It really is no surprise that London is one of the most famous capitals in the world (if not the most famous). Plane loads of tourists flock to the city every month to see what London has to offer, as do those that live in this country permanently. Walking London’s crowded streets, you can’t help but notice how many museums there are; to save you the trouble of counting, there are actually more than 170 museums (insane I know!). You might find yourself at a loss as to what museums to visit first, so to help you out this article will list the top museums in London that you HAVE to see. But fear not, no matter what museum you visit, whether it be Freud’s, or those specialising in advertising and medicine, you really won’t be disappointed. So without further ado, let’s begin:
1. The Natural History Museum.
Hands down this is one of my favourite museums in London, every time I walk through the grand doors I am instantly in awe and feel like a little kid again. Located in South Kensington, this magical museum is home to around 80 million plant, animal, fossil, rock and mineral specimens. Since 1979 visitors were greeted with the skeleton of the ‘Dippy the Diplodocus’ Dinosaur as they entered Hintze Hall, but now the skeleton of ‘Hope’ the Blue Whale is extended from the ceiling, positioned in a diving lunge. Her lifelike aura really makes you feel as if you are swimming alongside her in the sea! Entry is free and the museum is open daily so what are you waiting for? Go along and see what all the hype is about.
2. The V&A Museum.
You have to visit The Victoria and Albert Museum- the world’s leading museum of decorative art and design and which hosts a collection of over 2.3 million objects. This museum really is unrivalled in terms of scope and diversity, with rooms dedicated to Europe, Islamic Middle East, Japan, Korea, China and South Asia, you can travel the world without actually leaving England! Immerse yourself in a world of different cultures as you walk the aesthetically stunning grounds. My favourite part of the museum is the section dedicated to the Buddhist sculptural traditions of Asia. There are 47 Buddhist works on show, all in varying conditions, some are crumbling away with pieces missing – you really do feel as if you are lucky to witness such artefacts and that future generations might not be as privileged. They fill you with a sense of peace and tranquillity. Again, this beauty of the museums in London are open daily and entry is free.
3. The British Museum.
As suggested by the name, this museum havens some of the most significant global finds by British explorers, and is dedicated to human history, art and culture. What’s better, you can feast your eyes on artefacts such as the Rosetta Stone and the Parthenon sculptures all for FREE! The British Museum is also stunning in terms of architecture, a stand out feature is the tessellated glass roof which covers the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court, and what used to be the original circular British Museum Reading Room. As the natural sunlight (or gloomy clouds/rain) filters through this ceiling, it really adds to the room’s atmosphere and the longer you stare up at its hypnotic patterning, you feel as if you’re floating off somewhere into space. This is a London museum you definitely have to visit.
4. The Science Museum.
Another one of the museums in London you can’t afford to miss, especially if you prefer to be a little more hands on, is The Science Museum. Located in Brompton, this impressive museum spans across seven floors of entertaining and educational exhibits – perfect for budding astronauts and doctors! Satisfy your inner geek by perusing the Apollo 10 command module, a virtual reality space-descend experience, a sixteenth-century artificial arm and much much more… Here, you can find out about the objects that have shaped our world and the unique histories behind each of them. Open daily, this museum also offers ‘Lates’ – night-time events and exhibitions to keep your brain ticking over into the dark.
5. London’s Transport Museum.
Iconic London symbols are without a doubt the Black Cab and London’s Red Buses. This is why London’s Transport Museum is another museum it would be criminal not to visit. Situated in Covent Garden, it is home to vintage red Routemaster buses, tubes, trains, maps, transport signs and uniforms. Initially I thought it sounded a little boring, but I couldn’t have been further from the truth. You are able to explore the history of London and its world-famous transport network through artworks and photographs that capture London’s evolution from 1860 to today. This museum does not offer free entry, but once you have paid once, you can visit anytime you like for an entire year, so you certainly get your moneys worth!
6. The Imperial War Museum.
This is the last one of museums in London on the list that you have to visit in London. It is a powerful and thought-provoking museum that reveals people’s experiences of conflict from WW1 to today. The highlight feature of the museum in my opinion has to be the Holocaust exhibition (not suitable for children under the age of fourteen). This exhibition is confronting and eye-opening; I guarantee you won’t feel the same as you emerge at the other end; it is overwhelmingly touching and incredibly painful to try and come to terms with this shocking event in history. The set up of the museum itself is also breath-taking, you can walk under planes suspended from the ceiling as if they are mid-flight! The fact this museum is free and open daily means you really don’t have an excuse not to visit…
So there you have it, a list of six museums in London. There were so many that I could have included such as The Design Museum or The National Maritime Museum. Which is your favourite? Answer in the comment section below.
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My name is Nicole Brownfield and I am 20 years old. I am studying English Literature and going into my 3rd and final year of Queen Mary University, London in September. I am currently the Editor-In-chief of my University magazine 'CUB' and my dream is to pursue a career in journalism after I graduate. I love living in London and am obsessed with sourcing out food and drink places, as well as exploring the parts of London I have never been to before. My boyfriend and I have recently turned pescatarian and this symbolises my goal to constantly keep bettering myself and to stay healthy and disciplined. Every day I try and achieve something as I want to look back and be proud of the life I have lived, and to make my family proud too.