The Best Museums in London

The Best Museums in London

England’s capital, London has been a city for over 2,000 years, when it was first founded by the Romans. One of the world’s ‘global cities’, it is known for its history, culture and art and is home to around 200 fascinating museums. From dinosaurs to Egyptian mummies to rare artworks, these museums are full to the brim with the weird and wonderful, calling to all generations to surrender to their curiosity and flare the imagination. 

If you can’t wait to journey through time and space, here are the 10 best museums in London, covering everything from the history of the city to natural science to art and media and more. 

The Natural History Museum

Perhaps London’s most famous museum, the internationally renowned Natural History Museum in South Kensington is one that everybody should visit at least once – although you’d need a lifetime of visits to discover everything there is to see. Covering botany, entomology, mineralogy, palaeontology and zoology, the NHM’s 80 million objects and specimens form the world's most significant and extensive natural history collection and provide an unparalleled attraction for visitors of all ages. Family favourites include Hope, the 25-meter blue whale skeleton, a T-Rex skull and a 3.5-ton Cranbourne meteorite from Australia.

Museum of London

If you’d like to learn more about the city, then The Museum of London is the place to go. Revealing the incredible history of the UK's capital, it provides a whirlwind tour from the prehistoric to the modern day. Located close to the Barbican Centre, you can easily venture over and spend a few hours or the whole day browsing the various exhibitions, which include both special edition and permanent instalments. Highlights include the London Before London gallery which explores London life from 450,000 BC to AD 50 and the story of the mysterious Man in the Mud.  

Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum is the world's largest museum of art and design and is home to a permanent collection of more than 2 million objects and artefacts. Founded in 1852, it explores thousands of years of human creativity and showcases original pieces from sculptors, designers, jewellers, painters and more. A must-see is the museum’s tapestry series known as The Raphael Cartoons. Painted by Raphael, the Italian High Renaissance painter and architect, the seven tapestries were created for the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel and portray the lives of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.

The British Museum

The British Museum is one of the world's most popular and prestigious museums. Documenting 2 million years of human history across its extensive collections, it features over 8 million works from six different continents. Whether you’re venturing over with family and friends or looking forward to a solo trip, you can fall under the spell of ancient cultures and enjoy a whole new perspective on the lives of those who walked the earth centuries ago. From the Egyptians to the Ancient Greeks to the Incas and more, a whole world of discovery awaits. 

Science Museum

The Science Museum on Exhibition Road is a brilliant attraction for all those with an inquisitive mind. It celebrates human advancements and achievements through technology, as well as personal stories and pioneering developments that have shaped modern history. Just some of the exhibits you can expect to see include Helen Sharman’s space suit, worn on her 8-day space mission, the famous Gypsy Moth aeroplane and Marconi’s transmitter. To keep mind and body fuelled along the way, there are also several cafés, including a great milkshake bar where you can treat yourself to made-to-order ice cream milkshakes and scoops.

The National Gallery

Situated in London’s Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery has been welcoming art enthusiasts and admirers since 1838. Housing the greatest collection of Western European painting in existence, its masterpieces span the 13th to the 20th Centuries and include some of the most influential names in art. Peppered across the walls are works from Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Renoir, Monet and Bellini. Best of all, whenever your luxury getaway in London happens to be, you’re almost guaranteed a successful visit as the Gallery is open 361 days a year.

Royal Museums Greenwich

If you’re ready for a full day of historical exploration, then make way to the Royal Museums Greenwich. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the area includes a complex of museums that are each as intriguing as the next – all within a few minutes of each other. Sharing stories from the city itself to the infinite void of space are the National Maritime Museum, the Queen's House, the Royal Observatory (which features London’s only planetarium) and the real-life Cutty Sark. The latter, the Cutty Sark sailing ship, will particularly appeal to youngsters. 

Imperial War Museum 

The Imperial War Museum London is one of the city’s most important museums, dedicated to conserving and sharing the events and realities of World War Two. Featuring Second World War and the Holocaust Galleries, the museum’s exhibitions are spread across two floors and incorporate first-hand stories from those who were there. Preserving their stories and experiences, the mission of the museum is to provide a poignant reminder of the course and consequences of the War and positively shape the future for generations to come. 

Sir John Soane's Museum

Visit the former home and museum of Sir John Soane, the 19th Century neoclassical architect and collector. Among his collections amassed are an impressive array of antiquities, furniture, paintings, sculptures, architectural drawings and more – some of which span not only continents, but millennia too. One of the best ways to explore the house, the Highlights Tour leads you through the building and back in time, taking in many rooms that have been preserved as they were left by Sloane himself. Each tour last for an hour and is led by one of the museum’s expert guides.

The Design Museum

The Design Museum in Kensington was established by Sir Terence Conran in 1989 and is today recognised as the world’s leading museum of contemporary design. Encompassing everything from architecture to fashion to graphics, it is a brilliant, creative space for all. As well as permanent installations, you can look forward to an ever-evolving calendar of pop-up events and shows too. While for more interactive experiences, there is also a number of learning programmes, workshops and talks available for all ages, including dedicated children’s activities.

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury retreats in London here.

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