Cultural Experiences after Dark | Britannia Student Services

When I was studying in London I was really excited to discover the Late Night programmes that many museums run. Even if you are familiar with the museum by day you can expect an entirely different experience at night.

The British Library

Late nights at the British Library don’t mean extended hours with your books. Nor do you have to whisper when you attend – visitors who come after hours are encouraged to make as much noise as they want!

I’ve seen the band Public Service Broadcasting here, and it was sensational.

One Friday night every month you can enjoy performances, entry to exhibitions, demonstrations, lectures and workshops until 22.30pm. Some of the events are very popular (in particular the live music events with DJs) so you must book early if you want to attend.


British Library

96 Euston Road, NW1 2DB

Admission: Entry to the library is free. Student Discounts are available for events and exhibitions.

Nearest Hall of Residence: Tufnell House

Nearest Tube Station: Kings Cross St Pancras, Euston, Euston Square

The National Portrait Gallery

For something a little more scholarly and cultural, I recommend the Late Shift at the National Portrait Gallery, which is held on Fridays.

If you like drawing you should attend the artist-led sessions on Friday nights. These are free, and all you have to do is to turn up – the materials and the instruction are provided. You can stay as long as you like, and when you get tired of drawing you can enjoy the live music, DJ sets and other performances in the galleries, which are inspired by the paintings.

It’s definitely a rich learning opportunity.


National Portrait Gallery

St Martin’s Place WC2H 0HE

Admission: Free

Nearest Hall of Residence: International Hall

Nearest Tube Station: Charing Cross, Leicester Square, Embankment

The British Museum

The British Museum is a great place just to hang out on Late Nights. On Fridays you can attend free tours. There are lectures and discussions (always useful for improving your language skills), and once a month there are special performances – friends of mine saw a live Shakespeare play in the museum.

Alternatively, you can just spend the evening wandering the galleries after eating in the Court Café.


The British Museum

Great Russell Street, WC1B 3DG

Admission: Free

Nearest Hall of Residence: International Hall

Nearest Tube Station: Russell Square, Tottenham Court Road

Tate Britain

While I knew of Tate Modern, Tate Britain was a wonderful surprise for me when I came to London. It was the original museum called the Tate and houses work produced throughout the ages by British artists.

This is a great place to come at any time of the day if you want to understand the art history of Great Britain, but I would strongly advise you to set aside the first Friday of every month to visit it after hours.

The museum hosts events that are specifically designed by young people for young people. You can experience the galleries through a mix of immersive sound and sight. There are activities for visitors and various discussions.

The atmosphere is young and vibrant, so even if you just attend to have a bite to eat and a drink, you’ll love the vibe.


Tate Britain

Millbank, SW1P 4RG

Admission: Free

Nearest Hall of Residence: Britannia South Bank

Nearest Tube Station: Pimlico, Victoria

Many other London museums open regularly in the evening, so make sure you check each website’s events page to see if there’s a chance to visit after hours.

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