Museum lates: late-night museum events in London

Get your culture fix after hours at some of the capital's top museum and attraction evening events

What's not to like about checking out a new exhibition, drink in hand, often with music, talks and tours and one helluva buzzing atmosphere? Absolutely nothing, of course.

Museum lates in London

Open Cockpit Evening

This evening event is an exclusive chance (and probably your only chance) to get into the cockpits of legendary aircrafts. Royal Air Force Museum staff will co-pilot, explaining the vast and complex system of controls in the likes of the Spitfire 5B, Jet Provost 5 and Merlin Helicopter. Book in advance.

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Royal Air Force Museum Tuesday March 3 2015

Thea Porter Thursday Fizz

Enjoy an evening visit to the 'Thea Porter: 70s Bohemian Chic' exhibition and get a closer look at the fashion designer's original boho designs which remain influential today. Tickets for these late openings include a glass of fizz, which visitors may enjoy in the museum café. Book in advance.

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Fashion and Textile Museum Thursday March 5 2015 - Thursday April 9 2015

Night Songs featuring Patrick Wolf

This unique concert concept – part exploration, part immersive performance – will take place at various different National Trust properties across England during February and March. London audiences will be invited to wander the corridors, attics, stairwells and drawing rooms of Grade I-listed Osterley Park, where they'll come across performances by acts including artists, musicians, actors and dancers. Each evening will culminate in a performance by Patrick Wolf, featuring new specially commissioned work created during an artistic residency at another of the National Trust's properties, Tyntesfield in Bristol. Tickets can be booked online in advance.

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Osterley Park and House Saturday March 7 2015 - Sunday March 8 2015

Sherlock's Night Owl Sleepover

Young sleuths aged 7-11 and their faithful grown-ups are invited to stay the night in the Museum of London for this special Holmes-themed sleepover during which they'll solve torch-lit puzzles, investigate mysteries, trawl crime scenes and become time detectives (which are rather similar to archeologists). There'll be a late-night snack session before lights out at midnight, and guests will be served breakfast to go with the early morning film screening before the museum opens at 10am.

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Museum of London Saturday March 21 2015 - Sunday March 22 2015

Sleeping with Sherlock

Apologies if the title got you all hot under the deerstalker – this event does not signal Cumberbatch's turn as a gigolo. But you may well dream of Holmes (if you choose to get any shut-eye, that is) at this adults-only sleepover in the Museum of London. Guests will tuck into a three-course meal before exploring the museum and its current exhibition, 'Sherlock Holmes', after-hours. There'll also be talks, storytelling, forensics workshops, ghost story recitals and a movie marathon running into the wee small hours. Cash bars will stay open until 1am, and the morning after will be heralded with a full English breakfast. Booking essential.

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Museum of London Saturday March 28 2015

Kew Lates

It may be winter outside, but in the Kew Garden conservatory it's always steamy. This is your chance to escape the London chill and take in the totally tropical atmosphere of Kew's Alluring Orchids exhibition after hours. As well as admiring the vast display of beautiful and unusual flowers, visitors can try botanical illustration, join a scent workshop, create origami flowers and hear short talks from some of Kew's experts. The Gin Garden pop-up bar will be serving botanical cocktails all evening to keep everyone feeling fruity. Booking essential.

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Kew Gardens Thursday March 5 2015

Night Safari

These exclusive night tours allow visitors to get up close to some of the Natural History Museum's behind-the-scenes specimens, with a seasonal theme influencing the curation of what's in store. Museum scientists will give talks on aspects of science that fit into the theme, too. In February the event focuses on love in the natural world, with talk subjects including fish perfume trails and date-drugging insects. Visitors can choose from two trails: romance or passion. March's event will look at maternal instincts. Booking essential.

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Natural History Museum Monday March 16 2015

V&A Friday Late

An evening of themed talks, performances, music, food and special installations at the grand museum. You can treat yourself to drinks from the on-site bars as you explore the current exhibitions and take part in special events. Firday Lates take place on the last Friday of every month, except in December, so mark your calendars for a top-notch cultural night out.

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V&A Until Friday October 30 2015 Free

Natural History Museum Late

A monthly late opening of the museum and temporary exhibitions, with free entry to the Central Hall and Images of Nature gallery, changing discussions on timely themes, open-mic performances by up-and-coming musicians throughout the evening, and British farmers’-market-style food and drink in the pop-up restaurant. Themes for each monthly discussion change; see the museum website for details of forthcoming discussions, which are bookable in advance.

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Natural History Museum Until Friday October 30 2015

RHS London Spring Fair Late

This evening event will turn the RHS Great London Plant Fair into an English Garden Party, with visitors sipping Pimm's and nibbling cucumber sandwiches on beautifully manicured lawns.

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Royal Horticultural Halls Tuesday April 14 2015
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