London is home to some of the greatest museums in the world, and admission is free.
There are charges for some exhibitions, but general entrance will cost you nothing. Try to make a small donation if you can spare it, as museum budgets keep getting cut!
Here’s a list of museums’ websites, opening hours and collection highlights.
The British Museum
An enormous collection spanning the globe from prehistoric to the present.
Great Russell Street, WC1B 3DG
Open daily 10:00 – 17:30
Fridays until 20:30
Ptolemaic, Egyptian, The Rosetta Stone, 196 BCE
The National Gallery
Contains the nation’s collection of European art from medieval to modern.
Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN
Open daily 10:00-18:00
Fridays until 21:00
Thomas Gainsborough, Mr and Mrs Andrews, 1750
National Portrait Gallery
Dedicated to the art of the portrait, it is a great place to get a sense of who is considered important in modern Britain.
St Martin’s Place
Open daily 10:00 -18:00
Thursday, Friday until 21:00
Yousef Karsh, Queen Elizabeth II, 1951
Victoria and Albert Museum
Dedicated to art and design, the V&A contains sculpture, textiles, paintings, jewelry, ceramics, silver, prints, photographs, and the National Art Library.
Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL
10:00 – 17:45 daily
Fridays until 22:00
Maqsud Kashani, Iran, Ardabil carpet, made for shrine of Shaykh Safi al-Din, ca. 1530s
Sir John Soane’s Museum
The architect’s home and collection, displayed in his former townhouse.
13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London
Tuesday – Saturday 10:00-5:00
Open late on first Tuesday of every month for candlelight viewing from 6:00-9:00 pm. Extremely popular, you will have to wait in a very long line, but it is worth it.
The Wallace Collection
Wonderful collection of bronzes, paintings and furniture, displayed in the family home of the Marquesses of Hertford.
Fragonard, The Swing, 1767
Natural History Museum
open daily 10:00 -17:50
In a wonderful 19th century building, has everything from stuffed bisons to casts of dinosaurs.
Comprising Tate Britain, Tate Modern, and Tate Liverpool.
Tate Britain displays the national collection of British art from 1500 to the present day.
London SW1P 4RG
British school, 17th century, The Cholmondeley Ladies c. 1600
Tate Modern is the home of international art from ca. 1900 to the present and its displays are thematic.
London SE1 9TG
Sunday-Thursday, 10:00 -18:00
Friday, Saturday, 10:00 – 22:00
Anthony Caro, Emma Dipper, 1977