After-hours at the Museum

Come along to a whale-themed Lates this month.

Enjoy exhibitions, talks, science demos, food and drink.

Free entry, with some paid activities. 

Enjoy exhibitions, talks, science demos, food and drinks by night on the last Friday of the month.

On 28 July, meet Museum cetacean experts and discover the wonderful world of whales, from singing and social bonding to hunting.

See specimens from the Museum collection, including the new 25.2-metre star attraction, Hope the blue whale, suspended from the ceiling of Hintze Hall.

Entry is free, but you'll need to book tickets to visit the exhibitions, Whales: Beneath the surface and Wildlife Photographer of the Year. Find out about the exhibitions below. 

The evening kicks off with the first talk at 19.00.

Science stations

Eating and Talking, Whale-style

Fossil Way

Museum scientist Ellen Coombs presents spectacular specimens from the collections, including part of a whale foetus, a narwhal replica tusk and a sperm whale's tooth, and will reveal incredible cetacean feeding and communication strategies.

Cetaceans - whales, dolphins and porpoises - have evolved remarkable techniques for thriving in the ocean, from lunge-feeding and cooperative hunting to the clicks and whistles of whale calls. Why do some whales have teeth and others have baleen? How do toothed whales echolocate?  Do different whale species have distinctive whale songs? Join us and find out. 

Whale Fall: Full-board for lodgers of the deep

Dinosaur Way

What happens when a whale dies? The high pressure and the cold at the sea floor enable a whale carcass to sustain deep-sea organisms, such as sleeper sharks and bone-eating worms, for decades.

Join deep-sea biologists Adrian Glover and Helena Wiklund as they share incredible footage of expeditions, and discover how the death of one oceanic animal creates unique ecosystems for a diversity of others. 

Stranded: What we learn from whales washed ashore

Fossil Way

Discover what post-mortem examinations and data on strandings can tell us about the lives and deaths of cetaceans around the UK coast and beyond, thanks to the Zoological Society of London's UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme.

Strandings of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) are sadly not uncommon along our coast. But these unfortunate events can give scientists valuable information on the threats these species face. 

Researchers from the programme will be on hand tonight to talk about what they have learnt during 25 years of research on strandings, using samples, video footage and images gathered during post-mortems to help illustrate their work. Graphic images and material may be on display.

Free talks

Attenborough Studio. Admission is on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Social Lives of Whales and Dolphins


Join Luke Rendell, lecturer at the School of Biology at the University of St Andrews, to discover the extraordinary social lives of whales and dolphins. 

Sperm whales have distinct family units and dialects. Dolphins are masters of imitation. We've seen killer whales practice intentional beaching with their calves - a risky but efficient way to hunt sea lions on the shore. Are these sophisticated communication systems and the sharing of skills evidence of culture in cetaceans?

Masters of the Ocean: How the whale became a giant of the sea


Researcher Travis Park explores the latest findings on the key adaptations that have enabled whales to become true masters of the oceans. Discover, amongst other things, what fossilised baleen tell us about how whales have been able to become so enormous, and how to really understand whale evolution we need to explore whale ears. 

The earliest ancient whale is believed to have been a four-legged hoofed animal, which was around the size of a wolf and spent most of its time on land. The whales of today are a diverse group of fully marine mammal that includes the largest animals ever to have lived. They can communicate over thousands of miles and consume half a ton of krill in one single feeding lunge. Their evolution is a fascinating transition and a remarkable story. 

Our watering holes

Banish your thirst or grab a snack at the bars in the North Hall and in the Fossil Marine Reptiles gallery, where you can choose from selections of cocktails, wine, beer and soft drinks.

This month

  • Whales
    28 July 2017, 18.00-22.00

Coming up...

  • Wild City: Creatures of the night
    25 August 2017, 18.00-22.00

Museum map

Plan your evening and find the events and pop-up science stations. Entry is via the Exhibition Road entrance only.


Become a member and support Museum conservation, education programmes and pioneering science research.

Exhibitions by night

Visit Whales: Beneath the surface and Wildlife Photographer of the Year when you come along to Lates. Find out more below.


Whales: Beneath the surface

Visit this exhibition by night and explore the extraordinary lives of whales.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Enjoy this selection of award-winning images at Lates this month.