There’s something extra special about visiting London’s museums after dark. Whether it’s taking advantage of late-night opening hours to see the capital’s iconic museums in a different light, attending a unique evening exhibition, or experiencing an immersive event at one of London’s most inspiring spaces, here are 16 London museums to discover at night.
The Science Museum hosts regular adults-only late-night events. Running from 6.30pm-10pm, there’s more to Science Museum Lates than exploring the exhibition space at night. Join in the pub quiz and silent disco, get involved in interactive exhibitions and enjoy live music.
On 4th May 2023 (Star Wars Day of course), you can boldly go where no Science Museum Late has gone before. There’s a science fiction exhibition with workshops and talks – Science Fiction: Voyage to the Edge of Imagination.
The Barbican always have an extensive evening events schedule. Barbican Library Lates celebrates London’s thriving book culture with talks from novelists, writers, storytellers and publishers. But you’ll find an array of talks, workshops and events on offer, some of which are members only.
The Barbican art gallery is open late (until 8pm) on Thursdays and Fridays. The Barbican Centre is open until 11pm every night.
Uniqlo Tate Lates first started back in 2016 as a vibrant destination on a Friday night. The Tate Modern continues to host late-night events like DJ sets and workshops.
The April 2023 drop-in event features an eclectic mix of cultural activities. Choose from artist-led workshops, global music and DJ sets, a mass choreography experiment, art chats and a head-to-head of craft brewers. There’s also a celebration of Hilma af Klimt and Piet Mondrian.
If the artistic side of London interests you take a look at our expertly guided artistic London tours.
From April to September 2023, Tate Britain on Millbank is hosting The Rossettis collection. The exhibition will be open late, until 10pm. It’s the largest exhibition of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s works in over 20 years. Also look out for regular Late at Tate drop in events.
Friday is a regular late-night opening at the Royal Academy of Arts when doors are open until 9pm. Enjoy world-class exhibitions as well as free displays of artwork and architecture. The Academy’s Shenkman Bar is open until 9pm on Thursdays and Fridays for a post-exhibition tipple.
The renowned Summer Exhibition will return from 16th June to 20th August with late-night opening on Fridays. Look out for special events, workshops and talks held regularly, spanning areas from architecture to storytelling, art curation to art education. The first Friday of the month is the time to drop in and draw.
The Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea is the place to find emerging artists and celebrate contemporary art and design. Members can attend Saatchi Lates, typically on Fridays or some Thursdays. Throughout April 2023 the current exhibition, Beyond The Streets, will be open until 9.30pm on Fridays.
One of the most famous of the London museums, you can step back into history during Friday evening opening at the British Museum in Bloomsbury. Over 40 rooms are open during their Friday Lates. See the Rosetta Stone in Room 4 and the Sutton Hoo Burial Ship in Room 41, with all rooms open until 8.20pm most Fridays.
A sensational one-off event comes to The Natural History Museum on 5th May, 6.30pm to 10pm. Sensations will be a sensory experience as you explore stimulating discoveries from smells on distant planets to multi-sensory art installations and more. Look out for other late-night events, like the legendary silent disco in this simply incredible museum.
You can actually spend a whole night in this museum with a Dino Snores sleepover. In these amazing after-hours events, you get to sleep in the Hintze Hall beneath the iconic blue whale! This unique experience doesn’t come cheap (tickets are £220 for adult events or £70 for kids sleepovers), but it would certainly be memorable.
Atmospheric and unique, the Soanes Lates events are when the museum’s curators reveal the drawings that are usually kept under lock and key, tell the stories behind its extensive collection and unveil the hidden masterpieces. Wander through the museum, enjoy a glass of wine in the Library Dining Room and make like you’re part of Regency Society. The last Friday of every month is the date to add to your diary.
Open every Thursday until 9pm, visit the Whitechapel Gallery for contemporary art from the masters like Pablo Picasso and Frida Kahlo to pioneering artists like Zarina Bhimji and William Kentridge. Check out their current exhibitions, like The House of Le Bas running until the end of May 2023.
This fascinating gallery in Trafalgar Square has Friday late night opening until 9pm. Until August 2023, After Impressionism: Inventing Modern Art explores revolutionary artistic developments in the late 19th and early 20th century.
Located on Euston Road, the British Library hosts regular late-night film screenings and exhibitions across different nights of the week. The latest exhibitions include Eldorado: The Land of Golden Stories from 6.45pm on the 1st June 2022 and Gold: Probably the Most Useful Metal You Can Buy from 7pm on the 24th June 2022.
After-hours events take place on selected Friday evenings at the London Transport Museum. Explore the museum, hear from guest speakers and get involved in interactive displays – or grab a drink at the bar.
On Friday 19th May 2023 from 6.45 to 10pm, London Transport Museum will stay open late to celebrate London’s nightlife. It’s 110 years since the night bus service began in the capital and this museum is the place to find out more about it.
London’s famous art and design museum in South Kensington has been bringing together leading and upcoming designers and artists in its Friday Lates programme for over 20 years. Generally held on the last Friday of the month, it’s free and you can drop in.
This year, the 2023 V&A Performance Festival opens on 22nd April and it focuses on musical theatre. The April 2023 Friday Late is Sounding Futures, celebrating songs’ capacity to sound new worlds.
London’s Chelsea is your destination for the National Army Museum with stories from the Army’s history showcased across 4 floors. With a host of talks, workshops, book launches and performances, keep an eye out for evening events.
Step back in time to the 1940s with the D-Day Dance event on 3rd June 2023. How’s your Jitterbug?
With a regular late night on a Thursday until 8pm, you can take an evening peek into this free museum that aims to challenge how we think and feel about health and the connections between science, medicine, life and art.
NB: The National Portrait Gallery is currently closed otherwise it would be included in this list of late-night galleries and museums.
If you want to uncover more of London at night then why not take a guided walk with us: