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Museum sleepovers

Have your very own night at the museum at one of London's cultured but colourful sleepovers

© Benedict Johnson
The British Museum

Want to sleep with dinosaurs? Bed down under an Elizabethan cannon? Or wake up beside the mummies? Time Out rounds up the top attractions that will let your kids bed down for the night. Call venues to find out dates of upcoming sleepovers.

Bedbugs Sleepovers

On selected dates during the summer months London Zoo will allow (brave) kids to spend the night in their BUGS house alongside exotic, dangerous creepy crawlies from all over the world. Talks, snacks and a torchlit tour of the zoo are all included, as well as a morning tour before the zoo opens again the next day.

£65 per person. Minimum one adult per six children. Suitable for seven-to-11-year-olds.

Visit the London Zoo website for upcoming dates and more details.

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London Zoo, Regent's Park Until Sunday August 30 2015

British Museum Sleepovers

These popular sleepovers take place every two months and are open to Young Friends of the British Museum and their chums.

Every sleepover brings temporary and permanent exhibitions to life with storytelling surrounded by centuries of world history, before kids bed down in the Egyptian and Assyrian Galleries. Then it's up early for breakfast, which is included in the ticket, and a farewell activity. Sleepovers are advertised in the magazine for Young Friends of the British Museum and bookings will be accepted by post only within the first few weeks to ensure fair ticket allocation.

In addition to sleepover invitations, Young Friends receive a gift membership pack full of museum goodies and the chance to attend other fun events.

Suitable for ages 8-15. Up to four children, one of whom must be a Young Friend, per adult.

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Bloomsbury

Dino Snores at the Natural History Museum

Critics' choice

The museum's monthly sleepover brings together a programme of activities to allow visitors to investigate the museum at night. There's a torch-lit tour to the darkest depths of the galleries, nature puzzles, then a chance to snuggle down for the night in the Central Hall, in the shadow of Diplodocus. 'Dino Snores' events sell out quickly so booking well in advance is essential. Visitors should eat before attending and take a snack for later in the evening. Breakfast is provided.

Each booking must include a minimum of five children and one adult. Age 7-11.

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Brompton

Golden Hinde Overnight Experience

An opportunity to sail the seven seas in the company of famous and infamous explorer Sir Francis Drake, sleepovers aboard the Golden Hinde, a replica of Drake's ship permanently moored on the southern bank of the Thames, offer a 'voyage' in search of hidden treasures, and perhaps a bit of plundering too.

On arrival at 5pm a quick change into Tudor sailor costumes gets everyone set for firing the canons, before a traditional Tudor dinner and storytelling. After an exhausting evening on the high seas, the young crew bed down on the gun deck among the cannons. During the chilly winter months there are electric radiators and additional blankets available for families who don't fancy replicating the harsh conditions Drake and his crew would have endured. There's a security guard on board all night as well as the actors who lead the fun. Popular for birthday parties, the ship is also available for private hire.

Suitable for ages 6-11, with one adult per group. The events take place monthly from March to October.

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South Bank

Hamleys Toy Shop

Not a budget option, but if cost is not an issue what party girl or boy wouldn’t relish the chance to join the Hamleys teddy bears for their picnic, save the world with the action heroes, or relax at a doll’s pampering session? The world-famous toy shop is available for private hire on Saturday nights, when trained staff run treasure hunts and games galore and a chef serves a midnight feast before the partygoers head to the land of nod.

£4,500 for ten children. Suitable for six-to -11-year-olds.

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Soho

London's Night Owls Sleepover

Walk in the footsteps of Londoners past and explore the museum's galleries by torchlight at these special after-hours events for ages seven to 11. Three immersive activities will teach young guests about Roman armies, the Great Fire of London and Victorian detectives before they settle into sleeping bags for the night. The morning schedule involves a family-friendly film and breakfast. Each child or group of up to four children must be accompanied by an adult.

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Museum of London, St Pauls Saturday September 19 2015 - Sunday October 25 2015

Pillows and Paintbrushes

Kids aged seven to 13 can embark on a very arty overnight at the Dulwich Picture Gallery on its first ever sleepover, Pillows and Paintbrushes. The event will be themed around American children's classic 'The Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler', with stories, trails and creative activities in the gallery before lights out. A film adaption of the book will be screened in the morning, and a healthy breakfast will be served. Tickets go on sale on the Dulwich Picture Gallery website on August 3.

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Dulwich Picture Gallery, Dulwich Village Saturday October 3 2015 - Sunday October 4 2015

Science Night

The veteran in city sleepovers, Science Night has been running for so long that some of the current staff first attended as children in the nineties. Activities are based around a different theme each month but a hands-on workshop, a science show, and an IMAX film are guaranteed. After breakfast, once the doors are opened to the public, those exhausted by all the excitement head home to show off their creations but kids with energy to spare are free to explore the museum. Suitable for ages seven to 13. At least one adult per family group, see the Science Museum website for school group requirements.

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Science Museum, Brompton Saturday October 10 2015 - Saturday December 5 2015

Looking for more fun activities?

101 things to do in London with kids

There need never be a dull moment in this city – London is jam packed with fantastic experiences and days out for families and kids. Here are 101 of the best things to do with children in London.

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By: LauraLee Davies

Comments

7 comments
Alison Wright
Alison Wright

HMS Belfast is great for a sleepover. The staff are really helpful, you get a trip round the ship and at an extra charge they do a good pack lunch.

Ben
Ben

This is brilliant....but only if have kids.....I dont and I feel excluded! booo

Elona Grondona
Elona Grondona

This sounds a fabulous idea. Especially for parties - learn and have fun at the same time! Unfortunately, the price puts it out of my possibility and probably many others as well. Sadly.

Emily missy-jane blackmore
Emily missy-jane blackmore

A few years back i did this sleepover thing with Lainsmead primary school ! I was fab but i dont think there has been one scince But still we learnt alot about scieance it was creative and funny wich is the best was for children to learn about it ! ... Please get back to me about when the next trip is ....

a ensell
a ensell

Our school slept over at the science museum many times and thoroughly enjoyed it. However, because of cost we had to abandon such stays. My question is: Can we get help to fund such sleepovers? £30 for many of our parents is way out of reach.