One of the best things that London has to offer is the vast amount of cultural activities, and the museums in London are some of the best in the world. If you’re travelling to London for a weekend, or just haven’t gotten around to searching for the ones not to miss, you’re in luck! We’ve put together our personal favourites that simply everyone should see. 

The Natural History Museum

 Opening Times: 10am – 5:50pm
 Location: Cromwell Road, nearest station – South Kensington
Free entry?  

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One of the best museums in London and across the UK, the Natural History Museum is great for the whole family and will leave a lasting impression on the younger visitors. As you walk up to the building, designed and built in the 1800’s, you’ll see that it’s an attraction in itself and it’s no surprise that visitors end up spending their whole day exploring the museum.

As you enter the museum watch the children’s faces marvel as they look up at the brand new entrance exhibition, the blue whale (while Dippy the Dinosaur is on a world tour), in the entrance hall before moving on to a 4-meter tall T-Rex in the most popular section; The Dinosaur Gallery. Visitors also shouldn’t miss the Volcano and Earthquake Gallery, home to a unique elevator which travels up through a hollowed out Earth.

Tips: – During the summer head out to the Wildlife Garden to see the butterflies.
– If you’re visiting in the winter you can go ice skating in the courtyard from October to January.

Exhibitions: – Wildlife Photographer of the Year takes place until September 2017.
– After Hours events take place throughout the year for both children and adults.

While you’re in the area:

  • Explore London’s largest open space, Hyde Park.
  • Take a wander around Kensington and Chelsea’s expensive boutiques.

 

Tate Modern

Opening Times: 10am – 6pm Sunday -Thursday and 10am – 10pm Friday to Saturday.
 
Location: Queen’s Walk, nearest station – Southwark
Free entry?  

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On the other side of the river from its smaller sister museum, the Tate Britain, the Tate Modern makes its home in the old Bankside Power Station and whether you think it’s an eyesore or the perfect place for contemporary art, it’s definately worth a look inside. Since its opening in 2000 the Tate Modern has done exceptionally well and has become one of London’s most popular attractions showing over 50 million art fanatics, sceptics, and young wannabes how far art can really be pushed.

At the entrance visitors are met with the Turbine Hall, an absolutely huge 3300-sq-meter room used for housing the larger and more extravagant exhibitions from October to April. The permanent collections live on levels 2, 3 and 4 which includes art from the likes of Paul Delvaux and Max Ernest. Level three is more focused on a Transformed Visions collection and explores works forged in the aftermath of WWII. If you’re looking for something more relaxing then head to the more contemporary Poetry and Dream section or explore the art from the 1960s in Energy and Process.

After you’ve had your fill of inspiration head up to the 7th floor to have a well deserved cup of tea looking over St. Paul’s Cathedral and the River Thames, the perfect place to continue your riveting conversations about what you’ve seen that day.

While you’re in the area:

  • Head over to St. Paul’s to see one of the more impressive cathedrals in London, right in the heart of the city.
  • An attraction that sadly didn’t make it into the list, but still definitely something not to miss out on is Shakespeare’s Globe. Unfortunately not free, but worth the £13 entry fee, which includes entrance to the exhibition hall and a guided tour around the theatre. During the summer you can also book tickets in advance to see a traditional Shakespeare play.
  • There is a boat that takes visitors across from the Tate Modern to the Tate Britain or vice versa.

Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A Museum)

 Opening times: 10am – 5:45pm Saturday – Thursday, and 10am – 10pm Friday.
Location: Cromwell Road, nearest station – South Kensington.
Free entry?  

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Photo via. Flickr/©Eric Huybrechts

With around 4.5 million items showcased across almost 150 galleries, collected from both the UK and around the rest of the world, the V&A museum is simply outstanding housing items from across almost any interest, including; fashion, jewellery, sculptures and art, technology and ancient artefacts.

Join one of the free hour long tours around the museum with a representative from the main reception area four times a day to really make the most of your trip. If you miss the tours there are also museum attendance around the museum to help visitors with questions about the galleries and exhibitions or point any visitors who are, understandably, a little bit lost, in the right direction.

Exhibitions: – Records and Rebels – Explore the era-defining 1960s including music, fashion, design and political activism. Running until the end of February 17. This exhibition may charge an extra fee for entrance.
– Do the festivals of the summer seem too far away already? Visit the Glastonbury Exhibition complete with footage from the 2014 festival, an intimate but special showcase. Running until the end of February 17.
– A Brief History of Underwear: exploring the relationship between fashion, sexuality and gender with the influence of underwear. Running until March 17.

While you’re in the area:

  • Visit the Royal Hospital Chelsea, the grounds are open from 10am – noon and 2-4pm Mon-Sat, but only the grounds. There is also a museum open at the same times Mon-Fri. Built in 1692 to provide shelter for ex-servicemen it is now home to the war veterans known as the Chelsea Pensioners. The famous Chelsea Flower Show is also held here in May.  

 

Science Museum

Opening times: 10am – 6pm.
 Location: Exhibition Road, nearest station – South Kensington.
Free entry?  

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Photo via. Pinterest/© Luke Hayes

One especially for the kids (and big kids) the Science Museum is made up of seven floors known for being interactive with many visually stimulating exhibitions as well as permanent fixtures. If you don’t have a whole day then make sure to head to the Energy Hall and the Flight Gallery to see some of the highlights of the museum. It would also be hard not to miss the IMAX cinema screen in the museum which shows educational short films, and sometimes popular films. 

If the children have gone wandering off then you’ll most likely find them in one of the most fun museum gift shops in London, complete with voice warpers, baby aliens, globes and retro lava lamps. There’s also a garden with a play area, perfect for the summer months when you don’t want to spend all day indoors.

Exhibitions: – Play with a chemistry laboratory, travel through space and learn about Newton’s Law of Motion at The Wonderlab. This exhibition will teach you what you didn’t know about the world around you. Open for the foreseeable future.
– Learn about big data at the Our Lives in Data exhibition and how that data affects our lives day to day. Can data help us cure diseases? How much of our personal data is saved and stored? How much of it is useful? Find out how your data is shaping the future. Running from July to September 2017.

While you’re in the area:

  • A prestigious and elegant area of London, go and spend the afternoon like a royal at Kensington Palace complete with private apartments where some of the Royal extended family live. Margaret, the sister of the current Queen, lived there until she died, as well as Diana.

 

National Portrait Gallery

 Opening times: 10am-6pm, Thursday and Friday until 9pm.
Location: St. Martins Place, nearest station – Charing Cross
Free entry?   

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The National Portrait Gallery has the most extensive collection of portraits in the world, mainly focusing on men and women who have changed and shaped our world. Starting with the Tudors on the 2nd floor and becoming more contemporary and modern as you move through the building.

The National Portrait Gallery also holds a range of different courses to help improve your portrait technique, price depends on the course and availability is limited. If you really enjoyed your time at the Gallery visitors can become a member of the museum for free and benefit from free entrance to all exhibitions that take place at the Gallery for a whole year. You can also purchase famous prints from the museum shop, and if you have been inspired you can take home a camera to practice with as well.

Exhibitions: – Picasso Portraits exhibition is running until February 2017.
– A Century of Photography exhibition from 1840 – 1940 displaying extraordinary photography with some works being displayed here for the first time. Running until October 2017.

While you’re in the area:

  • Right in the centre of the city, The National Portrait Gallery is surrounded by sights and activities to keep you occupied for days. Go to the theatre in the evening, see Number 10 Downing Street, or see the famous site of St. Paul’s Cathedral which is just a few streets away.

 

British Museum

Opening times: 10am-5:30pm, Friday is open until 20:30pm.
Location: 
Great Russell Street, nearest station – Between Holborn and Tottenham Court Road.
Free entry?  

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The British Museum is dedicated to human history, art and culture and is one of the most popular museum in the capital of London. As the museum has so many collections, visitors can check the website before they get there to see all of the items to make sure your visit is unique and you don’t miss anything you really want to see. On the website you can also buy replicas, books, jewellery and exhibition inspired household items such as patterned tea towels; so you don’t even have to leave the house to enjoy the British Museum!

Workshops and activities for children and families take place throughout the year at the Samsung Digital Discovery Centre and if you chose to become a member you can enjoy free exhibitions and special events for 12 months.

Exhibitions: – Musical celebration of the Chinese new year, running until 3rd February 2017.
– The American Dream: pop to the present, running from March 9th 2017.

While you’re in the area:

  • Take a walk to Covent Garden to enjoy the market and boutique shops, as well as great food and bars.
  • If the weather is on your side take a wander along to Regents Park and rent out a rowing boat on the lake.
  • The British Library is also nearby for literary lovers.

 

The Royal Observatory

Opening times: Monday to Sunday 10am – 5pm, last admission 4:30pm.
Location: Blackheath Avenue, nearest station – DLR stop ‘Cutty Sark’ and then a short walk or a bus ride, or the tube stop ‘North Greenwich’ and then a short bus ride. Can also take a train to Greenwich Station, trains run regularly from Canon Street.
Free entry?  £9.50 includes entry to the Astronomer Royal House and the Meridian Line. Entry includes free audio guide.

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Possibly one of the coolest places in London, the Royal Observatory is home of Greenwich Mean Time and offers visitors a chance to straddle the famous timeline where east meets west. Located up on the hill in Greenwich Park, the Royal Observatory offers beautiful views over the city of London. On a good day you can spot sites like the Shard, the London Eye, and if you’re really lucky, even St. Paul’s Cathedral.

The Royal Observatory is also home to London’s only Planetarium and so tickets should be booked in advance to avoid disappointment. Visitors can also go on tours and walks to discover the area and see shows in the planetarium.

Events: -Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year, running until June 2017.
– Asteroid: Mission Extreme, exploring the dangers and extremes presented by asteroids. Showing weekdays from 4:15pm.

While you’re in the area:

  • Greenwich is saturated with cultural activities including the Queen’s House, the Cutty Sark Ship and the National Maritime Museum.

 

Imperial War Museum

Opening times: 10am – 6pm every day, last admission 5:30pm.
Location:  
Lambeth Road, Closest station – Waterloo or Elephant and Castle.
Free entry? £16.35 for an adult ticket or £28.60 for a family ticket.

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There are five Imperial War Museums across the UK, three of which are in London. The museum located at Elephant and Castle concentrates on the stories and experiences from WWI, right through until more modern conflicts happening today, so the Imperial War Museum is great for anyone interested in learning more about one particular conflict, or war in general. Visitors can also chose to have an exclusive private tour of the Navel Tour.

Exhibitions: – Permanent Holocaust exhibition.
– Afghanistan: Reflections on Helmand, running until November 2017.

While you’re in the area:

  • The London Eye is nearby, as is the Houses of Parliament and the Southbank centre, which, depending on the time of year, has Christmas Markets or food markets. The Southbank Centre also regularly holds shows from the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

If you’re looking to spend more than just one day in London or want more information on the sites and areas, then check out our London city guide and book your flight, bus or train tickets with GoEuro!

 

Hannah

Hannah

I'm pretty big on multitasking (or getting distracted), my current projects, aside from content creation, are desperately trying to learn the ukulele and shamelessly consuming as much Star Wars content as possible."
Hannah