Ditch the pub and expand your mind by heading to a late-night opening of one of London’s top museums.
Natural History Museum
When? The museum is open until 10pm on the last Friday of every month, excluding December. The bars are open from 6pm to 9.45pm.
Why visit? Swing by this famous museum after hours to avoid the school groups that crowd it during the day. Revive childhood memories by getting up close to the dinosaur exhibits – including the roaring T-Rex and the new Stegosaurus speciman. Current exhibitions include Coral Reefs: Secret Cities of the Sea and The Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
Food and drink: Enjoy a meal in the lofty surrounds of Hintze Hall, with its soaring Romanesque arches and magnificient stone staircase. On the menu is pulled pork shoulder or field mushroom and roasted beetroot. Wash it all down with wine, beer, cider and soft drinks.
Cost: It’s free to attend Lates, but you need to book tickets for exhibitions and special events.
Sir John Soane’s Museum
When? The first Tuesday of every month from 6pm to 9pm.
Why visit? This atmospheric museum is beautifully lit by candlelight for this evening opening. The former house of the late architect Sir John Soane, this hidden gem is chock-full of famous artworks, architectural drawings and antiquities.
Food and drink: None, but you’re within easy reach of Holborn’s bars and restaurants if you fancy a tipple after your cultural fix.
Cost: The event is free, but arrive early and be prepared to queue. Tickets are issued at 5.30pm to the first 200 people in line.
When? On Fridays and Saturday nights until 10pm.
Why visit? View contemporary art in peace by visiting this art gallery after hours. Housed in a former Bankside Power Station on the banks of the river Thames, the gallery is full of works by major artists, including Matisse, Picasso, Rothko, Dali, Warhol and Pollock.
Food and drink: With sweeping views of the capital’s sexy skyline, the gallery’s Level 6 Restaurant is open for dinner until until 9.15pm on Friday and Saturday nights.
Cost: Entry to the main museum is free, but there’s a charge for special exhibitions.
Victoria and Albert Museum
When? On the last Friday of every month from 6.30pm to 10pm.
Why visit? Friday Late offers an ever-changing programme of DJs, live performances, cool fashion, film, debates, special guests and late-night exhibition openings.
Food and drink: Drinks are available in the Grand Entrance throughout the night and in the John Madejski Garden during fine weather. The museum’s cafe serves food and drink until 9pm.
Cost: Friday Late is free and visitors don’t need tickets. All events are available on a first come, first served basis.
When? On the last Wednesday of every month from 6.45pm to 10pm (except December).
Why visit? The Science Museum’s adult-only Lates have a different theme each month, covering hot topics like sex, crime, alcohol and climate change. Expect mind-blowing talks, performances and a silent disco.
Food and drink: Refuel at one of the museum’s several bars and restaurants.
Cost: Free but be prepared to queue. Arrive early to ensure you get in.
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