An Hour-by-hour Guide to Staying Up All Night in London

Navigate London's nightlife with our hour-by-hour guide.
Navigate London's nightlife with our hour-by-hour guide.

If New York is the city that never sleeps, London could justifiably be called “the town that likes to be tucked in early with a cup of hot cocoa.” But the British capital looks set to get a lot more lively in the wee hours with the fall debut of the Night Tube, which will see trains on five of the Underground’s most tourist-friendly lines—Jubilee, Victoria, Northern, Piccadilly, and Central—run around the clock on Fridays and Saturdays. For night owls wanting to make the most of the new service, here’s a list of things to keep you busy till dawn.

By Will Hide

11 p.m.

Hit London’s most famous jazz club, Ronnie Scott’s in Soho, which is just getting going at this time—and keeps going until 3 a.m. on weekends.
Nearest station: Leicester Square on the Northern and Piccadilly lines, a four-minute walk.

12 a.m.

Shakespeare’s Globe theater holds occasional midnight matinees in the summer, with the last of the season’s performances—Much Ado About Nothing—kicking off at 11:59 p.m. on September 11 (tickets from about US$8).
Nearest station: St. Paul’s on the Central Line, a 15-minute walk.  

1 a.m.

The Blood Shot Supper Club is a monthly gathering of professional chefs at The Dairy restaurant in Clapham, but eight members of the public can apply to join the five-course feast, which only starts at 1 a.m (dinner from US$94).
Nearest station: Clapham Common on the Northern Line, a one-minute walk.

2 a.m.

Catch the last hour at Boujis, an exclusive Kensington nightclub favored by junior royals and reality-TV stars alike. Entry, alas, is not guaranteed unless you book a table with a minimum spend of almost US$800.
Nearest station: South Kensington on the Piccadilly Line, a one-minute walk.

4 a.m.

Fancy a nocturnal coiffure? Actresses about to appear on breakfast TV and ambulance crews finishing their 4 a.m. shifts all get their hair cut at Neil Cornelius’s 24-hour hairdressing salon on New Bond Street in Mayfair (a cut and blow dry starts at US$118).
Nearest station: Bond Street on the Central Line, a three-minute walk. 

5 a.m.

Roast octopus with a view? Situated on the 40th floor of a Liverpool Street skyscraper, Duck & Waffle is a round-the-clock restaurant—and the highest in Britain—that at this hour attracts as many clubbers staggering home as City bankers going to work.
Nearest station: Liverpool Street on the Central Line, a two-minute walk.

6 a.m.

Work off the night’s excesses (or jump-start your day) with a guided 10-kilometer run through Hyde Park. City Jogging Tours can tailor-make an experience that includes trying to keep pace with the horses of the Household Cavalry, who exercise there at first light.
Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner on the Piccadilly Line, which puts you right there (from US$72).

This article originally appeared in the August/September print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Overnight Sensations”)

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