Top 10 Free Museums in London
All you need for a fun day out in the big city!
Looking for an affordable day out in London? It’s easier than you think! Grab a quick sandwich from a supermarket and head over to these vibrant, extensive, and free museums ranging from fine art to world history. Most of these museums are in central London, making them easily accessed by tube, bus, or even on foot! You could spend an entire week in London just exploring these places, and all of the architectural marvelling they have to offer.
In this blog, we will walk through ten of the most beautiful and elaborate museums in London that you can enter for free! That’s right, while many of these museums are happy to receive donations at the door, you are not obligated to in order to have an educational day with the family. Rest assured, there are more than 10 free museums in London, but we think this list offers enough variety to keep you busy.
Londons Free Museums
The Natural History Museum
For nature fanatics, this museum has exhibits featuring dinosaurs, mineral stones, aquatic life, and much more! As you step into its ornate facade, you’re greeted by a blue whale skeleton in the entranceway. This iconic museum spans several floors, allowing you to spend an entire day learning there. Many of the artefacts in this museum were found in the UK, including meteor fragments and fossils. The Natural History Museum is truly one of the best museums in London. Its wealth of knowledge and beautiful architecture make it a must-see!
The Tate Modern
This modern art gallery is one of the most famous in London. Its towering facade faces the River Thames, giving attendees a beautiful view of the skyline. Inside there are modern artworks spanning the last 100+ years. You can also find seasonal exhibitions inside, where sound baths and light shows are commonly held. Make sure to set aside 3+ hours for this museum, as the rooms are widely spaced apart and it requires a lot of walking!
The Tate Britain
Much different from the Tate Modern, the Tate Britain is home to a collection of fine art by British artists. It’s especially famous for its collection of Pre Raphaelite paintings from the 1800s. This museum has something for everyone, as it balances modern art with the old masters. If you have 2 hours to spare, don’t miss this beautiful museum. The neoclassical architecture gracing its front facade makes for an impressive and awe-inspiring afternoon.
The National Gallery
In the heart of London, just behind the lions of Trafalgar Square, you will find the most iconic of the bunch. The National Gallery is home to famous artists from all over the world. It is especially loved for its collection of Monet and Van Gogh paintings. Due to its central location, you can slot a trip to this museum in around your London sightseeing easily.
The Victoria and Albert Museum
Home to a wealth of art, textiles, ceramics, and otherworldly artefacts. This is one of the most diverse museums in all of London. They are also famous for their curated exhibitions which change from season to season. Its proximity to South Kensington and Hyde Park make this a great option for people exploring London’s famous green spaces!
The British Museum
With its classic architecture and sky-high ceilings, this impressive museum will leave you awe-struck. Home to artefacts from around the world, this museum is perfect for the history buff in your family. Take your time meandering through the rooms full of Egyptian mummies, ancient pottery and gold coins. The British Museum is mighty and a wealth of culture.
The Wallace Collection
For those fascinated by 18th-century Rococo art, pristine suits of armour, and hand-painted pottery, the Wallace Collection is a great spot. It’s smaller than the other museums on this list, but it’s a treasure trove of art. The museum itself is famous for its colourful silk-lined walls and grand staircase. It truly feels like you’ve entered a home of royalty.
The National Maritime Museum
Based in the cartographers centre of the world, Greenwich. This free museum is for the nautical buffs out there. Positioned just off to the side of The Queens House, this museum is full of history and art spanning the age of exploration. You will learn about life before the aeroplane, where seafarers would set sail and explore the oceans. There are also more modern boat artefacts, to show how life at sea has changed through the centuries.
Once you’ve finished enjoying its nautical neighbour, Queen’s house is its artistic counterpart. In this free museum, the seafaring art is still present, but it’s mingled with other artefacts including intricate boat models. This glorious building was where Queen Elizabeth I was born. It is rich with Tudor History and housed the young Queen before she was coronated.
National Portrait Gallery
Are you a fan of fashion? What better way to study the way people dressed than to look at the original selfie. The National Portrait Gallery is home to a seemingly endless supply of portraits from the ages. Located near the National Gallery, it makes a welcome companion to that collection and a grand day out!
Are you going to visit any of these free museums? For travellers and learners alike, there is nothing better than to learn more about a culture. These museums are even helpful for English language learners! For people looking to learn a new language, cultural immersion is a necessity. Learning about English culture through history and art can help transport the student and offer them greater excitement about the material. If this applies to you, why not try LillyPad?
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Bethany MacDonald has contributed articles LillyPad.ai since 2020. As their Blog Lead, she specialises in informative pieces on culture, education, and language learning