London is famous around the world for its clubs, bars, and pubs, with these venues often being depicted in movies and tv shows. While these are popular options for students, there are many other activities that you can get involved in that do not include drinking alcohol.
Whether you are teetotal or looking to simply cut back on your intake, there is something in this bustling city for you to enjoy. Let's take a closer look at the best things to do in London without alcohol:
Attend a Comedy Club
One of the most entertaining nights out in London is attending a comedy club – where you are always guaranteed to have a good time and a barrel of laughs. There are many comedy club options in the city, each hosting up-and-coming comedy talent. One of the most popular venues is 99 Club Leicester Square, located in the West End of London. Open four nights a week and hosting some of the UK’s top comedians who have been seen on TV shows such as Live at the Apollo and 8 out of 10 cats. Other top comedy venues include The Bill Murray, the Vauxhall Comedy Club, and Angel Comedy Club, each of which run their own comedy nights where you can escape the real world and laugh for an hour or two.
Go Rock Climbing
For a more physical activity, why not try out rock climbing. Yes, we know there may not be a physical landscape for it in London. Still, there are some great artificial rock climbing walls in specially designed centres such as the Climbing Hanger in Fulham, which has three floors of indoor climbing and a coffee shop to relax in after you have spent your energy. It offers monthly membership or single entry visits giving you the option to try it out before making any kind of commitment. The centre is open from early in the morning, well into the evening, making it an excellent option for some after-dinner fun instead of going to the pub. If you are unsure of where to start when it comes to rock climbing, many climbing centres also run courses where you can receive tuition from experts that show you the ropes.
Visit the Theatre
One of London’s main attractions that is well worth the visit is its West End. Packed full of theatres that host a number of award-winning musicals and shows, you would be crazy not to try and experience some for yourself. Now, while some of the West End tickets available can be quite expensive, there are some great deals if you know where to look.
Firstly, some of the smaller theatres put on brilliant lesser-known shows for a more affordable cost. Many of the main theatres also sell tickets that have not sold last-minute for lower prices, so keep an eye out for these as they are sure to cost less than a night out drinking expensive cocktails. Additionally, many daily deals websites such as Wowcher also offer vouchers and deals on discounted tickets, where you can sign up for email alerts.
If you do manage to get your hands on a ticket, you will not regret it, as the West End is known for putting on some of the best shows in the world. It is a guaranteed excellent night out for all.
Take Up A New Hobby
If you aren’t wanting to spend your evenings in the pub, why not try and take up another hobby. London is packed full of mini-golf courses, bowling alleys, trampolining parks, or ping pong clubs – where you can have fun without needing a drink. While many of these venues will have a bar, they are not designed for mad nights out. Why not try Bounce Ping Pong, where you can challenge your friends to a game of table tennis or shuffleboard, or Junk Yard Golf, which has four themed mini-golf courses – a jungle, fairground, scrapyard, and house of horrors – meaning that you can visit time and time again. Each of these activities is a great way to spend time with a group of friends or an excellent fun date night idea.
Visit a Museum at Night
Some of the top tourist attractions in London are its major museums, but these are not just for tourists. If you are looking for an alcohol-free night out, why not visit a Late Night museum event. Most museums run these events around once a month, aiming them towards adults and offering a variety of different themes. The Science Museum, for example, runs a silent disco or special laboratory nights where you can explore the wonders of the scientific world.
Go on a Boat Ride
The River Thames runs through the centre of London, breaking up the city and covering a large area. A great way to spend some time in London is to catch a boat cruise down the river, taking in the sites of the city from a unique vantage point. One of the most popular boat services is the Uber Boat, also known as the Thames Clippers, which can travel from Putney to Woolich, with many stops and routes in between. If you are looking for a more special event, there are also dinner cruises down the river where you can enjoy a great meal while taking in the spectacular views.
Draughts Board Game Café
For those that love a challenge, look no further than the Draughts Board Game Café, which has two locations in London – Waterloo and Hackney. The cafes are a great setting for board game lovers and have a games library of over 800 games from Scrabble to Trivial Pursuit to Settlers of Catan and everything in between. These cosy cafes have a great food menu and offer many non-alcoholic drink options. They do serve alcohol, meaning that it is a great option if you are looking to meet up with friends who drink but want an activity other than drinking to focus on.
Going to the cinema and watching a film on the big screen really is a treat – and a great way to spend time with friends without drinking. London is full of many different cinema chains, as well as many independent film houses. One that does stand out is Backyard Cinema, which not only shows films but creates an entirely immersive experience that makes you feel like you are part of them. This may include input from actors or beautifully themed decorations around the screen that transport you to another world. Recently, they have been transforming their venue into a winter night garden as a backdrop for Christmas films for all the family to enjoy. The cinema has lots of non-alcoholic drinks and snacks to enjoy, making the experience even better.
Another cinema option is the Luna Open Air Cinema, located in the Royal Hospital Chelsea. Offering both sit-in and drive-in options, this giant film screen is a must see whether you are a classic film lover or looking for a special treat around the holidays.
Hit the Shops
From Covent Garden to Oxford Circus, London is famed for its big-name brands and smaller boutiques. Whatever your style or taste, there is a shop for you. Go for a browse with a friend, and why not stop for a spot of afternoon tea to treat yourselves to delightful cakes and homemade scones. While you might not be able to do this every weekend, it is perfect for a special occasion instead of going out for drinks.
Visit Borough Market
While you may be trying to avoid alcohol, there are some great food places in the UK’s capital. As well as many great restaurants, Borough Market is a must-see. The market is great for a weekend wander or a quick bite to eat on a weeknight, and with multiple different cuisines to choose from, you could visit again and again. The market prides itself on good street food that is great for sharing between mates and sure to get your tastebuds tingling. This is a great option for those on a budget as there are many different food options to choose from at a variety of price points. Located right next to London Bridge underground station, it is easy to get to and even easier to find something tasty to enjoy.