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 a immersive event at one of London’s most inspiring spaces, here are 16 London museums to discover at night.
Would you like to experience the RA transformed into an underground festival, complete with food and drink from pop up bars? The RA Lates is a curated arts programme where you’re transported to a period or place, like summer in Montmartre, a Viennese salon or to a secret absinthe den. Whilst the RA isn’t open late on Fridays anymore, Friends of the RA can still visit until 9pm on the first Friday of the month.
The place to be on the last Wednesday of every month, as the Science Museum hosts its regular adults-only late night event. Running from 6.15pm-10pm, each evening has its own theme such as their Power Up event celebrating five decades of video games in June 2022. The Science Museum Lates are your ticket to live music, and fun interactive exhibitions- making that last Wednesday of the month really count.
Hosting regular museum Lates, the Tate Modern is the place for late night events, DJ sets and workshops. Like their mindfulness and art making as a transformative healing practice workshop on the 27th May 2022. Hosted on the last Friday of the month, keep an eye out for the art gallery’s Uniqlo Tate Lates special events.
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.
Currently closed for major development, The National Portrait Gallery usually hosts regular late openings. Home to the most extensive range of portraits in the world, the opening hours for the gallery tend to include being open until 9pm each Friday. Take your chance to see works like Chris Ofili, a self-portrait by the Turner prize winning artist, the Amy Winehouse colour print by Charles Moriarty and no less than 98 portraits of King Henry VIII.
Experience regular nature themed games and talks at one of London’s best museums. Usually taking place on the last Friday of every month, from 6pm -9.30pm, the Natural History Museum has also brought back their popular silent disco events for 2022, running from 10pm-1am on a Friday. They’ve been known to host museum in the dark Halloween events too.
Atmospheric and unique, the candlelit 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. Typically running each month.
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 A Century of the Artist’s Studio, running until June 2022.
A church with a history dating back to Norman times and a collection of both historic memorials and contemporary art installations. Visit for late night opening on a Wednesday until 7.30pm, and head into the vaulted crypt for late night jazz with the Crypt Lates events.
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 are back for 2022 at the London Transport Museum. Taking place on selected Friday evenings, upcoming Lates include Caribbean Journeys on Friday 17th June 2022 from 6.45pm: how the Windrush generation shaped London transport today. Also Electric Lates on Friday 11th November with talks, and both interactive and creative activities. Plus, Permission to Play on the 24th February 2023- an evening dedicated to unleashing your inner child.
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. Live performances, film, debate and workshops are all on the cards for 2022 including a Friday Late in September to coincide with the London Design Festival.
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.
Perched 16 metres the Abbey floor, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries displays historical gems including an ancient Latin manuscript and 21 funeral effigies, including that of Henry VII. The Galleries typically close at 3pm, but you can attend Evensong sung by the choir of Westminster Abbey, beginning at 5pm.
The Barbican’s art gallery is open Thursday to Saturday until 8pm and hosts regular exhibitions in the evenings, including special members’ Lates.
With a regular late night on a Thursday until 8pm, you can take a late night 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.
If you want to uncover more of London at night then why not take a guided walk with us: