Activities & Adventure 7 MINS READ

13 Free Museums In London – The Best Picks

13 Free Museums In London – The Best Picks

Activities & Adventure 7 MINS READ
Free museums in London - Natural History Museum

It’s no secret that London is awash with wonderful museums with specialties ranging from the wonders of the natural world to contemporary art. To inspire curious minds of all ages to discover some of the world’s most treasured collections at no cost at all, we’ve rounded up the top 13 free museums in London. Let’s have a look!

The 13 Best Free Museums in London, England

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British Museum

Free museums in London - British Museum, London, UK.
📌 AddressGreat Russell Street. Get Directions
⏰ Opening Hours10 AM – 5 PM, daily

Founded in 1753, the British Museum is home to a permanent collection featuring eight million objects documenting two million years of human history and culture.

Browse through the museum’s galleries to marvel at world-famous relics such as the Rosetta Stone — a dark-colored granodiorite stela carved during the Hellenistic period —, and the Parthenon sculptures and mummies from Ancient Egypt.

Natural History Museum

Free museums in London - Natural History Museum
📌 AddressCromwell Rd, South Kensington. Get Directions
⏰ Opening HoursMon-Sun: 10 AM – 5:50 PM | Closed 24-26 Dec

Situated in the South Kensington area, this top-notch museum houses a wonderful collection of 80 million objects dating back from billions of years ago.

Highlights of the Natural History Museum’s collection include Hope, the huge blue whale skeleton in Hintze Hall, fossils in the world-leading Dinosaurs gallery, and meteorites from outer space.

Science Museum

Free museums in London - Science Museum, London, UK.
📌 AddressExhibition Road, South Kensington. Get Directions
⏰ Opening Hours10 AM – 6 PM, daily

Are you visiting London with the kids? Then, don’t pass up the chance to visit the Science Museum. This family-friendly museum takes visitors to discover the innovations that shaped the modern world through an array of interactive displays and precious objects of scientific achievement.

Treasures you’ll find at the museum include Helen Sharman’s Space Suit, dating back to 1991, the Wells Cathedral clock, one of the world’s oldest clocks, from 1390, and a Pilot ACE computer, from 1950.

IWM London

Free museums in London - Imperial War Museum, London, UK.
📌 AddressLambeth Road. Get Directions
⏰ Opening Hours10 AM – 6 PM, daily

Set within a former hospital, the Imperial War Museum in London was founded to document the extraordinary experiences of people caught up in WWI and WW2.

While snooping around the museum’s award-winning galleries, visitors will come across archives of personal and official documents, photographs, oral history recordings, an extensive library, a large art collection, and examples of military vehicles aircraft, and equipment.

Some of the museum’s highlights include two massive naval guns built for two different British naval ships during the First World War, a rampaging Russian T34 tank, and the Spitfire – one of the most celebrated fighter aircraft of World War II.

National Maritime Museum

Free museums in London - National Maritime Museum, London, UK.
📌 AddressRomney Rd, London SE10 9NF. Get Directions
⏰ Opening Hours10 AM – 5 PM, daily

The National Maritime Museum is the world’s largest maritime museum and the go-to destination for those seeking to discover Britain’s maritime history and how it shaped the world today.

First created by the National Maritime Act 1934 under a Board of Trustees, the museum hosts a dazzling collection largely based on the donations of Sir James Caird (1864-1954).

The museum has 14 different galleries filled with maritime treasures, such as items taken from the German Naval Academy Mürwik after World War II, several ship models, paintings, and flags.

Victoria and Albert Museum

Free museums in London - Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK.
📌 AddressCromwell Road. Get Directions
⏰ Opening Hours10 AM – 5:45 PM, daily | Fri: 10 AM – 10 PM

The Victoria and Albert Museum is the world’s largest museum of applied arts, decorative arts, and design. Founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, this prestigious museum harbors a permanent collection of over 2.27 million objects, from ancient Chinese ceramics to Alexander McQueen evening dresses.

Must-sees of the Victoria and Albert Museum include paintings by Raphael, sculptures by Auguste Rodin, and Queen Victoria’s glistering sapphire and diamond coronet.

Tate Modern

Free museums in London - Tate Modern Museum, London, UK.
📌 AddressBankside. Get Directions
⏰ Opening HoursSun-Thu: 10 AM – 6 PM | Fri & Sat: 10 AM – 10 PM

Tate Modern is one of the world’s largest modern and contemporary art museums. Boasting a total internal floor area of 371,350 sq ft, the museum comprises an amazing collection of artworks by artists like Salvador Dalí, Auguste Rodin, Pablo Picasso, and Andy Warhol.

Here, be sure to check out the iconic “Marilyn Diptych” painting, by Andy Warhol, Picasso’s “Nude Woman With Necklace”, and “Seagram Murals” by Mark Rothko.

Sir John Soane’s Museum

Free museums in London - Sir John Soane's Museum, London, UK.
📌 Address13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Get Directions
⏰ Opening HoursWed-Sun: 10 AM – 5 PM

Sir John Soane’s Museum is a house museum located in the building that was formerly the home of neo-classical architect and avid book collector, John Soane.

This lesser-known museum is home to a collection of antiquities, furniture, sculptures, and architectural models, as well as jaw-dropping paintings by artists like Hogarth, Turner, and Canaletto.

Sir John Soane’s Museum also plays host to 30,000 architectural drawings, which can be seen by appointment at the Research Library.

Horniman Museum and Gardens

Free museums in London - Horniman Museum and Gardens, London, UK.
📌 Address100 London Road, Forest Hill. Get Directions
⏰ Opening Hours10 AM – 5:30 PM, daily

The Horniman Museum and Gardens is one of the more inspiring free museums in London. Located in South London’s Forest Hill, this museum is ideal for families.

Open since Victorian times, the Horniman Museum and Gardens museum holds an award-winning collection of around 350,000 objects covering natural history, cultural artifacts, and musical instruments.

There, expect to see 80,000 objects from around the world, a large collection of taxidermied animals, around 4,700 butterflies, and a pair of bone clappers in the form of human hands made in Egypt around 3,500 years ago.

Free museums in London - National Gallery, London, UK.
📌 AddressTrafalgar Square. Get Directions
⏰ Opening Hours10 AM – 6 PM, daily | Fri: until 9 PM

The National Gallery is one of the world’s most spectacular museums. Ideally located in the heart of London’s Trafalgar Square, this prestigious institution houses an impressive collection of over 2,300 paintings by brilliant artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Van Gogh, Diego Velázquez, Sandro Botticelli, and Johannes Vermeer.

Some of the masterful works you’ll see in the National Gallery are “The Arnolfini Portrait”, by Jan van Eyck, Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, and “The Water-Lily Pond”, by Claude Monet.

Royal Air Force Museum

Free museums in London - Royal Air Force Museum, London, UK.
📌 AddressGrahame Park Way. Get Directions
⏰ Opening Hours10 AM – 5 PM, daily

Gloriously located in the former Hendon Aerodrome, the Royal Air Force Museum (RAF) includes five buildings and hangars displaying the history of aviation and the Royal Air Force.

The museum harbors 1.3 million objects that document the history of the United Kingdom’s air and space force, which was formed towards the end of the First World War on 1 April 1918.

Be prepared to catch a glimpse of age-old treasures like the original Battle of Britain fighter aircraft, Avro Lancaster S-Sugar, which flew 137 sorties, and the Westland Sea King helicopter.

London Transport Museum

Free museums in London - London Transport Museum, London, UK.
📌 AddressCovent Garden Piazza. Get Directions
⏰ Opening Hours10 AM – 6 PM, daily

Curious to learn about the fascinating link between transportation and the growth of London? Then, be sure to visit the Transport Museum, one of the best free museums in London. Over here, you’ll get the chance to see more than 500,000 objects — including more than 80 vintage vehicles — covering 200 years of London’s history,

Some of the museum’s relics are a red Routemaster bus, the world’s first Underground steam train, and the padded cell — a train carriage dating back to the 1890s.

Tate Britain

Free museums in London - Tate Britain Museum, in London, UK.
📌 AddressMillbank, London SW1P 4RG. Get Directions
⏰ Opening Hours10 AM – 6 PM, daily

Tate Britain is part of the Tate network of galleries in England, with Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool, and Tate St Ives. Opened in 1897, the museum houses the world’s largest collection of British art, including artworks from major artists from 1500 until the present day.

Highlights include paintings by brilliant British artists like William Blake, Francis Bacon, and Damien Hirst, as well as the world’s largest collection of works by J. M. W. Turner.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the most famous free museums in London?

  • The British Museum: Home to a vast collection of antiquities from around the world, including the Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies.
  • The National Gallery: Explore masterpieces of Western European painting from Renaissance to Post-Impressionism.
  • The Natural History Museum: Encounter dinosaur skeletons, delve into the wonders of the natural world, and see interactive exhibits.
  • The Science Museum: Journey through the history of science and technology with hands-on displays and iconic objects.
  • The V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum): Discover decorative arts, fashion, design, and more from across the globe and throughout time.

Are there any free exhibitions in the ticketed museums?

Yes, many London museums with ticketed special exhibitions also have permanent collections you can explore for free.

Do free museums offer free tours or talks?

Many free museums offer free guided tours or talks at scheduled times. You can consult the museum’s website for their schedule.

Which free museums in London are good for children?

The Natural History Museum is a popular choice for children with its dinosaur skeletons and interactive exhibits. The Science Museum offers hands-on experiences related to technology and space, and the Horniman Museum has a good mix of natural history and cultural artifacts.

Which free museums in London are the best for art?

  • National Gallery
  • Tate Britain
  • British Museum
  • Victoria & Albert Museum
  • Tate Modern

Ritesh Raj

COO at CuddlyNest

Editorial Policy

Last update: 14 May 2024

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