Museums are among the many things London excels at. From showcasing the enormous skeleton of a blue whale at the National History Museum to cutting-edge art exhibitions at the Tate Modern, it might be difficult to decide which place to visit first in the city.
London has a rich history and it offers something for everyone. If you simply want to investigate the history of animation, London has a museum for it.
In the nation’s capital, there are more than 170 museums, and many of them are free.
If you just want to learn about cooling fans, the history of science, wax figures, artefacts, wars, advertising, and such, London has museums for them.
If you want to learn the history of the above-mentioned things, prepare to be mesmerised by some of London’s finest museums as you read on.
List of the biggest museums in London:
- Victoria and Albert Museum, Knightsbridge
- Tate Modern, Bankside
- Natural History Museum, Kensington
- British Museum, Bloomsbury
- Imperial War Museum, Lambeth
- Tower of London
1. Victoria and Albert Museum, Knightsbridge
It is the eighth-largest art museum in the world, with over one hundred galleries showcasing everything from jewelry pieces to photography.
In recent years, it has hosted some of the most talked-about exhibitions in the city and the curators have become known for their popular fashion presentations of designers like the most famous Christian Dior.
The Victoria and Albert Museum is a thriving center for decorative art, fashion, textiles, and design.
The permanent collection has around 2,300,000 objects to showcase, and because it is so large, you could easily spend a whole day strolling through it.
Additionally, many of the displays are free to attend, so you can avoid spending money if you so choose.
Tel: 0207 9422 000
Address: Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL, United Kingdom.
2. Tate Modern, Bankside
In what was previously the Bankside Power Station, the Tate Modern towers over the South Bank shoreline.
Its permanent holdings contain an abundance of contemporary British art, including works by international artists like Henri Matisse.
In 2010-2011, millions of handcrafted porcelain sunflower seeds filled the vast Turbine Hall, which is dominated by a rotating display of site-specific installations.
This historic oil-fired power station sits arrogantly in the midst of the South Bank, knowing that you’re curious about what’s happening inside.
It is packed to the rafters with paintings and sculptures by artists such as Picasso, which are wonderfully complemented by the interior’s gritty industrial aesthetic.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7887 8888
Address: Bankside, London SE1 9TG, United Kingdom.
3. Natural History Museum, Kensington
The grandiose exterior of the Natural History Museum is an ode to Victorian architecture that is a massive gothic structure that resembles a cathedral more than a museum.
Inside the soaring Hall which was renovated in 2017 to restore its 19th-century splendour the colossal blue-whale skeleton ‘Hope’ hangs above the information desk, which doubles as a bar when the museum hosts parties.
Among the museum’s 80 million items are plant and dinosaur fossils, mineral specimens, and the first edition of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.
Tel: +44 20 7942 5000
Address: Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 5BD, United Kingdom.
4. British Museum, Bloomsbury
The very first national museum ever to be open to the public. Given its illustrious history, it is hardly surprising that the British Museum’s exhibits have remained unchanged since its opening.
The glass-and-steel dome ceiling of the British Museum, the world’s first publicly accessible national museum, allows light to enter the huge hall below, where it reflects off the blindingly white, sweeping stairs and marble walls.
It is one of the most beautiful locations in the country, but beyond the stunning foyer are expansive galleries devoted to the Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians.
The Rosetta Stone, formerly part of the Athens building, artefacts, Parthenon statues, and more than a hundred mummies attract millions of visitors annually. This is the most popular attraction in the city, and it’s easy to see why.
Tel: +44 20 7323 8299
Address: Great Russell St, London WC1B 3DG, United Kingdom.
5. Imperial War Museum, Lambeth
It is a compelling museum that illuminates the conflict experiences of individuals from the First World War to the present day.
The Imperial War Museum is a few minutes walk from Waterloo and consists of permanent galleries, such as the Curiosities of War exhibit, and seasonal exhibits that examine recent conflicts and terrorist events.
The Imperial War Museum is housed in the former Bethlem Royal Hospital, formerly known as Bedlam, and is flanked by naval cannons.
It examines the involvement of British troops in wars that span generations and countries. It is filled with often-challenging exhibits, ranging from World War I through the Holocaust.
Tel: 020 7416 5000
Address: Lambeth Rd, London SE1 6HZ, United Kingdom
6. Tower of London
Nearly a thousand years ago, the Tower of London guarded the city while overlooking the River Thames. It is now mostly a museum that provides an interesting glimpse into the past.
This austere edifice, constructed by William the Conqueror in 1066, has been many things, including the location where Henry VIII ordered the execution of two of his wives.
The Tower is now best recognized for housing the Crown Jewels. So, come, take a tour led by one of the Beefeaters, provided every half hour, and gawk at both the dazzling and terrifying sights.
Tel: +44 (0)33 3320 6000
Address: The Tower of London, England EC3N 4AB.