During the daytime, London is a hive of activity with its shopping streets, business district and many tourist attractions teeming with people, but it’s at night that the city really comes alive.
If you’re staying amid the five-star luxury of one of our Montcalm hotels, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding how to spend an evening in the UK capital. From the trendy nightclubs of Shoreditch to the alternative music scene of Camden and from the cocktail bars of Soho to the buzzing theatre district, London at night is a whole new world to explore.
1. Showtime in the West End
London’s West End theatre district is second only to Broadway in New York in the entertainment world. Home to 38 theatres in total, shows run every evening of the week, while matinee performances are also sometimes available.
From musicals such as Mamma Mia! to dramas such as Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap (which is the longest-running play in the world, having opened at St Martin’s Theatre in 1952), there’s something for everyone in the West End. Another popular favourite, The Phantom of the Opera, has been showing at Her Majesty’s Theatre since 1986.
Current highlights include Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, which is on at the Aldwych Theatre, the brand new An American in Paris at the Dominion Theatre and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, an adaptation of Mark Haddon’s much-loved novel which can be seen at the Gielgud Theatre until June 3rd 2017.
Harry Potter fans can try to get a ticket to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which is staged in two parts, and is currently playing at the Palace Theatre.
2. Entertainment at the O2
The dome of the O2 Arena – formerly the Millennium Dome – has fast become one of the most iconic parts of the London skyline, particularly when it’s all lit up at night and the venue really comes to life.
Early May sees man of the moment Ed Sheeran play three nights at the arena (Monday 1st to Wednesday 3rd), while rockers Iron Maiden can be seen here on Saturday May 27th and Sunday May 28th, before everybody’s favourite nineties boyband Take That take to the stage between Tuesday June 6th and Monday June 12th.
Music isn’t the only entertainment on offer at the O2 though, as the venue also regularly plays host to wrestling events, dance shows and stand-up comedy.
3. A cocktail of bars
London is home to some of the most luxurious cocktail bars in the world, many of which can be found in districts such as Mayfair, Soho and Chelsea.
Seymour’s Parlour in Marylebone is a brilliant example, with its cosy interior and mood lighting giving it the feel of a late-19th century sitting room rather than a hip London bar. This ambience provides the perfect setting for a relaxing cocktail while dressed in your finest, with menu highlights including the Last Laugh, which features cognac, brandy flavoured with cider apples, apple caramel flavouring and apple wood bitter.
Over in Soho, Mark’s Bar is another venue where dim lighting and luxury interiors create the ideal cocktail-drinking environment. Special cocktails on offer include Mark’s Mister Nice (whisky, sweet sherry and orange bitters) and the Hix Fix, named after the restaurant chain the bar belongs to and featuring morello cherry, Somerset apple brandy and the very best sparkling wine.
The bar snacks on offer here are also lusted after throughout the city, with highlights including chicken popcorn, shaved Lincolnshire cauliflower with Berkswell cheese and hazelnuts, and classic chips and curry sauce.
4. The Night Tube
It’s now easier than ever before to explore London at night, thanks to the Night Tube, which opened in August 2016, making the UK capital well and truly a 24-hour city.
Running on Friday and Saturday nights each week, night-time Tube trains serve the Central Line, Victoria Line, Jubilee Line, Northern Line and Piccadilly Line, meaning the majority of central London is accessible via the Underground all through the night.
If you’re staying at a hotel that isn’t close to a station served by the Night Tube, remember that there are black cabs on every street corner in London and there’s also a great all-night bus network that runs throughout the city, so there’s no excuse to not go out and explore all that the UK capital has to offer after dark.