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Late-night opening hours at London museums and galleries

Drinks with the dinosaurs? Partying next to a painting? London's museums and galleries cram their evening schedules with music, films, talks and more. Here's our guide to 'Lates' you'll want to turn up early to:

V&A Friday Lates x Boiler Room © Hydar Dewachi
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We get it: finding time to get your cultural fix can be difficult. In the week, you're stuck behind a desk and at the weekend you've had too many Friday cocktails to make battling the kid-filled crowds a remote possibility. So let us introduce you to a secret. The truly savvy Londoner is less culture vulture and more culture owl. Or bat, if you prefer. Get nocturnal and take advantage of late-night openings where you can visit the latest exhibitions or grab a place at one of the after-hours events our top venues keep adding to the diary. From gigs at the ICA to talks from the nation's top boffins at the Natural History Museum, there's no excuse not to be crafting your very own night at the museum. 

Art, Galleries

Somerset House

icon-location-pin Temple

The gallery and exhibition spaces at Somerset House stay open until 8pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays (last admission 7pm). In recent years the venue has also hosted an outdoor film screen in summer and a wonderfully atmospheric ice-rink in winter. 

National Portrait Galley_Front Entrance_MUST CAPTION_National Portrait Gallery, London Front Entrance_MUST CREDIT_© National Portrait Gallery, London.JPG
© National Portrait Gallery, London
Art, Galleries

National Portrait Gallery

icon-location-pin Leicester Square

Every Friday the National Portrait Galley does its own verison of Friday Lates, an art-focused mixture of music, art classes, talks and film screenings. Get a drink from the bar and try your hand at some life drawing. 

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Art, Sculpture

Tate Britain

icon-location-pin Westminster

On the first Friday of the month, Tate Britain stays open for a changing programme of music, talks and opportunities to get hands-on creative. See the schedule here

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Art, Galleries

Whitechapel Gallery

icon-location-pin Whitechapel

The Whitechapel Gallery keeps its galleries open until 9pm every Thursday. It also takes part in 'First Thursdays', a monthly event where galleries across East London open their doors late and put on talks, tours and more. 

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Art, Galleries

Royal Academy of Arts

icon-location-pin Mayfair

On Fridays, the Royal Academy stays open until 10pm (last entrance 9:30pm). The gallery's major shows are often very popular, so don't miss this extra chance to see them. 

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Museums, Science and technology

Wellcome Collection

icon-location-pin Bloomsbury

The Wellcome Collection puts on some great temporary exhibitions - and they're all free. You can see them until 10pm on Thursdays, along with enjoying their popular programme of super brainy talks and seminars.

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Fashion and Textile Museum
Things to do

Fashion and Textile Museum

icon-location-pin London Bridge

If you struggle to know what to wear when going out in the evenings, head to London's Fashion and Textile Museum for a bit of inspiration. The Bermondsey venue stays open until 8pm on Thursdays, with the last admission 45 mins before closing. 

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Museums, History

Leighton House Museum

icon-location-pin Kensington

This quirky museum and former home of artist Frederic Leighton is open on selected evenings for ticketed events, normally artsy talks (check out the schedule if you're a fan of Victorian art in particular) and genteel live music. 

See our full guide to London's best museums

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