7 things to do in London by candlelight

Saturday 24 October 2015

Sure, the capital looks pretty good by daylight. But at night, by candlelight, it will leave you enchanted. Here’s our pick of softly lit experiences:

1. See the art and curios of English architect Sir John Soane

© Courtesy of the Trustees of Sir John Soane's Museum


The artful home and antique collections of the Neo-Classical architect – untouched since his death nearly 200 years ago – are most beguiling by the gentle flicker of candlelight. Sir John Soane’s Museum, at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, hosts free open evenings on the first Tuesday of every month (6-9pm).

2. Tour a gothic-style cemetery

Candles at a cemetery

© Pöllö via Wikimedia Commons

Highgate Cemetery's Victorian burial ground dates back to 1839 when it was landscaped to accommodate London’s rapidly growing population. On 1 November you can walk the grounds of the East Cemetery as far as Karl Marx’s grave by candlelight in honour of All Saint’s Day, which commemorates the dead.

3. Sing-a-long to Christmas carols

Carols by candlelight

Carols by Candlelight © Theodore Wood Photography

UK children’s charity NSPCC heralds the festivities with a star-studded fundraiser where ticket holders to the event at Christ Church, Spitalfields, can croon along to Christmas classics as well as listen to seasonal readings by celebs. Previous readers have included Doctor Who star Christopher Eccleston and Downton Abbey's Samantha Bond.

4. Enjoy a play in Jacobean splendour

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse © Pete Le May


Take a seat at the Globe’s Sam Wanamaker Theatre, lit by real candle chandeliers, for an evening of atmospheric theatre as the Bard and his contemporaries would have enjoyed it.

5. Drink at a clandestine cocktail bar

The Candlelight Club © Clayton Hartley


Get your jazz-rags on to enter this 1920s-inspired drinking den The Candlelight Club. The pop-up speakeasy serves up decadent absinthe-infused cocktails and entertains with heady live sets by ragtime band, The Basin Street Brawlers.

6. Get a taste for fine dining in 1901

Andaz Hotel's Candlelight Spectacular © Katie Woods


The Candlelight Spectacular at 1901, one of Andaz Hotel’s 5 restaurants, is a sight to behold. On the last Wednesday of every month (6.30-10pm), the grand ballroom at the Liverpool Street hotel is decked out with around 350 candles, adding multi-sensory appeal to its contemporary British menu.

7. Check into the Opium suite at The May Fair

Because candles will always be romantic. This sumptuous suite in one of London’s top hotels sets the mood with discreetly placed candles, polished wood floors, and red and gold furnishings from the Far East. You can book at: www.themayfairhotel.co.uk.

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