The new London Museum, which opens in West Smithfield in 2026, has already said it will open late on Friday nights offering an alternative to the clubs which already pull in crowds to the area and plenty of museums already do something similar.
Anna Starling, Director of Commercial at the newly refurbished National Portrait Gallery, said their multi-million pound refurbishment gave them “the opportunity to rethink the ways in which we interact with our locale”.
She said: “We open late on Fridays, so that people can visit us after working hours, as well as on Saturdays, and we’ve introduced a £5 ticket for anyone aged 30 and under to visit our reopening exhibitions, supported by Bank of America.
“On select evenings, we host free Drop-in Drawing sessions, which visitors can join for any amount of time - whether it be 10 minutes or 2 hours. We also host evening Life Drawing classes, curator tours, DJ sets and in-conversation events with high-profile artists.”
Among the events planned for next month are in-conversation sessions with artists Gilbert & George and fashion photographer Tim Walker while the gallery’s bar stays open to midnight on Fridays.
The City of London Corporation started using its cultural soft power to tempt business to the Square Mile long before the pandemic and its destination city programme has continued that policy of combining culture and commerce.
Recently approved plans for a 21-storey tower in the city came complete with two floors set aside for a new home for the Museum of Migration, while a planned 32-storey building in Gracechurch Street on the site of London’s original Roman forum will host a virtual reality visitors attraction bringing the ancient city to life.
City of London Corporation Policy Chairman, Chris Hayward, said: “The Square Mile has thrown off its old image as simply a place for work. We are now attracting millions of visitors with an all-year round cultural offer, and major new events and initiatives under our Destination City programme.
“We are becoming a world-leading, seven-day-a-week leisure destination, powering London’s economy through the marriage between culture and business.
“Our three-week Bartholomew Fair event, which ran this month, attracted tens of thousands of people, boosting footfall and spend, wowing crowds, and supporting City firms.
“City roof gardens, terraces, and viewing galleries are already a magnet for visitors with the Sky Garden, on top of 20 Fenchurch Street, welcoming over 10 million visitors.
“And the Barbican Centre and the new London Museum are cultural cornerstones of Destination City, with the Elizabeth Line bringing an extra 1.5 million people to within a 45-minute commute.”