16 London Museums To Discover At Night In 2024

Date post added: 26th March 2024

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.

1. Science Museum

Is the Science Museum fun for adults? Anyone who’s been there on a weekend when it’s brimming with excited kids, may not think so. But did you know that 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 or silent disco, get involved in interactive exhibitions, Wonderlab experiments and panel discussions. This year’s Science Museum Late events celebrate the inspiring people and advances made in the science sector.

2. Barbican

The Barbican Centre is open until 11pm every night. The Barbican art gallery is open late (until 8pm) on Thursdays and Fridays. The Barbican Library’s open until 7.30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The Barbican always has an extensive evening events schedule. This spring/summer, their wonderful conservatory hosts a spectacular commission by Indian sculptor Ranjani Shettar which is well worth a look. It’s open late on Friday and Saturday evenings.

3. Tate Modern

Tate Modern Lates celebrate London’s creative communities. You can expect live music, DJ sets and hands-on interactive workshops. These late-night events have become a Friday night destination at Tate Modern for some time now. The innovative Uniqlo Tate Lates first started back in 2016 as a new model for museum participation. These have now evolved into the current late night offering.

If the artistic side of London interests you take a look at our expertly guided artistic London tours.

4. Tate Britain

Over at the other Tate in London, there’s a series of Late at Tate Britain events which go on until 10pm. In April, the impactful yet temporary exhibition of feminist art, Women in Revolt, will be there. The thought-provoking series will involve talks and displays that put forward new futures, question the role of mothers in society and explore body politics. Look out for other late night events as the year goes on.

5. Royal Academy of Arts

The Royal Academy of Arts in London at Night.

Friday’s a regular late-night opening at the Royal Academy of Arts when doors remain open until 9pm. Enjoy world-class exhibitions as well as free displays of artwork and architecture. José Pizarro shares a taste of Spain with his Royal Academy restaurant and Poster Bar, open until 9pm on Fridays.

The renowned Summer Exhibition will return from 18th June to 18th 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.

6. Saatchi Gallery

The Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea is the place to find emerging artists and to celebrate contemporary art and design. Their Saatchi Lates share Art After Dark on selected Fridays from 6.30pm – 9pm. This Spring, the ‘Burtynsky: Extraction/Abstraction’ exhibition showcases works by the world-renowned photographer.

7. British Museum

Front of The British Museum at night.

One of the most famous of the London museums and it’s free to enter. 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. The Great Court restaurant also remains open later on these Fridays.

The British Museum remains open until 8.30pm on Fridays (except Good Friday). Last entry is at 8.15pm, but with so much to explore in this fascinating museum, we advise leaving yourself a tad longer than 15 minutes to look around.

For a unique experience, kids can attend a sleepover at the museum. You get to sleep in the Egyptian and Assyrian galleries, surrounded by kings and gods from the ancient world.

8. The Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum offer occasional programmes of Lates. Last Autumn for example, there was a remarkable interactive event that focussed on fashion and its relationship with the natural world. Look out for more Lates like that.

The museum also runs fun late-night events like its legendary silent disco. You can actually spend a whole night in this museum with a Dino Snores sleepover. Explore the museum by torchlight 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. Be quick to book as it sells out fast.

9. Sir John Soane’s Museum

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. It feels like a real privilege to explore this marvellous place after dark.

10. Whitechapel Gallery

Open every Thursday until 9pm, Whitechapel Lates provide a relaxed after-hours chance to see the exhibitions for free. You can also enjoy live music events, book launches and other interesting cultural happenings at the First Thursday of the month event.

The Whitechapel Gallery is home to contemporary art from the masters like Pablo Picasso and Frida Kahlo to pioneering artists like Zarina Bhimji and William Kentridge. The current exhibition by Zineb Sedira runs until May.

11. The National Gallery

This fascinating gallery in Trafalgar Square has Friday late night opening until 9pm. Coming up, students from Central St Martins and Guildhall School of Music and Drama will takeover the gallery for a Friday night with a difference. Also look out for interactive experiences from life drawing to poetry readings and active discussions.

12. British Library

Located on Euston Road, the British Library hosts regular late-night film screenings, courses, events and exhibitions. On Tuesdays, closing time isn’t until 8pm. From April to August 2024, explore their celebration of 500 years of British Black Music – the first of its kind anywhere in the world.

13. London Transport Museum

Regular opening times at the London Transport Museum are from 10am to 6pm with last entry at 5pm. Look out for the Explorer Evenings which run from 6.30pm to 8pm. Designed for visitors with special educational needs and disabilities like Autism Spectrum Disorder, it’s a wonderful opportunity for families to enjoy the museum when it’s quieter and more relaxed.

14. Victoria and Albert Museum

Window arches of the Victoria and Albert Museum at night.

The V&A, 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. The next Friday late explores tropical modernism in architecture.

Expect live performance, film, installation, debate, DJs and more at their late night events. Generally held on the last Friday of the month (except January, May and December), it’s free and you can simply drop in.

Or you could join us on a Friday morning for a guided tour of the V&A

15. The National Portrait Gallery

Open daily from 10.30am, this magnificent gallery near Trafalgar Square, doesn’t close until 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays. There are creative workshops like artist-led drawing classes and dominoes or Youth Lates where 18 to 25s get the run of the place. Look out for the ‘in conversation’ evenings where you’ll get incredible insights from the gallery’s curators.

16. Wellcome Collection

Housed in a wonderfully grand building on the Euston Road, the Wellcome Collection is a bit of a gem in Central London. 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. Explore what it means to be human in the 21st century with the fascinating current exhibition, Being Human.

Walking tours of Nighttime London

If you want to uncover more of London at night then why not take a guided walk with us:




David Tucker

David Tucker

David – the Seigneur of this favoured realm – broods over words, breeds enthusiasms and is “unmanageable.”* He’s a balterer, literary historian, university lecturer, journalist, logophile and lifelong thanatophobe. For good measure, he’s the doyen of London guides.

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Pippa Jackson

Pippa Jackson

Pippa is a word nerd and content aficionado with a background of working in TV on both sides of the globe. She loves to discover and share the diverse and wonderful stories of her much-loved London. When she’s not writing blogs and articles, you’ll find her walking beside the Thames or even paddleboarding on it (in the finest of conditions only!) or enjoying a coffee in the sunshine with a good book.

Read all articles by Pippa Jackson