Hotels near Imperial War Museum, London

Imperial War Museum

One of the most visited museums in London, the Imperial War Museum showcases the history of the international conflicts that have dominated modern history and shaped the world we live in today.

History of the museum

The museum was established in 1917 and was originally based in Sydenham Hill in south London, although it was relocated to South Kensington in 1924 before moving to its current location in later years.

The Member of Parliament, Sir Alfred Mond, who served as the First Commissioner of Works, suggested in February 1917 that a new war museum be opened in London, and wrote a letter to the Prime Minister David Lloyd George. After the War Cabinet accepted his suggestion, a new museum opened at Crystal Palace in June 1920, just 19 months after the ending of the First World War.

The museum was eventually moved to the site of the older Bethlem Royal Hospital in 1936, which was redeveloped and extended after the Second World War, and benefited from another substantial refurbishment completed in the year 2000.

What to see in the museum

The Imperial War Museum, along with its other branches in London, Manchester and Cambridgeshire, houses well over 10 million artefacts related to all military conflicts since 1914 that have involved Britain and the Commonwealth of Nations. With the exception of some special exhibitions, all adults and children are permitted free entry to the museum, like most other museums in London.

The venue contains 150,000 aerial photographs of Britain during the First World War, hundreds of historic military aircraft and vehicles, and tens of thousands of nationally and internationally important items, such as rare maps and books. Here, you can read the accounts of people's experiences in the First World War, and learn about the gripping stories of the Second World War in 'The Holocaust Exhibition' and 'A Family in Wartime'.

Other places to visit nearby

The London Eye attraction, the Houses of Parliament, and Big Ben are all just a short bus journey from the museum, as is Tower Bridge and the ancient Tower of London. If you're interested in booking hotels near Imperial War Museum, consider the sophisticated H10 London Waterloo, which is chic, contemporary and only 0.2 miles away. If you're looking for something affordable but equally stylish, consider the Travelodge London Waterloo Hotel, which is only 0.3 miles from the museum.

For some mouthwatering European dishes, head to the charismatic Three O Two at H10 London Waterloo restaurant just 0.2 miles away on Waterloo Road. Other great venues within walking distance of hotels near Imperial War Museum include the fabulous Italian-themed Riverside 2 restaurant and the delightful Indian-themed Café Ishaq restaurant.

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