London is home to over 300 museums and galleries, so you're never short of somewhere to go for an inspiring – and often free – day out. While the British Museum and Museum of London are among the most famous tourist attractions, there are scores of more niche exhibitions to enthral visitors of all ages, whatever your interests. We've rounded up ten of the best museums in London to get started…
1. Museum of London
The current Museum of London dates back to 1976 and features a number of permanent and temporary exhibitions highlighting the rich history of London, dating back to before it was even built. Visitors can go on a journey through Roman, Medieval and the Great Fire of London, through to present day, to see how technology, fashion and culture have revolutionised the city. You can also see one of London's most historic objects from recent times – the cauldron that was lit at the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games. Free entry daily from 10am-6pm. See more at museumoflondon.org.uk.
2. British Museum
One of London's most popular tourist attractions – and for good reason – you could easily fill a few hours exploring the British Museum. This free museum in London has a collection of over four million items, including the Rosetta Stone, Parthenon sculptures and the Lewis Chessmen – the most famous chess set in the world. Open daily from 10am-5.30pm. Open until 8.30pm on Fridays. Plan your visit at britishmuseum.org.
3. Science Museum
Enjoy an educating day out at London's Science Museum, which features an array of interactive exhibitions demonstrating everything from space travel to what it's like to fly with the red arrows. There are over 15,000 objects on display here, along with an IMAX 3D cinema that has a screen taller than four double-decker buses. Admission is free, open daily. Plan your visit at sciencemuseum.org.uk.
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4. Natural History Museum
Visitors young and old will be captivated by the incredible displays at the Natural History Museum. While Dippy the Diplodocus has gone on tour, the skeleton has been replaced by the 25.2-metre-long skeleton of Hope the blue whale since 2017. Other highlights include the dinosaur gallery, an exhibition centred on the changing history of the Earth, and a wildlife garden. Free admission daily from 10am-5.50pm. Plan your visit at nhm.ac.uk.
5. Victoria and Albert Museum
Heralded as the world's leading museum of art and design, the Victoria and Albert Museum is well worth a visit. The Duchess of Cambridge is royal patron of this museum, which has collections covering fashion, architecture and more, all with free admission daily. Get more information at vam.ac.uk.
6. National Gallery
If you love art, the National Gallery should be high on your list of museums and art galleries to visit in London. Located in Trafalgar Square, the gallery showcases work from thousands of celebrated artists, including Van Gogh, Monet and Rembrandt. Admission is free. Visit nationalgallery.org.uk to plan your visit.
7. Tate Modern
You'll find a selection of international modern and contemporary art on display at the Tate Modern, which is located next to the River Thames in London. As well as exploring the art exhibitions, visitors can also participate in a number of free tours and workshops. Open daily, free admission. See more at tate.org.uk.
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8. National Maritime Museum
Venture over to Greenwich for a visit to the National Maritime Museum, one of the top ten attractions in London, and for good reason. This is the leading maritime museum in the UK and the historic buildings form part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site. You can learn about the stories of exploration and endeavour that have shaped our world today, and see items such as Nelson's Trafalgar coat, along with four new exhibitions with over 1,100 more objects on display. Admission is free, see more at rmg.co.uk.
9. Imperial War Museum
Learn about how conflict and war has impacted the world we live in at the Imperial War Museum, which reflects from the First World War onwards, with unique documents, art, sound and film. You'll learn about the exceptional stories of people whose lives have been changed by war and explore key moments from the Second World War in a poignant day out. Free entry daily. Plan your visit at iwm.org.uk.
10. London Transport Museum
Explore the story of London and how its transport system has evolved over the last 200 years at the London Transport Museum. From the iconic red London bus through to the modern underground trains we use today and transport we could use in the future, you'll go on a journey through history and learn a lot about the city in the process. Open daily. Adult tickets £17.50, concessions £15 and kids go free. Tickets allow unlimited entry for 12 months. Plan your visit at ltmuseum.co.uk.
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