Early evening is the best time to get up high and watch the city turn from day into night. There are plenty of ways to see London from above, and they don’t all have to cost a fortune. The best value is to climb the 311 steps to the top of the Monument (last entry 5pm, tickets £4), a Doric column in the City of London built to commemorate the Great Fire of London.
Later evening options include giant 135-metre ferris wheel the London Eye for amazing river and skyline views, which were the highest in London until superseded by relative newcomer The Shard (last entry 6pm Sun-Wed, 9pm Thurs-Sat) in February 2013. Known officially as The View from the Shard, the highest observation deck is on Level 72 which is partially outdoors at a height of 244 metres.
The newest viewing platform in London is Sky Garden which occupies the 34th to 37th floors of the controversial “Walkie Talkie” building; a skyscraper more correctly known as 20 Fenchurch Street in the City of London financial district. Access is free if you book online in advance, though only until 6pm weekdays or 9pm weekends. However, the three restaurants and bars are open until late, so if you book a table for dinner you can linger for longer.
Once your feet are back on the ground, round off your night with a trip to a traditional London pub. So many of the capital’s watering holes are soaked in centuries-old history and local legend, and most will serve you a decent meal in addition to a pint. In the heart of the city you’ll find storied establishments like the Dog & Duck in Soho, the river-fronting Anchor Inn at Bankside, the galleried 17th century George Inn on Borough High Street, and notorious highwaymen’s favourite the White Hart on Drury Lane – though every neighbourhood has its gems.
If you fancy heading out to the Docklands in the east to see a show at the O2, drop into the new bar celebrating Virgin Atlantic’s partnership with Delta Air Lines called NY-LON. Sip a cocktail or grab a bite to eat in our exciting themed space which will make you feel like you’re in our famous Clubhouse – be sure to visit the bathrooms while you’re there!