Late museum and gallery openings

Published 21 June 2017


The Holburne Museum

Holburne Uplate (monthly)

On the last Friday of the month the Holburne Museum invites you in for a cocktail and a leisurely evening stroll among its treasures. Built upon the exquisite and eclectic art collection of Thomas William Holburne (1793-1874), the museum also hosts temporary exhibitions, talks and music performances. Stay up late and enjoy everything on offer, as well as food and drink in the Garden cafe while listening to the resident DJ.


The Whitworth

Thursday Lates (weekly)

Every Thursday the ‘gallery in the park’ stays open for an evening of social events and a chance to explore the collections after hours. Any week might offer talks, performances, film screenings, live music or special contributions from artists. And don’t hold back if you feel inspired – in keeping with the gallery’s founding mission to act for ‘the perpetual gratification of the people of Manchester’, visitors are encouraged to share their own ideas for future Thursday Lates.


Ashmolean Museum

LiveFridays (occasional)

The world’s oldest university museum still knows how to throw a party. On LiveFridays it opens its doors until late and invites visitors to take part in creative workshops, talks and even theatrical performances, as well as experience the magic of the museum collections at night. You can make a whole evening of it with dinner in the rooftop dining room and drinks in the vaulted cafe.


Maidstone Museum & Bentlif Art Gallery

Museum Lates (monthly)

Maidstone Museum welcomes you every last Thursday of the month to spend an evening exploring an idea or subject based on the current exhibitions or season. Whether it’s a lesson in local history, a celebration of the art of another culture or a Halloween-themed tour, your night at the museum is enhanced by talks, demonstrations, tastings and games.


Whitechapel Gallery

First Thursdays (monthly)

The galleries of east London join forces every first Thursday of the month, staying open late and curating a series of events, talks and private views. The Whitechapel Gallery provides maps for walking tours, leading you to the latest exhibitions, and also runs the Art Bus Tour. Visitors are taken on a two-hour trip around different galleries and art spaces each month, all introduced by a curator or artist.

Spiral Staircase

Wellcome Collection and Library

First Fridays (monthly), not Aug or Jan & Friday Late Spectaculars (occasional)

Every two or three months, the Wellcome Collection opens up the whole building for a themed Friday Late Spectacular, including talks, workshops and performances. In the months between, you can explore the gallery’s exhibitions, enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine while a DJ plays in the cafe, and play games in the Reading Room for an alternative Friday night out.


National Portrait Gallery

Late Shift (weekly)

On Thursday and Friday nights the National Portrait Gallery brings you Late Shift, an opportunity to both let your hair down and get serious about creativity. Take part in talks and discussions on Thursdays between enjoying drinks and the DJ, and on Fridays sit back and listen to live music or pick up a pencil at the drop-in drawing class. Tours, screenings and performances are also on offer. When Late Shift Extra takes over the building, expect all of the above and plenty more in a creative, interactive extravaganza.


MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry)

Lates (occasional)

Bringing its displays and research to life in unexpected ways, Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry sometimes hosts adults-only evening sessions that are often more like parties, with past events having welcomed silent discos, live drawing, fire breathing and a ball pool for grown-ups (not all at the same time). MSI also occasionally teams up with Manchester Museum to hold talks based around their shared interests, and participates in the annual city-wide Manchester After Hours festival.


National Museum of Scotland

Museum Lates (occasional)

Set in the stunning trellised Grand Gallery, the National Museum of Scotland’s Lates series brings different aspects of the collection to life through performance, music, storytelling and – well, really, anything goes. Previous events have welcomed aerial artists dancing in the leafy canopies above, famous bands and even magicians. As well as these semi-regular Lates, every year NMS presents Museum After Hours to coincide with the Edinburgh Fringe, with selected performers from the festival showcasing highlights from their acts.


V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum)

Friday Late (monthly)

Winners of Art Fund Museum of the Year 2016, the V&A matches its pioneering programme with excellent taste in parties. Every last Friday of the month (apart from May and December), Friday Late fills the beautiful Victorian building with live performance, film, installation, debate and DJs, all exploring elements of visual culture and design. Past events have been themed around ideas of money, alternative realities and activism, and been hosted by exciting collectives like feminist magazine gal-dem.

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