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5 Must-See Museums in London and How to Visit

Big Ben and the London Eye might be popular tourist hubs, but don't miss out on London's most popular museums.

5 Must-See Museums in London
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South Londoner on the loose in Switzerland, with a cat and baby in tow. Trained teacher, student, and travel writer, with a passion for drama, drag, and adventure.

London’s range of free-to-enter museums cements its status as a world-leading cultural capital. Whether you’re modern art mad or desperate to see dinosaurs, London has something for you. Here are a few London museums you can’t miss.

1. British Museum

The airy atrium of the British Museum in London.
A look inside the British Museum.Photo Credit: Annapurna Mellor / Viator

For historic artifacts.

The British Museum is home to more than 8,000,000 artifacts, mostly collected under the British Empire. Among the treasures, you can find the Rosetta Stone, Parthenon Marbles, and the mummified remains of ancient Egyptians.

How to visit: Book a private tour for a personalized journey into ancient history or jump off a hop-on hop-off bus tour in Bloomsbury to explore at your own pace.

2. V&A

Marble statues inside the V&A in central London in the UK.n
Visit the largest decorative arts and design museum in the world.Photo Credit: Kiev.Victor / Shutterstock

For decorative arts and design.

The Victoria and Albert Museum, or V&A, is the largest decorative arts and design museum in the world. Its collection spans five millennia and four continents, and is made up of around 6.5 million individual items.

How to visit: The V&A is on the same road as the Science Museum and Natural History Museum. Get a general overview of all three in just one day, or get deeper insight on a V&A tour led by an art historian.

3. Tate Modern

The hulking exterior of the Tate Modern by the Thames in London.
Witness the industrial architecture of Tate Modern.Photo Credit: Ron Ellis / Shutterstock

For an industrial landscape.

Located in an imposing power station designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the Tate Modern is a Southbank landmark. The modern art museum’s industrial spaces, themed rooms, and panoramic viewing terrace make it one of London’s most visited institutions.

How to visit: Meet fellow art lovers on a small-group tour that focuses on works by modern masters such as Warhol and Guerrilla Girls, or benefit from your guide’s undivided attention on a private tour.

4. Natural History Museum

Twilight descending over the exterior of the Natural History Museum in London.
The Natural History Museum has five main collections.Photo Credit: Anthony Cruz / Viator

For fossils.

The Natural History Museum is comprised of five main collections, which together encompass 80 million specimens, including some collected by Darwin himself. You can’t miss the blue whale skeleton at the door, and Sophie, the world’s most complete stegosaurus fossil.

How to visit: Keep kids happy on a family-tailored tour or take advantage of the close proximity of the Science Museum for a day of fact-based fun.

5. National Maritime Museum

A spring day outside the National Maritime Museum with its grand pillars.
The world's largest maritime museum in Greenwich, London.Photo Credit: Leonid Andronov / Shutterstock

For sea lovers.

Based in Greenwich—the birthplace of time itself—the world’s largest Maritime Museum boasts a collection that explores all things seafaring, astronomy, and navigation. Don’t miss must-sees such as Nelson's Trafalgar coat, Turner’s Battle of Trafalgar, and Captain Scott’s shoes.

How to visit: Also part of the Royal Museums Greenwich, the Royal Observatory and Cutty Sark ship are located within minutes of the National Maritime Museum, making it easy to spend a full day here.

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