Museums in London

Here’s our guide to the best museums in London. Start with the British Museum, Natural History Museum, Science Museum and V&A. We’ve also got a calendar of upcoming exhibitions. You can search for exhibitions today, tomorrow and this weekend, or search by month: April, May and June.

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Top 10 museums in London Our list of the ten best museums in London. All of these museums are completely free to enter (apart from the Churchill War Rooms).Natural History Museum
British Museum
Victoria & Albert Museum
Science Museum
Churchill War Rooms
Sir John Soane’s Museum
Museum of London
Imperial War Museum
National Maritime Museum
Wallace Collection

Recommendations Craig recommends… The Natural History Museum and Science Museum are good for kids. The British Museum, Imperial War Museum, Museum of London and V&A are worth a try for adults.

18 Stafford Terrace

The interior of Edward Linley Sambourne’s Victorian home still looks as it did in the late 19th-century, when he worked as an illustrator for Punch magazine.

Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum

Fleming’s old lab in St. Mary’s Hospital where the Nobel Prize-winning doctor first discovered penicillin has been turned into a small museum.

Apsley House

The Duke of Wellington’s mansion on Hyde Park Corner showcases his collection of fine artworks and memorabilia from his campaigns and Battle of Waterloo.

Bank of England Museum

This museum tells the story of money, why the Bank of England was formed, and has lots of interesting old paintings and photos of The City.

Benjamin Franklin House

Benjamin Franklin was one of America’s Founding Fathers, and helped to draft the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution.

Billingsgate Roman House & Baths

The archaeological remains of a Roman house and baths from 200 AD, buried in the basement of an office block on Lower Thames Street.

British Museum

One of the world’s great museums, with an extensive collection of objects from Egypt, Assyria, Greece and Rome, plus China, Japan, Africa and the Americas.

Carlyle’s House

This terraced house contains the original fittings from the time of Thomas Carlyle, a gifted essayist from the Victorian era, who had an interest in the French Revolution.

Charles Dickens Museum

The famous Victorian novelist lived here during the 1830s, whilst he was working on Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby and the Pickwick Papers.

Churchill War Rooms

The atmospheric tunnels under Whitehall still look as they did when Churchill met here with his wartime cabinet during the Blitz.

Clink Prison Museum

Taking its inspiration from the notorious medieval gaol, the Clink Prison Museum is a less-scary version of the London Dungeon that’s good for kids.

Cutty Sark

During the 1870s this famous old clipper ship used to sail to China in world record times, and now you can explore its cabins, the cargo hold and walk the deck.

Design Museum

The Design Museum takes the best of 20th and 21st-century design and reveals how consumers’ tastes have changed through the decades.

Dr. Johnson’s House

This 18th century Georgian townhouse was the home of writer and wit Samuel Johnson – best known for writing the first English dictionary.

Faraday Museum

Housed in the basement of the old Royal Institution, this is where Michael Faraday discovered electro-magnetic induction and magnetic rotation.

Florence Nightingale Museum

St. Thomas’s Hospital has a small museum about the life of Victorian nurse Florence Nightingale, who made her name during the Crimean War.

Garden Museum

St. Mary-at-Lambeth houses a museum about the early days of gardening, and has a nice cafe and graveyard out the back containing the tomb of Captain Bligh.

Geffrye Museum

This unusual museum explores how home life has changed from 1600 to the present day. It is housed inside an old 18th-century almshouse with a walled herb garden.

Golden Hinde

This is a full-sized replica of the ship in which Sir Francis Drake sailed around the world. You can walk the deck, explore the cabins, and see the cannons in the hold.

Guards’ Museum

This museum tells the history of the Foot Guards: the Coldstream, Grenadier, Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards, and contains some good memorabilia from Waterloo.

Handel & Hendrix in London

This building was once home to two very different musicians: the German composer Handel, and the 1960s superstar Jimi Hendrix.

HMS Belfast

This cruiser fought during World War II and the Korean War, and now you can walk through its engine rooms and missile rooms, mess hall, kitchen and cabins.

Household Cavalry Museum

This museum tells the story of the Household Cavalry, and lets you look through a window into the stables where they keep the Whitehall horses.

Hunterian Museum

Housed inside the Royal College of Surgeons, the Hunterian Museum is filled with specimens and skeletons and the fossilised remains of animals and humans.

Imperial War Museum

This popular museum tells the story of the British Army from the days of the Empire, past World Wars I and II, right up to the Falkands and the Gulf.

Jewel Tower

The Jewel Tower dates back to the original Palace of Westminster in the 14th-century, and houses a small exhibition about the history of Parliament.

Keats’ House

The poet John Keats lived here from 1818 to 1820 and it contains contains a collection of his original letters, manuscripts and old Regency furnishings.

Leighton House Museum

This amazing house was once home to the Victorian artist Lord Frederic Leighton, and contains some paintings by the Pre-Raphaelites.

London Canal Museum

This museum tells the story of the Regent’s Canal, and how they once transported cargos by horse and barge. There’s also a small dock out the back.

London Film Museum

It’s more of a James Bond museum than a film museum, because all it contains are costumes, cars and props from the James Bond movies.

London Fire Brigade Museum

A collection of old fire engines, pumps and uniforms, with some interesting information about the Blitz and Great Fire of London in 1666.

Museum of London

The history of London from prehistoric times, through the Roman era, medieval and Tudor London, right up to the Blitz of World War II, the Swinging Sixties and beyond.

Museum of London Docklands

This museum tells the history of London’s river from pre-history, through it’s highpoint as one of the world’s busiest docks, right up to the present day.

National Army Museum

This museum tells the story of the British military from Agincourt, past the Napoleonic wars and Battle of Waterloo, right up to World Wars I and II.

National Maritime Museum

The National Maritime Museum has a collection of scale models, original ships, and historic artefacts like Nelson’s jacket from the Battle of Trafalgar.

Natural History Museum

A great museum for kids if they like dinosaurs. It also contains a whole zoo’s-worth of stuffed animals and exhibits about earthquakes and volcanos.

Old Operating Theatre

An old 19th-century herb garrett and amphitheatre-like operating theatre that miraculously survived intact at the top of St Thomas’s Church.

Petrie Museum

The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology contains cabinets full of ancient Egyptian artefacts: old pottery bowls, tombstones, sarcophagi and pieces of jewellery.

Pollock’s Toy Museum

The tiny little rooms inside this museum are full of traditional old toys: puppets, dolls and teddy bears, plus tin toys, board games and optical tricks.

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!

Ripley’s is a museum of crazy curiosities, full of weird, wonderful and bizarre objects from around the world, and waxworks of abnormal animals and people.

Royal Mews

A working stables for the horses that pull the royal carriages. You can see the Queen’s collection of limos, State Coaches and the Gold State Coach used during her coronation.

St. John’s Gate

This gatehouse was part of Clerkenwell Priory, the headquarters of the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. The museum tells of their history during the Crusades.

Science Museum

A great museum for kids if they like space. It contains lots of historic old machines and vehicles, plus a 3D IMAX cinema and a couple of exciting flight simulators.

Sherlock Holmes Museum

221b Baker Street has been done up to look like the home of the fictional detective, filled with memorabilia and waxwork characters.

Sir John Soane’s Museum

This house has to be seen to be believed! It is crammed with ancient artefacts, paintings and has an Egyptian Pharaoh’s sarcophagi in the basement.

Transport Museum

The London Transport Museum contains a collection of early buses, taxis and trains, from Hackney cabs and horse-drawn coaches right up to the modern Routemasters.

Victoria & Albert Museum

Highlights include the Cast Room and Raphael’s Cartoons, drawn as preparatory studies for his work inside the Sistine Chapel.

Wallace Collection

Part art gallery and part museum, the Wallace Collection has medieval armour, French furnishings, and famous paintings like The Laughing Cavalier.
 
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