Get off your sofa and pause Netflix. We've got you covered for nights out for the rest of the year (and then some). From clubbing to craftivism, and kayaking to karaoke, London’s after-dark activities are becoming more diverse than you could ever imagine. So for those who are tired of nightclubs or not really into boozing, don’t panic, there’s something for everyone in this great city. Take your pick of the best of the bunch.
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Formerly (and still commonly) known as Vogue Fabrics, Dalston disco den VFD hosts drag and spoken word events as well as genre-spanning club nights and parties. Look out for the massive penis mural in the loos.
Price: some events free, some £5 and up.
Open past 2am / vfdalston.com
VFD, 66 Stoke Newington Rd, N16 7XB
London by night bus? No thank you. London by night kayak, however? That we can – quite literally – get on board with. Secret Adventures’ Night Kayak tours allow you to see our twinkling landmarks from a whole new angle. The adventure starts at the beach next to St Mary’s Church, Battersea, and finishes in Greenwich.
Price: around £70
Held every Saturday at the 800-capacity O2 Academy Islington, Club de Fromage is the stuff of London party legend. As its name suggests, the music policy is as cheesy as a quattro formaggi: come for wall-to-wall throwback bangers from the likes of Britney and Bon Jovi.
Open past 2am / wheelchair accessible / clubdefromage.com
16 Parkfield St, The Angel, London N1 0PS
Want to stay up all night watching movies and eating sweets? The only place to do it outside of your own gaff is at a Prince Charles Cinema All Nighter. Bring your best pyjamas, plenty of snacks (and maybe some Pro Plus) as you embark on a dreamy night of themed back-to-back films from 9pm until 9am.
Open past 2am / princecharlescinema.com
Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Pl, London WC2H 7BY
Do you believe in the power of pop’s Auto-Tune-loving goddess? If the answer is ‘YES!’, then you’ll be wanting to book tickets for the next I Need to Cher night at The Old Nun's Head. Featuring queens, wrestling (!) and more, it’s a fitting tribute.
15 Nunhead Green, Nunhead, London SE15 3QQ
Here’s how to really embrace the night: try something you literally couldn’t do by day at one of the Royal Parks’ bat walks. A chance to see the nocturnal creatures during their working hours, you’ll even get to use a bat detector.
Wheelchair accessible / royalparks.org.uk
Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens
It’s hard to overstate the influence of Pxssy Palace, which ‘prioritises women and femmes of colour and other queer, intersex and trans POC’. Booking DJs often ignored by the mainstream, PP has shifted the paradigm big time.
Open past 2am / wheelchair accessible / @pxssypalace
It's a pop-up club night, but it's often found at: The Garage, 20-22 Highbury Corner, Highbury East, London N5 1RD
Tottenham has become the definitive destination for proper late-nighters. The Cause and its caged DJ booth has led the charge for renegade clubbing. Always meant as an ad-hoc space, the good news is their tenure has been extended to 2020.
Price: Around £15
Open past 2am / facebook.com/thecauselondon
Down Lane Studios, Ashley House, Ashley Road
Short, sharp spoken word: that’s what’s on offer at self-declared ‘snappy’ open-mic night Boxedin at Shoreditch’s Boxpark. If you’re feeling brave, sign up on the evening to perform, or settle down for two hours of the quickest lit in town. The best bit? It’s plonked in the middle of all the food you could desire.
2-10 Bethnal Green Rd, Hackney E1 6GY
Sir John Soane’s Museum is always atmospheric, but Soane Lates are candlelit evenings exploring a different aspect of the architect’s collection. Only problem? They’re very popular. April is already sold out: book now for May or June.
Price: £20 to £25
13 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3BP
If you want to unleash your creative side but pretty much hate putting pen to paper, Collage Club is for you. Recreate your primary school days with a fun night of ripping, cutting, sticking and gluing with silly speed-collaging sessions and collaborative challenges. All materials are provided.
House of Illustration, 2 Granary Square, N1C 4BH
One of the UK’s most vibrant poetry organisations, Apples and Snakes is not so much an intimidating gathering in a bookshop as a place for rallying, edge-of-your-seat performance. From poetry readings to Brexit debates, there’s no fruit that’s forbidden here.
Events pop up everywhere from Brighton to Bristol, check out their website for upcoming London nights.
If you’ve ever wanted to keep a record of your bits for posterity, then London Loom Sessions’ ‘Membroidery’ (member embroidery, geddit?) is here to help. Encouraging you to ‘leave your prudishness at the door’, it’s a fun and friendly way to celebrate your body.
Hackney Downs Studios, 17 Amhurst Terrace, Hackney Downs, E8 2BT
Netflix’s ‘Glow’ might have brought women’s wrestling to the masses, but underground league Eve Wrestling is the real deal. Head to the Resistance Gallery to witness all the sweat, shouting and sick moves, and be ready to get vocal – it might be a spectator sport, but by the end you’ll be a raving super-fan.
The Resistance Gallery, 265 Poyser Street, E2 9RF
A true source of Peckham pride, multi-floored concrete hub the Bussey Building continues to thrive as a warehouse-style club at night and a sweet arts venue during the day. Regular weekend parties like The South London Soul Train are joyful affairs, and also rare examples of young and old partying in sync.
Price: from £5
Open past 2am / copelandpark.com
Bussey Building, 133 Rye Ln, Peckham, SE15 4ST
Now seven years old, ‘indie queer dance party’ Debbie loves pop, rock and disco equally, but every song must have a female vocal, which means the DJs will drop everything from Donna Summer to Hole. Wear your sturdiest shoes for this monthly danceathon, held at Eagle London.
Price: £6, free before 10pm
Open past 2am / wheelchair accessible / eaglelondon.com/debbie
Eagle London, 349 Kennington Lane, Vauxhall, SE11 5QY
Shakespeare’s been done every which way, but under the night sky is surely the best. Want to add another layer of madness to ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’? Book in for a midnight matinee at the Globe. Drama is guaranteed.
Price: £5 to £50
Open past 2am / wheelchair accessible / shakespearesglobe.com
21 New Globe Walk, London SE1 9DT
Neon paint, UV lights and writhing bodies – no, it’s not something X-rated, this is a legit life-drawing class. Spend an evening creating psychedelic sketches of a life model in body paint at Neon Naked Life Drawing.
Venues across London, inc Queen of Hoxton and The Doodle Bar - visit their website for upcoming events.
Rowans Bowling has a deserved legendary rep. There are two floors of lanes, karaoke booths, an arcade, pool tables, boozy slushies and you can even get pizzas at your lane. Plus it’s open until 2am on weekends. Strike!
10 Stroud Green Road, Finsbury Park, N4 2DF
For the best legal high in London, head to The Psychedelic Society’s two-hour sound bath. Drink some ceremonial-grade pu’er tea (to alter your body’s energies), get comfy and let the good vibrations from the gongs and singing bowls send you off on a trippy meditative journey.
Wheelchair accessible / psychedelicsociety.org.uk
The Round Chapel, Lower Clapton Rd, London, E5 0NP
Phonox has the utopian aim of building a welcoming community of likeminded clubbers. No frills, no pretence, just a sound group of people there for the dance. Expect unrivalled DJs and a first-rate sound system.
Open past 2am / wheelchair accessible / phonox.co.uk
418 Brixton Rd, Brixton, SW9 7AY
Do you tut savagely at anyone who puts ‘The’ in front of ‘Pixies’? You do? Then head to Highgate boozer The Boogaloo for its weekly night Who Killed Bambi? – it’s the longest-running music quiz in London.
Wheelchair accessible / theboogaloo.co.uk/who-killed-bambi-music-quiz
The Boogaloo, 312 Archway Rd, N6 5AT
You’ve tried singalongs, now head to a solve-along. At Solve-Along-a-Murder-She-Wrote, the organisers screen an episode of the classic Angela Lansbury detective show, while you try and solve via games, quizzes, participation and more.
Various venues. Next night: Royal Vauxhall Tavern, 372 Kennington Lane, London SE11 5HY
You won’t find a more glamorous spot to watch a film than under the crystal chandeliers of the Rivoli Ballroom Pop Up Cinema. For a few nights each month, this lavish 1950s-style ballroom screens classic flicks.
Wheelchair accessible / rivoliballroom.com
350 Brockley Rd, Lewisham, SE4 2BY
On the last Friday of every month, art lovers head to Tate Modern Lates. These giant free parties are packed with performances, music, films, talks and DJ sets. It’s the perfect place to discover London’s hottest new artists and have a cocktail while checking out those tenth-floor views.
Wheelchair accessible / tate.org.uk
Bankside, SE1 9TG
If you want to take to the mic at London’s hottest new singing spot Karaoke Hole, you’ll be on the main stage. There’s no other bar in town where you can belt out your favourite tunes accompanied by a crooning drag-queen host.
Price: book a table to secure a spot - £5 pp on Fridays and Saturdays, free on Thursdays.
Open past 2am / thekaraokehole.com
95 Kingsland High St, E8 2PB
Horse Meat Disco is everything a good weekly club should be: friendly, inclusive, not too pricy and playing music that’s defined yet unpredictable. The four DJs behind this Sunday standout at Eagle London revived disco for queer audiences at a time when such silky sounds were dead.
Price: depends on the night, at the Eagle London it's free till 10pm, £5 after.
Open past 2am / wheelchair accessible / @horsemeatdisco
Eagle London, 349 Kennington Lane, Vauxhall, SE11 5QY
Nipple tassle crafting, belly dancing classes, papier mâché making, calligraphy, Lego robot building, hip flask decorating, throw knitting – if you want a weird and wonderful evening, head to King’s Cross café-cum-bar Drink Shop Do where there’s something surprising happening every night of the week, as well as club nights with cheesy tunes until late each weekend.
Price: depends on the night, from free parties to £26 bottomless brunch to £50 workshops
9 Caledonian Rd, Islington, N1 9DX
You’ve heard of life drawing, but would you brave death drawing? Art Macabre’s spooktacular skeletal sketching soirees aren’t as scary as they sound – each inclusive class takes place in a unique venue from cemeteries to museums and has a unique theatrical theme from film noir to folk rituals.
Price: depends on the event, around £15
If this night's title has you immediately shouting “Ah! Like, from 'Jaws'!” then you're probably the kind of person who'll dig London's premiere movie quiz. Taking place monthly in Brixton, Piccadilly and Brentford, it's been going for more than 15 years now – enough prowess to give even Barry Norman a run for his money.
Price: £7 pp
Flamingo Room in O'Neill's, 33-37 Wardour St, Soho W1D 6PU
Upstairs at the Ritzy, Brixton Oval, Coldharbour Ln, Brixton SW2 1JG
The Lord Nelson, 9-11 Enfield Rd, Brentford TW8 9NY
Loads of pubs have quizzes, so why should you pick this one? Because this Bethnal Green boozer really goes for it – from sambucca challenge rounds, to dance competitions to crafting. You might even have to bust out an Elvis impression; we're all shook up.
Price: £2 pp
359 Bethnal Green Rd, E2 6LG
Fancy yourself as the next Kate Tempest? Learn the ropes at one of Out-Spoken's masterclasses or head to a live night around London – from its OG home at The 100 Club, to the swankier Southbank Centre – where poetry and live music combine, focusing on highlighting diverse and progressive new voices.
Price: depends on the night, around £10
Like the best combination of highbrow spoken word and good old-fashioned karaoke japes, Hoxton night Jazz Verse Jukebox fuses spoken word, improv jazz AND lets you get in on the action yourself. Sign up for their open mic session and, whether you want to test your verbal dexterity or vocal prowess, there's a band ready and waiting to be your back up.
Price: from £8
If you like your movie nights a tad more old-school, you need to check out Ciné Reel – the only film club in the UK that exclusively plays 16mm format films. Each month, the wonderful Umit from the legendary Clapton film emporium Umit & Sons projects a favourite classic round the corner at The Castle Cinema for appreciative celluloid enthusiasts.
The Castle Cinema, 64 - 66 Brooksby's Walk, E9 6DA
There’s plenty of rooftop bars in London, but where else can you watch a film alfresco or challenge your mates to a game of crazy golf, virtual reality foosball, a spot of curling, jenga or a swing in a batting cage?
Roof East, a complete Stratford stalwart, reopened this year with a load of new street food offerings, drinks menus and playful surprises.
Price: free, with some ticketed pop-up events
Floors 7-8, Stratford multi-storey car park, Great Eastern Way
If you miss childhood bedtimes (and frankly, who doesn't?), then join professional storyteller Vanessa for an evening of magical tales. In 'Portals of London', she'll explore the secret history of the City's forgotten corners, while other nights focus on urban legends, ghostly stories and more; you'll meet in a series of different, atmospheric London locations, but you'll be transported back to who knows where...
Price: From £5
Venue locations depend on the event, and some are secret - check the website for more details.
This iconic LGBT+ venue has welcomed everyone from Lily Savage (slaying on stage) to Princess Diana (enjoying a sneaky night out in the '80s). Now Grade II listed and reasonably safe from developers, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern is open seven nights a week for drinking, dancing and drag shows, and queer cabaret platform Bar Wotever has become a Tuesday institution.
Price: free with ticketed events around £10
Open past 2am / rvt.org.uk
372 Kennington Lane, Vauxhall, SE11 5HY
Venue says THE MUSIC OF JUDY GARLAND. Starring Nolan Sister and West End Leading Lady – Denise Nolan at Royal Vauxhall Tavern on Friday 22nd November.
Soon to celebrate its first birthday, east London's queer Bollywood night Hungama has given the scene a friendly shot in the arm. It's taken place at various venues including The Glory and Dalston Superstore, but every Hungama is a super-inclusive mix of Bollywood imagery, hip hop beats and anything-goes gay abandon.
Price: from £5
Venues vary - check the Facebook page for up to date details.
Get yourself down to Bethnal Green Working Men's Club. This East End destination has been welcoming revellers since Victorian times. Sink the Pink began here around a decade ago, and something about its proper old-school working's men's club vibe seems to lend itself to colourful, chaotic and forward-thinking club nights.
Price: depends on the night, around £15
42-44 Pollard Row, London E2 6NB
A flag-bearer for London nightlife’s independent and community-minded spirit, Andy Blake’s WU parties have become a turning point – thanks to their use of renegade spaces, judicious use of smoke machines and an audio aesthetic that words like ‘chugging’ and ‘throbbing’ were made for.
Price: depends on the event, around £15
Open past 2am / residentadvisor.net/dj/andyblake
A total, bankable PEACH of a venue, located on a quiet Hackney side street, Moth is a former club for ex-servicemen (Memorable Order of Tin Hats). Luckily for those who haven’t seen action, Moth is open to all and it’s retro chic, breezy vibe and pop/indie-centric music policy means it’s never a downer.
Price: depends on the night, around £10
Valette St, E9 6NU
As trends have come and gone, Heavy Load has repped its niche for a staggering 20 years now. And that niche is: funky retro rock you can properly shake your butt too. Downstairs at the Phoenix near Oxford Street is where it all happens – don check shirts and triple-denim, and enjoy the night’s incredible collection of retro lights too.
Price: £4 before 10pm, £6 after
Open past 2am / theheavyloadclub.com
The Phoenix, 37 Cavendish Square
So many aspects of living in London aren't the best for your body: tube fatigue, pub culture, all the amazing (but not always healthy) eating out options. Give your body back some vital goodness at Frame's latest yoga offering – with candles for company, no less. Sensual.
25-33 Berners Street, W1T 3LR
Much more than just a running club, Midnight Runners gives you the chance to do something healthy and invigorating with your evening while escaping the confines of your local gym. They're a worldwide movement as well, with clubs in cities across the world such as LA, Sydney, Barcelona and more. Go for it and join in, your body will thank you later.
Price: 3 month membership £36, annual £120, first two events free.
David Lynch fans, gather around. The Double R Club is an evening of mystery and nightmares inspired by Lynch's films - and it's a dark and twisted treat, often groping into territory where other cabaret nights fear to tread.
Bethnal Green Working Men's Club, 42-44 Pollard Row, E2 6NB
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