8 London Museums That Are Better to Visit at Night

london at night

Museums are mostly associated with daytime tourism. There’s no surprise here, the city of London is full to the brim with incredible museums, charting everything from static electricity to ancient history.

The city’s passion for discovery stems from its exploring past, many famous Brits having made a name for themselves by travelling, and in many cases colonising the world. Whilst the days of the violent and pillaging days of the British Empire are behind us, they’ve left countless relics and discoveries in their wake, leading to a large number of museums and galleries that have collected international masterpieces over the years.

One small mercy is that many of these are free now and attract international communities to the city, all with the aim of educating and broadening minds. Whether you’re on the lookout for a French masterpiece in the Wallace Collection or a science experiment in South Kensington, the footfall of the London museum and gallery scene reaches well into the millions each year.

But that’s not all. A variety of museums and galleries have in recent years, started contributing to the nightlife scene of London. With the family rooms in London catering to daytime tourism, many of these museums are now opening their doors overnight. These ticketed events are some of the most exciting, atmospheric and fun ways to spend a night with friends or family. Forget clubbing in Shoreditch, late-night museum takeovers are the new way to spend your weekend.

Late at Tate

Late at Tate events take place every last Friday of the month and include a variety of events running until 10 pm. These include DJ sets, workshops, screenings and question and answer sessions. These can also include a wide array of late-night openings for exhibits, and sometimes even art fairs.

tate at night

These events take place in both Tate Britain and the Tate Modern. This means that there is always a unique atmosphere for each venue. The Tate Modern has a focus on all things contemporary and international, whilst the Tate Britain focuses solely on art from Britain throughout the centuries.

Both venues are easy to reach from all of the hotels in our collection, with the Tate Modern being based on the South Bank, and the Tate Britain further along the Thames near Pimlico tube station. 

Science Museum Lates

The Science Museum also hosts monthly late-night events. These events are for adults only, and bring a wide range of science-based spectacles to the South Kensington venue. This month sees the spooktacular Halloween special.

science museum at night

Taking place on the 30th of October, this especially spooky Science Museum event will see talks from the London School of Hygiene on the subject of bugs and insects, as well as myth-busting sessions about ghosts and zombies. Guests can also get hands-on with slime time, a workshop that gives you the chance to make your very own slime mixture. Whether you’re on the lookout for a science lesson or an interactive film that sees you stopping a global pandemic, the October variation of the Science Museum Lates gives you a chance to explore a broad range of exciting events.

Emerge Festival

Taking place every September, Emerge Festival gives 18 to 30-year-olds a chance to explore some of the best museums and art galleries, promising unique events and late-night performances. Over two days, ticket holders and guests at Hyde Park Hotels London can enjoy the interiors of a range of locations dotted around the city, including some of the best-known museums and galleries in the country, hosting eye-opening artists and thinkers from across the world. From emerging talent to well-known figures, the Emerge Festival will “re-emerge” in September 2020. Watch out for ticket sales, as they go very quickly indeed.

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

You can truly spend a “night at the museum” at this South Kensington based icon. Within the grand halls of the Natural History Museum, guests at the nearby Grand Royale London Hyde Park can visit late night attractions including science talks and extended opening exhibits. It’s also possible to book overnight stays for both children and adults. With these kids can enjoy storytime and scavenger hunt events, whilst adults get to indulge in atmospheric events throughout the venue.

Late Night at the Saatchi Gallery

Saatchi Gallery London

Whilst it’s late-night events are off duty until the new year, the Saatchi Gallery in the Duke of York HQ in Chelsea offers up multi-sensory installations and some of the most unique events out there. In this Grade II listed building, guests can enjoy some of the most unique art installations in London, staying in keeping with the Saatchi Gallery’s progressive attitude towards contemporary art. With some of the best creative minds in London collaborating to create amazing spectacles, the Saatchi Gallery pulls no punches in its curating of late-night events.

London Zoo

London Zoo offers up exciting late-night events for adults in the summer months. For guests staying at any one of the Shaftesbury Hotels in our collection who see themselves as night owls, you can enjoy late evening wanders around the beautiful Regents Park based zoo, ensuring a heady mix of animal exhibits and even witness nocturnal animals wake up for a prowl in the night time.

Reptile House at London zoo

It’s no surprise that the London Zoo is a frontrunner for hosting late-night events; they have been at it for almost two centuries after all. With the London Zoological Society being established in 1827, scientists have been using it to research animals for generations now. Whether you’re on the lookout for a unique Friday night event, or you’re an animal lover yourself, the ZSL in Regents Park promises a wild night out!

Royal Academy

The Royal Academy of Art offers up cabaret performances, multimedia events and art talks on selected evenings every night. Usually focusing on a theme that has been handpicked from their exhibitions, the Royal Academy is an exciting and innovative way to explore the art world.

Sir John Soane’s Museum

The Sir John Soane’s Museum is a hidden gem of an exhibition space and offers up even more secret treasure troves than its daytime incarnation. Explore works by Turner and Hogarth by candlelight, and discover some of the ornately decorated museum’s wonderful treasures.

There you have it! Whether you’re looking for an unusual date idea or just want to experience London’s museums in a different light (literally!) make sure you add one or more of these museum lates to your London bucket list.