London, the capital of England, is a city visited by a large number of tourists every year. There are age-old castles, roman sites, and town centers dating back to the Middle Ages. If you want to visit London, you need to apply for a UK visa. The UK tourist visa is valid for six months, which permits you to travel to the UK for leisure, tourism, business, or medical treatment.
London houses some of the most fabulous and classy museums in the world. Museums preserve cultural, historical, artistic, and scientific artifacts. The exhibits in museums teach, inspire, and connect communities while providing informative and visual explorations. The museums in London have collections of arts and artifacts from modern art to social history, dinosaur bones, beautiful paintings, and portraits of influential figures.
Though London is an expensive city to visit, most of London’s Museums are free of cost. They operate on a non-profit basis while sharing the knowledge and history of the country. With more than fifty museums scattered across the city, one could easily spend a lifetime exploring all that London has to offer. Whether you are interested in history, design, fashion, or the waxwork figures, you are sure to find a museum that interests you in this city. Experience art at the ten best museums in London mentioned below.
The Most Fabulous and Classy Museums in London
The British Museum, which opened in 1759, is the oldest national museum in London. There are eight million artifacts, including the famous Oxus Treasure, the Elgin Marbles, and the Rosetta Stone. Other highlights in the museum are the Assyrian lion hunt reliefs, the Egyptian mummies, the Sutton Hoo Ship Buri, the Portland Vase, the Lindow Man, the Aztec Double-headed Serpent, and the Colossal Granite Head of Amenhotep III. The Vindolanda tablets (the earliest example of writing in Britain) were recently voted the greatest treasure by the British public.
Established in 1909, The Science Museum displays more than fifteen thousand objects from steam engines to supercomputers, rockets, cars, etc. There are more than three lakh interactive exhibits in the museum, from electricity to space travel. The exhibits encourage you to create patterns in the ferrofluid, fly a jet, or catch a criminal. The Flight Gallery in the museum features an aircraft and a Boeing 747 jumbo jet. The permanent collection in the museum is Amy Johnson’s Gipsy Moth plane, Mill engine, Model of Charles Babbage Analytical engine, Foden lorry, the Iron Lung, and the Black Arrow rocket.
Victoria & Albert Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum is named after a royal couple, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who did much to support the many triumphs of the Victorian era. There are collections of over two and a half million objects in design, decorative arts, and applied arts. The things to see in the museum are a stunning glass chandelier by an American glass artist, Dale Chihuly; Raphael’s cartoons, Tippoo’s Tiger; and Constable’s paintings. The other objects on display in the museum include the Ardabil Carpet – the world’s oldest oriental carpet, Tipu’s Toy, and a replica of plaster casts of Trajan’s Column and Michelangelo’s David. There are exhibits on furniture, fashion, theater, and more in the museum.
Imperial War Museum
The Imperial War Museum has original objects on display from World War I and World War II. There are models of war scenes too. The central atrium houses artifacts like guns, atomic bombs, tanks, human torpedoes, rockets, and military tanks and aircrafts hung from the ceiling. The photos, audio, videos, and films focus on Britain and the wars that have affected the nation. These exhibits are very interesting and informative, providing visitors to the museum a greater insight into the tragedy of wars and their impact on society. The museum organizes guided tours and educational programs for children and schools.
The National Gallery Museum building in Trafalgar Square in Central London is a popular tourist attraction. The first piece of art that greets visitors are the beautiful mosaics in the lobby of the Main Hall depicting the Pleasures of Life, the Labors of Life, and Modern Virtues. The museum features around two thousand European paintings from the thirteenth to the nineteenth centuries. The gallery is home to many fabulous sculptures like the statue of the first American President, George Washington, and the seventeenth-century monarch, King James II. There are works of Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Botticelli, Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Monet, J.M.W. Turner, Velazquez, and Caravaggio in the National Gallery.
The Design Museum in London provides a unique learning environment for people interested in design. The museum contains over forty-five thousand drawings, seventy-five thousand objects, and one lakh photographs. This museum won the European Museum of the Year award in 2018. The exhibits in the museum are dedicated to design – from fashion, architecture, and graphics to product and industrial design. The Design Shop in the museum offers a wide range of products and works of classic designers as well as works of young designers. You can book a workshop session, training session, or a guided tour of the museum.
Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is housed in a stunning Victorian building, has a grand facade, and looks more like a cathedral than a museum. Therefore, it is also called A Cathedral to Science. As you enter the museum, a massive whale skeleton named Dippy suspended from the roof in the Central Hall greets you. The Natural History Museum has about fifty-five million animal exhibits, seventy million botanical items, nine archeological relics, and five lakh rocks and minerals. The museum has four zones – the Blue zone (dedicated to zoology and biology and includes the Dinosaurs gallery); the Green zone (dedicated to Earth sciences and includes the Vault); The Red zone (dedicated to geology); and the Orange zone (dedicated to wildlife and includes the Darwin Center).
Museum of LondonImage Credit: en.wikipedia.org
The Museum of London takes you on a journey of the UK’s history, from prehistoric first settlers to today’s multicultural hub. The Museum of London has many tourists visiting, especially archeological experts and history buffs. There are ruins of the old London wall outside the museum. The museum houses over six million objects displayed in various galleries like the Expanding City, Ancient London, Medieval London, World City, War Period, and the London Cauldron. The key features in the museum are paintings and inscriptions depicting war, Alexander Mc Queen’s collection, London fire, Roman coins, swords, armors, etc.
Royal Museums Greenwich
In 2012, the Queen’s House, the National Maritime Museum, the Peter Harrison Planetarium, and the Royal Observatory were collectively called the Royal Museums Greenwich. This wonderful museum is a part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site. Visitors can stand in the two hemispheres of the Prime Meridian, view Harrison’s timekeepers and Nelson’s uniform (the coat that Nelson wore the day of the Battle of Trafalgar), and touch a 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite before visiting the planetarium. It has over two million artifacts showcasing manuscripts, maritime art, ancient maps, cartography records, nautical instruments, and ship models.
The Sherlock Holmes Museum
Situated on Baker Street, the Sherlock Holmes Museum, housed in a Georgian townhouse, bears the number 221 B, the address of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes. Every year, the museum has over seventy thousand visitors to the museum, to view exhibits related to the characters from the 1984 television series – Sherlock Holmes. The highlights in the museum include the Sherlock Holmes sitting room, Doctor Watson’s Bedroom, Sherlock’s Laboratory, collection of rare medical texts, collection of Sherlock Holmes crime paraphernalia, and the Victorian era decor and artifacts. Visit the gift shop for unique gifts like puzzles, deerstalker hats, and other Holmes-related accessories.
There are many other museums to visit in London like the Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Churchill War Rooms, The Postal Museum, and London Transport Museum, to name a few. The museums in London are maintained well due to donations and cultural awareness among the citizens. They are easily accessible and well connected by trains and buses. The London Pass gives you free entry to over sixty of London’s top attractions.