Mayor Sadiq Khan hopes to make the capital’s nightlife about more than just pubs and clubs.

Photo of Tate Modern exterior at night

London’s theatres, museums and art galleries could soon be open late into the night, if plans outlined by Mayor Sadiq Khan are realised.

The Mayor of London outlined a ‘24-hour vision for London’ this week, which aims to make the capital “a trailblazing city at night, competing with the likes of Berlin, Tokyo and New York”.

“Today’s vision isn’t just about pubs and clubs – it’s about everything from museums and theatres opening later, being able to do your weekly shop after an evening shift, through to the safety of Londoners working and travelling at night and residents being able to get a good night’s sleep,” he said on Tuesday.

City Hall will work with major cultural organisations, as well as local authorities, planners, licensing experts, artists, the police and media entrepreneurs to realise the vision.

It hopes building a night-time culture in the capital will attract further investment and boost tourism, and that increased opening hours will help businesses cope with recent business rates hikes.

Khan said: “Building a vibrant 24-hour city is crucial for London to remain a cultural and economic powerhouse – it is also what keeps visitors, workers, students and businesses flocking to our great city.”

Serious challenges

The vision aims to promote all forms of culture and leisure, “not just pubs and clubs, but a wide range of activities for people of all ages and interests”.

It has been welcomed by Creative Industries Federation Chief Executive John Kampfner, who said: “A thriving night scene of pubs, music venues, theatre and late-night gallery openings contributes to the vibrancy and success of the wider creative sector.”

He warned there are “serious challenges to after-hours culture”, including planning and licensing laws, transport and policing, but added: “Addressing these with a single vision makes complete sense.”

Night-time economy

Growing London’s nightlife has been a priority for the Mayor, who has launched the capital’s first-ever Night Tube service at weekends and appointed a Night Czar since his election last year.

The night-time economy is worth £26bn to London and generates one in eight jobs. Research by EY shows it could add £2bn a year to the economy by 2030 and directly support 790,000 jobs across a variety of industries.

Night Czar Amy Lamé – who will lead on the new strategy, along with the new Night Time Commission chaired by Philip Kolvin QC – said: “We want London to be the world’s number one night-time destination, whether you want to grab a late bite to eat, take in an afterhours exhibition, enjoy a drink, dance or just get a good night’s sleep.”

Author(s): 
A photo of Frances Richens