The best museum sleepovers in London for kids

Photo Credit: NHM © Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London [2018]. All rights reserved.

Ever since my kids watched the first Night at the Museum movie they have been desperate to sleepover in a museum. Fortunately for us, a number of London’s museums offer some brilliant overnight experiences where kids can explore the museum halls after lights out. Most of these sleepovers include activities, talks, high jinks and very little sleep! But they all sound fantastic and like a truly unique way to experience some of London’s most incredible museums. By the way, it’s not just London museum’s that offer kids the chance to sleep overnight, take a look at this post for other museums around the world that open their doors after-hours for children.

If you’re looking for more ideas on things to do in London with kids then this post lists 45 fun things to do in London for children of all ages and this one details my favourite bookshops in London for kids and the best London guidebooks for children. For more ideas, take a look at my family guide to London.

 

The best museum sleepovers in London

The best museum sleepovers in London for kids

Dino Snores at the Natural History Museum.
NHM © Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London [2018]. All rights reserved.

Dino Snores at the Natural History Museum

London’s best known museum sleepover is Dino Snores at the Natural History Museum. The NHM is pretty amazing by day but turn off the lights and it becomes a truly magical experience. The Dino Snores sleepover at the Natural History Museum takes place once a month in the Hintze Hall, the main central hall. Sleepovers used to take place under the enormous dinosaur skeleton, Dippy the Diplodocus, but he’s gone on tour so now your night at the museum takes place under Hope, the Blue Whale skeleton. Evenings are full of activities including a torch-lit trail through the museum, a dinosaur-making workshop and an educational science show presented by a Museum scientist. Lights out are at midnight and breakfast is served bright and early the next morning followed by a live animal show. The Natural History Museum also runs Dino Snores for grown ups. Museum sleepovers don’t get much better than this.

Cost: £120 for 1 Adult and 1 Child

Time: 18.45 until 10.00 the next morning

Best suited for: Children aged between 7- and 11-years-old.

 

Things to do in London with kids

The Science Museum

 

Astronights at the London Science Museum

Sleep under the stars at the London Science Museum sleepover, Astronights. The museum runs nine sleepovers throughout the year where kids can conduct their own experiments creating reactions and mixing materials, watch action-packed shows, learn their rectangles from their cuboids with an origami activity, and explore some of the Science Museum’s most weird and wonderful collections (space nappies anyone?!). Breakfast is served alongside an IMAX 3D film. The Science Museum also runs SENsory Astronights, a relaxed, after-dark exploration of the museum for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Cost: £60 per person

Time: 18.45 until 10.00 the next morning

Best suited for: Children aged between 7- and 11 years-old

 

 

The best museum sleepovers in London for kids

BedBUGS at the London Zoo. © ZSL London Zoo

 

BedBUGS at the London Zoo

Walk with the animals after dark with this brilliant London sleepover at the London Zoo. BedBUGS is the perfect experience for young explorers who will spend the night in the BUG house, surrounded by all manner of creepy crawlies. Take part in a torch-lit tour of the zoo, listen to an amazing animal talk and have the zoo all to yourself the next morning before it opens to the public. If bugs are not your thing, how about a stay at the Gir Lion Lodge in the hear of ZSL London Zoo? Admittedly, this is a more luxurious sleepover; your accommodation is in a private lodge and dinner is a two-course buffet followed by a full English breakfast the next morning! Maybe a sleepover best saved for the adults.

Cost: BedBUGs costs £75 per person

Time: 18.50 until 10.00 the next morning (BedBUGS sleepovers run from January until November)

Best suited for: Children aged between 7- and 11-years-old.

 

The best museum sleepovers in London for kids

Young Friends at The British Museum. Photo Credit: © Benedict Johnson.

 

Young Friends at The British Museum

The setting for the final Night at the Museum movieSecret of the Tomb, there are few places better to enjoy a museum sleepover than the British Museum. The oldest national public museum in the world (it first opened in 1753) provides an amazing setting to spend the night. The British Museum runs six Young Friends sleepovers a year when kids can explore the museum after dark and then fall asleep in the Egyptian and Mesopotamian Galleries on the ground floor. Kids arrive for their night at the museum event around 6.45pm and enjoy a number of fun activities including storytelling and crafts all the while learning more about the museum and its collections. Lights out are around midnight (with the mummies to keep you company!) and breakfast is served around 7am. Not surprisingly, the Young Friends at The British Museum event is one of the museum’s most popular activities and sell out quickly! This is also one of the best value museum sleepovers in London at just £27.50 per person.  Sleepovers are advertised in the museum’s Remus magazine (the magazine for the Young Friends of the Museum) which is published three times a year. Bookings take place when the new issue of Remus is released and are accepted by post only. For more and information take a look at their website.

Cost: £27.50 per person

Time: 18.45 until 9.00 the next morning

Best suited for: Children aged between 8- and 15-years-old

 

The best museum sleepovers in London for kids

Photo Credit the V&A Museum of Childhood (c) Papo

 

A swashbuckling sleepover at the V&A Museum of Childhood

Cutlasses at the ready for this swashbuckling night at the V&A Museum of Childhood. Explore the museum’s current exhibition, A Pirate’s Life for Me, listen to tales of famous and fearsome pirates, take part in some pirate games and discover the museum after-hours on a torch-lit tour. Aaar!

Cost: £40 per person

Time: From 19.00 to 09.00 the next morning. The V&A Museum of Childhood currently only have one date scheduled for 2019 which is Saturday March 2nd.

Best suited for: Children aged between 6- and 12-years-old

 

The best museum sleepovers in London for kids

Photo Credit credited with Mel Knibb from www.lecoindemel.com

 

All aboard the Golden Hinde Night Voyage

Step back in time and join the crew of Sir Francis Drake on an unforgettable sleepover on the Golden Hinde. This English Galleon is best known for circumnavigation the globe between 1577 and 1580, led by Sir Francis Drake. The Golden Hinde sleepover will sort the officers from the gunners (or you may even be picked to be a Barber Surgeon) in an evening of imaginative role play to see if you have what it takes to be an Elizabethan sailor. All aboard!

Cost: £45 per person

Time: From 17.00 until 09.00 the next day

Best suited for: Children aged between 6- and 11-years-old.

 

 

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