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Night life in London

London is one of the most exciting and vibrant cities in the world. London is packed full of museums, theatres, world-class restaurants, as well as music and comedy venues. Whether you want to visit a world famous gallery, enjoy your favourite band perform or photograph iconic landmarks, there is always something to do.

London at night is all things to all people. If you think it sounds fun, you can do it. If you’ve never imagined it, it’s been done. If you know where to look, you can have a lot of fun at a variety of places. We recommend the following, but there’s so much more to explore for yourself…


Ain’t nothin’ but blues bar

Located just off Carnaby Street (near Oxford St), this intimate venue is rockin’ with that blues vibe. Free entry and a chill environment, a few beers and live blues and you can’t go far wrong.

Board game bar and café

Located in Shoreditch, London’s first board game bar Draughts is a must for a night with a twist. It has a library of board games numbering over 600 and is located under an old railway arch. Think trendy bare brick, Charcuterie or cheese board and local craft beers. Busy and fun vibe on a Saturday night, and works well for couples or a group of mates looking for something a bit different than the standard nightlife.

Curious Invitation

This little company runs an eccentric selection of events, ranging from butterfly taxidermy (which will not be on the freshers’ calendar) to some of the most intense parties of the year. The nights often have a literary twist, so bring your fancy dress and plenty of wanderlust.

Free (or cheap) comedy

Masters of sussing out the things to do on a student budget, a Northeastern University London student favourite is the Camden Head, a free comedy bar in Camden. These are on a variety of nights with a diverse and witty audience. Expect the quirky and weird – and a great night out.

Late nights and silent discos at the museum

You know that scene in Sherlock where they chase each other though the British Museum at night? You can totally do that. The Natural History Museum, the British Library, the National Gallery, the Tate galleries and many others open their doors for after-hours viewings and events. The best part? They’re all free.

Also join several of the museums as they host the craze of silent discos. The Natural History Museum is particularly good at these. This twists Night at the Museum to a new, beat lined edge.

Mega movie marathons

Whether it’s every movie Quentin Tarantino has ever made back-to-back, picnics at an outdoor screening or previewing the latest blockbuster before anyone else, you can do it for under £10 in London. We especially like the Curzon, the Prince Charles and the BFI for their film selections, student discounts and late night showings. Genesis Cinema in East London even offers double sofas, footstools, blankets, in-screen bar and table service in Studio 5. It’s only a little bit more than your normal ticket, starting from £8. 

Ronnie Scott’s

It’s one of the world’s best jazz clubs and a really cool night. £5 to £8 (it’s free to musicians) on the door gets you access to incredible music, ninja bartenders and a comfy booth to make you feel like Frank Sinatra. It was the UK club to host American jazz musicians, and is no stranger to the big jazz names:  Zoot Sims, Johnny Griffin, Lee Konitz, Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt to Tom Waits, Elkie Brooks and Mark Knopfler.

Wilton’s music hall

One of the most beautiful spaces in London also puts on some of the most interesting stuff. It changes all the time, but this decaying music hall’s weekly Ping-Pong tournament is a must.

The big arenas

From the O2 and Alexandra Palace to Wembley Stadium. From Little Mix to Blink 182 to Adele. The line-ups are diverse and amazing in London. Whilst probably not in budget to do every Friday night, London is the centre of all big music tours in the UK.

Sophisticated evenings at…

The Royal Academy lates
The Royal Academy is an incredible art gallery with some of the most influential and controversial artists creating their exhibitions and contributing to their Summer Exhibition. With each landmark exhibition the RA puts on a late showing – normally accompanied by themed dances, balls and events centred around the exhibition.
The Royal Opera House

Delving into some serious culture at the Royal Opera House, is pretty amazing, especially when they do student standby tickets for less than £10. It’s always exciting to dress up and glide up the large sweeping staircases of the ROH. Order your drinks for the interval, and expect the money you save on the tickets to leave your pocket at the bar!

Shakespeare’s Globe theatre

£5 tickets. £5 tickets. £5 tickets. To see Shakespeare. Live. At the Globe. This is a seriously cool theatre, and with standing tickets you can get right up to the stage. Some of the world’s best theatre actors perform some of the most famous plays in the English language, and it’s cheap. Plus, the Globe is committed to keeping it at £5, the comparable cost of what it would have cost a Globe theatre goer in Elizabethan England. If you’re under 25, you can also get £5 tickets to the National Theatre by signing up to their Entry Pass scheme. 

And if that’s not enough…

For the latest London events, check out TimeOut and Londonist. Skint London’s website and Twitter lists things to do for under £10 – perfect for a student budget. Design My Night showcases the hottest pop-ups and nights out.