London’s nightlife is one of the city’s most famous attractions for visitors from around the world, but it’s not simply the many exemplary bars, clubs and theatres that make the English capital a hotspot for lovers of the later hours.
Indeed, after dark tours are an extremely popular way for guests to experience a different side of London to that which is most commonly seen during the day, with a darker, wilder side that only comes out after the sun goes down.
Here we offer some tips on finding the best night tours of this vibrant and historic city. Whether it’s a walking tour of some of the city’s most interesting locations or a bus ride that takes in London’s nightlife, there really is something for everyone when booking an after-dark excursion around the capital.
Jack the Ripper tours
One of the most infamous figures in London history, Jack the Ripper was a serial killer who prowled the streets of the English capital in the late Victorian period.
Preying on the local ladies of dubious repute in the busy East End, the Ripper was never found and to this day there are countless theories as to the identity of this mystery murderer.
Visitors to London can therefore take a tour of some of the scenes of his crimes, with a helpful and knowledgeable guide in tow to both titillate and fire the senses with their tales of macabre wrongdoing.
Tour London’s historic pubs
For all those with a taste for traditional ale and good times, London offers a wealth of public houses that have a long and storied history to tell.
This is one type of tour that is for over-18s only, as the venues you will be visiting are strictly of an adult nature. Explore the rich history of the London public house, with some pubs dating back for hundreds of years and able to showcase a vibrant heritage.
Expect to enjoy a drink (or three) when taking a tour of London’s historic pubs, with the excursion a perfect way to start an evening out for all those who like to know that bit more about the capital’s rich nightlife and history.
London by open-top bus
A great way to get out and about and see the many different attractions of one of the liveliest cities on the planet, an open-top bus tour is a fabulous means of exploring the city when the sun goes down.
Wrap up warm and let yourself be driven around the bustling streets, with a tour guide always on hand to offer insights into the many sights to be seen and an array of titbits of pertinent information on some of the city’s best-known (and some not so) attractions.
Drop-offs usually take place as well, meaning visitors can get out and stretch their legs, before jumping back onboard and heading off to the next attraction on a packed itinerary.
Take a night boat
Visitors planning an after-dark tour of the city can also take to the waters in one of the many night boat tours that run the length and breadth of the iconic River Thames.
Travellers might be surprised just how different an experience there is to be found when the sun goes down, with the dark waters eerily silhouetted against the bright backdrop of the bustling Thames shore.
All the top riverside attractions can be visited by boat, including the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, the O2 Arena, Tower Bridge, the Thames Barrier, plus many more.
Ghost hunting after dark
All those hoping for a more frightening experience are also extremely well catered for when planning a London night tour, with the city home to an array of (possibly) haunted sites.
Not for the faint of heart, ghost hunting is a serious affair and tends to take place in the wee hours of the morning – so expect to be staying up throughout the night for this one.
Strange noises and bumps in the night can be guaranteed, it’s simply a matter of guests making up their own mind as to whether what they experience is really of the supernatural, or if Barry next door forgot to let the cat back in.
An evening bike ride
Finally, there is always the option of taking to the roads of the capital itself, as when the traffic calms down heading into the later hours, this presents a perfect opportunity to get on your bike and tour some of the city’s most popular and interesting attractions.
Helpful guides will point out all of the most popular sights of the city, as well as making sure that everyone stays safe during their time on two wheels.
One of the great things about a bicycle tour is the fact you can reach places a bit more off the beaten track, so buckle up your helmet and be prepared for some excellent exercise as well as some exemplary sightseeing.