DEREK ROBERTSON, JULY 2018
Think of museums, and you probably think of weekend culture trips, or keeping the kids entertained for a few hours, but there’s way more to some of London’s best museums than that. In keeping with the 24/7 nature of a truly global city, more and more places are opening up after hours, providing entertainment long into the night. Here are the best places to visit after the sun’s gone down.
Natural History Museum
A series called “Lates”, on the last Friday of every month, allows after-hours entry to current exhibitions and galleries, as well as special talks, demos, pop-up science stations, and food and drink. Dinosaurs look so much scarier at night…
The Science Museum
If you’re looking for an evening with a difference, the adult-only theme nights at the Science Museum are for you. Talks, screenings, demonstrations, and hands-on workshops are just part of the fun – previous events have also included pub quizzes, speed dating, and even a silent disco.
National Portrait Gallery
This world-class collection of portraits, paintings, and photographs are a must see at any time of day, but they really come alive at night. Every Thursday and Friday the Gallery stays open until 9pm with activities including discussions and life drawing classes. There’s also live music, DJs, film, performances, and refreshments in the Late Shift bar.
Few sights are as spectacular as Tate Modern lit up at night, and with exhibitions open till 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays, an after dark visit should by high on your priority list. Come for dinner and enjoy DJ sets, screenings and workshops, as well as the amazing permanent collection, at one of London’s best-loved icons.
The Victoria And Albert Museum
If a refined evenings entertainment is required, head to the V&A on the last Wednesday of every month. Special events normally coincide with current exhibitions, but you’ll also find art installations, debates, and live performances. Or just grab a drink and soak in the delight of the John Madejski Garden.
The British Museum
There are few better places for Friday night dinner than under the iconic Norman Foster-designed domed roof that’s the centre piece of the British Museum. And after you eat, enjoy the special lectures, discussions, and dance performances that go on until 8.30pm every Friday.
Sir John Soane’s Museum
For a more intimate after-dark museum experience, head to Holborn on the first Tuesday of the month. Lit almost entirely by candles, this historic townhouse full of paintings, furniture, antiques, and sculptures takes on a beautifully atmospheric air and is the perfect way to explore this treasure trove of antiquities. It’s free, but numbers are limited to the first 200 in line, so get there early.