It appears very likely that Pie Diva and I will flying through Heathrow next month with overnight connections each way. On the way over, we’ll be landing at 22:45, which will be 3:45 p.m. CDT if I did the math right. We will not be able to sleep or want to sleep.
We are looking for ideas for nocturnal fun and adventures, with a return to LHR for a 08:40 flight the following morning.
What night of the week? Just doing the round trip to LHR is likely to be a bit of a PITA unless you get through customs and immigration quickly, since you are flirting with the last trains into London. The Tube, Uber, Bus, etc, all work as well, but can take more than a little time (expect getting into Central London on the Tube at 11pm to take a good, solid 90 minutes)
If it’s not a Friday or Saturday night, aside from clubbing, much of the action dries up at 1am or 2am.
Two of the better 24/7 options to be experienced in London are both around Liverpool Street Station: Duck and Waffle and the above-mentioned Beigel Bake. About 20 minute walk from each other, and that’s a decent part of the city at night. Duck and Waffle has an *outstanding* view of the city, and isn’t crowded in the middle of the night, and the staff usually doesn’t mind you sitting there nursing a beverage and just soaking up the view. Polo Bar is also good British food around there (across from the Station)
Soho has a lot of good late night options as well, especially around Chinatown, but also expect much of that part of town to start closing up at 2:30 am.
So, if I had to do this (and didn’t have my option of staying with my brother, which is how I usually handle my London overnights), I’d probably check various transit options to try to get to Soho while some of the Chinatown places are open (especially the Experimental Cocktail Club!), get some light eats and just wander around Chinatown, Soho, and Leicester Square. Then catch a Night Bus to Liverpool street, and check out Duck and Waffle and maybe the Spitalfields area and the other few 24/7 joints. Then slowly work your way back to the airport.