London is home to some of the greatest museums and collections in the world. We present an introduction to some of London's best museums.
There are many free museums in London, both centrally and further afield. London’s museums and heritage sites cover an incredible range of collections and exhibitions from science, art, design, natural history, to transport, popular culture, branding, contemporary art and sculpture. The range of world class museums is endless but it can be overwhelming where to start.
If you are sightseeing as a local, or as a tourist visiting the UK, London houses an unrivaled collection of amazing artifacts and objects. Preserving ancient world monuments, scripts and texts to contemporary art from around the world London is the economic and cultural hub of the United Kingdom. Visitors are spoilt for choice as many of the museums and heritage sites are within easy walking distance or a short tube ride apart from each other.
Here are our six of the best free museums in London:
Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL | Nearest tube: South Kensington Tube Station
The Victoria and Albert Museums holds one of the greatest collections of decorative arts in the world. The museum attracted workers from around the UK in the early to mid twentieth century in order to learn new design and craft techniques and to take the skills and practices back to other cities and towns around the country.
Home to international and national collections of furniture, ceramics, photography, sculpture, painting, textiles and glass the V&A holds incredible Islamic and Buddhist galleries displaying textiles and sculpture form the East as well as galleries demonstrating British innovation and art and design through the story of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance.
The beautiful interiors and galleries reflect the ornate objects and materials on display in the museum.
Bloomsbury, London | Nearest tube: Holborn Tube Station or Tottenham Court Road Tube Station
The staggering Great Court dominates the experience of the British Museum. This central point of the museum acts as a thriving hub, a centre piece of history itself which leads off to the many sprawling galleries and rooms which tell the histories of ancient civilisations and their cultures.
One of the worlds greatest museums, the British Museums reveals stories from prehistoric to modern times showcasing the works of human history and culture.
The Science Museum
Exhibition Road, London SW7 2DD | Nearest tube: South Kensington Tube Station
Boasting seven floors of exhibitions interpreting the history of science, its developments and technological advancements, the Science Museum is a stones throw from its South Kensington neighbour, the V&A and Natural History Museum.
The Science Museum’s exhibits and contemporary interior architecture make this a fantastic museum for all ages with some brilliant objects to engage with. Whether exploring space or viewing the first steam locomotives from the 19th century, the Science Museum is highly informative and entertaining. Visitors can spend a whole morning or afternoon exploring the many areas of the museum.
The Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD | Nearest tube: South Kensington Tube Station
The Natural History Museum won the Best of the Best in the Museums and Heritage Awards 2013, and for good reason. A world-class visitor attraction the Natural History Museum is also leading science research centre hosting an impressive collection of permanent and temporary exhibitions with temporary exhibits including the Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
From the grand entrance of the museum with constructed dinosaur skeletons to the smaller taxidermy and insect collection displays, the Natural History Museum presents a fascinating journey through natural history.
One of London’s landmark buildings the Natural History Museum allows visitors to spend time enjoying hundreds of specimens and a chance to look into the laboratories where scientists are at work.
Bloomsbury, London WC2A 3BP | Nearest tube: Holborn Tube Station
Home to Sir John Soane’s architectural legacy, the Soane Museum is a treasure trove of architectural and semiotic marvels. A testament to the teaching and practice of Soane’s architectural career in his former home, the museum in Lincoln’s Inn Field is one of London’s best museums.
The museum also holds some 20,000 architectural drawings, antiquities and works by Turner, Hogarth and Piranesi. This incredible cave of wonders also holds the Egyptian Sarcophagus of Seti I and is a fantastic museum to explore.
National Maritime Museum
Romney Road, London SE10 9NF | Nearest tube: (DLR) Cutty Sark
Paying homage to Britain’s history at sea, the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich reveals the history of trade, ships, battles at sea and the design of the great ocean liners.
The leading maritime museum in the UK, the museum incorporates the Royal Observatory and the 17th century Queen’s House.
With the Cutty Sark close by, the National Maritime Museum is placed on the banks of the River Thames and is a wonderful space to experience as well as avoiding the crowds of South Kensington and Bloomsbury in central London.
Many of Britain’s national museums and galleries suggest donations to help fund the on going temporary exhibitions, curation of the objects and most importantly to keep access possible to such a wide audience. You can support the museums in London and around the rest of the country by making donations of by making purchases in their shops.
There is free entry to all of these museums although you may need to purchase a ticket for special exhibitions.
Please donate wherever you can to keep the UK’s museum free and accessible to all.