History buffs, culture vultures and the curious will discover plenty at one of the many free museums in London; here’s our pick of the best...
Words Helen Brown
Keep busy this weekend in London without spending a penny. It’s not often that the city affords a spend-free Saturday but these museums offer just that. Unless you’re partial to a gift-shop spree, that is. From global wonders to the heritage of the British home; there’s plenty of culture to be soaked up here. These are our favourite free museums in London.
The British Museum is iconic to London and houses a remarkable collection that spans two million years. It’s home to some of the world’s most famous artefacts. Here you can find the Rosetta Stone, Parthenon sculptures, and Egyptian mummies.
Museum of London
Whether a home-maker or holiday-er, discover and delight in London’s story and secrets. The city has a turbulent past and it’s all on display at the Museum of London. From the age of antiquity to the Romans and Saxons; medieval London and the years ravaged by plague, war and fire. There’s a wealth of learning to be unearthed.
Natural History Museum
This beautiful landmark building of London affords a huge programme of interactive exhibitions. Highlights include the dinosaur gallery and the unforgettable Mammals display. And of course the Museum’s iconic Diplodocus skeleton in Central Hall. Don’t miss the Darwin Centre Cocoon. Here you can see hundreds of fascinating specimens and look upon scientists at work.
Explore what it means to be human in this museum devoted to medicine and pharmaceutical history. Medicine Now and Medicine Man are permanent exhibitions upstairs. They span six centuries, including a Peruvian mummified male and Darwin’s walking stick.
See, touch and experience science first-hand at the Science Museum. It’s the most visited science and technology museum in Europe and home to over 15,000 objects. It’s the display case for world-famous objects like the Apollo 10 command capsule. Consequently thousands swarm upon the museum each year. Its interactive galleries make learning science simple. Plus you can experience what it’s like to fly with the Red Arrows or blast off into space.
National Maritime Museum
Situated in the historic site of Greenwich Park is the National Maritime Museum. It showcases Britain’s naval history, from sea battles to exploratory expeditions. On the site you’ll find the museum itself, the Queen’s House and the Royal Observatory.
Victoria & Albert
See ceramics, furniture, fashion, glass, jewellery, metalwork and more at this world-famous museum. It’s one of the best establishments for art and design and represents over 3,000 years of human history.
The Geffrye Museum traces the history of the British home. It’s an impressive place where every room is decorated in the style of a different period. Every object reflects changes in taste and household technology.
The National Gallery houses an overwhelming collection of art and historic masterpieces. It contains over 2,000 works from pretty much every art school in Europe. Exhibitions here span the Middle Ages right through to the twentieth century. Masters on display include Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt and Van Gogh.