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London's Top Museums

London is famous across the world for its vast array of museums which house collections of artefacts, artworks and items of huge historical significance from across the globe. Many people have heard of London’s top museums such as the world class British Museum, the British Natural History Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum. But did you know there are many more museums than this? Ranging from historical ships to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre to the more weird and wonderful, there is something for everyone to be found in London’s Museums.

Many of the museums are publically funded and free to enter, some ask for a donation and those which charge are; in our experience more than worthy of the entrance fee. You will find that many of the museums that charge an entrance fee can be explored for free using the London Pass. You will find many museums that celebrate London and Britain’s rich cultural heritage including Dickens, Sherlock Holmes and Shakespeare whilst others focus on war, transport and science. Of course there are no shortage of art museums and galleries in London and we have listed just a selection of the top museums available here.

Here is a rundown of London's top museums. As ever, they can all be added in to your wish list itinerary.

War and Military

Firepower: Royal Artillery Museum
Firepower Royal Artillery Museum, London
CathedralHoused in some of the former Royal Arsenal, the museum tells the story of the Royal Regiment of Artillery and the Royal Arsenal.
Royal Air Force Museum
Royal Air Force Museum, London
CathedralFree Admission
A Museum celebrating the history of Great Britain's Air Force, complete with plenty examples of war planes throughout the ages.
Britain at War Experience
Britain at War Experience, London
CathedralThis museum truly allows patrons to experience life during one of the most important events of the 20th century as it recreats London during the Blitz in a realistic interactive experience.
Churchill War Rooms
Churchill War Rooms, London
CathedralThe war rooms were heavily used by Winston Churchill during World War II and are contained in the museum, along with the Cabinet Room and the Map room.
Imperial War Museum
Imperial War Museum, London
CathedralFree Admission
Until 1930 the museum was home to the infamous Bedlam mental asylum. This domed building is now home to the UK's largest military museum. This museum is under extensive redevelopment until the summer of 2014.

Themed Museums

Charles Dickens Museum
Charles Dickens Museum, London
CathedralThis house is the home of Charles Dickens, which he occupied from 1837 - 1839, when Dickens is said to have completed The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby.
Clink Prison Museum
Clink Prison Museum, London
CathedralThe Clink is a notorious prison in Southwark that functioned from the 12th century to the end of the 18th century. Originally used for detaining heretics, it fell into disuse after the English Civil War.
Shakespeare's Globe Exhibition
Shakespears Globe Exhibition, London
CathedralHoused underneath the Globe Theatre, Shakespeare's Globe Exhibition is dedicated to Shakespeare and his vast effect on the theatrical world, as well as historical artefacts from his time.
Cutty Sark Museum
Cutty Sark, Greenwich
CathedralHoused in Greenwich, the Cutty Sark is the world's only surviving tea clipper. Now serving as a museum, it is dressed to interpret the life or the officers and men who lived there.
London Fire Brigade Museum
London fire Brigade Museum, London
CathedralThe museum holds a wealth of information and exhibits depicting the history of firefighting in London from the Great Fire of London in 1666 to the present day.
The Sherlock Holmes Museum
Sherlock Holmes Museum, London
CathedralSet in 221b Baker Street, this Museum celebrates the famous detective of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's late 19th century stories.
London Transport Museum
London Transport Museum, London
CathedralBuses, trains and trams abound in this child friendly museum. Exhibits date from the 1820s to the present day bringing to life the evolving nature of the capital's famous transport system.
Madame Tussaud's London
madame Tussauds, London
CathedralThe globally famous wax museum is one of the most visited attractions in London and it's easy to see why. Constantly updated figures make a day trip to Tussaud's a memorable experience for visitors from all round the world.
National Maritime Museum
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
CathedralFree Admission
The Largest maritime museum in the world. The museum is home to over 2 million objects related to Great Britain's maritime history. The museum is based in Greenwich.

Science and nature

Kew Gardens, Royal Botanic Gardens
Kew Gardens, Royal Botanic Gardens
CathedralExplore the magnificent glasshouses and discover fascinating treats like, the oldest plant in the world, or the tallest indoor plant; along with over 9000 other plants from deserts, rainforests and mountain cliffs.
Science Museum
Kew Gardens, Royal Botanic Gardens
CathedralFree Admission
The Science Museum contains more than 10,000 exhibits from the nation's collection ranging from the Panhard et Lavassor car to the Apollo 10 Command module. Find out about the science behind crime detection, spying and security.
Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum, London
CathedralFree Admission
One of the most beautiful buildings in London, both inside and out, this museum should be top of your list particularly if you are visiting with your family.


 


Art Galleries

The National Gallery, London
The National Gallery, London
CathedralFree Admission
The National Gallery, London houses one of the greatest collections of European painting in the world. These pictures belong to the public and entrance to see them is free.
National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery, London
CathedralFree Admission
Founded in 1856 to save and appreciate the likenesses of famous British men and women, the collection is the most comprehensive of its kind in the world. Admission is free.
Tate Britain
Tate Britain, London
CathedralFree Admission
Tate Britain is the national gallery of British Art, 1500 to the present, as well as the home of the Turner Prize.
Tate Modern
Tate Modern, London
CathedralFree Admission
Britain's national museum of modern art, housing the Tate's varied collection. With works from famed artists like Dali, Warhol and more, all under the roof of an old power station, Tate is becoming a London icon.
Victoria & Albert Museum
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
CathedralFree Admission
The Victoria and Albert Museum is the jewel in the crown of London's famous South Kensington cultural area and a "must-see" on every London itinerary. The V&A houses 7 miles of exhibition space, containing over 4 million objects drawn from 5000 years of cultural history.

British

The British Library
The British Library, London
CathedralFree Admission
With exhibits on the Nobel prize, Mozart and Hans Christian Anderson, all of which are available online, the British museum houses many collections that include the arts, music and culture of modern and historical London.
The British Museum
The British Museum, London
CathedralFree Admission
The initial collection was bequeathed by a wealthy Chelsea doctor in 1753. It became a magnet for all the loot being amassed by the British Empire through the 19th century. Key Exhibits include the Egyptian Hall, the Tomb of Payava, the Elgin Marbles & the Sutton Hoo treasure.
Crown Jewels
The Tower of London, London
CathedralMarvel at the Imperial State Crown, worn by the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament. Be dazzled by the largest, top quality, cut diamond in the world, Cullinan I, set in the Sovereign's Sceptre. The Crown Jewels are based in the Tower of London.
The London Dungeon
The London Dungeon, London
CathedralThe London Dungeon may be described as a museum of simulated horror from history, recalling events of atrocities from the past. You can journey back to the darker side of European history. With over forty exhibits it is not recommended for those of a nervous disposition.
Tower Bridge
The London Dungeon, London
CathedralLondon's favourite bridge also houses a museum, and offers incredible views of London from its high-level Walkways, as well as information about how the bridge was built and the ships that pass under it.
Tower of London
The Tower of London, London
CathedralMore than 900 years old, the Tower of London is arguably London's most famous tourist attraction, housing the crown jewels, an ancient prison, minting press and tons of London folklore.
Royal Greenwich Observatory
Royal Greenwich Observatory
CathedralFree Admission
Observatory founded by King Charles II, marks the Prime Meridian and used to study astronomy.
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