South London’s much-loved Horniman Museum will soon start opening late

When London’s museums first started opening late in the 2000s, it was a total gamechanger. The V&A’s senior curator Susan McCormack led the charge, with buzzy after dark openings that brought younger audiences through the museum’s doors for a monthly line-up of talks, workshops, and live music. Soon, the other South Kensington institutions followed suit, while Tate Modern’s uber cool Tate Lates filled the gallery with DJs and sent queues snaking down Southbank.

The initial hype might have subsided around museum lates, but they’re arguably more needed than ever. They’re a chance to do something (usually) free, fun and different in an increasingly pricy city, and to fill an unpromising weeknight with a bit of top quality culture. So it’s nice to see south London stalwart the Horniman getting in on the act, with a new late opening on the first Thursday of every month.

The extended hours will run from 5.30pm to 9pm, giving you a chance to browse the free collections without dodging the dozens of kids that normally flock to this very child-friendly museum. The late openings will also have special events themed around the collections. In the first one on Thursday April 4, writer Jenny Lau invites people of east or southeast Asian heritage to bring their most treasured teacup to the museum’s Chá, Chai, Tea exhibition, and share their reflections for a new poem.

There’s also a special Thursday Lates deal which means you can see the Horniman’s two current ticketed exhibitions (the aquarium and Dinosaur rEvolution) together for the discounted price of just a fiver. So head down to Forest Hill after work for a leftfield weeknight date, or a welcome chance to brush up your dino knowledge, without being embarrassed by seven year olds who know more about the Jurassic era than you ever will. 

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