London: Late Nights at the Museums


National Portrait Gallery

No trip into central London is complete without a visit to one of its world-renowned art galleries or museums. If you’re too busy to go along during daylight hours, or you fancy some interesting one-off events or a child-free atmosphere, try one of these late night openings.

Barbican Art Gallery
Once a week, on a Thursday, you can stay late at this gallery for art-related events (until 10pm). Afterwards, you’re in the perfect place to enjoy the rest that the Barbican Centre has to offer in the evening, including drinks, food and late films.

Design Museum
Fans of innovative design will love the late-nighters at the Design Museum, although they only hold a handful each year. Sign up for their newsletter to find out when they’re on.

The National Portrait Gallery
On Thursdays and Fridays you can spend a pleasant few ‘Late Shift’ hours in the National Portrait Gallery, which stays open until 9pm. Check their events schedule, which sometimes includes free live music.

The Science Museum (and the Dana Centre)
On the last Wednesday of every month, this museum is open until 10pm. Expect adults-only events, complete with bar. You can also try their nearby venue, the Dana Centre, for some innovative and quirky evenings out.

Tate Britain
This gallery and museum holds special Late At Tate events on the first Friday of each month, usually linked to their current exhibitions, which you may be able to attend with discounted entry fees. Expect anything from workshops and screenings to talks, live music and comedy.

The V&A
For something really special, bowl up to the V&A on the last Friday of the month. The programming is amazing and can be anything from a subversive Summer fete to a period-costumed ball. Most events are free but you might need to put your name down for them.

The Wellcome Collection
This health and wellbeing gallery and museum is open weekly on Thursdays until 10pm. After your talk or tour of the exhibition, be sure to leave enough time to visit their excellent cafe-bar.

Whitechapel Gallery
This gallery is open until 9pm on Thursdays and 11pm on Fridays. They hold a variety of interesting events, including tours, talks and sometimes even host dinners.


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