Wanting to discover a different side of the British capital, looking to pass the time on a rainy day or simply love to learn? The large number of museums scattered throughout London’s streets have you covered! Exhibiting a wide variety of topics, from maritime heritage and transport history through to war, science and design, there’s certainly no shortage of great galleries to explore.
With so many museums to choose from, we’ve narrowed the field down to our top 10. Check out our top picks below.
Natural History Museum
First opening its doors in 1881, London’s Natural History Museum is home to a collection of more than 80 million specimens, spanning across billions of years and a variety of scientific disciplines. Said to be one of the world’s most important natural history collections, the museum showcases everything from giant dinosaur skeletons and ancient fossils through to sparkling gemstones and human biology. If a day at the museum isn’t enough, overnight museum stays are on offer for both children and the young at heart.
National Maritime Museum
Documenting British maritime history and showcasing the importance of the sea and ships, the National Maritime Museum is the place to head to acquaint yourself with the country’s seafaring past. The largest museum of its kind in the world, you’ll find everything from displays about historical figures and important events through to captivating temporary exhibitions.
Museum of London
Exploring life in London from ancient and Medieval times through to the present day, the Museum of London is the place to head to gain an understanding of the people and events that have shaped the British capital. Home to the largest archaeological archive in the world, the museum presents a fascinating insight into the ways in which the city has evolved over time. From prehistoric artefacts through to the cauldron of the 2012 London Olympics, there’s plenty to discover throughout the museum’s galleries.
From robots and medical relics through to rockets and examples of technology through the ages, London’s Science Museum currently has over 300,000 objects in its care. Featuring scientific, technological and medical achievements from across the globe, the museum’s interactive galleries offer visitors the perfect opportunity to discover just how far our knowledge of the world around us has developed and how inventive humans have become.
Victoria and Albert Museum
Hosting a permanent collection of over 2.3 million objects, the Victoria and Albert Museum, commonly known as the V&A, is said to be the world’s leading museum of art and design. Established in 1852, the museum exhibits a variety of objects, from clothing and jewellery through to sculptures, fine examples of architecture and more. With more than 11km of galleries, there’s certainly no shortage of fascinating pieces and informative displays to discover throughout the museum.
Imperial War Museum
Through a mix of permanent and temporary exhibitions, the Imperial War Museum explores the conflicts that have involved British and Commonwealth troops from First World War through to the present day. A wide variety of conflicts and topics are represented by exhibitions full of artefacts, photographs and multimedia displays, including life on the homefront, the Holocaust, espionage, the two world wars and more.
Boasting a world class collection of artefacts that represent human history and culture through the ages, it comes as no surprise that the British Museum attracts almost 6 million visitors each year. Displaying objects originating from ancient civilisations through to the present day, there’s something on show at the museum to suit almost every interest. Be sure to keep an eye out for some of the museum’s best known acquisitions, including Egyptian mummies, Parthenon sculptures and the Rosetta Stone.
Churchill War Rooms
A secret underground shelter used by Winston Churchill and his staff during the Second World War, the Churchill War Rooms offer an insight into the time, effort and planning involved in the eventual allied victory. See strategic maps left untouched since the end of the war in the Cabinet War Rooms or learn about the life and legacy of Britain’s famed wartime prime minister at the Churchill Museum. Preserved since 1945, the War Rooms is an attraction not be missed by true history buffs.
V&A Museum of Childhood
Arranged into four galleries, the V&A Museum of Childhood, the United Kingdom’s national collection of childhood related objects, is said to be be one of the best museums of its kind in the world. Exhibiting everything from children’s clothing and construction toys through to dolls, games, teddy bears and model cars, the museum explores the how the notion of childhood has changed and showcases the popular toys that have accompanied it.
London Transport Museum
With the help of a collection of more than 45,000 items, the London Transport Museum showcases the manner in which the city’s transport system has changed during the last 200 years. From the early days of public transport through to the present day, the vehicles, posters, photographs, films and other objects on display tell the story of one of the world’s most iconic transport systems. Set your eyes on a red London bus, the world’s first underground steam train, the famed Harry Beck London Underground map and a host of other fascinating pieces.
Feature Image Credit: Russell Davies.