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The Best Museums in London

With 192 museums in the city, London is 5th in the world when it comes to how many there are in town! Not only that, it has more museums than any other UK city – lots to choose from, especially when many of them offer free entry.

In this post, we’ll take a look at 8 of the best museums in London. From the weird to the wonderful, you’re sure to find a favorite here:

British Museum – One of the biggest and best museums in the world!

Natural History Museum – You won’t see a better dinosaur collection than here!

Victoria and Albert Museum – More than 2 million objects related to art and design

National Maritime Museum – The world’s largest maritime museum – and it’s free!

London Transport Museum – See if you’ve got what it takes to drive a tube train!

Tate Britain – The oldest part of the UK’s most respected art museum chain

Sherlock Holmes Museum – See what life would have been like for London’s most famous fictional sleuth!

Imperial War Museum – Learn about the impact of war around the world from WW1 to the present day

Table of Contents

Best Museums in London

Over 8 million works

More than 60 galleries

Free entry

Suggest duration: 4 – 6 hours

The first stop on our list of the best museums in London is the British Museum. Located in the Bloomsbury neighbourhood, it’s dedicated to human history, art, and culture. It’s one of the biggest museums in the world and houses around 8 million works, many of which were sourced during the British Empire.

Some parts of the British Museum require an entrance fee, but there are also 60 free galleries. You can find everything from Greek vases, to Chinese and South Asian artefacts, to Medieval European relics!

If you’re planning to visit the British Museum, it’s a good idea to have at least half a day set aside – there’s just so much to get around! If you feel a bit lost, it may be a good idea to take a guided tour.

One of the best dinosaur collections in the world

Great for kids

Free entry

Suggested duration: 4 – 6 hours

The British Museum is great if you want to learn about human history and culture, but the natural history museum should be at the top of your itinerary if you’re a lover of animals and plants.

Another of London’s iconic free museums, this is a great place to bring kids. They are sure to be enchanted by one of the world’s largest dinosaur collections. As you walk in, you’ll be awestruck by the blue whale skeleton hanging above you, just a taste of some of the epic exhibits to come!

The Natural History Museums is one of three fantastic museums on Exhibition Road in South Kensington. The other two are the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum.

Biggest art and design museum in the world

Art from across the world

Free entry

Suggested duration: 3 – 4 hours

Said to be the leading museum in the world in art and design, the Victoria and Albert Museum is a must-visit in South Kensington.

It’s the largest museum of applied art and design, with more than 2 million separate artefacts. The collections span 5,000 years of art across 145 galleries, and you’ll be able to see not only the earliest British art, but Asian, African, and North American too.

The V & A also boasts the biggest collection of Renaissance artwork outside of Italy. Despite all this, it’s free!

Largest Maritime Museum in the world

500 years of British naval history

Free entry

Suggested duration: 2 – 3 hours

South of the River Thames in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, which is famed for its maritime history, you’ll find the largest maritime museum in the world!

More than 2 million artefacts are housed here which celebrate 500 years of the British navy and its traditions.

You’ll be able to see naval artwork, including Turner’s depiction of the Battle of Trafalgar from the early 19th century. For those searching for a more poignant experience, a trip to the Atlantic Slave Trade Gallery provides a sobering and quiet moment.

The museum once again is free, but if you don’t mind paying a bit extra, it’s definitely worth checking out the Cutty Sark. This record-breaking ship was once the fastest in the world, and it’s the only remaining tea clipper. And it’s just a 5-minute walk from the main museum!

See 200 years of transport history

Learn to drive a tube train

Entry £18 adults, free children

London Transport Museum isn’t just trainspotters or petrolheads (although they’ll certainly enjoy it). Hidden away in one of the most popular parts of London, Covent Garden, you’ll learn about the city’s transport system and how it has grown and changed in the last 200 years, and see lots of perfectly maintained vehicles from throughout London’s history.

Something you shouldn’t miss is the future engineer’s simulation, where you get the chance to be trained as a tube driver!

Oldest Tate Gallery

Constantly rotating exhibitions

Free entry

Suggested duration: 3 – 4 hours

The Tate is a network of four art galleries in the UK, showcasing some of the most important art in the country. Let’s take a look at the oldest part of this franchise, the Tate Britain, which opened in 1897!

Free displays include the Turner Collection, the largest collection dedicated to this iconic artist in the world, a walk-through British Art, and rotating guest exhibits. There are a number of cool paid galleries too, which are definitely worth splashing out for!

If you’re more into contemporary and modern art, check out the Tate Modern on the Thames South Bank. It’s less than half an hour away on public transport!

In a listed building

See the detective’s house

Entry £15 adults, £10 children

Suggested duration: 1 hour

Get your detective hat on for the Sherlock Holmes museum. Although, you don’t need to be a detective to work out it’s at 221B Baker Street – the address where the world’s most famous fictional detective lived with his loyal friend Dr. Watson.

Walk through the set of the classic novels in this museum containing Sherlock’s laboratory, bedroom, and the kitchen where Mrs Hudson could usually be found!

Global authority on conflict

Family of 5 museums across UK

Free entry

Suggested duration: 2 – 3 hours

Last but not least on our list of the best museums in London is the Imperial War Museum. It’s part of a chain of five museums which document modern conflict and how it impacts on people’s everyday lives around the globe.

The Imperial War Museum, like many of the others on this list, is free to visit. However, if you don’t mind splashing out a little extra, you can take part in a tour with an expert guide!

Another part of the IWM is Churchill’s War Rooms. They’re less than half an hour away from the Imperial War Museum on foot, while it can take as little as 20 minutes on public transport!

Final Thoughts on the Best Museums in London

So, that concludes our list of the best museums in London. Whether you want to see dinosaur fossils, see if you’ve got what it takes to be a tube driver, or see some of the finest art in the world, there’s a museum in London for you!

For more top tips on visiting London, check out Seen London! Our expert travel writers know not only the best museums to visit, but the top places to eat and drinks, and some hidden gems that will surprise and delight you.

We hope you have a great time!

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