Better known for its quaint cobbled villages and rich cultural history, few come to England for the nightlife alone. However, it’s well documented that the brits love a tipple or two, meaning most major cities boast their fair share of clubs and bars.
In England, there’s something for every nightlife-lover, whether you like to sip cocktails on a rooftop or groove until the early hours. The country hosts some of the world’s most legendary festivals, such as Glastonbury, while many celebrated musicians also hail from England. This means some cities have a history of partying dating back decades.
Whether you’re looking for a cracking city to host a hen or stag ‘do, or you’re a nomadic reveler searching for your next nightlife fix, here we round up seven of the best party cities in England.
As with many countries, some of England’s best nightlife can be found in the capital. Here you’ll find the most diverse array of options, from glamourous cocktail bars to thumping underground clubs serving up alternative hip hop beats.
Those with deep pockets should head straight to Soho, known for its upmarket bars and clubs, often frequented by celebrities. It’s slap bang in the center of the city and is perfect for a decadent disco extravaganza – if that’s what you’re into. If you really want to see and be seen, check out Mayfair, which is dripping with plush nightclubs serving high-end clientele.
Meanwhile, Shoreditch is where the hipsters hang out, in quirky speakeasy-style bars and edgy underground clubs. Cargo is a popular bar housed in a disused railway yard, which often hosts live music events and international DJs. For a rough and ready knees-up in a classic English pub, you can’t go wrong in Camden, popular with rogues and vagabonds.
Known as the LGBTQ capital of the UK, Brighton’s nightlife is legendary. A popular seaside resort located on the south coast, it is perfect for those seeking raucous parties followed by fun days at the beach. Kemptown is the city’s gay quarter and the place to head for unadulterated hedonism.
Here you’ll find one of the most iconic clubs in the country, Club Revenge, which has been hosting wild parties for over 25 years. It is spread over three floors including a rooftop terrace for warmer nights and is known for offering a happy and hassle-free atmosphere for partygoers.
Meanwhile, Shooshh is a glamourous super club popular with those looking for the full VIP experience, including waiter service in selected areas. For something a little more alternative, Green Door Store is located under some old railway arches near the city station and plays an eclectic mix of music – everything from 90s retro pop to heavy drum and bass.
Newcastle upon Tyne
If you ever watched Geordie Shore, the popular British spin-off from MTV’s wild reality hit, you’ll know all about the nightlife in the ‘toon. Newcastle is famed for its down-to-earth locals, who love nothing more than getting ‘mortal’ in some of the city’s crazy clubs and bars.
Tup Tup Palace is an opulent dancing den with an expansive VIP area and dazzling indoor cascades, perfect for girls who like to get their glam on. Meanwhile, Digital is a mega-club popular with the city’s university students, hosting iconic weekly parties with world-famous acts from a range of music scenes, including Deadmau5 and Rudimental. Flares is another unlikely contender which draws large crowds of students, known for its strictly 70s playlist and groovy funk-inspired décor.
Those who like to experiment should look no further than Jalou, a late-night bar with cozy booths and an ever-changing cocktail menu. The playlist here features mainly hip hop and R&B, with regular DJ appearances to keep the party moving until the early hours.
Another popular university city, Leeds is drowning in pubs, bars, and clubs to serve the huge numbers of local students. Recent regeneration in the city center has led to the launch of several new sophisticated rooftop joints, perfect for starting the night with a classy cocktail in hand.
Continue through the city to Call Lane, home to heady nights out in a range of quirky, independent bars. Neon Cactus will have you dancing on the tables while making your way through the extensive drinks menu, complete with Mexican-themed nibbles in case you get peckish.
On the other end of the spectrum, Beaver Works is a disused warehouse on the outskirts of the city hosting some of the most hedonistic parties you can find. It plays host to house, disco, and drum and bass DJ legends, with regular themed nights such as Flux and Good Life.
Vying against Brighton for the crown of England’s gay capital, Bristol is known for its incredible LGBTQ scene, with parties that rage on until the sun comes up. You’ll find two separate gay villages, one in West End and another in Old Market Quarter, providing numerous opportunities for an uninhibited night out.
The southern city also plays host to some legendary festivals, including the emporium of tech, house, and drum and bass that is Love Saves the Day. Those looking for something a little more sophisticated will delight in the array of cocktail and speakeasy-style bars on offer, such as the hushed-up 20s themed Hyde & Co, complete with a secret entrance.
As the night draws on, many revelers wind up at Thekla. This world-famous club is situated on board a converted German cargo ship moored in the harbor and has been serving up live music from acclaimed artists since 1986. Motion is another great option for late-night shenanigans, housed in a warren of former warehouses and offering large-scale productions headed by international DJs.
Another northern city with deep roots in the music and partying scene, Manchester is a sprawling city with a nightlife catering to all tastes and budgets. The upmarket Spinningfields neighborhood is popular with cocktail connoisseurs, with a range of quirky bars serving drinks that dazzle – complete with dry ice and other special effects.
However, if you feel more comfortable at the rave in your trainers, Manchester has that covered too, with the city’s notorious Warehouse Project frequently voted the best night out in Britain. Here, you’ll find club nights packed to the rafters with EDM enthusiasts, exalting some of the best DJs of the genre.
Somewhere in the middle is Impossible, a theatrical venue that serves as a swanky restaurant by day and outrageous club by night, with regular performances from scantily clad dancers and fire breathers. The unique venue is spread over several floors, including a stylish rooftop terrace.
No list of the best party cities in England could be complete without Liverpool, the birthplace of legendary rock band The Beatles. This lively port city is popular with students, live music fans, and all-around party animals, with an eclectic mix of late-night entertainment venues on offer. Albert Dock is one of the most popular areas for a night out, heading up the city’s vibrant waterfront with plenty of happy hour hot spots.
Meanwhile, The Botanical Garden is a laid-back venue in the trendy Baltic area. Perfect for warmer evenings, the outdoor terrace is the ideal spot to sample gins from around the world, indulge in some Mexican street food, and listen to laid-back beats from resident DJs.
The city’s most atmospheric venue for live music can be found at The Arts Club, which showcases a diverse range of talent from around the world in a historic building. For something a little edgier, check out Eat Me, a drag, dinner, cabaret, and nightclub that celebrates queer culture in the wildest way possible.
What is the party capital of England?
As well as being the country’s actual capital, London is undoubtedly the party capital of England. Here you’ll find the most diverse array of nightlife, festivals, and events, along with world-famous clubs such as Fabric, Printworks, and the Ministry of Sound.
Does London have good nightlife?
As the party capital of England, London has excellent nightlife for all tastes. The West End provides a sophisticated spot to sip cocktails, attend a show at the theatre, or splash the cash at some of the city’s ritziest clubs. You’ll also find all-night raves in disused industrial buildings, down-to-earth pubs serving pint after pint, and low-lit bars playing retro tunes, perfect for a night on the tiles.
Which area in London has the best nightlife?
There are several areas in London with excellent nightlife, and which you choose depends on what kind of night you’re after. As detailed above, Soho, Kensington, Mayfair, and the West End are perfect if you like to get glammed up and rub shoulders with the rich and famous.
Meanwhile, Shoreditch has more of a laid-back vibe and is popular with students and young professionals. Brixton and Camden offer an edgier, alternative option, in their own different way. Brixton has a strong Caribbean influence, with soulful jazz cafés and quirky cocktail bars, whereas Camden is the capital of counterculture, offering a vibrant underworld of live music.