Like all of the world's great cities, London never sleeps. London evenings offer a broad pallet of entertainment possibilities from theater, ballet and opera to relaxed hours mixing with the locals at pubs once patronized by literary lions.
The dance club scene has never been more vibrant and a moonlit stroll along the Thames is as romantic today as it was Lord Byron's time. London's evenings are waiting to cast their spell on you.
Take a London Walk
There's no better way to get an intimate glimpse of London after dark than by surrendering yourself to the capable hands of a guide who knows the city's secrets. Choose from a variety of after-dark London Walks.
Count on each evening's selection including a pub walk, a ghost walk and a Jack the Ripper walk led by the one of the foremost experts on that grisly page of London's history. Other options include Westminster by Gaslight and The Ancient City at Night. You might even find yourself viewing an Monday evening session of Parliament.
The London Walks website lists all the available walks. Click on the one you find most appealing for the location of the tube station where you'll meet your guide. That's all you need to do because there's no booking involved. Your guide will be waving a fistful handful of white walk brochures. If the weather doesn't cooperate, simply try again another evening.
LONDON WALKS London, PO Box 1708 London, NW6 4LW Telephone (020) 7624-3978 (020) 7794-764 http://www.walks.com/
Open Air Theater Regent's Park
Since 1932 warm weather has meant nighttime dramatics at the Open Air Theater in Regent's Park. Performances at the amphitheater in Queen Mary's Garden begin at 8 p.m., with the grounds opening at 6:30 p.m.
Order a boxed picnic with your tickets and arrive early to eat at the picnic lawn, or wait until you arrive and enjoy the teas, sandwiches, barbecue and freshly baked cakes. Indulge in a Pimm's at the longest outdoor bar in London's West End. You're allowed to bring beverages but not food into the theater.
Come prepared for the unpredictable London weather with a hooded waterproof jacket and a dry plastic cushion to sit on if it rains prior to the show.
Book your seats online for a small booking fee, or get your tickets at the box office after 10 a.m.
The New Shakespeare Company Ltd Open Air Theatre The Ironworks Inner Circle Regent's Park London NW1 4NR (084) 4826-4242 http://openairtheatre.org/
The Showboat Dinner Cruise
For a twist on the traditional London theater experience, book a London Showboat Dinner Cruise. The 3 1/2 hour cruise departs from Westminster Pier, journeying past Parliament, St. Paul's, Canary Wharf and the Tower Bridge to the Thames Barrier before returning. Enjoy your four-course dinner and wine to cabaret-style entertainment.
Bring your dancing shoes for a turn on the deck if the weather permits, because there will be live music throughout the return leg.
Be at Westminster Pier for boarding by 7:15 p.m. Arrange for transportation back to your hotel at 10:30 p.m. Optional tips aren't included in your ticket price. Book your cruise online at the City Cruises website.
City Cruises plc Cherry Garden Pier Cherry Garden Street London SE16 4TU Tel: (020) 7740-0400 http://www.citycruises.com/showboat.htm