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The 14 Best London Museums

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When it comes to fabulous museums, London does not fool around — the city is home to over 130 incredible museums catering to every interest and curiosity.

So whether you’re seeking to delve deeper into the history of the Second World War, discover precious Islamic and Asian art, or marvel at eye-popping contemporary artworks, you’re sure to find a perfect museum for you in London.

Here’s an amazingly curated list of the 14 best museums that are worth visiting in London. Most of them don’t charge an entrance fee, so you can see world-class art and artifacts without breaking the bank!

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The 14 Best Museums in London

Natural History Museum

Science buffs will have the best time while exploring London’s Natural History Museum. Located in the South Kensington area, this world-class museum is home to a dazzling collection of 80 million objects dating back from billions of years ago.

Highlights of the Natural History Museum’s collection include Hope, the huge blue whale skeleton in Hintze Hall, fossils in the world-leading Dinosaurs gallery, and meteorites from outer space.

Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday 10 am – 5:50 pm | Closed 24-26 December

Address: Cromwell Rd, South Kensington

Science Museum

Science Museum, London, UK.

The Science Museum is another must-visit for curious travelers seeking to discover the innovations that shaped the modern world. Founded in 1857, the museum is a major institution and one of London’s top tourist attractions, attracting over 1 million visitors annually.

While browsing through the museum’s two buildings, visitors will discover an array of precious objects of scientific achievement. These include Helen Sharman’s Space Suit, dating back to 1991, the Wells Cathedral clock, one of the world’s oldest clocks, from 1390, and a Pilot ACE computer, from 1950.

Opening Hours: Daily from 10 am – 6 pm

Address: Exhibition Road, South Kensington

British Museum

British Museum, London, UK.

Founded in 1753, the British Museum was the first national museum to cover all fields of human knowledge. There, visitors will be happily surprised to find a dazzling permanent collection featuring eight million objects that document two million years of human history and culture.

Snoop around the museum’s considerable galleries to marvel at world-famous relics such as the Rosetta Stone — a dark-colored granodiorite stela carved during the Hellenistic period —, and the Parthenon sculptures and mummies from Ancient Egypt.

Opening Hours: Daily 10 am – 5 pm

Address: Great Russell Street

London Transport Museum

London Transport Museum, London, UK.

Want to learn about the fascinating link between transportation and the growth of London? Then, be sure to check out the Transport Museum. There, you’ll come across more than 500,000 objects, including more than 80 vintage vehicles covering 200 years of London’s history,

Some of the museum’s treasures are a red Routemaster bus, the world’s first Underground steam train, and the padded cell, a train carriage dating back to the 1890s.

Opening Hours: Daily 10 am – 6 pm

Address: Covent Garden Piazza

Victoria and Albert Museum

Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK.

London’s Victoria and Albert Museum is the world’s largest museum of applied arts, decorative arts, and design. This well-loved institution is home to a permanent collection of over 2.27 million objects, from ancient Chinese ceramics to Alexander McQueen evening dresses.

Highlights of the Victoria and Albert Museum include paintings by Raphael, sculptures by Auguste Rodin, and Queen Victoria’s glistering sapphire and diamond coronet.

Opening Hours: Daily 10 am – 5:45 pm | Friday 10 am – 22 pm

Address: Cromwell Road

National Gallery

National Gallery, London, UK.

London’s National Gallery is one of the world’s most spectacular museums. Nestled in the heart of Trafalgar Square, this prestigious institution houses a treasured collection of over 2,300 paintings by brilliant artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Van Gogh, Diego Velázquez, Sandro Botticelli, and Johannes Vermeer.

Some of the masterful works you’ll get the chance to see in the National Gallery are “The Arnolfini Portrait”, by Jan van Eyck, Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, and “The Water-Lily Pond”, by Claude Monet.

Opening Hours: Open daily 10 am–6 pm | Friday until 9 pm

Address: Trafalgar Square

Imperial War Museum

Imperial War Museum, London, UK.

Located in what was once a hospital, the Imperial War Museum in London was founded to record the extraordinary experiences of people caught up in WWI and WW2.

In the museum’s award-winning galleries, visitors will discover archives of personal and official documents, photographs, oral history recordings, an extensive library, a large art collection, and examples of military vehicles and aircraft, and equipment.

Some of the museum’s must-sees are two giant naval guns built for two different British naval ships during the First World War, a rampaging Russian T34 tank, and the Spitfire – one of the most celebrated fighter aircraft of World War II.

Opening Hours: Daily 10 am to 6 pm

Address: Lambeth Road

Fashion and Textile Museum

Fashion and Textile Museum, London, UK.

The Fashion and Textile Museum is the only museum in the UK dedicated to showcasing contemporary fashion and textile design. Founded by the British designer Zandra Rhodes, the museum does not have a permanent collection — instead, it hosts colorful temporary exhibitions centered around famous creatives from around the world.

From 31 March to 10 September 2023, the museum will hold an exhibition exploring the eye-catching and fascinating textile designs by the influential pop artist and icon Andy Warhol. A must-visit!

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 11 am – 6 pm

Address: 83 Bermondsey Street

Design Museum

Design Museum, London, UK.

Founded by Sir Terence Conran in 1989 and relocated to Kensington in 2016, The Design Museum is the world’s leading museum devoted to contemporary design in every form.

The museum is set within a renovated building, formerly occupied by the Commonwealth Institute, and harbors a world-class collection made up of over 3000 objects. These relics range from the early Modernism of the 1900s to the cutting edge of contemporary design and span all aspects of design such as architecture, fashion, furniture, product, and graphic design, digital media, and transport.

Aside from 1 permanent collection display, the museum features 2 spaces dedicated to incredible temporary exhibitions. Until the 30th of July 2023, the Design Museum will host

“Ai Weiwei: Making Sense”, the artist’s first exhibition focusing on design, will mix recent works with commissioned pieces.

Opening Hours: Sunday to Thursday 10 am – 6 pm, Friday and Saturday 10 am – 9 pm

Address: 224 – 238 Kensington High Street

Royal Air Force Museum

Royal Air Force Museum, London, UK.

Beautifully set within the former Hendon Aerodrome, the Royal Air Force Museum (RAF) includes five buildings and hangars showing the history of aviation and the Royal Air Force.

The museum plays host to around 1.3 million objects that document the history of the United Kingdom’s air and space force, which was formed towards the end of the First World War on 1 April 1918.

While exploring the museum, you’ll see the original Battle of Britain fighter aircraft, Avro Lancaster S-Sugar, which flew 137 sorties, and the Westland Sea King helicopter.

Opening Hours: Daily 10 am – 5 pm

Address: Grahame Park Way

Sir John Soane’s Museum

Sir John Soane's Museum, London, UK.

Sir John Soane’s Museum is a house museum located in the building that was formerly the home of neo-classical architect and avid book collector, John Soane.

While exploring Soane’s extraordinary house, you’ll come across a glittering collection of antiquities, furniture, sculptures, and architectural models, as well as jaw-dropping paintings by artists like Hogarth, Turner, and Canaletto.

You’ll also find 30,000 architectural drawings, which can be seen by appointment at the Research Library.

Opening Hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 10 am – 5 pm

Address: 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields

Tate Modern

Tate Modern Museum, London, UK.

Tate Modern is one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary art in the world. With a total internal floor area of 371,350 sq ft, the museum comprises an amazing collection of artworks by artists such as Salvador Dalí, Auguste Rodin, Pablo Picasso, and Andy Warhol.

When exploring the museum’s permanent galleries, be sure to check out the iconic “Marilyn Diptych” painting, by Andy Warhol, Picasso’s “Nude Woman With Necklace”, and “Seagram Murals” by Mark Rothko.

Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 10 am – 6 am

Address: Bankside

Charles Dickens Museum

Charles Dickens Museum, London, UK.

Welcome to one of London’s most fascinating places. The museum is located at 48 Doughty Street, Dickens’s London home from 1837-1839 and the place in which the author wrote Oliver Twist.

In this fairly typical middle-class Victorian home, fully set up as though Dickens himself had just left, visitors will get the chance to learn about one of England’s most famous and best-loved writers.

Precious relics found within the museum include a portrait of Dickens known as Dickens’s Dream by R. W. Buss, several first editions, original manuscripts, original letters by Dickens, and many personal items owned by Dickens and his family.

The only known item of clothing worn by Dickens still in existence is also displayed at the museum.

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10 am – 5 pm

Address: 48-49 Doughty Street

Horniman Museum and Gardens

Horniman Museum and Gardens, London, UK.

The Horniman Museum and Gardens is an inspiring, family-friendly museum in South London’s Forest Hill. Open since Victorian times, the museum holds an award-winning collection of around 350,000 objects covering natural history, cultural artifacts, and musical instruments.

There, visitors will stumble upon 80,000 objects from around the world, a large collection of taxidermied animals, around 4,700 butterflies, and a pair of bone clappers in the form of human hands made in Egypt around 3,500 years ago.

Opening Hours: Daily 10 am – 5:30 pm

Address: 100 London Road, Forest Hill

FAQ

What is the #1 museum in the world?

With 2,825,000 visitors every year, the Louvre Museum, in Paris, is the most famous museum in the world.

Are the museums in London good?

Yes. The museums in London are world-class and they host top-notch exhibitions covering a wide array of topics, from contemporary art to history and fashion.

What are the best museums in London?

The best museums in London are:

  • Natural History Museum;
  • Science Museum;
  • British Museum;
  • London Transport Museum;
  • Victoria and Albert Museum;
  • National Gallery;
  • Imperial War Museum;
  • Fashion and Textile Museum;
  • Design Museum;
  • Royal Air Force Museum;
  • Sir John Soane’s Museum;
  • Tate Modern;
  • Charles Dickens Museum;
  • Horniman Museum and Gardens.

Are museums in London free?

Yes. Most of London’s major museums, including the British Museum, National Gallery, and Tate Britain don’t charge an entrance fee.

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Ritesh Raj

COO at CuddlyNest

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Last update: 03 Apr 2024

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