London has a huge number of museums, many of which they are free. Here are six of the best free London museums to include in your next visit.
🐾 Dog-friendly: While not surprisingly none of these museums allow dogs, London has some terrific dog-friendly hotels. Check out my picks for the best dog-friendly hotels in London. Then organise a pet sitter for the day!
1. British Museum
The British Museum is one of the world’s oldest museums and one of the iconic free museums in London. With collections so vast that only a fraction are on show at any time, it is easy to while away a whole afternoon or even a day here, and come back for more. Some of the crowd favourites include the Egyptian section with its mummies, the Rosetta Stone and the Sutton Hoo ship burial. For more information, visit the website.
2. Museum of London
To gain a perspective on London’s long history, it’s worthwhile checking out the Museum of London. It combines exhibits of historic artefacts uncovered during excavations with re-creations of street scares and interiors. There are two locations for the museum. The original in the heart of the city overlooks the remains of the old city walls, that date back to Roman times. Then there’s a newer warehouse in the Docklands precinct. For full details, see here.
3. National Gallery
Situated right on Trafalgar Square, it’s difficult to skip making at least a short visit to the National Gallery. With a collection of over 2,000 artworks from all across Europe, two of the most popular works are one of Monet’s water lily paintings and one of Van Gogh’s sunflowers. There are also masterpieces from Correggio, Michelangelo, Titian, Raphael, Vermeer, Rembrandt and van Eyck. 60 minute guided tours are offered daily at this excellent free museum; for more details visit the website.
4. Tate Modern
To see more art, cross the Thames to visit the Tate Modern, located in the cavernous former Bankside Power Station. The main exhibit is organised around thematic collections that regularly change, plus there are regular special exhibits on everything from key 20th century painters to photography. Famous twentieth century artists on display include Picasso, Dalí, Warhol and Beuys. Spend a night art at the museum with late night opening until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, click here.
5. Victoria and Albert Museum
Named after Queen Victoria, who laid the foundation stone in 1899, and her consort, this free London museum is generally known as the V&A. It is a magnificent applied arts museum to visit, both architecturally and inside. With around 150 galleries over 7 floors to explore, some of its treasures include the finest collection of Italian Renaissance sculpture outside Italy and priceless artefacts from the Middle East and Asia. Don’t miss the William Morris design dining room. This museum is also open until 10pm on Fridays, for more details see here.
6. Royal Airforce Museum
If art and design are not your thing, maybe aircraft, interactive flying displays and light shows are more to your taste. You need to travel to 30 minutes outside of central London to visit the Royal Airforce, but it’s nearly all free (apart from parking charges, if you drive, and a charge of £3 applies for two flight simulators). For full details of this free museum, visit the website.
(Main photo copyright Moyan Brenn on Flickr, used under Creative Commons license)