Free museums in London

Best London museums for free

London free museums are aplenty in the capital. From the National Gallery to the Tate Modern, there is a huge selection to choose from. The only hard thing might be choosing where to start.

  1. Enjoy the paintings in the National Gallery
  2. Discover the Science Museum
  3. See modern art at the Tate Modern
  4. Enter one the best museums in the world - the British Museum
  5. See fascinating applied arts in the Victoria and Albert Museum

From learning about Greek art in the British Museum to discovering the treasures of the Victoria and Albert Museum, there is plenty to explore in London - all for free!

1. Enjoy the paintings in the National Gallery

The National Gallery was begun in 1824 by the British government. The gallery’s canny acquisition policy has resulted in more than 2300 paintings, but the collection’s virtue is not so much its size as its range, depth and sheer quality. To view the collection chronologically, begin with the Sainsbury Wing, to the west. With more than one thousand paintings on display, you’ll need real stamina to see everything, so if time is tight your best bet is to home in on your areas of special interest or join one of the gallery’s free guided tours, which set off from the Sainsbury Wing foyer.

Where?: Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN

Opening times: Daily 10am-6pm, Fri till 9pm

2. Discover the Science Museum

The Science Museum looks back to the history of inventions ranging from the first steam train to the battered command module from the Apollo 10 space mission. There is a lot to discover here. Seven floors of exhibition space cover themes such as medicine, photography, computing, physics and chemistry. There are fantastic exhibits on genes and what the future holds for digital communications. The Flight Zone is home to a IMAX cinema and various flight simulators. In addition there is a maths and science interactive gallery which offers a huge walk-through model of the solar system. You can also take part in the chemistry experiments here, so it’s a great day of fun!

Where?: Exhibition Rd, South Kensington, SW7 2DD

Opening times: Daily 10am-6pm

3. See modern art at the Tate Modern

Bankside is dominated by the awesome Tate Modern . Designed as an oil-fired power station by Giles Gilbert Scott, this austere, brick-built “cathedral of power” was converted into a splendid modern art gallery in 2000. The Blavatnik Building, a distorted prism of latticed bricks that rises to 215ft, above the power station’s three original circular tanks. This extension is topped by a superb, open-air, tenth-floor viewing level. At the centre of this huge art complex is the original, stupendously large Turbine Hall, used for large installations. The main galleries are home to right hundred pieces from artists such as Picasso and Riley. The Tate Modern is one of the best free museums in London for sure.

Where?: Bankside, SE1 9TG

Opening times: Daily 10am-6pm, Fri & Sat till 10pm

4. Enter one the best museums in the world - the British Museum

The British Museum is one of the great museums in the world. With more than seventy thousand exhibits ranging over several miles of galleries, it boasts a huge collection of antiquities, prints and drawings. Its assortment of Roman and Greek art is unparalleled, its Egyptian collection is the most significant outside Egypt, and there are fabulous treasures from Anglo-Saxon and Roman Britain, and from China, Japan, India and Mesopotamia. The museum is vast, immensely popular and, on first visit, overwhelming, so it’s worth focusing on one or two sections. There are information desks in the Great Court, where you can get audio guides and find out about tours. If you go to just one free museum in London, make sure it’s this one.

Where?: Great Russell St, WC1B 3DG

Opening times: Daily 10am-5.30pm, Fri till 8.30pm

5. See fascinating applied arts in the Victoria and Albert Museum

For sheer variety and scale, the Victoria and Albert Museum is the greatest museum of applied arts in the world. Beautifully displayed across a seven-mile, four-storey maze of rooms, the V&A’s treasures are impossible to survey in a single visit. Get hold of a floor plan to help you decide which areas to concentrate on, or join a free tour. And if you’re flagging, head for the edifying café in the museum’s period-piece Morris, Gamble & Poynter Rooms. If you’re searching for London holidays, take a look at our fantastic selection. UK breaks have never been so popular!

Where?: Entrances on Cromwell Rd and Exhibition Rd, SW7 2RL

Opening times: Daily 10am–5.45pm, Fri till 10pm

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