Things Get Spooky for London's Museums at Night

Selfie-taking at the Natural History Museum | © Travis Hodges / Courtesy Natural History Museum
Selfie-taking at the Natural History Museum | © Travis Hodges / Courtesy Natural History Museum
Photo of Freire Barnes
Art & Design Editor26 October 2017

The bi-annual festival that gives you unprecedented access to hundreds of galleries, museums and historic venues across the UK returns for half term. Here, we select some of the best spooky events from the Museums at Night roster taking place in London. Wanting to encourage the discovery of heritage and culture on our doorsteps, Museums Night offers the opportunity to see galleries and museums in a completely new light at their two evening events in May and October. Last year alone, 220,000 visitors enjoyed 700 events in over 500 UK venues.

Queen's Gallery Buckingham Palace | © Royal Collection Trust Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Now in its eighth year, Museums at Night returns to a location near you for a host of special night-time events, from Halloween-themed antics for all the family to enjoy, to spine-tingling adult only evenings. So are you ready to adventure into the unknown or enjoy an evening like no other at your favourite museum? The Queen’s Gallery might be sold out, but there are plenty of exciting events happening at fantastic venues. We’ve chosen just a few highlights taking place across London.

© Black Country Living Museum

London’s Night Owls Halloween Sleepover at Museum of London

Once the doors close on the Museum of London, you’ll be immersed in an evening of exploring the galleries by torchlight. There’s an eerie recreation of a Victorian Street, sweets to collect while trick-or-treating, but only if your general knowledge of London is up to scratch, a crime to solve with the aid of a butcher’s wife, gothic mask-making to be done and scary tales of the 19th century barber of Fleet Street to listen to, all before you bed down for the night. Then in the morning, bright and early before the regular punters arrive, you’ll be treated to a screening of Disney classic, Hocus Pocus (1993).

Friday, October 27, at 6pm to Saturday, October 28, at 10am; £60 per person

© Museum of London

Museums at Night at Apsley House

Once referred to as ‘Number 1 London’, Apsley House might now occupy one of the busiest spots in London at Hyde Park Corner, but the stunning Georgian building has changed little since its time as the home of the first Duke of Wellington. With a remarkable art collection that boasts its own Rubens and even more impressive interiors, you’ll enjoy an evening of live period music and learn about the house’s fascinating history.

As tickets are limited for this event, please be sure to book by calling the dedicated booking telephone number, 0370 333 1181.

Friday October 27 and Saturday October 28 6pm–9pm; £10.30 for adults, £9.30 concs, £6.20 for children aged 5–15 and £26.80 for a family ticket. Reductions for members

Apsley House Museums at Night | © English Heritage

The Amazing Halloween Experience at London Canal Museum

Probably one of the most overlooked museums, the London Canal Museum gives the history of, yes you guessed it London’s canals, but it’s unusually located in a former Ice House, set up in 1855 and still has the ice wells used to store the Norwegian ice. With Saturday’s Museums at Night event already sold out, this brilliantly spooky day-to-night shenanigans on Sunday starts with fun and of course spooky events for children before you’re taken on a trip along a three-quarter-mile-long Islington Tunnel on a specially decorated narrowboat.

Sunday October 29; 3pm–9.30pm; £11 for adults and £8 for children, includes boat trip and museum

© Canal Museum

After Dark at Pollock’s Toy Museum

This hidden gem of a museum will be letting you loose among the exhibits, after hours. The higgledy-piggledy space set over two historic houses in Fitzrovia houses an array of Victorian toys from china dolls, teddies and puppets, to decorated dolls houses and toy theatres. It might just be the best location for an after-dark exploration and will enchant the child in all of us.

Thursday October 26; 6pm–8.30pm; £6 for adults, £5 concs and £3 for children

© Pollocks Toy Museum

Iceland: Questions of Travel at William Morris Gallery

For this adult only event, you’ll be taken on a journey inspired by William Morris’s travels to Iceland, which greatly influenced his work and ideas. You’ll be able to view the current Iceland display that includes some of the souvenirs Morris brought back with him, consider the nature of travel as poet and writer Lavinia Greenlaw discusses Morris’s Iceland Journals and be transported to the Nordic country through the melodic tones of Icelandic folk singer Ösp Eldjárn, who puts a contemporary twist on her homeland’s musical heritage.

Thursday October 26; 8pm–10pm; £12, £8 concs

National Archives ghost | © The National Archives, UK

Museums at Night takes place across the UK from Thursday, October 26 to Saturday, October 28, 2017.

Looking for more inspirational events in London? Don’t miss these blockbuster art exhibitions

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