Culture After Dark: The Best Museum Late Night Openings
Here's our pick of the best museum lates in London this weekend and beyond
We have made a list of the very best Museum Lates London has to offer this weekend and beyond.
Booking in advance for museum lates is sometimes required, so start planning now!
Christie’s Lates: Hidden Treasures
The next Late from the King Street hub of the international auction house will transform the gallery into luxurious drawing rooms using furniture and art from their Noble & Private Collections sale. You can explore the curated spaces, which will also host a variety of activities and talks, such as a Q&A with interior designer Guy Goodfellow, and artist Ed Klutz in conversation with architectural historian Olivia Horsfall Turner. There will also be a modern tea salon from Newby Teas, and you can test your auction valuation skills in the 'Treasure Challenge' room.
THE OUTNET.COM will also be putting on a fashion pop-up that evening, showcasing new British with a exhibition from Fashion Art Commissions, a collaborative initiative from the British Fashion Council and Royal Academy Schools. It promises to be a perfect post-work pit stop for lovers of interiors and design.
Monday 12 March 6pm - 8.30pm. Click here for more information. Entrance is free.
The British Museum
The museum’s gorgeous evening openings are so popular that they've now had to introduce ticketed entry. Navigate this densely-packed treasure-trove – with its works by Hogarth, Canaletto, Turner and Rubens – by beautiful flickering candlelight. Every month the Soane Late focuses on a different highlight of their curated content. The next is 'An Invitation to view the Belzoni Sarcophagus, and other antiques, by Lamp Light', and tickets include access to the Egypt Uncovered exhibition plus two specially-mixed cocktails.
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. The next late is A Vote for Whom? on 30 March, in celebration of International Women's Day, and will explore feminism, democracy and contemporary activism.
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. Their next late is Bright Young Things on 9 March, which will celebrate the golden age of 1920s and '30s London.
Fridays until 10pm. Click here for more information. Adults £15; Concessions and LTM Friends £12.
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. It's a great opportunity to squeeze in a visit to the new photography exhibition Another Kind of Life.
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, and evenings would be the perfect time time to check out their latest on Ayurvedic medicine.
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 6 April 2018. Click here for more information. Entrance is free.