Stuck for things to do this winter? As the nights draw darker take solace in one of London’s iconic museums. Usually taking place on a Friday, London’s museum lates are the perfect way to start the weekend and bypass the weekend crowds. Take in an original Andy Warhol (Aperol spritz in hand) at the Tate Modern or peruse the gift shop after hours at the V&A. Here are our top picks for the best places to have you’re very own Night at the Museum.
Art, music, film, workshops and talks come together for the Tate Modern’s Lates. The next one takes place on 25th October and celebrates contemporary American artist Kara Walker. There will be plenty to keep visitors occupied, from DJ sets from the likes of Sofia to drinks in the bar. On the more cultural side of things, spoken word artist and writer Isaiah Hull will be doing a live reading from Nosebleeds, his debut poetry collection. Shelley Angelie Saggar will be hosting a round table, discussing monuments, museums and post-colonial memory, inspired by Kara Walker’s work. Oh, and if you don’t know your Basquiat from your Bacon, be sure to drop in on the Give A Talk At Tate and learn a crash course in how to talk art – handy for your next dinner party chat.
Uniqlo Tate Lates take place on the last Friday of every month (except December) from 6pm – 10pm. Free entry.
Ditch Friday night at the pub for a night at the V&A this winter. Taking place on the last Friday of the month (except May and December), the nights bring together live performances, emerging artists and thought-provoking debates. Drink are available throughout the night at the Cromwell Road entrance and in The John Madejski Garden – weather permitting.
V&A Friday lates take place on the last Friday of the month (except May and December), 6.30pm – 10pm. Entry free.
The Natural History Museum have a wealth of after-hours events taking place including the Stay Late Silent Disco – yep, you get to groove beneath the famous whale to a choice of three different DJs. Take a look at current exhibitions sans the usual crowds or join a guided tour of the museum’s zoology spirit collection. The next late, taking place Friday 25th October, will be celebrating all things science fact and fiction, as well as the cult TV series Doctor Who. Self-declared Whovians should mark this one in their diary as the night will be taking a look at the facts behind the fiction, guest will be able to meet with the special FX team and chat to bona fide scientists.
After Hours at the Natural History Museum takes place on the last Friday of the month, 6pm – 10pm. Free entry.
Fancy yourself as an amateur artist? Join fellow art aficionados at the Design Museum for free sketching workshops. Hosted by illustrator Grace Holliday, guests will firstly take a tour of the museum, hear from Grace herself, before taking pen to paper to have a go themselves. Everyone’s encouraged to share their work at the end – if you’re brave enough.
The Design Museum Lates take place on the first Friday of every month until 8pm. Free entry.
Be inspired by some of the most famous portraits in the world, including the likes of the Queen, Shakespeare, Bowie and Kate Moss. Their Friday night lates take place every week and offer talks and screenings, live DJs, drinks and more.
National Portrait Gallery Friday Lates take place every week, 6pm – 9pm. Free entry.
Play out your very own Night at the Museum, and make like Ben Stiller at the British Museum – the film was actually shot here. Every Friday expect a wide range of events, including lectures, discussions, film screenings and music and dance performances, many of which are related to current exhibitions. Just try no to get locked in.
The British Museum Lates take place every Friday (except Good Friday) until 8.30pm. Free entry.
Playing host to some of London’s most hard-to-get tickets on the London exhibition scene, the RA has housed everyone from David Hockney to Antony Gormley. Each exhibition is followed up by its very own Friday night immersive experience. Previous nights have featured the wild to the whacky, from a nine-metre inflatable cosmic installation to supper clubs, communal karaoke to Pollock-inspired paint splattering. Who said art was stuffy, hey?
RA Lates coincide with each exhibition. Check their calendar for dates. Booking required and tickets start from £25
For more ideas on what to do this weekend, check out our guide, here.