From its world-famous ferris wheel to regal Buckingham Palace, London is home to many must-see historical landmarks. However, if you want to dive even deeper into history, step away from the street-side excitement of this bustling British capital and into one of London’s top (free!) museums. With vast collections from around the globe, these world-renowned institutions are a must-see for curious travelers.
The British Museum
With an expansive collection that covers millions of objects, it’s no wonder the British Museum draws a crowd of well over 5 million visitors per year. Founded in 1753 and distinguished as the first national public museum in the world, the British Museum is home to an abundance of treasures that span the centuries. From mummies and the Rosetta Stone to present-day prints, this collection is a haven for history and culture.
Pay a visit: Open Monday–Sunday from 10am–5:30pm, Fridays from 10am–8:30pm; Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG
The Natural History Museum
If science is what you seek, the Natural History Museum is the place to visit in London. It serves as one of the world’s leading science research centers, where questions about geology, space, and life on Earth are asked and answered. Visit for a peek at the museum’s staggering collection, which includes over 70 million plant, animal and mineral specimens, all housed in the stately Alfred Waterhouse building. Can’t get there while in London? Not to worry—the museum will be digitizing a sizable portion of its collection, so you can access it electronically.
Pay a visit: Open Monday–Sunday from 10am–5:50pm; Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD
The Tate Modern
Works by Matisse, Pollock, Warhol, Rodin, Rothko and more are the foundation of the Tate Modern, which contains modern and contemporary art from around the world. The gallery, which is located on the southern bank of the River Thames and which has drawn more than 40 million people since it opened in 2000, is one of London’s most beloved cultural institutions. The gallery is made even more interesting due to its location in the renovated Bankside Power Station—a converted boiler house has never looked so beautiful.
Pay a visit: Open Monday–Sunday from 10am–6pm; Millbank, London SW1P 4RG
The Victoria & Albert Museum
The Victoria & Albert Museum is home to over 2 million culturally important objects including artwork, library items and archival collections, and is considered one of the top museums of art and design in the world. The museum’s collection is vast and diverse, and boasts a well-rounded body of decorative arts such as sculpture, fashion, ceramics, photography, metalwork, furniture and more. Stop by this hub of heritage and see everything from the Ardabil Carpet, which is one of the finest carpets in existence, to 5 of Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebooks, to the catsuit Mick Jagger wore on his 1972 tour with the Rolling Stones.
Pay a visit: Open Monday–Sunday from 10am–5:45pm, Fridays from 10am–10pm; Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL
What’s your favorite museum in London? Tell us in the comments below!