24-hour London: 8 booze-free late-night things to do using the night tube

Not drinking? There are still plenty of ace after-hours opportunities thanks to TfL night services

Photo: GE Deutschland/Wikimedia Commons

London is becoming a 24-hour city – and not just when it comes to staying out drinking later. From midnight movies to swanky restaurants serving food all night and London’s first all-hours hair salon, there are a multitude of fun things to do until the wee hours that don’t involve alcohol.

Here are eight late-night things to do in London that are easier to get to thanks to the night tube – and to make your way around London for your night-owl adventure, remember that TfL operates a night tube service on the Central, Northern, Jubilee, Piccadilly and Victoria lines, as well as Overground and bus services. Use the TfL journey planner to plan your next after-hours journey.

Go to a Prince Charles Cinema all-nighter

Go to a Prince Charles Cinema all-nighter

From Jean-Claude Van Damme movie marathons to Disney pyjama parties, the Prince Charles Cinema runs regular all-night back-to-back movie screenings for hardcore nocturnal movie buffs. Ever wanted to watch the entire ‘Lord of the Rings’ film trilogy in one go or scare yourself silly with teen horror classic after teen horror classic? Get the coffees in and head to this cult-favourite cinema.

7 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BY.
Night tube: Leicester Square (Northern line)

Journey

Buy prime cuts at Smithfield Market

Buy prime cuts at Smithfield Market

Food lovers can get their fill of super-fresh, quality meat cuts at Smithfield Market for a snip of what big-name restaurants and even local butchers charge. Bring cash and be ready, as the doors open for the week at 2am on a Sunday night/Monday morning. Even if you’re not buying, a visit to the wholesale meat market – the UK’s largest, on this site since the twelfth century – is an experience in itself.

London Central Markets, EC1A 9PS.
Night tube: Chancery Lane (Central line)

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Get a fancy haircut

Get a fancy haircut

Neil Cornelius is the only hair salon in the UK to offer its cut, blowdry and colour services by appointment, 24/7. Because if you’re really, really busy, why not get your highlights done at 3am? On a visit to the swanky Mayfair hairdresser, you might even bump into Sam Smith, Mariah Carey or Keira Knightley, who’ve all had their locks coiffed by Neil Cornelius stylists.

1st Floor, 109 New Bond St, W1S 1EG.
Night tube: Bond St (Central/Jubilee line)

Journey

Visit New Covent Garden Flower Market

Visit New Covent Garden Flower Market

Opening up at 4am Monday to Saturday, New Covent Garden Flower Market is a pretty exciting place for buying blooms. The large, lively market in Vauxhall moved from actual Covent Garden in 1974 and sells a range of pretty petals and fancy foliage wholesale – plus fruit and veg from midnight until 6am.

New Covent Garden Market, SW8 5BH.
Night tube: Vauxhall (Victoria line) then 344 bus

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Stargaze at Morden Hall Park

Stargaze at Morden Hall Park

Gone are the days when accidentally going to Morden late on a crisp Friday night was a bad thing – now if you fall asleep on the tube, style it out with a bit of stargazing at Morden Hall Park before hopping back on the night tube and heading home to where you actually meant to go. The former deer park is a well-known stargazing spot. Look out for free star-spotting events run by The Baker Street Irregular Astronomers.

Morden Hall Rd, SM4 5JD.
Night tube: Morden (Northern line)

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Eat at a 24-hour restaurant

Eat at a 24-hour restaurant

Late night food doesn’t necessarily mean drunk food. Polo Bar, a spruced-up caff by Liverpool Street Station, serves all-day and all-night breakfasts and various other dishes for less than a tenner. VQ serves breakfasts, burgers and classic dishes in Chelsea, Bloomsbury and Aldgate round the clock, while the legendary Duck & Waffle has a delicious 24-hour dining concept with sunrise views from 40 floors up Heron Tower. Balans Soho Café is also open constantly, with an all-day menu served until 7am, when the breakfast options kick in.

Various locations.

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Watch a Midnight Matinee at Shakespeare’s Globe

Watch a Midnight Matinee at Shakespeare’s Globe

When things warm up later in the year, Shakespeare’s Globe rekindles its annual Midnight Matinee season, with late performances beginning at 11.59pm and ending three hours later with a sausage sarnie in Swan, The Globe’s bar and restaurant. Midnight Matinees happening in 2018 include ‘Othello’, ‘As You Like It’ and ‘A Winter’s Tale’, and tickets go on sale at 10am on January 29.

21 New Globe Walk, SE1 9DT.
Night tube: Southwark. (Jubilee line)

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Take a dawn photography workshop

Take a dawn photography workshop

Get yourself to one of London’s bridges before sunrise to hone your camera skills with photographer Anthony Epes, who runs Cities at Dawn photography sessions. You’ll capture the changing light as the rest of the city is just waking up, in locations such as Borough Market and Columbia Road. Keep an eye out for group workshop dates or book a private one-to-one course if you can’t wait.

Various locations.

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More of London by night

After-hours London: here for the night owls

Until you’ve seen and experienced London at night, you haven’t really seen London. Luckily, TfL’s night services are making it easier than ever to do just this.

By: Time Out in association with Transport for London

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