Did you know you can sleepover at the Science Museum in London?

A lot of museums do this but usually just for schools or Scout and Guide groups. The Science Museum’s Astronights events are open to everyone.

Astronights is aimed at 7-11 year olds and happens several times a year. It is bookable through the museum’s website and usually books up quickly.

What happens at Astronights?

You arrive at the museum after it has closed it’s doors for the day and it isn’t hard to spot the queue of excited children and their parents waiting to go in. You hand in your registration form and are allocated the group you will be in, drop off your snacks and take your bags and bedding up to the gallery you will be sleeping in. We were in the Modern Age gallery and we picked a dark corner that was showing a film about satellites (after being reassured that they would be turning the film off during the night). Sleeping mats are provided by the museum.


The groups rotated around 3 workshops. We did body bingo and some bandaging first and then went down to the cafe for our snacks (tea and coffee was available for the adults). The second workshop was in the Medicine Gallery, where we tried making our own fake wounds, played with stethoscopes and pulse – oximeters and had a look around the gallery which is fascinating.

Workshop 3 was a show by the incredible Simon who told us all about what nutrients our bodies need and how our poo is made. If you have ever wanted to see someone setting fire to cornflour or the inside of a digestive system, this is the show for you.


I can’t say that sleeping on the hard floor of the museum was the most comfortable night’s sleep I have ever had but we did manage to sleep. There were staff on hand during the night to help with any problems and tucked away in our little corner, we weren’t disturbed by anyone else.

The morning

The lights go on at 6 am and breakfast bags are available in the cafe containing of croissants, yogurt and a juice carton. Hot drinks were available for those who need a coffee to get going in the morning.

Firstly we got the opportunity to play in Wonderlab, this is the interactive part of the museum and hands on science exploration for kids (and big kids). There are 7 zones where you can interact with real science and touch and play with everything. Simon (from the previous evening’s poo show) even created some indoor lightning for us.

The night finished off with a 3D film in the IMAX cinema about the Hubble Telescope which was just wow!! The universe is spectacular in 3D!

We collected our bags just as the museum was opening to the public and could have stayed to look around the galleries that we hadn’t seen during the night, if we had wanted to.

The whole night was so much fun and so well organised. The workshops were long enough that we didn’t feel rushed but not too long that the kids started to get bored. The fact that most things were interactive meant that the kids were kept engaged throughout the whole event and the staff that were there for the evening and who stayed over night were so enthusiastic.

Top Tips

  • Bring a water bottle to fill up during the evening.
  • The sleeping mats provided are only yoga mats and you are not able to bring your own, so bring your comfiest sleeping bag.
  • Some lights are left on through the night so bring an eye mask and ear plugs if you are a light sleeper.
  • It’s a late evening and an early start so possibly more suited to the higher end of the 7-11 year old year group. Pip was 9 and her friend that we went with was 10, they absolutely loved it!

The 2022 Astronights programme starts in March and will have a space theme. There is also usually a Sensory Astronights once a year for those that need a quieter environment.

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