10 Best Museums in London to visit (2024)

Best Museums In London

Best Museums in London – London is so huge that it’s impossible to see everything! I’ve been 2 times and can’t wait to go back. The city has a great cultural heritage, and its museums are protagonists in its narrative. On our visits we always make a point of visiting a new museum, or revisiting some of the ones we like most.

If you are on a trip and want to optimize your experience in the British capital, this guide highlights 10 unmissable museums and offers practical guidance to make the most of the time available.

Whether you are an antique aficionado or a modern arts enthusiast, you will find a brief solution here to satisfy your curiosity. An itinerary with the best places to admire London’s cultural riches without having to search through the city’s entire list of options.

10 Best Museums in London to visit

London is a city that combines history and modernity, and its museums are a central part of this cultural mix. Essential for understanding life in the city, they open doors to different aspects of knowledge, from Egyptian relics to works of modern art.

For the undecided visitor faced with so many options, the diversity of the museums is a strong point: there are places focused on science, fashion, military history and even children’s experiences; spaces that represent both local culture and international traditions.

Each museum showcases a distinct aspect of London, ensuring there is something interesting for everyone in the city’s cultural scene.

In the following paragraphs, each of these museums in London will be detailed, revealing the characteristics that make them essential for understanding the city’s culture and history.

1. British Museum

British Museum

The British Museum is the first and one of the most controversial in the world. This is due to the fact that most of the artifacts presented there were obtained illicitly. To be clearer, the objects ended up there after being stolen while the United Kingdom colonized several regions of the planet. But its collection is still magnificent, making this one of the most incredible museums I’ve ever visited.

The museum offers a reading of human history and culture, ranging from the first societies to the present day. Opened in 1759 after the acquisition of Hans Sloane’s collection, it evolved to become a world reference in cultural collections.

Currently, this museum displays more than 7 million artifacts representing different civilizations and historical eras. The variety of pieces is vast and includes everything from Ancient Egyptian items to medieval European artifacts.

Occupying third place in the ranking of the most visited museums in the world, it is only behind the Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York.

In this museum, you can dedicate several hours or even an entire day to exploring the permanent or temporary galleries, given the size of its space. It’s helpful to plan ahead to make the most of your experience at the museum, which is open daily from 10am to 5:30pm.

2. Tate Britain

Tate Britain

Tate Britain is a museum of British art, covering the period from medieval London, in the Tudor era, to the present day. When visiting the museum, you will take a journey through the country’s art history.

Established in 1887, it is located next to the River Thames, close to Westminster Abbey and Big Ben.

The pieces are presented in three segments in the permanent collection:

  • British historical works, representative of the classical periods;
  • British modernism that shows stylistic and social changes;
  • and the contemporary section with recent artistic trends from the United Kingdom.

Tate Britain is open every day from 10am to 6pm, providing convenience for those planning an in-depth visit or just a brief stroll around the area. Entry to the permanent exhibitions is free.

3. Tate Modern

Tate Modern is part of the Tate group of galleries (like the topic above) and focuses on modern and contemporary art. It opened in 2000 and has established itself as a staple on London’s cultural scene.

The building, once Bankside Power Station, is located on the banks of the River Thames and has been renovated to house the museum. I absolutely loved visiting this Tate. In addition to the visit, it’s really cool to see so many people who go there to draw while looking at the pieces.

The attractions of the Tate Modern

The museum’s collection features works from the 1900s onwards, distributed between the third and fifth floors with permanent pieces by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Salvador Dalí. There you can also see works by Brazilians Hélio Oiticica and Cildo Meirelles.

There are also temporary exhibitions taking place on the fourth floor, bringing new views on modern art.

The museum is located near Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, is open every day and is accessible to visitors with no entry fee.

4. Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum is an option for those interested in biodiversity and geological history. Founded at the end of the 19th century, it has a vast collection that includes approximately 70 million items from nature, including plants and fossils.

In this place, there are specific exhibitions that attract attention. The dinosaur section offers insight into these ancient creatures, and the mammal section showcases the diversity of these animals.

There is also “The Power Within” space, where you will learn about natural phenomena such as earthquakes and volcanoes through interactivity.

The museum has free entry, is open daily from 10am to 5:50pm, and is ideal for adults and also families looking for entertainment for children.

The National Gallery

The National Gallery , located in Trafalgar Square, is a landmark in London’s visual arts scene.

The museum space is relatively smaller compared to other institutions, however, the National Gallery has a very interesting selection of works of art. The visit offers knowledge for both experts and those less familiar with art.

The attractions of the National Gallery

Founded in 1824, the gallery presents a collection focused on paintings that cover the evolution of European art from the end of the Middle Ages to the beginning of the 20th century. The collection features works by renowned artists such as Rembrandt, Tiziano and Michelangelo.

Impressionist and post-impressionist paintings are also part of the collection with pieces by Van Gogh and other artists.

You can opt for paid guided tours or independent exploration, which is free of charge for the permanent exhibitions. The National Gallery is open daily from 10am to 6pm.

6. Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum , also known as the V&A, specializes in decorative arts and design.

Founded in 1852, the museum maintains a collection of more than four million objects that represent human creativity throughout history.

Each section shows the evolution of design and applied arts. Considering the size of the collection at the V&A, we recommend that you plan your time well to enjoy the works.

The attractions of the Victoria and Albert

When visiting the V&A, you can explore the contents of seven floors, classified under five main themes: Asia, Europe, artistic materials and techniques, modern objects and temporary exhibitions that bring something new to regular visitors.

The museum is close to the Natural History Museum in London and entry is free. It is open every day from 10am to 5:45pm, offering extended hours until 10pm on Fridays.

7. Museum of London

Museum of London

The Museum of London, opened in 1976, presents a chronological sequence of London’s history. The museum’s focus is to narrate the city’s trajectory from prehistory to modern times.

The collection includes more than 7000 items ranging from archaeological artefacts and objects representing society, to reproductions of London residences over time, offering perspectives on changes in urban life.

Next to the Tate Modern, the Museum of London is well located in the city center. It opens daily from 10am to 5pm and has free entry for those who want to learn about London’s history.

8. Royal Observatory Greenwich

The Royal Observatory Greenwich is a historic landmark in the field of navigation and astronomy. Created in 1657, the site marks the position of the prime meridian, or Greenwich Meridian, which is essential to today’s geography and time systems.

Here, you will see the original 17th-century installations, including the first clocks made by Tompion and the first telescope installed on site.

A common activity among tourists is to stand on the meridian line, positioning themselves simultaneously in the eastern and western hemispheres.

Opening daily from 10am to 5pm, tickets to the Royal Observatory can be purchased online or on the spot.

9. London Transport Museum

London Transport Museum

The London Transport Museum , opened to the public in 1980, presents the history of transport in the city of London. You will see ancient carriages and the city’s current transport systems up close.

The museum has replicas and original pieces that show technological and social changes in urban traffic.

Located in Covent Garden Square , in the building of the old flower market, the museum is located in a place known for its cultural importance. There you can see carriages and subways that represent different historical periods and board red double-decker buses, which are tourist attractions in themselves.

The London Transport Museum is open daily, and you can purchase tickets online or at the museum itself. The visit provides an insight into how transport has contributed to the city’s growth and highlights the constant innovations in the sector in London.

10. Museum of Brands

The Museum of Brands , also known as the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising, offers an overview of the evolution of consumerism from the Victorian era to the present.

The museum’s collection includes product packaging that varies over the years and advertising campaigns that demonstrate changes in society.

Founded in 1984 by Robert Opie, a collector interested in British consumerism, the museum has a vast amount of items. The exhibition is organized to showcase the history of brands and the influence of advertising on popular culture.

The Museum of Brands is open every day. From Monday to Saturday it is open from 10am to 6pm, and on Sundays from 11am to 5pm. You need to buy tickets to access the museum, they are available online or at the local box office.

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How many museums are there in London?

London hosts around 170 museums, reflecting its cultural variety and interest in art and knowledge.

Among them, there are everything from internationally recognized institutions to small galleries focused on specific themes. By visiting London’s museums, you will understand the contribution each one makes to the city’s cultural scene.

In addition to holding important items or displaying significant artistic works, they also educate and encourage conversations between the city’s past and present.

With so many museums available, you will always have something new to see, making London an attractive place for anyone interested in art and history.

Highlights of the British Museum in London

British Museum in London

Located in the center of London’s museums, the British Museum presents a wide collection that spans different eras of civilization.

One of its famous items is the Rosetta Stone, essential for understanding Egyptian hieroglyphs and an important archaeological piece. The Parthenon Friezes or Elgin Marbles are another highlight, representing ancient Greek art in precise detail. These are constantly asked back by Greece, but the UK refuses.

The Assyrian Room also deserves attention, with its large sculptures and reliefs from Nimrud’s palace. Katebet’s mummy draws attention due to its condition and historical significance.

Each piece in the British Museum offers perspectives on different times and cultures. Visiting it provides a look at different aspects of history through the exhibitions of this well-known London museum.

Entrance cost to the British Museum in London

Access to the British Museum, recognized among London’s museums, is free of charge for visitors. You can see most of the galleries and permanent collections without paying, including items like the Rosetta Stone and the Parthenon sculptures.

However, some temporary exhibitions may have variable ticket prices. These values ​​depend on the exposure in question.

Even though it is free to enter the main areas of the museum, it is suggested that visitors make voluntary contributions to support the functioning and cultural and educational offerings of the site.

Cultural tour of museums in London

When planning your visit to London, it is likely that you will include at least one museum in your itinerary. These locations are important for understanding what the city has to offer, featuring historical and cultural elements that reflect both London and global aspects.

The city’s museums, many with free entry, provide an educational experience through their significant collections.

You can explore the exhibitions at the British Museum or enjoy modern works at Tate Modern.

Visiting these places reinforces their importance to London’s diverse character. When organizing your trip to the English capital, consider taking time to explore these spaces where each object contributes to our collective understanding of history and art.

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