Natural History Museum Late

Things to do Natural History Museum , Brompton Friday July 29 2016 - Friday December 30 2016
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(14 user reviews)
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© NHM

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.

Venue name: Natural History Museum
Contact:
Address: Cromwell Road
London
SW7 5BD
Opening hours: Daily 10am-5.50pm (last admission 5.30pm)
Transport: Tube: South Kensington
Price: Free

Average User Rating

4.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:6
  • 4 star:5
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|14
1 person listening
Neil K
Tastemaker

I had a great time at the NHM After Hours events. Firstly I was surprised and impressed by the range of different activities goings on, but also by the way they were run. There were a few bars and the freedom to walk around the museum with drinks and real buzz and great atmosphere which really made the night.

The session we attended 'Winged Wonders Odyssey' were linked to the Sensational Butterflies exhibition and was ticketed. First we had a talk in a lecture theatre with the chance to see some extraordinary caterpillars up close as well as another talk on months and then a film and the chance to ask plenty of questions. We then had a live presentation on a variety of butterfly predators which included a tarantula, snakes, scorpions and a lizard some of which we were allowed to touch, and we also watched the lizard being fed from a foot and a half away by grabbing them with it's tongue.

Prior to the event I thought it would feel a bit of a strange way to spend a Friday night, but it was actually pretty perfect, and my girlfriend felt the same, and we will definitely be going back!

Ana M
Tastemaker

Myself and my partner attended the Butterfly Ball Late a few weeks ago and had a great time! We choose to check out the ticketed event 'Winged Wonders Odyssey'. 

There were three speakers: the first told us about caterpillars, the second focused on moths and butterflies, then finally, the third spoke about predators of butterflies and moths.
 

The first speaker was incredibly passionate and insightful, and brought to life just how fascinating and varied the caterpillar world is. We were also given the opportunity to see some specimens up close, which made the event unique.

Unfortunately, the second speaker on moths and butterflies was equally interesting, but didn't have a microphone, so it was a bit difficult to catch his gems of wisdom! 

Finally, in the last talk, we got up close and personal with some predators of butterflies and moths, including a snake, toad, tarantula and an awesome-looking chameleon, as well as a cute little gecko. This speaker in particular brimmed with enthusiasm and knowledge, which was infectious.

All in all, this Late was a memorable experience that far surpassed my expectations, as well as the expectations of my partner.

Hollibakes
Tastemaker

Being one of my favourite free things to do in London, I'm always thrilled when the 'Lates' season starts as it's a fantastic way of seeing the what the museum has to offer without the thousands of people around. Also, there tends to be a lot fewer (sometimes hardly any) kids about.


A couple of weeks ago me and a pal attended the Butterfly Ball at NHM, and it was a real treat. The ticketed area we decided to go to was the 'Winged Wonders Odyssey'. It was £30 per person, which I initially thought was quite pricey. The first part was fascinating, getting up close and personal with a range of caterpillars - from a deaths head hawk moth to a elephant hawk moth. As an entomology collector, it was a real special event to be able to see them live (instead of framed on my living room wall!) After this, we went to another chap to hear more about butterflies and moths, and ones that were native to the UK and easily identifiable. He had a netted washing basket (I think) that contained a few flying around too! My only gripe with the Winged Wonders Odyssey was that it was quite a long evening, and didn't give us much time to check out much of the other things NHM had to offer. I'd have loved to have done a few different exhibitions, but time simply didn't allow it.


I also think the prices for food/drink were a little steep. I understand that it's a main source of income for the free museum, but they could still bring them down slightly in line with other places offering 'Lates' style events.

Grace I
Tastemaker

If your memories of your school trip to the Natural History Museum are full of queueing up and being yelled at by teachers or staff for trying to touch things, you can banish them with the Lates event, when you can wander around with alcohol, cupcakes and sausage rolls in hand while gazing at (and occasionally touching) amazing exhibits. Just being able to go through the dinosaur exhibits without huge queues was a bonus, and acting like a grown-up kid has lots of other benefits. I'd have preferred a better choice of food (including sandwiches) but the cupcakes were awfully good. The recent Butterfly Ball featured opera singers dressed as butterflies singing songs to tunes from Madam Butterfly (very funny) as well as numerous butterfly exhibits. This s a surprisingly fun social event for all ages--just go early before it gets too crowded, and definitely drink a toast to the dinosaurs.

Samantha H
Tastemaker

The Natural History Museum is one of my favourite 'things to do' in London and somewhere I will always try and visit when I have international guests coming to visit.  Unfortunately, due to work, I am normally only able to get there on the weekends or bank holidays.....meaning it is always extremely full! Thank goodness for Lates!  An Adult only, after work event.  Bars are set up around the place, little activities to do (although some seem to have packed up and finished by 7.30!) and interesting talks.  I was checking out the Butterfly exhibition and got to sit in on a session about caterpillars and about the predators of Lepidoptera.  Both of these were really interesting and kept the audience captivated for the whole time (around 40 mins each).  Unfortunately, what let the event down was the general lack of information provided by any of the general staff.  We asked where activities were and were sent down random corridors.  We asked where we needed to be and when and no one seemed to know. Whilst it is understandable that for these one off events some information wouldn't be known off the top of their heads by all but we ended up missing out on a lot of things because we spent a large percentage of time walking around looking for someone who knew what was going on. If they could fix this issue I am sure it would be a fantastic night, otherwise I would advise you just go along to walk around the museum and don't try to get involved in any of the specific talks and events. Checking out the Blue Whale with a glass of wine is always fun :) 

Violet M
Tastemaker

Was thrilled to be able to attend the Science Museum's Crime Scene Late this May. 


Firstly, all the good things: overall, it was a really cool, fun and educational experience! Learned loads, got to wear an awesome CSI white suit, looked at some larvae (from a far, far distance) and solved a murder! 


Alas, the downsides: it was awesome being in a near-empty Natural History Museum (just you and 50 other people!), but we were corralled from section to section and during the break only allowed in the bar area. Would have appreciated a semi-private view of the NHM's collections. As much as I enjoyed it overall, I don't think it was worth £60. Tickets come with a welcome drink (there was Meantime, yas!), entry, and a CSI white suit. It made me want to attend a murder mystery dinner, which would come with dinner and a show.


Still, an amazing time and super happy I went!!  

rpate
Tastemaker

The Natural History Museum Lates series is a saving grace for the childless contingency of London. Finally: adults can let loose and cast aside the fetters of their mature persona! Forget the shame of longing to randomly press buttons, push closer to the tyrannosaurus rex and challenging a date to a quiz on the movement of tectonic plates. Having access to the museum’s most popular exhibitions without the din of screaming children, disorderly school trips and throngs of tourists makes the Lates evenings an absolute must for all Londoners. They can forget the experience of queueing for an hour, only to stand twenty people deep in an audience and unable to hear or see any given attraction.


The Lates series opens the doors of the NHM to adults, granting them access to its collections one Friday night a month from 18:00 to 22:00. Live demonstrations, discussions and events take place around a different theme. Best of all, it’s absolutely free and there are bars set up across the museum floor- yes, even in the shadow of Dippy the Diplodocus in the main entrance hall- and live orchestras fill the corridors with wafting melodies. It’s a popular option for dates, where one can impress their partner with their knowledge of Nematoceran families and the Dolichopodidae over a glass of prosecco.


I attended the May 2016’s Butterfly Ball Late and participated in a ticketed Cocktails and Butterfly Cakes event. We were introduced to Dr Duncan Sivell, Curator of Diptera at the NHM and Alexander Darley from the Sipsmith Gin distillery. Addressing the theme of food security and the vital role that insects play in food production, we were talked through Entomophagy, or insect eating, and the fact that two billion people across the world regularly consume creepy-crawlies.


The pollination process was explained and examined; this was linked to the gin distilling process, where the botanicals that elevate vodka to gin rely upon pollination (with the exclusion of juniper, interestingly). We were provided with male and female springs of juniper to examine and a healthy sample of Sipsmith gin. Alexander guided us through the distilling process and Dr Sivell revealed that one of every three mouthfuls of food consumed relies upon pollination.


We were given a gin and elderflower cocktail to savour as we delved into the meat of the discussion: ramekins of mealworms and crickets were circulated- most attendees were happy to pop the former, smaller and less offensive snack into their mouth, but one brave soul tried a cricket. Under the intense gaze of the crowd, she spluttered because she had a wing lodged between her teeth. This is perhaps a good omen in some cultures?


Following this, we were given two cupcakes each to liberally decorate with chocolate flakes, honeycomb pieces, marshmallows and sprinkles galore. Beneath each generously dressed cake was a harrowing challenge- one of them comprised 75% ground cricket flour in its spongy base. Before even tucking in, most correctly guessed the imposter cake purely based on its darker appearance. Despite this, all were willing to tuck in (maybe with the addition of another chocolate flake for good measure). In actual fact, the protein-rich cricket cake tasted no different from the baseline cake; there might have been a slight variation in texture, but I couldn’t have picked it out in a blind tasting.


We really enjoyed the event and it gave us something to mull over next time we order a cocktail- the decline of honey bees and the increased interest in farming insects is something topical and an important viable food source for humanity. Following this, we had time to grab a drink from the bar and roam through several areas of the museum, where tables were set up around every corner with activities and performances to keep patrons engaged.

The afterhours ambiance is incredible at the NHM and the Lates events are a whimsical way to spend a Friday evening. Everything is extremely casual and the crowds are thin enough to allow for soaking in the museum’s treasures without feeling pressed for time. For once, I found myself taking in and appreciating the grand setting- the NHM edifice itself- without distraction.


A dose of education, culture and a glass of prosecco in grandiose environs- all without the disruption of the typical central London hazards- this is what you can expect at a NHM Lates event. In other words, it’s the dream of any Londoner who- deep down- wants a go at handling a lump of meteorite or a fossil without having to excuse themselves.  


nicknickn
Tastemaker

The Natural History Museum is holding a series of special events on Friday evenings throughout the summer. Each one is different but I suspect that all of them will be awesome! I went to the butterfly ball, which had a number of talks and exhibitions about moths and butterflies. The people involved clearly love what they do, they were interesting and entertaining, we got up close and personal with moths, butterflies, spiders, snakes...

It is a fantastic experience to be in the museum at night, great to be able to wander around the normal exhibits with a drink from the bar. It is a very relaxed way to view the museum ... and there are no school parties to contend with.

The talks are wonderful, the general exhibition is amazing, but even if the whole place was empty the building itself is staggeringly beautiful. Think Hogwarts on steroids! It's incredible that even with the brilliant things on show here, that the ceilings, arches and floors can contend for your attention.

As you can probably guess, I have been struggling for superlatives to describe my night.

Go for the event, go for the general exhibition or just go for the architecture!


TheMixedMedic
Tastemaker

Have a drink with the extinct and spend an evening eating butterfly cupcakes whilst educating yourself on the natural history of the world. When the kids are all tucked up in bed, the gorgeous foyer of the NHM in South Kensington comes alive as LED lights illuminate its architecture and a DJ deck reverberates off the walls. Find yourself entranced by opera singing butterflies (OK a man with wings and antennae - arguably, equally beautiful), comedy shows and countless other activities at this weekends butterfly ball!

mcuttle
Tastemaker

CRIME SCENE LIVE


Crime Scene Live promises to let you investigate a murder both forensically and via detective skills and analysis of the skeleton, but unfortunately I left the experience feeling like I didn't actually get the opportunity to come to my own conclusion.


The evening is split into three disciplines:


Entomology - we learn about how flies and maggots devour bodies and how the state of the pupae and distance maggots travel from a body can help determine a time of death. Here we got to 'race ' maggots and look at flies carefully under a microscope - the guy teaching us was very clear and engaging and it did feel like I was back in a school science lesson.


Anthropology - We were led into a lecture theatre and shown the remains of the 'victim'. We were supposed to conclude the age, height and sex of the victim but the lady just basically told us exactly who it was. I would have preferred if she just showed us the evidence and what to look out for and then let us note down what we though on our sheets.


Forensics - We then got to go into a room, study folders about the various parties who worked at the museum where the fictional murder took place and take and examine fingerprints. Here we weren't led by the hand and would try to work out a theory as to what happened.


After a break we were then led back into the lecture hall for a recap and an explanation of what happened, all with a very cheap looking Powerpoint presentation projected on the big screen. Unfortunately I felt we had all already been given the answers. I was expecting a kind of court room scenario as promised in the email from them, but we were literally shown all the answers and then thanked.


I walked out feeling a little disappointed, although others around me were raving about it. I feel that for £60 per head, there should have been a bit more theatre and production around this fictional murder and crime solving task.

Vieve W
Tastemaker

Call me biased, but since the Natural History Museum is one of my favourite places ever, this has to be one of my favourite events ever, right? Right.

This is the event for you if, you're a fan of museums but can't deal with the huge numbers of school children and tourists.

To walk in after hours and the first thing you see is the huge Stegosaurus fossil skeleton all lit up, is quite frankly breathtaking.

After checking into the cloakroom and grabbing a drink (or two), you have the opportunity to wander around the museum and exhibits at your leisure. My favourites? The mammals, human biology and the Treasure Gallery.

The atmosphere is buzzing and you are free to chat with other like minded individuals whilst you all peruse and enjoy all there is on offer.

If you're really lucky, you may find that the museum is holding a no. of talks on one theme or another. Back in October last year, I attended the Fashion talks; how nature has influenced the fashion world. Very interesting indeed!

Just last week, I attended the special Forensic night 'Crime Scene Live'. One word: AMAZING. we took part on workshops on taking fingerprints, examing evidence (including bloody clothes) and forensic entomology. This was all about using insects to conclude time, date of death. Not one to brag! But all calculations, estimations and microscopy work were correct. Me - 1 Murderer - Nil!

Moral of the story: if you love the NHM or better yet, have never been Lates, then this the event for you.

Race you down there... Ready, steady, go!!!!

Naomi
Tastemaker

As a massive fan of lates at the science museum I was dead excited to see if the Natural History Museum could pull it off just as well. It was amazing to visit the museum and not be overrun by schools or scout groups for once! In fact, I think this may have been the first time I have managed to see most of the exhibition rooms, despite this being at least my tenth visit to the museum. Whilst also able to find space to see the artefacts for one of the first times, I also  Stationed at various intervals were themed bars and street food stalls, whilst various temporary demonstration and exhibition are also on hand for those visitors who want to delve deeper into the monthly theme of the event. 

Sheens86
Tastemaker

Was lucky enough to attend the first ever After School Club & Silent Disco at the NHM and I can honestly say, if school had been like that 15 years ago, I’d probably have enjoyed going more!

Such an awesome night, loads of activities (face painting!), games, presentations and access to a few of the permanent displays. The huge pizzas and cheap drinks certainly helped me learn more too.

I’d never been to a Silent Disco before (yes, I know; what the hell?!) but I’m glad that the first one I went to was this as it was excellent! Three DJ’s placed on a high platform, to gaze out and view who was tuning in to their specific channel and able to address them directly – so cool! From the dance floor (around Diplodocus, as you do) you could see the sea of ever-changing colour as people switched until at one point there was a vast majority of blues and everyone singing in unison.

Absolutely class night, would 100% go back again and recommend to others. I hope there are more events like this in different museums, British Museum maybe TimeOut? Think about it!

Ruth J
Tastemaker

I recently attended the NHM After-School Club for grown-ups which pretty much incorporates everything that the NHM lates are plus a silent disco after. I have to say it was one of the most enjoyable evenings I have had in a while. What a luxury having the museum all to yourself without bustling crowds of tourists knocking you down. Getting to look at everything at your own pace with  glass of wine in hand was just bliss. There are also several interactive sessions that were very enjoyable and genuinely did make you feel like you were back at school again, surprisingly we particularly enjoyed one on plate tectonics and the science educator herself was a lot of fun.

The silent disco that followed took place in the main hall and the DJs were amazing. I wasn't sure how much fun a silent disco would be, but once we put those headphones on we couldn't stop dancing. The atmosphere was amazing and was pretty cool every time you had a reality check and actually looked at your surroundings and remembered what an amazing building you were in. 5 star experience.