When it comes to culture, there really are few cities doing it better than London. From galleries showing world renowned artists, to fascinating museum exhibitions, to grassroot arts movements, London has it all.
And – even better – tonnes of these cultural events run on late into the evening. From parties, to performances, to talks, there is something going on in London’s best galleries and museums nearly every night. While many of the party-parties are opening in spring, there are still dozens of fascinating cultural events to attend.
So if you’re not sure what’s going on and where, here’s our pick of the best London museum and gallery lates coming up soon.
Every last Wednesday of the month the Science Museum runs a special Lates event. And this January, it happens to overlap with Chinese New Year. So to celebrate ushering in the year of the rabbit, the Science Museum has an extra fun evening planned and tickets are still available. So, if you fancy popping down expect a pub quiz, talks, a hands-on workshops, tours, and a silent disco.
And, because it’s the Science Museum, it’s all top quality stuff: you can watch China’s first animated feature, the 1941-released Princess Iron Fan; Michael Charton from UCL Institute of Archaeology will talk about his team’s Terracotta Army discoveries; there’ll be Chinese Zodiac-themed museum tour and using interactive VR you can take a spin around China’s new space station, the Tiangong Space Station.
Free, with optional donation, 18.30–22.00, Exhibition Rd, SW7 2DD, sciencemuseum.org.uk
Another special evening for the Lunar New Year: Christie’s has a gigantic celebratory evening planned – so big in fact that the first 500 people who check in will be gifted a traditional Chinese red envelope.
There’ll be talks and performances, workshops, exhibitions, and a tea drinks station. Highlights include a film screening of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; a talk between Louisa Buck and art director Tim Yip about culture, history and orientalism; ceramics and Hezhe fish skin painting workshops; and a performance by three Chinese musicians who use the traditional instruments pipa lute, guzheng zither and xiao flute.
Sold out, 18.00–21.00, St. James’s, London SW1Y 6QT, christies.com
The Barbican, as always, has a packed evening event schedule which includes films, shows and talks. The museum’s architecture talks – the next of which, Tree Talks, is on tonight – are a particular standout. In the mini-lecture, 13 designers, artists, historians, foragers and architects will come together to talk about the role of trees in the city.
If this is a bit too last minute for you, fear not, there’s another stellar event in a month: British-Ghanaian architect David Adjaye, will be discussing his recent projects on March 1. Over the last couple of years the Barbican has been running several series on architecture, including Architecture on Film, where audiences are invited to watch some of architecture’s most impactful or thought-provoking films – there really are few better spots in London for such a programme.
Tree Talks, £10, 19.00, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS, barbican.org.uk
Dulwich Picture Gallery
It’s hard to pinpoint when astrology crossed over from being a mistrusted pseudoscience to being a semi-serious way of analysing a new boyfriend, but doctoral researcher Ferren Gipson may have the answers. In her February 1 lecture Decoding Astrology in Art, the art historian tracks how art and architecture have represented astrology over the years, and how it is deeply intertwined with religion, mythology and politics.
£12, 18.30–19.30, Gallery Rd, SE21 7AD, dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk
Sir John Soane’s Museum
Still, somehow, one of London’s hidden gems, architect and collector John Soane’s home is a treasure trove of paintings, sculptures, furniture and books.
Whether you love the museum or have been looking for that opportunity to visit, January 27 is the perfect opportunity to pop by, as it’s a Soane Literary Late. Guests will be offered a glass of wine or prosecco and are invited to explore the candle-lit museum. Robert Seatter, Head of History at the BBC, will be doing pop-up readings from his latest book The House of Everything: Poems Inspired by Sir John Soane’s Museum, and for the evening, many of Soane’s private book collections will be put on display.
£25, staggered entry at 18:00, 18:30, 19:30 or 20:00, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A 3BP, soane.org
On February 24, Tate Modern’s Lates is back with a bang and this time the evening’s events are all focused on celebrating polish sculptor Magdalena Abakanowicz. There will be a DJ set programmed by Global Roots, artist talks about both Polish theatre and about Abakanowicz’s influences, and a screening of experimental film The Witch’s Cradle, which was inspired by Abakanowicz’s sculptures.
There will also be Japanese floor loom and hessian weaving workshops, Polish folklore readings and Chilean artist Cecilia Vicuña, who makes giant textile works, will take over the Turbine Hall.
Free, 18.00–22.00, Bankside, SE1 9TG, tate.org.uk
Looking for an evening lecture, a panel discussion, or a talk? The Royal Academy has you covered. Amanda Levete RA, the principal of architectural practice AL_A and Dr. Marcus Burke, the Senior Curator of New York’s Hispanic Society Museum & Library are both giving talks in February.
Amanda Levete RA, £15, 18.30–20.00, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD, royalacademy.org.uk