Museums at Night: what's on?

Forget usual opening hours, all the action happens late-night in this series of one-off events

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 Thu May 14–Sat May 16 2015), 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.

Museums at Night events: Thursday

Court Adjourned! Behind The Scenes at the UK Supreme Court

The UK Supreme Court gets in on the Museums at Night action with this special late opening featuring live jazz and a glass of wine for every ticket holder. Court Ushers will reveal what goes on behind-the-scenes during a hearing, Former Judicial Assistants will describe their experience of working for a Supreme Court Justice, the Inner Temple's amateur dramatics society will present a contemporary courtroom drama and plenty more. Booking essential.

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Supreme Court Thursday May 14 2015

London Museum of Water and Steam

See this nineteenth-century pumping station in a new light at this one-off late opening. The Steam Hall will be filled with colourful lighting and live jazz music, the engines will be illuminated and a bar will be serving all night. Book in advance.

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London Museum of Water and Steam Thursday May 14 2015

Mad Men and Bad Men

This exhibit-packed Notting Hill museum will open late for a talk on British politics' collision with advertising. Writer Sam Delaney has had first-hand experience in both politics and advertising and will reveal the stories behind the ad campaigns of the last four British elections. Expect innappropriate influences, unexpected partnerships and plenty of scandal. A cash bar will be serving from 6pm and guests may explore the museum following the talk. Book in advance.

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Museum of Brands, Packaging & Advertising Thursday May 14 2015

Nature Late

Discover how contemporary artists are inspired by flora and fauna at this adults-only late featuring street art, musical performances, birdcall-influenced installations, typewriter art and plenty more. Visit the Horniman's website for timings, more details and to book tickets. The event is part of Museums at Night.

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Horniman Museum Thursday May 14 2015

Night of the Bodysnatcher

Find out about the creepy work of London's resurrectionists, who furnished eighteenth- and nineteenth-century dissecting rooms with dead bodies using rather sinister methods. The talk takes place in Southwark's Old Operating Theatre – a suitably creepy venue for this morbid Museums at Night event.

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Old Operating Theatre Museum Thursday May 14 2015
See Museums at Night Friday events

Museums at Night events: Friday

The Bank of England Museum

An after-hours chance to listen to a talk about banknotes and chat about gold at this museum devoted to the history of the Bank of England, which was set up in 1694 to fund the war with France.

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Bank of England Museum Friday May 15 2015

Dickens After Dark

Take a shadowy trip back to Victorian London at this special late opening of Charles Dickens's Bloomsbury townhouse. Enjoy readings from the books which were written in the house as you explore, settle in for one of the classic film screenings or enjoy a drink in the candlelit walled garden. The basement kitchens will host butter churning demonstrations and introductions to Catherine Dickens's recipes.

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Charles Dickens Museum Friday May 15 2015

Drop-in Drink

A twilight tour of The View, Epping Forest's visitors centre, where forest enthusiasts can enjoy a drink while discovering more about the area, learn which animals call the forest home and discover how the forest was rescued and became a public space.

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The View Friday May 15 2015 Free

Late at the Library

The British Library stays open late for an evening of words, performance and sounds as part of Museums at Night. Poet and rap artist Saul Williams and his band will perform, while Tongue Fu are bringing some of the country's best spoken word artists. Legendary DJ Norman Jay will be providing the tunes. The Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy exhibition will be open on the night and entrance is included in the ticket price. Book in advance.

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British Library Friday May 15 2015

Late Night Keats

The poet's Hampstead home is opening for an evening of music, art and poetry as part of Museums at Night. This adults-only evening features twilight tours of the building and shadow puppetry workshops in which you'll learn to create a Regency silhouette. Tickets include a free drink from the bar. Book in advance.

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Keats House Friday May 15 2015

London Transport Museum Friday Lates

May's after-hours, adults-only session celebrates the launch of the Prize for Illustration: London Places and Spaces with an indoor mini park, pop-out postcards and glasses of Pimm's. Talks about places and spaces, film screenings, quizzes and music will provide the entertainment.

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London Transport Museum Friday May 15 2015

The Royal College of Music at Fulham Palace

This free evening of classical music will involve vignette performances in some of Fulham Palaces most beautiful corners. Music from different time periods on a range of historical instruments will represent some of the building's most important stories. A bar, run by independent wine shop Vagabond Wines, will be serving all evening. Tickets are free but should be reserved in advance on the Fulham Palace website.

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Fulham Palace Friday May 15 2015 Free

UCL Museum Murder Mystery

The Museum Murder Mystery returns for an evening of dark noir and intrigue as part of the Museums at Night programme. Help to identify the murderer from a cast of slightly sinister characters by solving clues dotted throughout the Museum. Teams with up to five members can compete for prizes and the best dressed detective on the night will also be rewarded. Be sure to don your deer hunter or Jessica Fletcher inspired power suit and head to the Cruciform Lecture Theatre on Gower Street where the event begins. 

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Grant Museum of Zoology Friday May 15 2015
See Museums at Night Saturday events

Museums at Night events: Saturday

Apsley House

This late opening is a rare chance to see Apsley House with its curtains drawn and chandeliers twinkling. Hear a series of talks and tales about the house's history as you're guided through the historic building. Places must be booked in advance for this adults-only late.

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Apsley House Saturday May 16 2015

Dunkirk Little Ships Festival

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the day 700 small civilian boats sailed from Ramsgate to Dunkirk to rescue thousands of English and French soldiers. At the end of May 60 of those ships will repeat their journey across the channel, and this waterborne reunion will see 20 of them gather in the Royal Docks ahead of the sailing. On Saturday evening (May 16), the 'Silver Queen' will offer 45-minute trips around the docks, and guests will be invited to board some of the other ships in attendance. Tickets for the trips will cost £10 for adults and £5 for children.

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Royal Victoria Dock Saturday May 16 2015 - Sunday May 17 2015 Free

Expedition to Iceland Sleepover

Go on an imaginary adventure through the dangerous and remarkable lava fields and craggy rocks of Iceland, a trip William Morris made back in the 1870s. Visitors will watch a puppet show called 'Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Nieblungs', take part in craft activities, compete for prizes and go on a torch tour before snuggling into sleeping bags for the night. Breakfast will be served in the morning. The event is suitable for ages eight to 12 and each child must be accompanied by an adult.

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William Morris Gallery Saturday May 16 2015

Put that Light Out!

As part of the Museums at Night programme, Firepower is hosting a sleepover. Children and their adults will get to take part in a range of activities, such as military drilling, arts and crafts, and re-enactments, before – after a campfire singalong and cup of cocoa – everyone settles down for the night among the museum's big guns and other exhibits.

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Firepower: Royal Artillery Museum Saturday May 16 2015 - Sunday May 17 2015

Strange Creatures

Get an after-hours look at the bizarre specimens on display as part of the Grant Museum's Strange Creatures exhibition. Performances, games and live taxidermy will provide the entertainment and a bar will serve all evening. Places are free but must be reserved in advance here.

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Grant Museum of Zoology Saturday May 16 2015 Free
See Museums at Night Thursday events


Liz D
Liz D

Love Museums at Night, such a great event.