14 Best Museums in London

London’s incredible museum scene sits alongside its world-renowned reputation for food, incredible parks, and world-class nightlife. The variety here is truly breathtaking. From galleries featuring the likes of Van Gough and Rembrandt, to an exploration of the history of public transport in the capital, and everything in between.

So, here are 14 of the best museums in London. And the best part? Most of them are absolutely free!

The Natural History Museum – Best Museum in London for Kids

Natural History

Address: Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 5BD

Entry Fee: Free

The Natural History Museum is everyone’s favourite London Museum. And for a great reason.

From the outside, this magnificent building in South Kensington looks more like a Gothic cathedral than a museum. But once you step inside, you enter a magical kingdom exploring all things natural from our world.

Amazingly, the collection here comprises over 80 million natural specimens. These range from the massive blue whale skeleton hanging over the entranceway to an exhibit of venomous insects.

You could be forgiven for assuming this is a child-only venue, but this is not the case at all. Whilst the museum will be filled with children having the time of their life, there is plenty to keep grown-ups occupied. If you prefer a more relaxed experience, there is a late opening once a month on a Friday evening.

The Victoria and Albert Museum

Address: Cromwell Rd, London SW7 2RL

Entry Fee: Free

The Victoria and Albert Museum is one of the world’s largest art and design museums and should absolutely not be missed from your London itinerary.

There is a huge variety with regard to what’s on display here. The exhibits range from sculptures to jewellery and everything in between. Interestingly, fashion is greatly focused on here, especially in the temporary exhibits. Dior and Alexander McQueen featured in two of the most recent.

It would be completely impossible to see everything in one go. Therefore, I recommend doing a little research beforehand and plotting what you would like to see. Entrance is completely free, and everything is clearly signposted once inside.

Tate Modern – London’s Best Free Art Gallery

Tate Modern London
Tate Modern London

Address: Bankside, London SE1 9TG

Entry Fee: Free

As the name suggests, the Tate Modern is an amazing museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art. Located on the beautiful Southbank, the Tate Modern is one of the best-known galleries in London and one of my favourite things to do in east London.

For me, the Tate Modern is an excellent entry into modern art. Do I profess to understand and appreciate every piece? Absolutely not. However, it is a fun (and free!) way to explore art.

Highlights include paintings by Picasso and Dali, but there is so much to enjoy here. There are regular temporary exhibits, but these get booked up literally months in advance, so be sure to get in there early if you’re hoping to grab tickets.

Tate Britain

tate Britain

Address: Millbank, London SW1P 4RG

Entry Fee: Free

Tate Moderns’ older and more sophisticated sibling sits in Westminster, showcasing the best of British art. The Tate Britain has over 1500 pieces, with perhaps the most notable artists being Turner and David Hockney.  

The building itself (a former prison) is an incredible feat of architecture. Expect to see lots of people snapping Instagram shots on the beautiful spiral staircase.

On the last Friday of every month, the Tate Britain hosts a late event with a licenced bar and DJ. Each month has a theme and provides an excellent free activity to enjoy in the city.  

Design Museum

Address: 224-238 Kensington High St, London W8 6AG

Entry Fee: Free

The Design Museum, nestled in beautiful Kensington, is one of London’s best free art galleries.

The museum is dedicated to exploring product, industrial, graphic, fashion and architectural design, taking visitors through different eras. The building itself is truly breathtaking, with its curved roof and sharp minimalist interiors.

The museum is relatively small and can be enjoyed comfortably in around two hours. Whilst there are a range of activities aimed at ages 5-11, the museum is best appreciated by teenagers and adults.

Although entrance to the Design Museum is free, but pre-booking is required for the paid-for exhibitions.

British Museum – London’s Best Free Museum

British Museum
British Museum

Address: Great Russell St, London WC1B 3DG

Entry Fee: Free

Famously the home of the Rosetta Stone, The British Museum was the first free national museum in the world.

Despite the name, the British Museum houses expansive collections relating to the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans. There is, of course, plenty of debate as to whether these exhibitions should be kept in London at all. Nonetheless, the exhibits here are truly outstanding, making the British Museum arguably the best free thing to do in London.

As with most of the museums on this list, entry to the main gallery is free. With an additional range of paid-for temporary exhibitions. However, the free core area boasts an incredible 5000 artefacts – plenty to entertain even the most budding historian.

As you would expect, this museum gets very busy – visit on a weekday morning for the most relaxed experience. The Egyptian and Greek exhibits were by far the busiest so if you get there for opening, I would recommend heading straight there!

Museum of Brands – Best Unique Museum in London

Museum of Brands
Museum of Brands

Address: 111-117 Lancaster Rd, London W11 1QT

Entry Fee: Adult £9 / Child £5

The Museum of the Brands is undoubtedly one of the best small museums in London. Situated just around the corner from the Portobello Market in Notting Hill, this museum invites visitors to take a trip down memory lane and reminisce about the most iconic brands of the last 100 years.

Time Tunnel is a permanent exhibition exploring branding from Victorian times to the present day. It explores how society and consumer habits have evolved and, along with it, the household brands we all know and love.

The museum explores physical product branding alongside magazines, TV and radio. What I particularly enjoyed about this museum is the threads that run throughout the decades. For example, the brand Persil was showcased repeatedly throughout the timeline, showing how the brand has evolved.

I visited on a Friday morning and the museum was almost empty which made it a pleasure to enjoy at my own pace. I would recommend allocating around 60-90 minutes for your visit.

Fashion and Textile Museum

Address: 83 Bermondsey St, London SE1 3XF

Entry Fee: Adult £11.50 / Child Free

Does it get much more hipster than Bermondsey’s Fashion and Textile Museum? I think not.

Just a short walk from Tower Bridge, this museum is housed in a converted warehouse with an unmissable bright yellow and pink façade.

Interestingly, the Fashion and Textile Museum doesn’t have a permanent display. Instead, it homes temporary exhibitions showcasing different eras of fashion. This is an excellent approach for those who want a deeper understanding of the subject, and it allows guests to revisit frequently and never get bored!

National Gallery

National Gallery

Address: Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN

Entry Fee: Free

Home of Van Gough’s iconic Sunflowers, The National Gallery is widely considered one of London’s best free art galleries. This iconic building is located in London’s bustling Trafalgar Square and boasts over 2,300 paintings spanning from the 13th to the 19th centuries.

Visitors can enjoy masterpieces from Rembrandt, Michelangelo and Picasso at the National Gallery. The sheer size of this building is mindblowing, so don’t expect to see everything in one go. The artwork is separated by era and clearly signposted, with tonnes of free audioguides to assist you around the venue.

Unsurprisingly, it gets extremely busy here on the weekend. But as mentioned, the building is absolutely huge, so queues move quickly, meaning visitors don’t have to wait too long to get inside.

London Transport Museum

Address: The Piazza, London WC2E 7BB

Entry Fee: Adult £21 (valid for unlimited trips for 12 months) / Children Free

As the name suggests, the London Transport Museum takes visitors on a journey through public transport in the capital over three interactive floors.

This museum strikes the perfect balance with plenty of information nestled between items that can be climbed onto, into and all over. For this reason, the London Transport Museum is great for all age brackets. Of course, there is plenty of information about the London underground – great for tourists and Londoners alike.

The only downside to this museum is the price point, with tickets being £21 per adult. However, this does allow unlimited visits for a year.

Cutty Sark

Address: Greenwich Church Street, Royal Borough of Greenwich, London, SE10 9BL

Entry Fee: Adult £16 / Child £8

The Cutty Sark is one of the most iconic sights in the whole of London, as well as one of the best things to do in Greenwich. Originally built in 1869 to carry tea back from China, the ship then spent 25 years transporting cargo, followed by a stint at a British naval cadets Training College.

This magnificent structure is now an interactive learning opportunity for children and adults alike.

Visitors are invited to follow in the footsteps of those who sailed aboard, with interactive exhibitions demonstrating the sights, smells and motions of being on this famous ship.

The Photographers Gallery – London’s Best Small Gallery

Address: 16-18 Ramillies St, London W1F 7LW

Entry Fee: £8 general admission, or £4 when booked in advance

The Photographers Gallery, located just three minutes from Oxford Circus, is home to some of the most iconic photography and antiques from around the world. The Photographers Gallery is one of the best small museums in London.

The variety here is phenomenal, with various subject matters and photography styles. Each piece has a great deal of information for those looking for a deeper appreciation of the art.

The Photographers Gallery is also excellent for budding photographers, with regular amateur events offering a perfect opportunity to gain tips and tricks and network with like-minded creatives. The exhibitions are also ever-changing, so repeat visits are never disappointing. 

Top Tip: Entrance on Fridays is free after 5 pm

Science Museum

Address: Exhibition Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 2DD

Entry Fee: Free

The Science Museum is one of the best free London museums, but with a central location next to the Natural History Museum, it attracts crowds from far and wide.

There are countless exhibits, ranging through aviation, art, space, and technology. The best part about the Science Museum is how interactive it is – making it ideal for children. The atmosphere here on the weekend could accurately be described as somewhat organized chaos; but it is an excellent learning fun opportunity for the little ones.

Although entry is free, you should pre-book to avoid disappointment. Visitors should also be aware that some of the exhibitions do cost extra.

Tower of London

Tower of London

Address: London EC3N 4AB

Entry Fee: Adult £29.90 / Child £14.90

The Tower of London is an unmissable experience and undoubtedly one of the best museums for kids in London. Located next to Tower Bridge, the Tower of London has a long history as a palace, a fortress, and a prison.

The Tower of London is undoubtedly one of the more expensive museums in London, but it is an excellent opportunity to learn about the history of the monarchy in England. For example, the famous ‘Line of Kings’ exhibition includes suits of armour worn by Henry VIII, Charles I, and James II.

The Beefeaters carry out free tours every thirty minutes, a great interactive way to enjoy the Tower of London.

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