Top 10 Museums to Visit in London


 

As of 2016 there were over 250 registered public museums within greater London. You’d have to live here permanently in order to explore them all over time, and vacations in London are reserved for one’s shortlist of museums to visit.

Whether it’s art, history, culture or even war that strikes your fancy, there will be a museum dedicated to the subject somewhere in the UK capital. The following are ten I consider absolutely worth a visit when you’re in town.

1. Tate Modern Museum in London

The Tate is an art institution that is housed across four different museum facilities around London. The Tate Modern is undoubtably the most popular of the four, bringing millions of visitors to the city each year.

The Tate Modern is one of the most important displays of local and international art in the world. The best part is that admission into the Tate is absolutely free, with the exception of a few specific exhibits where a cover fee will be necessary.

Tate Modern – by Michal Louč – Wikimedia Commons

PRACTICAL INFORMATION
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday – 10am to 6pm
Address: Bankside, London SE1 9TG, UK
Subway STATION: London Bridge

2. The Museum of London in London

Things to do upon arrival: ride a double decker bus through London, take a guided walking tour through London, spend an afternoon in the Museum of London… in London.

The Museum of London holds all the documented evidence of the development of this land dating back to prehistoric times until the present day. It’s utterly fascinating and has been educating visitors to the country since 1976.

It’s a massive museum and is better to do in two sessions, I’ve found. Since there is no charge to enter it’s easy to do twice in one trip.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday – 10am to 6pm
Address: 150 London Wall, Barbican, London EC2Y 5HN, UK
Subway STATION: Barbican

3. Natural History Museum in London

Of course London has one of the most established natural history museums on the planet. The nature of natural history museums is usually a “who bid more” game of winning artifacts from around the world.

It would take a solid two or three visits to be able to absorb this museum to its entirety. Children just love the dinosaur exhibits; a great family outing while in London.

Natural History Museum – by jhlau -Txllxt TxllxT- Wikimedia Commons

PRACTICAL INFORMATION
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday – 10am to 5:30pm
Address: Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 5BD, UK
Subway STATION: Gloucester Road

4. Design Museum in London

The Design Museum should not be overlooked during one’s time in London. It won the European Museum of the Year award in 2018.

The museum is centered around the history of innovation, design, brands and fashion. It’s an impeccably curated space that is enjoyable from start to finish; small enough to see fully in under two or three hours depending on your pace.

Consider a guided walking tour through Kensington after your museum visit to connect further with the street culture that paved way for these movements in design and innovation.

Design Museum – by Helen Ilus – Wikimedia Commons

PRACTICAL INFORMATION
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday – 10am to 6pm
Address: 224-238 Kensington High St, Kensington, London W8 6AG, UK
Subway STATION: Kensington Olympia Station

5. National Portrait Gallery in London

This is a simple museum aimed at anyone interested in the art of portraiture and its significance to British history through the ages.

This museum is a giant gallery displaying portraiture works of affluent British people from years gone by. It’s fascinating to explore the depiction of men throughout history compared to how women are presented.

Note that it is £20 to get into the National Portrait Gallery.

National Portrait Gallery – by Herry Lawford – Wikimedia Commons

PRACTICAL INFORMATION
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday – 10am to 6pm
Address: St. Martin’s Pl, Charing Cross, London WC2H 0HE, UK
Subway STATION: Charing Cross

6. The British Museum in London

If you’re in the mood for a museum but have zero inclination toward a specific subject, then the British Museum will make your day.

Here you’ll explore everything from ancient Egyptian shrines, to Greek ruins and even relics from Mexico. It’s a great family museum with a few cafes on the inside where one can break between exhibits.

The British Museum – by Eric Pouhier – Wikimedia Commons

PRACTICAL INFORMATION
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday – 10am to 5:30pm
Address: Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3DG, UK
Subway STATION: Holborn

7. Victoria and Albert Museum in London

The Victoria and Albert Museum is the largest museum of design and sculpture in the world. It is situated just outside of Hyde Park.

The space is divided into free exhibits and paid exhibits. Being the size that it is, the free exhibits can fill a full day quite easily. You are encouraged to look up the paid exhibits prior to your arrival to see if there is anything of interest happening that you’d like to purchase entry for.

Victoria and Albert Museum – by Aqwis – Wikimedia Commons

PRACTICAL INFORMATION
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday – 10am to 5:45pm
Address: Cromwell Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW7 2RL, UK
Subway STATION: South Kensington

8. Museum of Brands in London

The United Kingdom has been a land of consumerism since before Victorian times until today. This museum in Holland Park is a showcase of the movement of these eras and the ways in which our “consuming” has evolved.

This space can be explored in full in under an hour; not a very large museum at all.

Museum of Brands – by Ann Lee – Wikimedia Commons

PRACTICAL INFORMATION
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday – 10am to 6pm
Address: 111-117 Lancaster Rd, Notting Hill, London W11 1QT, UK
Subway STATION: Ladbroke Grove Station

9. Horniman Museum in London

The Horniman Museum sits on the Horniman gardens in Forest Hill, quite far south of London’s city center.

It’s a little bit of a kingdom of pleasures, featuring an aquarium, collections of musical instruments, stuffed animal exhibits and miniature golf. It’s a family museum and children of all ages are welcome.

The gardens have an array of exotic plants and a beautiful view of the London skyline.

Horniman Museum – by Fæ – Wikimedia Commons

PRACTICAL INFORMATION
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday – 10am to 5:30pm
Address: 100 London Rd, Forest Hill, London SE23 3PQ, UK
Subway STATION: Forest Hill

10. Museum of the Order of Saint John in London

What first attracted me to this museum was its rustic, outdated architecture. The inside tells the story of the Order of St. John and the movements that occurred from the 11th century onward.

Despite what you may think, this is a fun and quirky museum that approaches the subject with a light heart & humor. A wonderful London museum that takes just an hour or two to fully experience.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday – 10am to 5pm
Address: St John’s Gate, 26 St John’s Ln, London EC1M 4DA, United Kingdom
Subway STATION: Barbican