Culture After Dark: The Best Museum Late Night Openings
In celebration of Museums at Night, we have collated the best museum lates in London
In celebration of Museums at Night (26 - 28 October 2017), the UK-wide festival of museum and gallery Lates – when museums and galleries open their doors after hours – we have made a list of the very best Museum Lates London has to offer this weekend and beyond.
Booking in advance for Museum at Night events is essential, so start planning now!
For the full Museums at Night programme, please click here.
Museums at Night at Apsley House
Seize the chance to see Apsley House – the London home of the first Duke of Wellington – after hours this October as part of the nationwide late night museum series. You'll get to see the resplendent rooms after dark with live period music, and hear the tales of the house’s fascinating history brought to life.
Friday 27 and Saturday 28 October 6 PM - 9 PM. Click here fore more information and to buy tickets.
Museums at Night at The National Gallery: The Big Draw Digital Workshop: Bring a Painting to Life
Friday Lates at the National Gallery are some of the most serene. Guided tours and talks can enrich your understanding of the 2,000 works on display, many of them infamous masterpieces, but there’s something to be said for letting the art speak for itself, especially in the calm of a long evening. Lates here tend to be calm and civilised, but there is still live music, a bar, and drawing classes.
On 27 October, in celebration of Museums at Night, the Friday Lates will be themed for Halloween. Be inspired by dark, stormy landscapes, and bring a painting to life by creating your own short animated film at their digital drawing late night workshop. Or if you want to glimpse the Arnolfini portrait without the swarming masses in their current exhibition, Reflections: Van Eyck & The Pre-Raphaelites, why not attend the Museums at night introductory exhibition talk on 26 October at 6.30pm. Please click here for more info.
Museums at Night Late Opening Thursday 26 and Friday 27 October 6.30pm - 9pm
Every Friday until 9pm. Click here for more information. Entrance is free.
Museums at Night at the Dulwich Picture Gallery (Family friendly)
To celebrate the current exhibition of works by Tove Jansson, the Moomin creator, Dulwich Picture Gallery is hosting an evening of whimsy and wonder that will bring the world of the Moomins to life. As well as enjoying after-hours access to the enchanting exhibition, you and the kids will also be able to enjoy a theatrical journey performed by the Freshwater Theatre Company. If your kids are super crafty, get creative in the temporary Moomin-making workshop.
Museums at Night Late Opening Saturday 28 October 6 - 9.30pm. Tickets £20 per child, accompanying adults go free.
The British Library: Late at the Library: A History of Magic
The ‘Late at the Library’ nights are always on a Friday, and they always have a variety of interesting things going on at once, including spoken-word performance, puppetry, karaoke, poetry, cabaret, animation, DJ sets, cocktail bars, and live music that ranges from rap to gypsy punk. Who said that libraries were stuffy?
This Friday, following the recent opening of the British Library's blockbuster Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition (read our 5-star review here), enjoy an evening exploring the history, traditions and expressions of magic. With special after-hours access to the current exhibition, you will also have the opportunity to listen to live music from The Tiger Lillies, as well as some spellbinding special additions.
Friday 27 October, 7.30 - 10.30pm and selected Fridays. Tickets £25. Click here for more information.
The Royal Academy of the Arts: Rrose Sélavy’s Dada Extravaganza
Coinciding with the RA’s major autumn exhibition, Dali/Duchamp, the upcoming RA Lates will take you on an immersive journey through the Surrealist and Dada art scene of the 1930s.
Hosted by Duchamp's alter-ego, Rrose Selavy, Rrose Sélavy’s Dada Extravaganza will take you on journey through the worlds of Salvador Dalí and Marcel Duchamp for one unforgettable night of all things surrealist and Dada.
As you wander through the surrealist landscapes of Dalí, you'll stumble across melted time and optical illusions. If you're more of a Duchamp fan, turn your hand to creating ready-made sculptures. In any case, dance until late to live music in an opulent ballroom inspired by 1930s Paris.
There will also be film screenings, secret bars, exquisite corpse games, talks on Freud and the subconscious and much more to be announced …
Tickets will sell out fast for this one-off extravaganza, so book them now!
Saturday 9 December 7PM until 11.45 PM. Click here for more information. Tickets £35
Christie's Auction House
The King Street hub of the international auction house opens its doors until 8.30pm on the first Tuesday of every month. For the most discerning art lovers amongst you, it's the perfect stop for a post-work drink. Peruse the latest exhibitions and hear the experts talk on their favourite pieces, interior designs and collecting habits.
First Tuesday of every month until 8.30pm. Click here for more information. Entrance is free.
The British Museum
The museum’s gorgeous evening openings are popular, with only the first 200 people getting inside, so get there at least half an hour earlier than the 6pm start time. Navigate this densely-packed treasure-trove – with its works by Hogarth, Canaletto, Turner and Rubens – by beautiful flickering candlelight.
First Tuesday of each month until 9pm. Click here for more information. Entrance is free.
The National Portrait Gallery
Is there anyone who has walked around this gallery and not felt, at least once, the itch to try their hand at portraiture? Well, the most regular feature of the NPG’s Late Shifts is its weekly drop-in drawing session, so you can take action in the very place where inspiration strikes. Each session is led by a different artist and all the necessary material is provided. The Late Shift also provides film screenings, lectures, and DJs whose multi-genre sets are tailored to the artwork around them. There’s a Late Shift bar, but attendees can also get a drink at the Portrait Restaurant for a great view of the city.
Late Shift every Thursday & Friday until 9pm. Click here for more information. Entrance is free but some events may require a ticket.
Wednesday evenings see Edward the Confessor's 1066 Coronation Church opening late into the night. Westminster Abbey underwent a huge development under the watchful eyes of King Henry 'the builder' III and since then she has hosted no less than sixteen royal weddings. The glorious gothic pile has been the burial place of kings and queens, and of other distinguished figures in the nation’s history, from writers and musicians to politicians and scientists. Guests can potter round the 14th century cellar and enjoy a lovely dinner in the Cellarium Café & Terrace in the home of the ghosts of Abbey's monks and the Bearded Lady.
Wednesday evenings until 7pm. Click here for more information. Tickets on the door are half price after 4.30pm.
The Victoria & Albert Museum
Billed as the original late night event, the V&A's Friday Lates celebrate contemporary visual culture and design. Not only is there food, drink and music, but audiences are invited to participate in live installations, debates, performance and film screenings. We've given their current Balenciaga exhibition 4*, and the Plywood exhibition has received a lot of praise, so it's definitely worth heading to South Ken at some point this autumn.
Last Friday of the month until 10pm. Click here for more information. Entrance is free.
The Natural History Museum
Following the grand unveiling of Hope - the new piece de resistance in the Museum’s Hintze Hall - whales will take over after hours at the Natural History Museum for the rest of the year. Expect to bump into Museum cetacean experts and discover the wonderful world of whales, from singing and social bonding to hunting.
Last Friday of every month until 10pm. Click here for more information. Entry is free but some activities may require a ticket.
The London Transport Museum
Friday Lates at the London Transport Museum offer over-18s a date with a difference. There's sneaky peeks into the newest exhibitions, music, bars, and hot food to warm your belly as well as talks and craft activities to get hands on with.
Fridays until 10pm. Click here for more information. Adults £12; Concessions and LTM Friends £10.
The Barbican Centre
The Barbican is open late into the night on Thursdays, with DJs, and drinks flowing so you can totter around the gallery, take part in workshops, and enjoy special events whilst making merry as the weekend approaches. Given the blockbuster Boom for Real Basquiat exhibition is jam-packed at weekends for the next couple of months, this would be a great opportunity to squeeze it in.
Thursdays until 10pm. Click here for more information. Entrance is free.
The Wellcome Collection
The Wellcome Collection opens its doors and invites you to enjoy cocktails, music, and dining on the first Friday of each month, whilst every Thursday is a late one at the gallery. Friday lates include workshops, live performances, debates, discussion, and a dose of nightly creativity before you head home, or out! We've loved the recent collections on show here, from animals to Bedlam.
First Friday of the month until 10pm and every Thursday until 10pm. Click here for more information. Entrance is free.
If the Tate Britain has always been the straight-laced sibling of the more adventurous Tate Modern, then their Friday Lates seek to change this by putting the museum in the hands of the young. The 16-25 year olds from Tate Collective London put the emphasis on the experimental and disruptive, bringing you everything from dressing-up with drag kings to ‘provocative filmic collage’. You’ll get to discuss the ideas on offer and even craft things for yourself – and, with all the youthful energy in the room, it won’t lack for enthusiasm.
The next Lates at Tate Britain will be on 1 December 2017. Click here for more information. Entrance is free.
To see the extensive Museums at Night programme, please click here.