Show up late to London’s best museums and galleries

    Natural History Museum
    The Natural History Museum in Kensington. Credit: VisitBritain/Andrew Pickett

    As anyone who’s waded through the Saturday afternoon crowds can tell you, London’s museums and art galleries are among the city’s most popular attractions. But you don’t also have to do battle with throngs to enjoy what these world-class buildings have on offer

    If you’re free on a Friday night and want to mix culture, creativity, heritage and science with the usual roster of food, drink and music, then head to one of the museum lates – adult-orientated events which see doors flung open after hours for a laid-back introduction to these amazing collections.

    Science Museum Lates, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London

    Science Museum Lates are adults-only, after-hours theme nights that take place in the museum on the last Wednesday of every month (except December). Each entry in this hugely popular ongoing series of events centres on a different theme, and include are pub quiz, comedy show, silent disco, expert talks and interactive displays and there are bars and food outlets to add to the atmosphere.

    Themed evenings coming up soon are Contagion (26 October), Crime (30 November), Wonderlab (25 January and Mathematics (22 February).

    V&A Friday Late, Cromwell Road, London
    The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art and design, housing a permanent collection of over 2.3 million objects that span over 5,000 years of human creativity. The museum’s Friday Late, on the last Friday of every month (except September and December), is a free event based around the latest exhibitions and celebrates all aspects of contemporary visual culture and design in society, bringing audiences face-to-face with leading and emerging artists and designers through live performance, film, installation, debate – and DJs. The beautiful V&A cafe, the world’s first museum restaurant, is also open to serve food and drink.
    Natural History Museum Lates, Cromwell Road, London

    With a different theme each month, Lates let you explore the museum after hours, so adults can live out their childhood dreams with entry to current exhibitions and famous galleries, such as Dinosaurs and Treasures. There is free live entertainment in the Central Hall as well as open-mic performances, and you can also relax with fabulous food and drink, or delve into the pop-up science stations hosted by museum scientists a

    Lates takes place on the last Friday of every month (except December).

    Late at Tate Britain, Millbank, London

    Responding to current exhibitions and rehangs of its collections, Late at Tate Britain offers free music, art, performance, fashion shows and films. Contributors include young creatives from the Tate Collectives group, who develop fresh ideas for the evening and Tate’s Whistler Restaurant provides luxurious dining with menus such as the seasonal tasting menu, where five courses are matched with five wines.

    Late at Tate Britain is held bi-monthly on the first Friday of the month.

    Late Shift at the National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, London

    Late Shift is a regular feature at the National Portrait Gallery on Thursdays and Fridays. Thursdays are for discussion and consideration with talks and tours, while Fridays feature artist-led drawing sessions, suitable for all artistic abilities. There’s also entertainment from DJs or live music inspired the work in the galleries. And every four months, guest-curated and themed evenings dictate the programme for Late Shift Extra. Special events on these nights include film screenings, workshops and performances. Grab a drink at the Late Shift bar, or in the Portrait Restaurant for rooftop views of the city.


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