London has a world class cultural scene that features some of the world’s best museums. For those who work during the week or are always busy on weekends, you’ll be quite happy to hear that many of these museums stay open late at least one evening a week. The late night museum scene ranges from new exhibitions to bar openings, live music, performances, workshops and much more! A number of the museums require advance bookings, so start planning your late night London culture fix now! Here’s our guide to London’s late night museums and exhibitions in London.
The Barbican galleries are open until 9pm Thursday and Friday nights during exhibitions. During this time you can enjoy music from guest DJ’s, drinks at the bar, take part in workshops and attend talks.
The British Library is open until 8:30pm every Tuesday and hosts the occasional late event during major exhibitions! The British Library is the largest public building built in the UK in the 20th century and has an impressive 150 million items on display!
The British Museum is open until 8:30pm every Friday with lectures, discussions, film screenings, live theatre, debates, dance and music on offer! The Great Court restaurant is also open late on a Friday evening and you can combine your late night viewing of some of the 7 million objects in the museum with tours and food & drink.
Camden Arts Centre
Since its renovations in 2007, the Camden Arts Centre has become one of the top locations for world class art exhibitions. The Centre is open until 9pm on Wednesdays and guests are invited to browse the galleries, enjoy the free talks, film screenings and live performances as well as visit the cafe for a bite to eat.
On various Fridays, the Design Museum is open until 10pm and visitors are invited to take part in design workshops, talks, tours and special events!
Institute of Contemporary Arts
The Institute of Contemporary Arts has three galleries, two cinemas, a theatre, restaurant, bar, cafe and bookshop. The bookshop is open all week (except Mondays) until 9pm and the galleries stay open on Thursdays until 9pm during exhibitions.
London Transport Museum
The London Transport Museum hosts over-18s Friday night Lates on various Fridays throughout the year. On these special nights you can check out the newest exhibitions whilst you enjoy music, drinks, talks and hot food until 10pm.
The beautiful National Gallery is open until 9pm on Fridays with guided tours, talks, events, live music and late night bar openings. You can also enjoy some dinner at the National Cafe or at the National Dining Rooms which boast incredible floor-to-ceiling windows offering a stunning view over Trafalgar Square.
National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery is open until 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays for the ‘Late Shift’. During the Late Shift you can enjoy tours, talks, live music, DJ’s, films and art workshops, as well as enjoying a drink and a bite to eat in the Portrait Cafe or Restaurant. One of the best parts about the Late Shift is it’s weekly drop-in drawing sessions that are led by a different artist each week, which is perfect if you are feeling the need to embrace your inner artist!
Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is open until 10pm on the last Friday of each month. You can enjoy exhibitions, talks, science demos, live music and food and drinks whilst soaking up the history.
Royal Academy of Arts
The Royal Academy of Arts is open until 10pm every Friday where guests can browse the collections, enjoy live music, lectures, talks and tours, plus late night openings in the restaurant and bar.
The last Wednesday of each month sees adults take over the Science Museum for a night of science-themed fun, gallery tours, a silent disco, live music and drinks (until 10pm)! The Science museum is one of the most interactive museums in London and adults will love a child-free museum as they embrace their inner-child.
Sir John Soane’s Museum
Described by many as the best house-museum in the world, Sir John Soane’s Museum is atmospherically lit by candlelight on occasional Fridays throughout the year.
Various gallery and exhibition spaces, as well as the Fountain Court, River Terrace and restored Seaman’s Hall keep their doors open until 11pm in the Summertime! Somerset House also has much loved seasonal events throughout the year including the Summer Series music festival in July, the Film4 Summer Screen open-air cinema fortnight in August and the popular Christmas Ice Rink in November and December.
The Tate Modern is considered one of the most popular galleries in Europe and keeps its doors open until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the year. On the last Friday of each month you can enjoy DJ sets, special talks, hands-on workshops and screenings as well as delicious food and drink with Uniqlo Tate Lates.
The Tate Britain is open on select Fridays once every two months.
Victoria & Albert Museum
The V&A is open until 10pm on Fridays and celebrates contemporary visual culture and design in society. The lates showcase live performances, films, installations, debate, DJs and late-night exhibition openings.
The Wellcome Collection galleries are open to the public until 10pm on Thursdays. In addition, the first Friday night of the month sees Friday Late Spectaculars, which involves an evening of workshops, creative activities, performances and discussions.
The Whitechapel Gallery keeps its doors open until 9pm on Thursdays, with its cafe, bar and dining room open until 11pm.
London has some of the best museums in the world, and if you’re visiting London you will want to experience as many as you can. We recommend booking a stay at The Marble Arch London Hotel which is close to the Natural History, Science, and Victoria & Albert Museums. In addition, the Park Grand London Paddington is just a lovely stroll through Kensington Gardens to get to these museums.
Have you taken advantage of any of these late night museum openings to check out any exhibitions? What museums would you most love to visit? x
This post is brought to you in collaboration with The Montcalm Group.
Our opinions are as always, our own.