How to Make the Most of London with Friends

May 18, 2016

It's great fun when the whole gang tries something new together and the capital has plenty to keep even the fussiest of friends entertained.

London in the summer is a bit like Glasto; there’s loads to do but it’s nearly impossible to do it all. While we love the fact there’s so much going on, there's a higher chance of the UK winning Eurovision than a group agreeing on an activity and making the most of the capital.

Whether you’re a local Londoner or just down to visit, if you’re with the whole gang it can be hard to find something that’ll keep everyone happy. It's not laziness, often just logistics. Luckily, there are plenty of group based attractions (no, we don’t mean the pub) to explore and many often cater specifically for large parties. From adults-only museum nights to active adventures – we’ve rounded up the best places to go with your crew.

Science Museum Lates

Flaming shots.

Who doesn’t love the thrill of being somewhere after hours? Head to the Science Museum this summer for one of their legendary ‘lates’ evenings. Once a month, the museum opens its doors after closing time, with pop-up bars, talks, experiments and demos, as well as the usual chance to see the permanent mind-boggling collections. With a range of different activities, plus several bars for your mate who's moaning about ‘just going for a normal pint' and suddenly we're keen to rock the lab coat look.

West End Show

Empty red theatre seats in London's West End.

If your entourage is pickier than a toddler at tea time then we suggest a fairly safe bet: a West End show. It might be cliché, but the capital's theatreland is one of the best in the world and has enough variety to keep everyone happy. From comedy to cabaret and musicals to magic, you're pretty likely to find something to entertain you all for the evening. There's plenty of choice when it comes to booking tickets (although many sell out so plan in advance) but if you're visiting from out of town then a theatre and hotel package from Westend Theatrebreaks can offer the most bang for your buck. You can also save on rail fare. Boom.

Go Ape

Girl going down a zip wire at Go Ape.

You'll need your closest chums' support at Go Ape, a treetop adventure circuit that sees you climb and swing your way along high walkways. You complete the course as a group so it's down to you to motivate each other and encourage anyone who falls behind. The circuit increases in difficulty as you progress; expect zipwires and Tarzan swings along the way. As well as being a great outdoor team-building activity, Go Ape is also lots of fun. The clipping-on, clipping-off of the wires takes a bit of getting used to, but once you get into the 'swing' of things (sorry), you'll be zipping around with your gang in no time. The nation-wide company has recently launched in London's Battersea Park so now's the perfect time for some capital based monkey business.

London Dungeon Lates

Body/costume prop at London Dungeon.

Nothing brings you closer to your friends than a spot of terrifying, torture based jollities right? The London Dungeon - one of the capital’s most famous attractions - now offers late night events which take you through London's murky past of treason, torture and trials after all the daytime visitors have left. Your group will be greeted by costumed characters and veiled villains and you can get into the spirit of things too, with the array of fancy dress and accessories provided. If anyone gets too scared they can seek solace in the free gin cocktail – even better, group bookings are offered a discount.

Picnic like Pros

Friends having a picnic, enjoying a few drinks and listening to someone play the guitar.

If you're all looking to save your pennies then a failsafe option (as long as the British weather holds out) is a picnic. London has one of the highest amounts of green spaces in Europe and its many parks are the perfect place to hang out with friends. Some have designated BBQ areas (like London Fields) while others have swimming ponds (Hampstead Heath). If there are lots of you, why not be really grown up and take a marquee or foldable table (the height of sophistication). If you're looking for somewhere extra special head to an English Heritage site; many feature formal gardens and landscaped grounds that are perfect for a posh picnic. Stock up the hamper, grab your favourite people and nab a sunny spot; it's one of the best ways to enjoy the Great British Summer.

Siobhan Brewood-Wyatt
After a Masters in Comparative Literature, Siobhan worked for several big-name travel companies before joining travioor. She has been hooked on travel since her teens and her biggest adventure is booking flights from Rome to Rio after a few too many beers. Follow her on Twitter @SiobhanBW