A nocturnal guide to London

You've trekked around central London, checking off every major landmark along the way, taken a ride on the London Eye and enjoyed a panoramic view of the city, been entertained by the many street performers in Covent Garden and heard Big Ben chime out the evening hours. So is it time to call it a day and head back to your hotel? Not at all – there's a whole other side of London that's worth seeing, and it only comes out at night.

Whether you're looking for a way to see the sights of the capital while escaping the tourist herd, or just want to squeeze more out of a short stay in the city, these are just a few of the things worth losing sleep over in London.

Take in a show
London's West End is well known for its many theatres and all-star shows, but you can find more varied – and less expensive – options away from Leicester Square. From Gate in Notting Hill to the temptingly named Menier Chocolate Factory, London has a wealth of quirky yet cosy theatres, which provide an exciting, alternative night out in the city.

Go ghost hunting
For a macabre alternative to the typical London nightlife experience, why not try a spooky guided tour of the city? From the infamous haunts of Jack the Ripper to lesser-known gruesome historical sites and famous ghost sighting locations, there are plenty of spots to visit, and plenty of ghost tour companies willing to guide you around them.

Soak up some late-night culture
Skip the weekend crowds and opt to visit some of London's best-loved cultural attractions by night.  Many visitors to the city don't realize that the majority of London's museums have late-night opening times at least once a week, while some other attractions are open late every night. From the Tower of London to Somerset House and a huge variety of galleries and museums, you can get an entirely different experience of the city's cultural side by night.

See the stars
While you might be disappointed in your hopes to spot a celebrity on your visit to London, you could always spend an evening spotting stars of a different kind on London's majestic Hampstead Heath. As the highest point in central London, Hampstead Heath makes a great spot for stargazing. For an even closer look, head along the Lower Terrace to the Hampstead Observatory, which opens its telescopes to the public for free between 8-10pm on Fridays and Saturdays, mid-September to mid-April.

Get some rest
However late you choose to stay out exploring the city, at some point you'll need to get some sleep, if only to prepare you for a full day of adventure tomorrow. As a popular city break choice for tourists from all over the world, it's hardly surprising that there are plenty of accommodation options available in London; where you stay just depends on what kind of trip you're planning and how much you're willing to spend.

What have you done in the evening in London?  Any tips to share with your fellow travelers?

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