Tipple with a T-rex? Drink with a Diplodocus?
If the idea of visiting a museum conjures up images of unruly schoolchildren and battling families on a wet Saturday afternoon, then this might make you think again. London Lates offers the chance to visit some of the capital’s best museums and galleries after hours. With special exhibitions, live music and pop-up bars, places like the Science Museum, Victoria and Albert and the British Museum are the new evening haunts of the culturally minded.
Joining this club is the Natural History Museum, which opens its doors for an after-hours session on the last Friday of every month. I ventured down there to see what October was serving up. Walking out through the tunnel at South Kensington tube though an archway of lit trees brings you to the museum, spectacularly lit against the wintry night sky.
A winter’s evening. Image: davidkhardmanphotography
Though the main door you are greeted by ‘Dippy’ the dinosaur, a 26 metre Diplodocus stretching the length of the Central Hall. Just beyond the tip of his tail the main staircase plays host to open mic performers throughout the evening. The room looks impressive in the dimmed light and the music is good, so even if dinosaurs are not your thing, then treat it as a great alternative to the usual Friday night bar.
For those who want to do a spot of exploring, venture out to the dinosaur exhibition and get up close and personal with the resident t-rex. You’ll feel a bit like your 10 year old self, but it’s all part of the fun of the evening! As you are walking around the ‘blue zone’ (off the left of the hall) there is a chance to try your hand at a bit of speed sketching. After 10 minutes of fast pencilwork, you get to see how your masterpiece measures up against your fellow competitors. The longer people have spent at the bar, the more abstract the results tend to be.
Can you tell what it is yet? My speed sketch attempt.
(It’s a fox if you couldn’t tell)
Entry to the museum is free, however entry into exhibitions such as the Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012 (definitely worth a visit) is £10. All in all it is a pretty fun evening, and I would highly recommend Casa Brindisa in South Kensington for a bit of post-dinosaur tapas. If you want to be first in line for the next event at the Natural History Museum then why not stay at the effortlessly chic Thurloe Square or the elegant and spacious Onslow Square.Google+