When most people plan a Friday night in London, they’ll opt for the theatre, eating out or going to clubs or concerts. But if you’d prefer something a little bit different, there are still plenty of things to do, and you’d be surprised by how little they cost.
Some of the major museums regularly stay open late one day of the week in order to give commuters a chance to wander their halls and exhibits on their way home from work. The Victoria & Albert Museum in Kensington is open until 8pm every Friday night, admission free. The V&A is dedicated to art and design and has many collections from around the world which include sculpture, photography, fashion, textiles, jewellery and paintings.
The British Museum in Bloomsbury is open until 8.30pm every Friday, admission free. The Museum’s collections cover the histories of countries around the world, most notably Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. There are always special exhibitions which look at art and culture from ancient times to the modern day and check the events pages of the website for details of talks and special events.
If ancient artefacts aren’t your thing, check out modern art at Tate Modern on the South Bank which is open until 8pm on Fridays, admission free. There are always special exhibitions to see in addition to the general collections.
The National Portrait Gallery, just off Trafalgar Square, has a Late Shift every Friday until 9pm, admission free. Enjoy live music, a drink and have a go at one of the drop-in drawing classes.
Have fun with medicine
On the first Friday of the month, the Wellcome Collection in Euston is open until 10pm for cocktails, music and dining. The Wellcome Collection explores the connections between medicine, life and art across the ages. Explore the museum collection including handling some of the objects, enjoy music and cocktails in the atrium, and then get something to eat in the restaurant or café. Every two or three months, they host Friday Late Spectaculars with lots of activities, performances, workshops and lectures. Keep an eye on the website for more details.
Alternatively, you could chill yourself to the very bone with a scary walking tour. There are groups who are happy to provide walking tours free of charge (though it’s strongly suggested you tip your guide afterwards) for spooky tours about ghosts or Jack the Ripper.
And afterwards, the excitement of London nightlife will still be there to embrace you. Or, if you’re ready for a more chilled night in, return to your serviced apartment where you can enjoy all the comforts of home in the capital city.