Museums in London have always been very popular. Britain's vibrant and exciting capital city is home to many world-class museums and art galleries. There are over 300 to choose from, ranging from the traditional to the sporty. Most of the main London museums are free to enter. If you have a London Pass, it will give you free entry to other charging exhibitions, free audio tours and free museum guidebooks.
London is home to a number of world famous museums. When visiting London, it's easy to spend several days exploring all the different galleries and museums in London, but it can be difficult knowing which of these museums are worthy of your time.
However, all the museums in London have one thing in common: you go in when it's pouring, and when you have seen everything, it will have stopped raining.
For educational purposes, schools frequently organise trips for children to see exhibitions in art galleries and museums in London.
With London's rich historical background, these museums in London give the true picture of the past. London museums are the best in the world. If you are planning to visit London make sure you visit one or two of the 10 most prominent museums in London. Kids enjoy going to museums like The Natural History Museum, The Science Museum and the National Gallery.
It is difficult to name all of them as the list is long but ten prominent museums in London are listed below:
British Museum is the oldest public museum in the world. It was established in 1753 to house the collections of the physician Sir Han Sloane.
It is a bright building and on a fine day, sunlight streams through the curved steel and glass roof into the Great Court at the centre of the British Museum. This is a great meeting area, with cafes surrounding the gleaming rotunda of the famous Reading Room. It also offers free internet access.
The British Museum is packed with tresures the soldiers brought back from foreign lands including the Rosetta Stone and the Easter Island statue. You will also find a lot of ancient Greek and Egyptian treasures.
In Room 95 there is a display of some of the finest Chinese Ceramics like the moon-shaped flask with birds (AD 1723-35), two large porcelain temple vases (Yuan dynasty, AD 1351) and the seven porcelain bowls (Ming dynasty, 1465-1487).
Venue: British Museum Address: Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG. Directions: Site map
With the opening of the £48 miilion Wellcome Wing, The Science Museum launched itself into the 21st centurty. Set over 4 floors and bathed with futuristic blue light, state-of-the-art exhibits and multimedia, The Science Museum offers loads of hands-on fun and interactivity.
Visit the brand new "Cosmos & Culture" exhibition and find out how astronomy has shaped our world. Watch films in IMAX 3D Cinema and dive into the magical 3D underwater adventure or see dinosaurs come to live. Children love The Science Museum as there are lots to see and experiment.
There are several cafes, restaurants and picnic areas at the Science Museum.
General admission is free but there is a charge for IMAX 3D Cinema, Wallace & Gromit and Motionride Simulator.
Venue: Science Museum. Address: Exhibition Road, London SW7
Directions: Site Map
Victoria and Albert Museum, founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, is the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects. It moved to its present site in South Kensington in 1857.
Its collection spans 5,000 years of art from the cultures of Europe, North America, Asia and North Africa. The Museum's holdings of Italian Renaissance items are the largest outside Italy. The holdings in the Asian section include art from South Asia, China, Japan, Korea and the Islamic world.
Current exhibitions at the V&A Museum include "Future Fashion Now" - showcasing new design highlights from the Royal College of Art, and "An 18th-Century Enigma" - revealing the brilliant craftsmanship of Paul de Lamerie (1688-1751) renowned as the greatest silversmith working in England in the 18th Century.
Venue: Victoria & Albert Museum Address: Cromwell Road, London SW7
The Natural History Museum , one of the largest museums in London, was opened in 1881 to exhibit the nation's ever expanding collection of natural history specimens.
It is home to life and earth science specimens comprising of about 70 million items within 5 mian categories - Botany, Entomology, Mineralogy, Palaeontology and Zoology.
The Natural History Museum is particularly famous for its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons and ornate architecture. There are other exhibitions where you discover volcanoes, creepy crawlies, earthquake experience and precious gems.
The Museum has its own Wildlfe Garden. Set in the Museum's grounds, the garden reveals a range of British lowland habitats, including woodland, meadow and pond. It demonstrates the potential for wildlife conservation in the inner city.
The new Darwin Centre opens to the public on 15th September 2009. The new Darwin Centre is a state-of-the-art science and collection facility and the building is the most significant expansion at the Museum since it moved to South Kensington in 1881.
Venue: Natural History Museum Address: Cromwell Road, London SW7
The Imperial War Museum was founded during the First World War in 1917 and was intended as a record of the war effort and sacrifice of Britain and the British Empire. It is intended to enable people to have an informed understanding of modern war and its impact on individuals and society.
The museum's collections include archives of personal and official documents, photographs, film and video material and oral history recordings. This is one of three museums in London exhibiting records of the British war efforts - the other two being the warship HMS Belfast and Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms.
The Imperial War Museum is funded by government grants, retailing, licensing and publishing, and charitable donations. General admission to the Imperial War Museum is free.
Venue: Imperial War Museum Address: Lambet Road, London SE1 6HZ Directions: Site Map
Tate Britain, located on the north bank of the River Thames at Millbank, London, is the UK and world centre for British art.
On a visit to Tate Britain you will be treated to an unrivalled collection of art from Britain, covering everything from the art of the Tudor period to today.
The Tate Britain collection is displayed in chronological order from 1500 to the present day. Break out rooms concentrate on specific themes, genres or artists, while displays on the whole are changed annually to ensure the full breadth of the collection is enjoyed.
Highlights within the Tate Britain collection include the work of William Hogarth, sometimes called the father of English painting; the eighteenth-century portraitists Gainsborough and Reynolds and the animal painter George Stubbs. Special attention is also given to three outstanding British artists from the Romantic age: Blake, Constable and Turner.
Admission to Tate Britain is free for everyone, but a London Pass, customer will receive the added enjoyment of a free audio-guide to Tate Britain.
Listening to the audio-guide as you tour Tate Britain you will learn much more than you would without it.
Venue: Tate Britain Address: Millbank, London SW1P 4RG (Tel: 020-7887-8888) Directions: Site Map Scroll to the middle of the page for diagram.
The National Gallery founded in 1824 and located on the northern side of Trafalgar Square, houses one of the greatest collections of European painting in the world.
With over 2,300 paintings ranging from 1250 - 1900, you can see for free the collections including work by Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt and Gainsborough to name just a few.
Some of the famous paintings on display include "Bacchus and Ariadne" (Titan - 1520), "Doge Leonardo Loredan" (Giovanni Bellini - 1501), "Mr and Mrs Andrews" (Thomas Gainsborough - 1750), "Sunflowers" (Vincent van Gogh - 1888), "The Entombment" (Michelangelo - 1500).
There are free practical art workshops for young adults aged 12 - 17. This is an opprotunity for a young adult not only to work alongside a contemporary artist, but also to see their work and discuss ideas with them, and use the Gallery's collection as a resource. Take advantage of this offer as not many museums in London offer this facility.
Venue: The National Gallery Address: Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN Directions: Site Map
The London Transport Museum, located in Covent Garden and Acton, seeks to conserve and explain the transport heritage of London. Since the creation of Transport for London in 2000, its remit has expanded to cover all aspects of transportation in the capital.
The collections at the London Transport Museum include over 5,000 posters and 700 original poster artworks. It is one of the finest poster archives in the world and they tell the stories behind the collection.
The photographic collection of over 16,000 photographs reflects London's public transport history from 1860s to the present day. The core of the collection is made up of the old London Transport photgraphic archive of over 150,000 black and white photos.
London Transport Museum has more than 80 road and rail vehicles in its collection representing public transport in the city and its suburban and country areas over the last two centuries. There are only 20 vehicles on display at the Covent Garden location and the rest are kept at the London Transport Museum depot in Acton.
Venue: London Transport Museum Address: Covent Garden Piazza, London WC2E 7BB Directions: Site Map
The National Maritime Museum was created by the National Maritime Act of 1934 and opened to the public in April 1937.
It has the world's largest maritime historical reference library (in excess of 100,000 volumes) including books dating back to the 15th century.
When you visit the National Maritime Museum, you are given the unique opportunity to find out about the Museum objects, collections and topics from some of the people who know them best - the Museum's team of Gallery Assitants.
General admission is free but there is a charge for visiting the Planetarium and the Royal Observatory. Planetarium shows reconstruct our first steps into space, from the launch of the first artificial satelite to the magnificent lunar landings and privately operated space flights.
Venue: National Maritime Museum Address: Romney Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NK Directions: Site Map
The Churchill Museum & Cabinet War Rooms are dedicated to the life of the ‘greatest Briton’, Sir Winston Churchill, and the secret underground headquarters that were the nerve centre of Britain’s war effort.
The first London museum of its kind, the Churchill Museum covers all ninety years of Winston Churchill’s life, divided into five chapters: his early year’s as British Prime Minister starting May 1940; his later years; his childhood; his early political career and the period famously known as the ‘Gathering Storm’.
The Churchill Museum uses cutting edge technology and unique media displays to chart the life of Winston Churchill, including a fifteen metre long ‘Lifeline’, which visitors can touch to access a digital ‘filing cabinet’ of Churchill’s life, categorised by time.
This is one of the paying museums in London but the London Pass, offers holders free entry to this popular historical museum – a saving of over £12.
Venue: Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms Address: Clive Steps, Lambeth Road, King Charles Street, London SW1Q 2AQ Directions: Site Map
Museums in London are extremely popular with visitors as well as residents. Schools organise outings for children to visit museums in London to consolidate their learning in school. The Natural History Museum, The Science Museum and The Victoria and Albert Museum are the three museums in London also known as the "Albertopolis". This is an area of immense cultural, scientific and educational importance and they are all located within close proximity of each other.
If you find it difficult to plan how much time you need to visit museums in London, most hotels in London or tourist information centres will be able to advise you how much time you need to allocate for the visiting galleries and museums in London.
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