Lonely Planet Writer

Spend your nights at museums and galleries for a special festival hitting the UK this week

Visiting a museum always provides an abundance of exciting opportunities when it comes to education and cultural immersion, but this week, hundreds of institutions across the United Kingdom are taking things a step further, by opening their doors to the public at night for a series of special events.

Museums at Night sees hundreds of galleries, museums and historic sites opening after hours.
Museums at Night sees hundreds of galleries, museums and historic sites opening after hours. Image by Linda Scuizzato

Now in its tenth year, the Museums at Night festival is a twice-yearly event organised by arts charity Culture24, and provides an opportunity for visitors to engage with arts and culture in new and exciting ways, with a host of museums, galleries and historic spaces all over the country opening their doors after hours. Taking place from 16 – 19 May, visitors can explore exhibitions, discover collections and listen to live music at diverse and varied events.

The Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, Yorkshire. Image by Jeff Greenberg

Event highlights include Splendid Shred of Silk and Satin on 16 May at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, which features the display of a rare patchwork quilt worked on by the Brontë sisters along with their Aunt Branwell, Under the Sea Late on 17 May at Horniman Museum & Gardens in London, a special celebration of all things coral reef related, with installations, performances, films and Q&A sessions with researchers, as well as Whispering Woods: Open Air Storytelling Theatre at Yorkshire Sculpture Park on 18 May.

A special twilight reflections event at the Roman Baths in Bath, England. Image by Bath & North East Somerset Council

“To mark a decade of (late openings), we’ve recently published the first ever research reports into after-hours museum events. We believe the next ten years will see ‘lates’ become even more popular with the museum-visiting public, and that Museums at Night will continue to be at the leading edge of innovation and growth”, said Nick Stockman, campaigns manager for Museums at Night. Other events include a special, once-a-year after-hours tour of Tudor House Museum in Worcester on 18 May and an evening airshow featuring Edwardian crafts on 19 May at Shuttleworth, Biggleswade.

Full listings and more information on forthcoming events is available at the official Museums at Nights website.