Museums at Night: what's on?

Forget the usual opening hours, all the action happens late-night in this series of evening events at London's top museums



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If the mention of a trip to the museum makes you think of stuffy exhibitions and school trips, well think again. This year's Museums at Night (taking place Thur May 15 – Sat May 17 2014), a series of after-hours events at some of the capital's biggest museums and quirky attractions, is offering Londoners some seriously special one-off experiences. This May, you could be discovering Handel House by candlelight, swinging 'til you drop at a 60s night, watching sci-fi movies under the stars, and getting the kids involved in a sleepover at Kensington Palace.

We'll be updating this page with Museums at Night 2014 events as they're announced

Benjamin Franklin House

Dr. Vivian Montgomery, an award-winning harpsichordist and fortepiantist, will explore an extraordinary period of professional activity among England's lady organists, focusing on the high profile life of 18th Century performer and entrepreneur, Martha Greatorex. Hear recorded excerpts of Greatorex's music performed on an early 19th century English piano by Dr. Montgomery.

  1. Benjamin Franklin House 36 Craven St, WC2N 5NF
  2. Thu May 15
More info

Mr Smith's Letterpress Workshop

The William Morris Gallery is housed in a grade II* listed building, the Morris's family home from 1848 to 1856. Under expert guidance, visitors to this late will use traditional type to create powerful political slogans. There will be live performances throughout the evening and Victorian treats available from the Tea Room.

  1. William Morris Gallery 581 Forest Rd, Lloyd Park, E17 4PP
  2. Thu May 15
More info

UK Supreme Court

There will be no objections to photography in the Grade II* listed heritage building, which will be open to the public for the first time in it’s five year history. There will be bars, live music and illustrated talks. Inner Temple Drama Society will be performing some legally-inspired theatre, court artist Isobel Williams will be illustrating the work of the justices and lawyers who work in the building and Hugh Feilden will be speaking about the building's renovation.

  1. Supreme Court Parliament Square, SW1P 3EE
  2. Thu May 15
More info


The Horniman will be presenting an evening of extreme art, music and quirky performances across the museum and garden to tie in with its family friendly exhibition Extremes. Expect storytelling by candlelight, music from Zimbabwe, acrobatics and surreal submarine life film screenings.

  1. Horniman Museum 100 London Rd, SE23 3PQ
  2. Thu May 15
More info

Banknotes and Bullion

  • Free

An after-hours chance to try lifting a 13kg gold bar and to learn about bank notes at this museum devoted to the history of the Bank of England, which was set up in 1694 to fund the war with France.

  1. Bank of England Museum Threadneedle St (entrance in Bartholomew Lane), EC2R 8AH
  2. Fri May 16
More info

Candlelight Tours

An opportunity to see the rooms of Samuel Johnson’s historic home by candlelight in these curator led twilight-tours.

  1. Dr Johnson's House 17 Gough Square, EC4A 3DE
  2. Fri May 16
More info

The Design Museum

The Design Museum is throwing open its doors for Culture 24s nationwide festival of after-hours events and late night openings. The museum's focus will be on celebrating style, substance and innovation with its Paul Smith, Daniel Weil and Designs of the Year exhibitions.

  1. Design Museum 28 Butlers Wharf, Shad Thames, SE1 2YD
  2. Fri May 16
More info

Goodbye Piccadilly

A 1940's style celebration, based around the exhibition Goodbye Piccadilly- From Home Front to Western Front, as part of Museums at Night. There will be a bar, talks, tours, make and take sessions, live music and a quiz. Find out which scents the smart set favoured at a perfume and cologne workshop. Gentlemen can visit the grooming salon and Ladies can create a feathered fascinator. Professor Jerry White will launch his new book Zeppelin Nights - London in the First World War and explain how London prepared for war.

  1. London Transport Museum Covent Garden Piazza, WC2E 7BB
  2. Fri May 16
More info

In Parenthesis

The National Portrait Gallery in partnership with the English National Ballet will present a dance performance inspired by David Jones' book-length poem In Parenthesis. Choreographed by George Williamson the performance includes ballet and contemporary dance performed across the Gallery during Museums at Night.

  1. National Portrait Gallery St Martin's Place, WC2H 0HE
  2. Fri May 16
More info

It's a Murder at the Museum

Something is afoot at UCL Museums. A body has been discovered on campus and they need your help to solve the murder. Was it Prof. Grant in the Grant Museum with the elephant tusk? Perhaps it was Mr. Bentham in the Octagon Gallery with the walking stick? Or Miss Edwards in the Petrie Museum with the water clock? Teams of up to five are invited to solve the clues across the Museum to crack the murder mystery. There are prizes to be won for the team that solves the case as well as the best-dressed detectives. The event is followed by a free drinks reception and a private view of the Grant Museum of Zoology.

  1. Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology University College London, Malet Place, WC1E 6BT
  2. Fri May 16
More info

Somerset House

For Museums at Night, Somerset House is hosting after-hours activities in the form of workshops, guided tours of the neo-classical building and live music.

  1. Somerset House Strand, WC2R 1LA
  2. Fri May 16
More info

Apsley House

For Museums at Night, Apsley House is open late, giving visitors the chance to see rooms with curtains drawn and chandeliers twinkling. Hear a series of talks and tales about the house's history.

  1. Apsley House Hyde Park Corner, W1J 7NT
  2. Fri May 16 - Sat May 17
More info

Ghosts of the Royal Arsenal

Firepower: The Royal Artillery Museum is putting on a late-night ghost tour for brave visitors who want to learn about the buildings history of accidents, murders and suicides. Find out why battle-hardened soldiers refuse to enter the Academy Building alone and why the staff at Firepower won't lock up alone. Warm up at the end of the tour with a hot drink, bangers and mash (included in the ticket price).

  1. Firepower: Royal Artillery Museum The Royal Arsenal, Warren Lane, SE18 6ST
  2. Sat May 17 - Sun May 18
More info

Public Service Broadcasting

As part of the nationwide Museums At Night festival, London two-piece Public Service Broadcasting play three nights at the RAF Museum in Hendon. Their sample-heavy soundscapes use live guitar and drums, and sometimes piano and banjo, alongside vocal tracks from old radio broadcasts, public information films and archive speeches. For these special shows they'll be performing their EP 'The War Room'. The event also includes good clean vintage fun for all the family, including an attempt to knit a life-sized plane in a ’40s living room, cabaret singing, a ’50s and ’60s silent disco and giant snakes and ladders. The vibe: think Blitz spirit without, you know, the actual Blitz.

  1. Royal Air Force Museum Grahame Park Way, NW9 5LL
  2. Thu May 15 - Sat May 17
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Users say

Liz D
Liz D

Love Museums at Night, such a great event.

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