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Plan the perfect break in London with these amazing after-hours hangouts, tours and restaurants in the sky.

London keeps going long after other cities are tucked up in bed for the night, so where better to go for a trip away? And if you’re going to do it, do it by train. Not only can you get the best prices when you book early, but you can also earn 2% back on every ride with LNER Perks. Whether you’re in the mood for sipping cocktails in stylish subterranean haunts, want a cost-effective getaway or fancy exploring the Thames at dusk, book your tickets with LNER now and start making late-night plans.

Feast your way around a fabulous food market

Mercato Metro

Credit: Paolo Photography and Film

Mercato Metropolitano is a sprawling indoor/outdoor space that combines bar (well, bars) with food hall on the site of an old paper factory. The outdoor areas are undercover, vibrant with colour and lead you past cocktail, beer and wine bars to a vast indoor area that offers even more of the same. There’s something for every taste here – order up bao buns from Wrap Mi, Uzbek food from OshPaz and dreamy cheese toasties from The Big Melt. Thirsty? There’s everything from craft beers to high-end wine at this twilight smorgasbord.

Mercato Metropolitano, 42 Newington Causeway, London, SE1 6DR.

Follow in the footsteps of the infamous Jack the Ripper

Jack the Ripper Tour

Credit: Jack the Ripper Tour

A tale shrouded in mystery, the truth about Jack the Ripper may never be known, but many an amateur sleuth has a theory to share. Put your own together during an atmospheric tour of the old East End he once terrorised, starting at 7pm and going on until 9pm – it goes without saying it’s best experienced during the darker, chillier months. Your expert guide will take you through the streets, pubs and misty doorways, whisking you back to 1880s Whitechapel and immersing you in the atmosphere.

Jack the Ripper Tour, Exit One, Aldgate East Station, London, E1 8FA.

Soak up the jazz vibes at Ninety One Living Room

Ninety One

While the West End is home to the legendary Ronnie Scott’s, Ninety One Living Room is its cooler East End counterpart – and with much more affordable tickets. Tucked away in the Truman Brewery, it’s a relaxed space with live music five nights a week. As well as established artists, they also shine a light on up-and-coming musicians, as well as hosting album launches and even hip-hop nights, all with a state-of-the-art sound system. It’s a lovely place for a drink and a bite too – pair an imaginative house cocktail with croquettes and crispy squid.

Ninety One Living Room, 91 Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL.

Go bat spotting in Hyde Park

Bats Hyde Park

Hyde Park is a wonder by day – sprawling over 350 acres it boasts picturesque walks, a memorial fountain, Speakers’ Corner and its own lake, The Serpentine. It’s at the latter where you should head at night in search of everyone’s favourite flying nocturnal creature, the bat. You’ll spot them throughout the park, but they concentrate above the waters of the lake, hunting for a midnight feast of midges. You’ll see pipistrelles, the smallest bat species in the UK, as well as noctules, the largest. You can do this for free, or join an organised bat walk complete with bat detectors.

Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH.

Sleep with the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum Sleepover

Credit: The Trustees of the Natural History Museum

Why should kids have all the fun? There are plenty of child-friendly sleepovers at London’s museums, but ‘Dino Snores for Grown-Ups’ at the Natural History Museum is something else entirely. Your ticket gets you access to a number of the galleries, while there’s a live animal workshop, pub quiz, a science show and even a stand-up comedian. That’s not all – you get a drink on arrival and dinner followed by an all-night monster movie marathon. Take your sleeping bag and pyjamas along, and leave after a cooked breakfast the next morning.

The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD.

Laugh it up for free at Angel Comedy

Angel Comedy

Credit: Angel Comedy

Angel Comedy has expanded from a once-a-week comedy night into something that delivers chuckles every night of the week, both here and at their other venue, The Bill Murray. In addition to affordable shows from genuine comedy legends – Stewart Lee, Tim Key and Eddie Izzard, for example – they have free shows seven nights a week too. ‘Angel Comedy Raw’ is their main free event, where you’ll be entertained by brand new up-and-comers, as well as circuit regulars and household names honing new material.

Angel Comedy, Camden Head, 2 Camden Walk, London, N1 8DY.

Grab a coffee in the wee hours at Bar Italia

This Soho fixture is closed for exactly one hour each day – between 5 and 6am. At all other times, it’s the go-to place for a cup of something strong, fragrant and Italian, as it has been since it opened in 1949. A cappuccino and a croissant here are a rite of passage, whether it’s at 4am on the way home from a club or whether you want to grab a table outside and watch the world go by as Soho comes awake at night. If you’re hungry, grab a slice of pizza under the watchful gaze of Rocky Marciano on the back wall.

Bar Italia, 22 Frith Street, London, W1D 4RF.

Make for the market until (almost) midnight

London’s markets keep irregular hours. Head to Borough Market early enough and you can join the traders grabbing a 6am pint at The Market Porter pub. However, an evening at Spitalfields is a much more leisurely event. While many of the traders will have shut up shop, it stays open until 11pm, and both independent and famous shops keep their doors open for visitors. Best of all are the food and drink options, with everything from Crosstown donuts to the Gallic-influenced charm of Galvin Bistrot & Bar serving up delights.

Spitalfields Market, 65 Brushfield Street, London, E1 6AA.

Cackle at the cabaret of The Crazy Coqs

Crazy Coq

Credit: Crazy Coqs/Brasserie Zédel

Brasserie Zedel should already be on your London list – art deco interiors just off Piccadilly are married with well-priced French bistro classics – but its own Crazy Coqs venue is the place to be for late-night shenanigans. It’s a sultry place, a small but perfectly formed cabaret bar where you can book to see torch singers, chanteuses, comedians, magicians and more. The regular Black Cat Cabaret is a riot of Parisian culture, risqué performance and belle époque styling, all adding up to one of the best late nights you can have in London.

Crazy Coqs, Brasserie Zedel, 20 Sherwood Street, London, W1F 7ED.

See stars of the stage for a snip

The Old Vic is a legendary theatre with a rich history, but its not-for-profit status also means it’s one of the better-priced tickets in town. Artistic directors here have included Sir Peter Hall, Timothy West and Jonathan Miller, while recent stars treading the boards have included Helen Hunt, Daniel Radcliffe and Sally Field. If you want to see a great show for a fraction of the normal price, The Old Vic offers £10 preview tickets – with 500 tickets available for each of the first five performances of every production they put on.

The Old Vic, The Cut, London, SE1 8NB.

Spot the stars at Hampstead Observatory

Their website might be unrepentantly web 1.0, but that’s not the only thing that’s old school about the Hampstead Scientific Society. The telescope at their observatory dates from the turn of the 20th century, while the society itself was formed in 1899. But during autumn and winter you can pootle along here for a truly unique London experience, as they open the observatory to the public on Fridays and Saturdays – clear skies permitting – so you can go stargazing on their 6-inch Cooke refracting telescope.

Hampstead Scientific Society Observatory, Summit Lodge, 9 Lower Terrace, West Heath Road, London, NW3 6RF.

Party all night at a legendary London club

Heading to a legendary club like Fabric is reason enough to book yourself a train ticket to London with your friends. They’ve partied hard here since the turn of the millennium, and they’ve been going strong again since they reopened in 2017. If you’re up for a late one, this is the ticket to get. Fridays are drum and bass, Saturdays skew more towards house and techno, courtesy of the resident DJs. Partying until 6am to the likes of John Digweed or Rodigan? It’s exactly the kind of night out you head to London for.

Fabric London, 77A Charterhouse Street, London, EC1M 6HJ.

Experience cutting-edge culture for free

V&A Lates

Credit: Hydar Dewachijpg

Fashion, choreography, experimental film, live performances, installations, debates – the V&A Museum most definitely isn’t all about the past. It already celebrates contemporary work from across the globe, but at V&A Lates, it goes a step further. This is a programme of visually arresting events that might be about modern dance one month, Korean culture the next. It’s not just free, it’s a drop-in event too, so you can spend the day admiring the ludicrously amazing collections of the V&A, then segue into the evening.

V&A Lates, The Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL.

Get your popcorn ready for a movie all-nighter

The Prince Charles is so much more than your average picture house. Affordable – especially by London standards – and quirky, it’s known for its singalong screenings of The Sound of Music, dedication to cult classics and retro screenings. Best of all are the movie marathons, whether it’s a whole night of grindhouse horror, the extended versions of all of the Lord of the Rings films or 80s fantasy marathons where you can take in Willow, The Dark Crystal, NeverEnding Story, The Princess Bride and Labyrinth all in one sitting.

Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, London, WC2H 7BY.

Take part in the Ceremony of the Keys

The Ceremony of the Keys has been taking place for more than 700 years, a daily reminder that The Tower of London is still a fortress. This ritual locking up of the fortress at the end of the day has taken place thousands of times, and you can book to watch it up close. ‘Halt! Who comes there?’ goes the cry from the soldier at around 10pm every night – arrange tickets ahead and you can observe the Chief Yeoman Warder and his escort enact this timeless performance, now carried out in the name of King Charles III.

The Tower of London, 35 Tower Hill, London, EC3N 4DR.

*At least 10% off Standard Advance tickets at £29.70 or below between the dates of 19.01.23 to 31.03.23. Subject to availability. Off Peak services only. Monday to Friday. 2 hours 16 minutes is the most common journey time between Leeds and London King’s Cross, Monday to Friday. **Railcard saving is subject to eligibility. For more information, please visit Cover image credit: The Trustees of the Natural History Museum.