Best Free Museums in London
London, the capital of England, is home to some of the most renowned museums, as well as others that are not quite as famous. A visit to London, therefore, demands that you pay a visit to many of these fascinating places in order to get a decent sampling of the city’s museums. This will not only give you a memorable experience, but also make your trip complete. What may surprise you is that many of these museums offer an absolutely free admission. If that is what you have been looking for, here is a list of the most popular free museums in London.
One of the greatest and oldest museums in the world, the British Museum, opened in 1753, has remained free since its opening date. Home to more than 7 million objects, the major attractions of this museum have been the Greek and Egyptian antiquities. Offering a magnificent tour, a complete and thorough tour through all the objects of the British Museum would take about a week.
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Grant Museum of Zoology
If specimens of extinct and rare animals, the entire animal kingdom and collection of specimens in the form of skeletons or preserved in fluids intrigue you, then the Grant Museum of Zoology in London is a must visit for you. Established in 1828 by Professor Robert Grant, it is the only remaining university zoological museum in this city. Home to some extinct and endangered species like Quagga, Tasmania Tiger or Dodo, you will find more than 68,000 specimens here.
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Imperial War Museum
Established in the year 1917, this museum is home to the records of Britain’s and its civil and military sacrifices in World War I. IWM is located in an 1815 building, which was once a hospital. The visitors can find a large collection of art, photographs, videos and films etc. There is a huge library and archive of official and personal documents.
The Lord Ashcroft Gallery, Holocaust Exhibition and A Family in Wartime are some of the permanent exhibitions here that exhibit how the lives of individuals have been shaped by this war. Aircrafts, military vehicles and many other artefacts from the wartime are kept here.
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Museum of London
Visiting London and do not delving deep into its own history, down the prehistoric era to the present days, isn’t a good idea. Exhibiting prehistoric London up to 19th century, there are seven permanent galleries in this largest city museum of the world.
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National Army Museum
Yet another museum that offers a complete story of the British Army, from English Civil War to current era, this museum is must visit. Chronicling battles and campaigns, this museum exhibits the story or life of individual British soldiers. Amongst its major attractions is the pencil-written scrap of paper with Charge of the Light Brigade that was charged in 1854. However, this museum is currently under renovation and is due to re-open by 2017 with new features like café, shops and research opportunities for kids.
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If your concept of museums is a collection of art and paintings, this museum on the northern part of Trafalgar Square is a must visit for you. Over 2000 exhibits from the year 1250 and onwards, from different European schools of art are preserved year. Some of these masterpieces are from artists like Botticelli, Cezanne, Giotto, Correggio, Piero della Francesca, Hogarth, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, and Gainsborough.
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National Maritime Museum
Exploring the maritime heritage of London, this museum tells stories about the encounters of British Navy at sea. Uniforms and stories of Admiral Horatio Nelson and the Royal Navy, Nelson’s Column, Zeppelin shot at Thames estuary in 1916 etc. are exhibited at the museum in its permanent exhibition galleries.
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Natural History Museum
The Alfred Waterhouse building, an amazing Victorian construction is an awe striking structure in itself. Housing more than 70 million specimens of animals, plants, fossils, minerals and rocks, the aim of this museum is to exhibit the diversity of life on this planet. The main attraction of this museum is the large skeleton of diplodocus at the grand hallway. But, the skeleton will be replaced by that of a large blue whale from next summer.
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Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology
Those who have been intrigued by the Egyptian and Sudanese archaeology can be amazed to visit this museum that is home to about 80,000 exhibits from the time of Pharaohs, showing the life of people in the Nile Valley, from prehistoric to Islamic period. The collection includes exhibits from Ptolemaic, Roman and Coptic periods.
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Royal Air Force Museum London
If you are in mood for an exciting and fun trip to a museum, this is the place that will satisfy your desire. Housing more than 100 aircrafts from across the globe, this museum, located in an Aerodrome, takes you on a trip right from the first balloon ride to the present day Eurofighter. What the kids love here is the 3D cinema and various games for children in their interactive gallery that teach kids about flights through games.
Offering an educational and exciting trip through the seven floors of permanent exhibits, this museum is a place that families must visit with their kids. The main attractions of this museum are Pattern Pod, Apollo 10 command module and flight simulator and Medical History Gallery. If you do not want to miss out the objects that were exhibited in the 1851 Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace, then you must visit this museum. The museum showcases the progress of science in medical and technological fields in contemporary times.
Designed by the famous designer Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, this museum at the Bankside Power Station clearly indicates its association with contemporary and modern art post 1900s, from across the globe. The industrial structure of this museum sets it apart from all its contemporary rivals, from the very outset. What is even more interesting in this museum is the arrangement of artworks in every room by theme and not by chronology. The exhibits are mixed together and their display is changed on frequent occasions. Some renowned artists, whose works are displayed here, include Rothko, Matisse, Twombly, Bacon and Beuys.
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UCL Art Museum
This museum is home to the arts from renowned artists from the University College London, Slade School of Fine Arts, the finest institute of design and art. If you love art, paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture, this museum is a must visit for you; as it exhibits more than 10,000 works including prints and media. This school is special as it was the first of its kind that gave permission to women to get admission.
V&A (Victoria and Albert)
If decorative art and artefacts are what you are searching for in a museum, this is the place that you must visit. Ceramic, photography, sculpture and miniatures of portraits are displayed at this museum that date back to about 3000 years. The main attraction is the British art and designs that have changed from the time of Henry VIII to Queen Victoria.
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V&A Museum of Childhood
This museum is purely meant for the children with its huge collection of dolls, toys, costumes and games. The collection is associated with childhood and the objects displayed at this museum date back from 1872. Along with Victorian praxinoscopes, Barbie dolls and puppets are also beautifully portrayed at this museum, so that the kids love their trip. Though this museum is a part of the V&A (Victoria and Albert) museum, it has its own charm to it.
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