Our top events for Museums at Night this weekend

This weekend sees the Museums at Night festival return for another year as cultural and historical establishments across the nation open their doors after hours.


From exploring the home of one of Britain’s most emminent minds (Erasmus Darwin House, pictured above) to bat talks and walks, there’s something for all the family.


We’ve collected a few of the best events from around the country taking place this evening and over the weekend, listed below. 

Visit the Museums at Night website for more information about events this weekend and to find out what else is happening near you.

North West 

Grasmere, Cumbria

Inn for a Night at the Wordsworth Museum and Art Gallery, Dove House
Friday 16 & Saturday 17 May

Dove Cottage was once the Dove and Olive-Bough Inn, and over the course of this weekend, a small group of visitors will get the chance to relive the old days as they sample beer from local micro-breweries while enjoying poetry and prose by William and Dorothy Wordsworth, and their contemporaries.

Places limited to ten per night. Booking essential.

Gawthorpe Hall, Lancashire

Women and the Great War
Friday 16 May 

Tonight this imposing house, owned by the National Trust and set in tranquil grounds in the heart of urban Lancashire, hosts a fascinating presentation on the lives of women during World War I.

Based on the new publication Great War Fashion – Tales from the History Wardrobe by Lucy Adlington, it promises to be a moving and amusing evening, with many anecdotes and a unique display of costumes and uniforms.

Signed copies of the Great War Fashion will be available to purchase at the event.

South West

Torquay, Devon

Torre Abbey by candlelight
Saturday 17 May 

Revel in the romance of Torre Abbey by candlelight. Founded in 1196 as a monastery for the Premonstratensian order of Canons, by the 15th century it was the richest monastery of the order in the whole of the UK. Walk through the grounds and buildings, serenaded by the gentle strains of a harp, conjuring images of its past grandeur. Wander through the rooms as night falls and lights spills onto the lawns, giving a sense of what the abbey would have been like in its prime. 

Trewellard Pendeen, Cornwall

The Night Shift at Geevor and Levant Mines
Friday 16 May

Explore a little known aspect of the historic Cornish mining industry and experience the dramatic West Cornwall coastline at twilight by joining this special evening tour, walking between the two sites and learning about the giants of the Cornish mining industry.  Booking essential. Bring sturdy walking gear. 

South East

Hailsham, East Sussex

Observatory Science Centre open evening
Friday 16 May

Hosting a special open evening for Museums at Night weekend, Hailsham’s Observatory Science Centre is one of the top science attractions in the UK. Tonight it offers visitors a chance to enjoy a fascinating experience at this unique observatory. Gaze throughout the giant historic telescopes and discover the planetary wonders of the starlit sky.

Chichester, West Sussex

Mars: the Red Planet at the South Downs Planetarium and Science Centre
Friday 16 May

The South Downs Planetarium and Science Centre opens its doors and invites you a journey to Mars. Currently a prominent object in the southern night sky, Mars has been shown as a bitterly cold, dry planet, with huge volcanoes, vast canyons, craters and ancient river valleys. Take this opportunity to learn about its fascinating geography and the Red Planet’s volatile weather.

It is recommended visitors arrive 15 minutes early to allow their eyes to adapt to the dark. 


Hamilton, South Lanarkshire

Wild Wood Festival at Low Parks Museum
Friday 16 May

This festival celebrates the sights and sounds of the forest with a host of unusual, hands-on events that will excite the imagination of children and adults alike. Discover the wonders of wood with informal guided walks and talks, and find out what a little creativity can achieve in turning wood into a habitat or something quite different.

There will be demonstrations by furniture makers, woodturners and willow weavers as well as storytellers spinning wonderful woodland yarns.

Barrowstounnness, Falkirk

Night at Kinneil House and Museum
Friday 16 May

This evening, take part in an adventure for all ages. Take a night-time tour around Kinneil House or enjoy a nature walk at dusk in the surrounding 200 acres that make up Kinneil Estate. Wander around and discover the nocturnal flora and fauna, and see if you can spot any of the bats flying around the night sky.

North East

Souter Lighthouse, Tyne & Wear

Souter Shines
Friday 16 May

Celebrating 500 years of Trinity House in conjunction with Museums at Night, the good people at Souter lighthouse in Whitburn, Sunderland, are putting on a night-time spectacle. The first lighthouse in the world designed and built for electrical power, Souter will shine again tonight.

Gateshead, Tyne & Wear

Marley Hill at Night
Friday 16 May

This promises to be a unique event featuring twilight steam in and around Marley Hill engine shed, Europe’s oldest working engine shed built in 1854. On the Tanfield Railway – built in 1725 it is the world’s oldest – the night will feature live music, real ale, refreshments and some lovely railway heritage. 


Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Twilight Heritage Walk: Bretton Pleasure Grounds
Saturday 17 May

Book a guided twilight tour and explore the rich history of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park landscape. Join experienced heritage guides on a walk and talk around the park’s historic lakes and woodland to discover its interesting follies and features by candlelight.

Skipton, West Yorkshire

Skipton Woods at Night
Friday 16 May

While there is the opportunity to take a walk in Skipton Woods with the Woodland Trust this evening, there’s a lot more going on in the town too with alpacas, birds of prey, plenty of food, music and drama to keep visitors occupied.


Ware, Hertfordshire

Nocturnal Animals: Family Craft Night at Ware Museum
Friday 16 May 

Children, parents and grandparents alike can take the time tonight to enjoy an evening of activities themed around the animals that come out at night. Have a go at making an owl, design a woodland scene and follow an animal quiz trail around the museum.

Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

Sleepover on the Wild Side at Peterborough Museum
Friday 16 May 

In what will be the first ever sleepover at Peterborough Museum, children and their guardians are invited to spend an exciting evening of themed activities, specimen handling, craft and stories before bedding down amongst Jurassic reptiles, Ice Age mammals and fenland birds. Snacks and breakfast included. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

And why not return the following night to embark on a ghost hunt, where you can find out just what was keeping you awake the night before! After all, the museum is Peterborough’s most haunted building.


Litchfield, Staffordshire

Pork Pie and Pint evening at Erasmus Darwin House
Saturday 17 May 

Photograph: © Copyright Betty Longbottom and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Home of the Midlands Enlightenment, Litchfield was the intellectual centre of Britain during the latter half of the 18th century. One of the most eminent thinkers in this period, Erasmus Darwin, was a key member of the Lunar Society of Birmingham. And yes, he was a relative of Charles Darwin. Erasmus was his grandfather. 

On Saturday night visitors will be given the chance to visit the Erasmus Darwin’s home for an exclusive evening viewing, enjoy music, games, a cellar tour and food & drink. Booking essential for the tour.

Cannock, Staffordshire

Treasure! Discovering the Staffordshire Hoard
Friday 16 May 

The Midlands was not only home to great intellectual powers, but was also the most powerful kingdom in all of Anglo Saxon England. The true extent of the region’s might was only recently realised, with the discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard.

The hoard, the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found, is currently on tour and is presently at the Museum of Cannock Chase in Staffordshire and tonight presents a great opportunity to see it, with Anglo-Saxon themed activities running alongside the exhibition.

St Ann’s, Nottingham

St Ann’s Allotments at Night
Friday 16 May

St Ann’s, an area of Nottingham infamous for gun crime and gangs, has undergone somewhat of a change in recent years. The trouble that blighted the area has abated and now the area is regenerating.

Here, photographer Rankin will be visiting St Ann’s Allotments on Friday 16th May to photograph some of the spaces and allotment holders on this unique Grade II Listed former Victorian Leisure Gardens. The images will be displayed in the evening and tickets will be available for the public to visit the site. This event will also feature on the BBC show Museums at Night on Saturday evening, presented by Will Gompertz. Read our rural TV and radio guide to find out more.

Nottingham Castle, Nottingham

Celebration evening for the Riot of 1831
Friday 16 May

Be the first to experience new technology putting visitors at the heart of the story of the riots which took place in Nottingham in 1831. The Nottingham Trent University Theatre Design students will also showcase their own interpretation of the rioters within the Castle grounds.



Abergavenny, Monmouthshire

We Count for Wildlife at Abergavenny Castle and Museum
Friday 16 May

Tonight begins with a ‘bats for beginners’ talk between 8 and 10pm then, as dusk falls, a short walk with bat detectors to hear their calls as they emerge from their roosts, ready to spend the night on the wing. This will be followed by a moth-trapping event from 10pm to midnight.


Booking essential for the bat talk.