Plan Your Visit

Top things to do on a Friday in the City of London

Discover the City of London’s guide to Fridays and make the most of Transport for London’s discounted Friday travel exploring the City. Every Friday from 8 March to 31 May, travel to the City for less with off-peak fares all day. Whether it’s a leisurely day out with family to keep the kids entertained, a moment of respite for busy City workers to lunch or socialise after work, or a fun-filled afternoon for adventurous tourists; the City of London promises an array of experiences as the weekend kicks off.

Lunchtime bites and after work celebrations  

Whether you’re looking for a place to perch for lunch or you're ready to say cheers to the weekend after the end of the working day, the City’s diverse dining scene, vibrant bars and welcoming outdoor spaces provide an array of choices to dine, drink, relax and explore.

1. Indulge in tasty cocktails and delicious food at Andaz London Liverpool Street.

Experience comforting food and a specially crafted cocktail menu at Rake's Cafe Bar, delight in authentic Japanese cuisine in Miyako, enjoy a classic menu with healthy options in Eastway Brasserie or discover a  quintessentially British experience in Lady Abercorn’s Pub & Kitchen.

Special off-peak Fridays offer: Andaz London is offering 20% off drinks at Rake's, Lady Abercorn's, Eastway Brasserie and Miyako every Friday until 31 May. The offer also applies to hotel stays and meeting spaces.

Couple of friends having cocktails at a bar. There's food on the bar and bottles in the background.

Image courtesy of Andaz London Liverpool Street

2. Taste a Michelin Star hot chocolate

Rosslyn Coffee is serving up the best hot chocolates which were given a Michelin Star, offering a cosy lunchtime treat.

Customers waiting at the counter of a coffee shop.

Image by Lauren Kallen

3. Start your evening at 14 Hills rooftop bar

It’s leafy and lively in this Fenchurch Street cocktail bar and dining space. You can eat and drink among foliage galore while live DJs inject a party vibe on Friday nights.

14 Hills - glamorous restaurant - dinning room with plants hanging in pots from the ceiling

4. Dine at the beautiful Fortnum’s Bar and Restaurant at the Royal Exchange

Serving up a seasonal contemporary menu, the bar and restaurant sits in the al fresco-style surroundings of the spectacular Royal Exchange. After indulging in a delicious meal, don't forget to pop to the Fortnum & Mason store and get an exclusive 10% discount on your shopping on the day - just show your restaurant receipt in the store.

The Fortnum's Bar & Restaurant at The Royal Exchange - view of the interior of the royal exchange - stone archways surround the courtyard with Fortnum's bar in the middle - large oval bar with causal seating

The Royal Exchange, Fortnum & Mason. Helen Lowe

5. Catch-up with friends at the Barbican Lakeside Terrace

A wonderful place to relax for lunch and grab a coffee while you soak up the sun surrounded by iconic architecture and greenery. From 10 April, find Ibrahim Mahma’s 'Purple Hibiscus' installation, which will dramatically envelop the iconic brutalist exterior with 2000 square meters of bespoke woven cloth.

Courtesy of Ibrahim Mahama, Red Clay Tamale, Barbican Centre, London and White Cube

6. Dine al fresco in one of the beautiful City gardens

Dine al fresco on the sunken lawn and listen to the trickling fountain at the beautiful Festival Gardens. What better than the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral as a lunchtime backdrop.

Grass, yellow flowers and a fountain with st paul's cathedral behind

7. Enjoy a Bottomless Brunch at Swingers City

Head to Swingers City for their bottomless booze package 'The Cocktail Set'. Enjoy 90 minutes of unlimited drinks, a reserved area, unlimited crazy golf and epic street food – all for £50 per person. Get the party started with tunes from Swingers' resident DJ throughout the day and you’ll have the chance to strike a pose on their 3D photo podium.

Group of four friends playing at the waterwheel at a mini golf venue

8. Unleash your inner artist at Broadworks

On Friday 3 May, 12pm to 2pm, get creative with bookbinding at Broadworks Friday Art Club. Join this workshop by talented screen-printer Jenni Allen and create your very own notebook using sustainable practices. Whether you're a seasoned bookbinder or a complete beginner, this session is perfect for anyone who wants to brighten up their lunchtime by crafting something beautiful.

colourful notebooks on a table

For the culture connoisseurs

Discover the City’s unparalleled culture and unique heritage with a visit to Guildhall Art Gallery, catch the Barbican’s captivating exhibition by Moroccan artist Soufiane Ababri or find some joy with Elysian Arcs colourful installation at Leadenhall. No matter your taste in art, theatre, film or history, there’s something for everyone to discover.

9. Marvel at incredible artwork at Guildhall Art Gallery

Make the most of your visit to Guildhall Art Gallery with a free guided tour lead by an official City Guide, taking place every Friday at 12:15pm and 1:15pm. Enjoy the several free displays to see such as the interesting history of Billingsgate Market at the Heritage Gallery. From 12 April, visit 'Anne Desmet: Kaleidoscope/London', a stunning exhibition that explores a fresh perspective of London by specialist wood engraver Anne Desmet RA.

People looking at a selection of paintings with golden frames hanging on a dark green wall

10. Explore a new exhibition at The Curve, Barbican Centre

Catch Moroccan artist Soufiane Ababri’s captivating exhibition of drawings and performances, inspired by their experiences as a gay Arab man.

Soufiane Ababri, Bedwork, 2023. © Soufiane Ababri. Photo: Rebecca Fanuele

11. Marvel at world-famous St Paul's Cathedral

Visit Wren's masterpiece and walk in the footsteps of royalty and political leaders, explore the Crypt or scale the iconic Dome to enjoy unrivalled views across London.

St Paul's Cathedral

12. Visit a new installation inspired by the Roman Temple of Mithras

Visit the London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE to see new installation, 'DREAM-BRIDGE-OMNIGLYPH' by Leo Robinson, inspired by the Roman Temple of Mithras, which explores ancient myths through a space evocative of the initiation ceremonies thought to have taken place there. Entrance is free and the installation runs until 29 June. During your visit, head downstairs to see the remains of the ancient temple itself.

Exhibition space with colourful abstract symbols and structures

DREAM-BRIDGE-OMNIGLYPH at London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE. Photo by Marcus Leith

Plan a Fun Family Day Out

Looking to make the Friday fares a family affair? The City boasts a lively programme of family friendly activities, however adventurous you’re feeling. Visit the F1 Arcade to drive like a champion, explore rich history on the Children’s Trail and visit larger-than-life animal statues at Paternoster Square. 

13. Explore the City of London Children’s Trail

Step into a realm where history meets modernity as you explore the City of London with the Children’s Trail map. Find your free Children's Trail Map & stickers from the City Information Centre near St Paul’s Cathedral for an interactive family experience.

Plan your visit - City Children’s Visitor Trail reduced - young girl looking at a map of the City in front of the Guildhall Gallery

14. Experience a Martian invasion in London

Jeff Wayne’s The War of The Worlds: The Immersive Experience is a never-before-seen interactive adventure packed with sensory moments, VR and AR technology, volumetric holograms and immersive theatre. Live actors, virtual reality and iconic music recreating 24 interactive scenes.

Special off-peak Fridays offer:  Enjoy a Forever Friday's cocktail and shot package to really celebrate the weekend for £15. Exclusively available on Fridays.

15. Drive an F1 race car at F1 Arcade

Jump into the driver’s seat of a Formula One car and race against your friends in a thrilling simulation at the F1 Arcade, One New Change.

16. Discover these incredible larger-than-life animal statues

Witness gorillas, hippos, elephants, and more come to life at Wild About Babies, a captivating free exhibition by artists Gillie and Marc in Paternoster Square. These are interactive sculptures and visitors are actively encouraged to "touch, cuddle and get up close with some of the world's most endangered species". Kids can even climb on their backs, though labels remind us this is "at your own risk".

Large gorilla statue in Paternoster Square.

17. Delve into the beauty of Sculpture in the City

Explore 18 captivating outdoor artworks with Sculpture in the City around the eastern side of the City. Families can download a special family map for extra activities and fun while you follow the trail.

What's On - Sculpture in the City tour, people looking at a white tree sculpture

18. Explore inside Tower Bridge

Discover what's inside the iconic Towers, enjoy panoramic views from the Walkways and sept into the historic Engine Rooms unlocking 125 years of history. Enjoy family friendly activities including the Tower Bridge Cat Trail, and regular monthly activities where families can get creative and learn about the Bridge. 

The Tower Bridge Cat Trail

For the first time visitor

Whether you’re a first-time visitor to London or a seasoned resident, the many free viewing platforms, iconic markets or a classic high tea will always impress.

19. Discover the Dark Side of the City with an official City Guide

Join a guided tour that tells the tale of crime and punishment, executions and excess and learn about London’s grim and gruesome past. Tours take place every Friday at 11am, starting from the City of London Information Centre (CIC).

From 1 April, you can also explore the literary legacy of the City with the new 'From Shakespeare to Oscar Wilde' guided tour (every Friday at 2pm).

Once you are at the CIC, speak to the friendly multilingual team to find out about more top things to do in the area.

  • Special off-peak Fridays offer at CIC: Enjoy a special 20% off in souvenirs and books during off-peak Fridays. Just mention code LETSDOFRIDAYS at checkout. Subject to availability.
  • Find out more about the City of London Information Centre.

20. Experience the highest free public viewing platform in Europe

Visit Horizon 22, London’s newest viewing platform, and the highest free public viewing platform in Europe. On the 58th floor of 22 Bishopsgate, the panoramic views of London's iconic skyline are sure to impress.

  • Find out more about Horizon 22. Free entry but must be booked in advance.

21. Visit a garden in the sky

Sky Garden, London's highest public garden, showcases two destination bars and two restaurants, welcoming after work drinkers with live bands and house DJ sets at sunset alongside a backdrop of uninterrupted views of London.

  • Find out more about Sky Garden. Bookings are free and available in advance.

22. Indulge in high tea at Searcys at the Gherkin

Putting the ‘high’ in high tea, this delicious afternoon tea is served with a 360-degree helping of City view.

Afternoon Tea Spots in the City of London - Searcys Gherkin afternoon tea - spread of fizzy wine and pastries on a cake stand with a bunch of flowers

23. Plan a visit to the beautiful Barbican Conservatory

Explore the tropical paradise bursting with life within the iconic brutalist architecture of the Barbican Centre on the special late night Friday openings. All of March, the Conservatory is hosting a site-specific installation by Indian sculptor Ranjani Shettar, featuring five new, large-scale suspended sculptures across the entirety of the space.

Installation view of Ranjani Shettar: Cloud songs on the horizon, Barbican Conservatory 2023. Courtesy Barbican Centre, KNMA, Ranjani Shettar © Max Colson, Barbican Art Gallery

24. Explore the iconic Leadenhall Market

Discover the wonderful boutiques, shops and cafes at Leadenhall Market, a City gem with rich heritage and striking architecture which dates back to the 14th century. Why not try cheese and wine tasting from specialty cheesemongers, Cheese at Leadenhall.

If you have any Friday specific events or special deals that you would like to feature on this page, please share them with the City of London Corporation's Destination City Team.

Find out more about off-peak Friday fares and how much you could save on Fridays on Transport For London website.

Find more things to do on a Friday in the City of London

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