Winter nights out: London’s best views and live entertainment

london view
Big Ben

Most major cities are known only too well known for their skylines and fantastic views. And, frankly, seeking out such a view and just taking it in is something that, now we’ve definitely entered winter with its extended nights, you can enjoy for as long as you like on a visit to London – and, after that, you can then of course sample all that the city’s nightlife has to offer, which to say is extensive is putting it mildly.

Anyway, to start off with, here are some of the most sensational attractions and venues in the city to visit if you want to catch sight of the capital’s very best views…

The Shard

(32 London Bridge Street SE1 9SG)

The trendiest – and, sure, one of the priciest – views in London. In many ways ‘The View from the Shard’ (as it’s advertised) is this list’s blockbuster. But so high up is it, truly it probably is the ultimate. Not least because it offers a completely 360° panorama.

The London Eye

(South Bank SE1 7PB)

Another obvious pick, but another awesome view. Ideal for the definitely spectacular-at- night Westminster and St. Paul’s district, so long as you’re standing at the front of your pod and not at the back too far from its window.

Vertigo 42

(Level 42, Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street EC2N 1HQ)

Providing you have an advanced booking, this makes for the perfect start to an expensive, spoil-yourself- rotten night of fine dining. Plonk yourself down on a plush, comfy sofa, with an excellent alcoholic beverage in hand and take in the view before dinner – ideal if you’ve chosen to stay in one of the hotels in Shoreditch.

Duck and Waffle

(Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate EC2N 4AY)

Another view from a South Bank-City-friendly restaurant (and so great for The Montcalm London hotel)? Well, yes, but from here you can watch the sunrise as well as sunset, if you want. How so? It’s open 24 hours a day. Yes, really.

Tower Bridge

(Tower Bridge Road SE1 2UP)

Should you be coming to London you simply have to go and see the utterly iconic Tower Bridge; it’s surely the one of the major landmarks of all world cities. And, this time of year, if you visit in late afternoon, you can go inside and experience its fascinating exhibition (as well as see its inner workings), during which you can take in terrific views from high up on the bridge – one faces west to the Westminster; the other east to Canary Wharf.

Sky Garden

(20 Fenchurch Street EC3M 3BY)

Situated on the top floor of the City high-rise affectionately known as the ‘Walkie Talkie’ (you’ll understand why the building’s compared to an old-fashioned mobile phone when you approach it from outside), this intriguing but stylish indoor garden may double as a sophisticated restaurant – yes, another one – but what distinguishes this vantage point is the fact you can enjoy it entirely for free.

Emirates Air Line

(Unit 1, 2, 3 & 4, Emirates Cable Car Terminal, Edmund Halley Way, London SE10 0FR)

Finally, another of the latest, trendiest of the UK capital’s attractions. Sure, it may not be a cable car journey that quite rivals the one to and from Rio’s Sugar Loaf Mountain, but this one (traversing the Thames to and from the O2 area) does, like everything else on this list, offer a truly splendid view of London Town at night. It’s also a snip of a price if you have an Oyster card on you.

evening in london

Evening entertainment

So, what better to follow up wallowing in one of the fine views afforded you throughout several of the city’s major attractions than by indulging in a night on the town – just for starters, there’s a terrific selection of live music events going on at venues this January…


  • Antics (KOKO, 1a Camden High Street NW1 7JE/ every Friday 10pm-4am) – the ace resident DJs Antics and Beatz deliver only the very best hip hop, breaks, beats and floor-filling tracks to kick off any and everyone’s weekend; head to the gallery bar for reggae, rocksteady and dancehall

  • Buttoned Down Disco (KOKO/ first Saturday of each month, 10am-4pm) – also hosted by Camden’s KOKO, this indie-themed night is one of London’s best reviewed; hardly surprising as resident DJs Christian Laing and Mikey Snooze are all about the cool indie, eclectic pop, alternative dance and many a sly surprise too; plus, who could say no to giant balloons, glitter-face-painting, bubbles and even ‘son et lumiere’-style visuals?

  • Threekey Entertainment Presents: Stronger Together – A Hip Hop Charity Fundraiser (Café Cairo, 88 Landor Road SW9 9PE/ Saturday 13th January 6pm-2am) A great night of high-quality hip hop at which you can expect emerging artists from throughout Europe to be in attendance, showcasing their talents; all in aid of raising awareness of and money for homeless charities, expect not just live performances and open mic opportunities, but cash prize competitions too

  • Australia Day at Waxy O’Connor’s! (Waxy O’Connor’s, 14-16 Rupert Street W1D 6DD/ Friday 26th January, 7pm-12midnight) – come along at the end January and celebrate Australia’s national day (or rather, its national evening) at one of London’s greatest Irish bars; don’t be confused or put off by this Soho venue’s celtic leanings, Aussie day here promises to be awesome, what with live rock bands supplying the soundtrack all night, as well as great giveaways and, perhaps best of all, free entry!