Wondering what are the best galleries and museums to see in London? Looking for a free museum or kid-friendly one? When you are visiting London, you are never far from a museum.
Visiting London museums is, therefore, something that should be on your UK itinerary. It is a great learning experience and an interactive one, too. There are plenty of museums in London to choose from, but if you want to experience the best, make sure to visit these top 10 options.
Here are the best galleries and museums to see in London
1. British Museum
The British Museum is the quintessential museum of London. It is located in Bloomsbury and is the perfect place to check out when you are a first-time visitor.
It opened in 1759 and was the first-ever national museum open to the public. The British Museum exhibits various historical artefacts that were discovered by British explorers in their journeys all over the world. Some of the most notable items on display are the Parthenon sculptures and the Rosetta stone.
What’s at the British Museum? Inside the British Museum are over eight million objects, but only 50,000 of those are on display for the public to see. That is still a lot of artefacts to explore.You can book your guided tour around British Museum here.
2. Natural History Museum
Located in South Kensington, the Natural History Museum is another one of the best museums in London.
It has an impressive display of plants, animals, rocks, fossils, and mineral specimens. This collection of artefacts linked to natural history is one of the largest of its kind in London.
If you want the opportunity to see man-sized models of foetuses or dodos, you need to visit this museum. Other notable sights within the Natural History Museum are animatronic dinosaurs, glow-in-the-dark crystals, and a giant sequoia tree. This building is also a world-class research institution focused on the study of natural history.
3. Albert and Victoria Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum is located in South Kensington and is among the best museums in England. The last stone laid as part of the foundation of this museum was put down by Queen Victoria herself in 1899. This was her last public engagement.
Apart from its history, the museum is a great showcase of applied arts from various parts of the world. Inside, you will be able to explore 150 galleries distributed across seven floors. The items on display include furniture, textiles, dresses, paintings, sculptures, posters, jewellery, metalwork, glass, and ceramics. These items collected and displayed at the museum represent seven centuries of history!
All of these objects are displayed according to theme, origin, or age. Finally, the best part about visiting V&A is that it is one of the free museums in London.
4. Tate Modern Museum
The Tate Modern Museum is an art gallery and one of the few London museums focused on contemporary art.
It is a riverside icon as the building itself overlooks the Bankside area of the city. The museum is built on the former location of the Bankside Power Station. Today, this museum showcases the work of modern and contemporary artists like Hockney, Dali, and Warhol. You can also marvel at breathtaking installations and other permanent exhibits.
If you are a fan of these artists or contemporary art in general, the Tate Modern is a must-see.
5. Museum of London
The Museum of London is one of the best museums in England to visit for first-timers. It has a massive collection of artefacts from prehistoric to modern times.
As you explore the different objects on display, you are literally re-discovering the history of the UK capital. This was an innovative design approach implemented within the museum such that the galleries are displayed in chronological order, making it more immersive for visitors.
Aside from artefacts, there are also diagrams, pictures, and models on display within the building. These artefacts place a strong emphasis on the archaeological, social, and cultural life of London. Entrance to the museum is free.
6. London Transport Museum
Located in Covent Garden, the London Transport Museum is one of the most unique museums in London.
As the name implies, it is the best place to go to if you want to learn about the transportation history of London. There is an amazing display of artworks, photographs, models, and posters of various transportation models that date back to the 1860s. The biggest attraction inside the museum is the vintage red Routemaster buses. You can also find artefacts depicting transport signs, maps, tube trains, and uniforms.
This is a must for transport enthusiasts. Book your ticket to the London Transport Museum here.
Read More: Best UK Travel Itinerary for 2 Weeks
7. National Gallery
The National Gallery in London is located in Trafalgar Square. Add it to your list of London museums that offer free entry, so there is no reason to skip this one!
This is a top-rated artistic institution that was founded way back in 1824. The museum houses over 2,000 works from notable artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Michaelangelo, Cezanne, and Rembrandt.
As you explore these amazing artworks from the best artists in history, you can learn more about what makes them great. There are also several interactive areas within the museum. Book your guided tour around the National Gallery here.
8. National Maritime Museum
One of the outstanding museums to visit in London is the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.
It is a part of the iconic Greenwich Maritime UNESCO World Heritage sites. It is the home of the various great world explorations of the British Royal Navy artefacts. You can also find replica models of various Maritime ships that have played an important part of shaping the British Maritime exploration and the replica model of Sir Nelson’s warship the HMS Victory which is currently located in Portsmouth, UK.
Just a stone throw away within the museum are the Royal Observatory Greenwich (Where the Great Prime Meridian is located), Cutty Sark and Queen’s House. A visit to the National Maritime Museum won’t cost you a penny as it is one of the free museums to visit in London. Book your guided tour around the Greenwich Maritime Museum here.
9. Churchill War Rooms
The Churchill War Rooms is one of the best museums in London to learn about history.
It is a branch of the Imperial War Museum and is essentially a biographical centre. It aims to depict the life of British statesman Winston Churchill during the time of the Second World War.
The Churchill War Rooms is one of the best museums in England for history buffs to visit. It is located on King Charles Street, London. Book your guided tours around the Churchill War Rooms in London here.
10. Tower of London
The Tower of London is one of the most recommended tourist attractions for first-time visitors to London. But did you know there is also a museum that you can check out?
This historic royal palace is a living museum in itself. You can explore the castle, fortress, and the infamous prison. As aUNESCO World Heritage Site, it is teeming with a history that spans over 1,000 years.
It is also one of the largest museums in Britain. Book your Tower of London guided tour here.
These galleries and museums in London will be definitely a great addition to your visit to the UK’s capital.
Have you been to any of these galleries and museums?
Let me know in the comment section below.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Everything ZanyDual Citizen Travel Blog
Everything Zany is a Dual Citizen Travel blog: where East meets West, showing the best of both worlds. Our travel media brand is founded by travel and hotel industry expert – Ryazan Tristram, a Dual Citizen (British – Filipina) based in Worcestershire, UK. Everything Zany is a reputable and award-winning travel blog. Our work and contributions have been featured in Huffington Post, CNBC, Discovery Channel, GMA, Readers Digest, and Lonely Planet. Our missions are to build a great travel community and resource of travel tips, visas and travel guides for travellers. Join us as we travel around the globe with a mission to share the best of the world.