make sure to include this destination on your itinerary.
- Madame Tussauds. Realistic wax figures of your favorite celebrities, characters, and politicians can be seen here at Madame Tussauds, such as Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Rihanna, Madonna, and even George Clooney!
- Tower Bridge. Check this out, mate! Your London trip would definitely be incomplete if you won’t drop by at the famous Tower Bridge! You’ll get to see the coal-driven engines and have a panoramic view of the beautiful city as well!
Eating in London – Best Restaurants
Apart from experiencing an exciting nightlife, food in London is certainly to die for! Did you know that London is the most important city in the world for restaurants?
Make sure to bring some extra cash as you’re sure to shed out some bucks on these amazing restaurants in London ranging from casual, local, to fancy ones! Take a look!
Best Casual Restaurants
- Attendant. Ever experienced dining inside a former Victorian toilet? Well, this one differs among other restaurants in London. This café is known to serve well-crafted coffee and innovative food menu. Have it a try!
- Polpo Chelsea. If you’re done visiting The Royal Court Theatre and nearby landmarks, this restaurant offering savory Venetian sharing plates, located at the 81 Duke of York Square is the place to be.
- Duck and Waffle. Don’t know where to go after experiencing the exciting London nightlife, why not visit this 24/7 restaurant at 110 Bishopsgate. They take pride in their British and European cuisine which will leave you wanting more.
- Patty and Bun. Craving for gourmet burgers and tailored food menu paired with cocktails? Then go ahead and visit Patty and Bun! Diners choice include the Ari Gold Burger! Check out the complete list of location here.
- Burger and Lobster. Locals and tourist have been obsessing over one of Soho’s hottest restaurants- the Burger and Lobster. Try out their Atlantic Lobster and leave the restaurant full and satisfied.
Best Local & Traditional Restaurants
- Trafalgar Tavern. Spoil yourself with some great drinks and local food menu all while enjoying the old-world charm of this place in Greenwich, especially the River Thames. Take advantage of their hefty servings of Fish and Chips!
- Simpson’s in the Strand. Go for an all-British restaurant that goes way back in 1828. Try the Simpson’s signatures like the Steak and Kidney Pie or the Native Lobster Thermidore!
- Hawksmoor. Perfect and tender beef can be eaten if you drop by Hawksmoor!
- Rules. Folks say writers used to dine here during the days. Even now, Rules is loved by both locals and tourists because of its classic and traditional British food menu.
- Poppie’s. No London gastronomic trip is ever complete without trying Poppie’s authentic fish and chips! People just can’t get enough of the fish’s juiciness and crispy chips accompanied with some cold beer on hand. Others recommend eating outside for a surreal dining experience.
Best Fancy Restaurants in London
- Margot. Experience authentic Italian fare when you dine here at a two-story restaurant called Margot located at 45 Great Queen Street.
- Aqua Shard. Bring your special someone here at Aqua Shard and indulge in great cocktails and contemporary British cuisine, all while having a breathtaking view of the vast city skyline.
- The Ledbury. Check out one of Notting Hill’s Michelin-star and an exceptional restaurant serving the British produce coupled with some great wine list. As a matter of fact, it won Best UK Restaurant in 2010, 2011, and 2012 at the Restaurant Magazine National Restaurants Awards.
- Ember Yard. Taste the best wood-fired grills of Spain and Italy at this restaurant situated in the trendy district of Soho. Also, try their new-style tapas and Basque Beef Burger.
- Sketch. Here at Sketch, you won’t only enjoy the great ambiance with kitschy decors, but a Michelin-starred food paired with their amazing cocktail list as well!
Drinking – Best Bars in London
Itching to try the exciting London nightlife? The happy hour? You may feel overwhelmed by the overflowing choices of drinking dens in the city. However, we’ve made it easier for you as we round up some of the top drinking bars in London. Read along!
- Rumpus Room Rooftop Bar. Giving its guests an impression of being on the top deck of a ship, it is also packed with surprises from the finest cocktail made by their resident mixologist Ryan ‘Mr Lyan’ Chetiyawardana.
- Dandelyan Bar. There is nowhere else in the city you could taste some imaginative and botanical-inspired cocktails, but only here at this bar! Thanks to Ryan Chetiyawardana, fans of the cocktail can now enjoy botanical-inspired cocktails in the city!
- Salt Bar. Indian dishes and whiskeys and bourbons go hand in hand here at Salt Bar! Itching to try some flavored shisha? Worry not! Salt Bar is popular for that too! This bar usually attracts tourists, mainly Asians, and Middle-Eastern ones.
- Soho Grind. Opened in 2014, Soho Grind is known to be a popular Espresso café by day, cocktail bar by night. Choose your drinks with names like Clover Club, Millennial Pink, and Pornstar Martini, only at Soho Grind.
- Oriole. Enjoy exquisite cocktails served in unique glassware when you visit this place! Not just that! You get to enjoy live music as well, with genres like jazz, blues, and swing! Sweet!
- The Blind Pig. Everything here is unique including its cocktail names ranging from Dill or No Dill, Robin Hood, Quince of Thieves, and the Kindergarten Cup. WITTY!
- Disrepute. Cheers to some of London’s exciting creative cocktails here at Disrepute located at Carnaby! Its subterranean space with a very refreshing vibes makes this a perfect cocktail bar in the area!
- The Bar With No Name. This bar name might confuse you but their spot-on drinks crafted by Tony Conigliaro won’t! Opened in 2009, this bar is loved because of its experimental cocktails that use molecular science techniques.
- The Fumoir. Here’s a cocktail haven in Mayfair you don’t wanna miss for sure! Exhibiting a 1930’s ambiance, The Fumoir is definitely a drinking place in London to behold. Although it can only less than 40 guests, you should try their Saffron sidecar and Vodka Martini.
- Sky Garden. Housing City Garden Bar and the Sky Pod Bar, here’s a place where you would certainly enjoy the exciting London nightlife! It has its own observation deck, two restaurants, and a public garden which makes it one of the top favorites in the city!
Nightlife in London – Clubbing,Music,Dancing
Now for the exciting part, clubbing! London nightlife is loved for its nightlife attractions, high-end clubs, and renowned live music venues! And because we want you to not miss anything on your next London visit, here at the top 12 venues you should visit!
- Fabric. Voted as the World’s Number 1 Club in DJ Magazine’s “Top 100 Clubs Poll” in 2007 and 2008, Fabric is one of the clubs you should visit in London. There are three separate rooms, two of which are for live performances and one for the dancefloor. To see is to believe! Don’t miss their upcoming talents as well! It’s the bomb!
- Heaven. There are exciting weekly scene parties for the queers here at Heaven! You’ll definitely feel you’re on cloud nine when you party here! Music played here ranges from the house, electro-pop, and dance. Plus! Students can enter for free every Mondays! All they have to do is present an ID to gain access.
- Blues Kitchen. If you wanted to listen to some amazing talents and stellar lineups, then head over at Blues Kitchen located at Camden, Brixton, and Shoreditch. Patrons are all praises for its interior including the Victorian tiling and candle-lit drinking booth. Plus! If you’re into whiskeys, amazing cocktails, and great music, then this is the place to be!
- Supa Dupa Fly. Are you a fan of hip-hop & RnB? Think of Rihanna, Jay-Z, some Destiny’s Child’s chart-topping hits maybe? Here at Supa Dupa Fly, you’re going to have an awesome time bobbing head with both party-loving locals and tourists. Cocktails here are to die for! Make sure to try one of them!
- E1. From a former car manufacturer, E1 attracts a huge crowd of Londoners because of its eclectic party nights. This cutting-edge and late-night venue is one of the reasons why London nightlife is a must-experience!
- The Pod Bar. Wondered how it’s like being inside Wimbledon’s best bar and nightclub? Visit the Pod Bar to know why it’s the best in the area.
- Infernos. This venue located at Clapham High St isn’t just for dancing but for great karaoke time as well! Sing your hearts out and visit Infernos!
- Club 414. Did you know that this place is one of the most recommended nightclubs in London especially if you’re into techno and house music?
- Egg. Here’s another award-winning club in London worth the visit! This former Victorian is turned into a great music venue that mostly attracts fans of house and techno genre.
- The Aquarium. You’re sure to enjoy its VIP areas, a pool, three bar areas, but most especially the huge dancefloor!
Top 10 tips for your London Trip
London is certainly a prime destination. There’s even a saying that A bad day in London is still better than a good day anywhere else, and you can agree with us on that. You may have all the information, from transportation options, weather, hottest bars and restaurants, nightclubs, and must-visit neighborhoods — here are additional tips to make your future travel in London really worthwhile.
- As much as possible, leave some unnecessary belongings at your hotel.
- Join guided walk tours
- Get to see great views of London either from the river or through rooftop bars.
- Get an oyster card
- Download essential travel apps
- Visit as many museums and galleries because some entrance is FREE
- Enjoy authentic fish and chips
- Try local delicacies at London’s food market
- Never ever skip on Notting Hill’s restaurants!
- Grab a local sim card
Partying in London – Things to Know
CULTURE AND DRINKING TRADITIONS
British people are natural drinkers and are known to have a peculiar relationship with alcohol.
Unlike other cities in Europe that allows drinking until the wee hours in the morning, in London, take note that most pubs close at 11 pm every Monday to Saturday while bars close between midnight and 1:30 am on weekdays and weekends. On the other hand, clubs generally stay open until 4 am.
DRESS CODE FOR LONDON’S NIGHTLIFE
Known for its luxurious and exclusive nightlife, there are some VIP clubs in London that would require clubbers to dress well especially in the Mayfair and West End area. For men, wear something sleek and avoid wearing T-shirts and trainers. Best attire for men would be a leather jacket, blazer, or long sleeves. As for the ladies, high heels are required for getting in. Wear something sexy and show off your most stylish dress to gain entry. In most clubs, they only require some smart casual attire for both men and women.
SAFETY TIP WHEN PARTYING IN LONDON
Partying at the London center is safe even for the first-time visitors in the city. Like any tips when partying in other cities, avoid flashing your money and valuables in public. Don’t leave purses or wallets out when paying or drinking at the bar. Keep your keys and extra cash tucked somewhere aside from your wallet or pockets. Wherever you are in the city, you’re perfectly safe even in the night.
For non-urgent crimes, contact the police at 101. If there’s an emergency or fire, call 999 or 112.
Our insider tips
Planning Your London Visit
How many days to spend in London?
Before visiting London, search for the best events which could make your stay worthwhile. But for those planning to experience the vibrant nightlife activity in the city without missing out the major sights, then 3-5 days is enough.
With its excellent transportation mode, tourist can do day trips for 2-3 days and the rest to visit the major pubs, theatres, music bars, comedy club nights, museum lates, and world-class bars.
Where to stay?
There are plenty of hotels in London. Guests can either choose from budget, mid-range, and luxury hotels:
- YHA London Central
- Hotel Moonlight
- Assembly Hotel London
- Kensington Court Hotel Notting Hill
- Aziz Manzil
- Sanctuary House Hotel
- Qbic Hotel
- The Savoy
- The Dorchester
- The Ritz
- The Langham
- The Lanesborough
Good to know
*Note: We try to provide free information that is as up-to-date and accurate as possible. However, if you are planning to travel it’s a good idea to double check specific dates and information to avoid surprises.