Guide to London's Museums & Art Galleries
TATE MODERN ART MUSEUM
The Tate Modern is one of the top international and modern contemporary art museums in the world. It is housed inside the former all-brick Bankside Power Station and it offers cavernous space inside which hosts a revolving series of large-scale exhibits.
The Tate Modern has more than 50,000 pieces in its collection (they rotate pieces often) and they always have a temporary exhibition (which costs extra).
The Tate Modern also offers excellent city views from its viewing platform.
Opened in 1759, the British Museum is dedicated to two million years of human history, art, and culture — including Egyptian mummies and the Rosetta Stone. Its collection contains over eight million works so it’s easily one of the largest collections in existence. It’s also the most-visited attraction in London (and Europe for that matter).
Naturally, like all museums this large, you might want to pick a few sections that interest you instead of trying to see everything. The museum also offers multiple free daily tours that focus on individual sections and last around 30 minutes.
Marvel at one of the greatest collections of paintings in the world featuring more than 2,000 pieces dating from the mid-13th century to 1900 — with the main focus on the evolution of European painting. The National Gallery includes many masterpieces from Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Botticelli, and more.
NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
This museum has an enormous collection of exhibits spanning multiple fields — from giant dinosaurs to tiny insects. Its main attraction is the giant whale skeleton and its dinosaur gallery. It’s a favorite for parents with children as well as school groups but it’s still fun for adults.
VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM
The Victoria and Albert Museum is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design — featuring ceramics, glass, textiles, costumes, silver, ironwork, jewelry, furniture, medieval objects, sculpture, and more from all across the globe.
IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM
The Imperial War Museum covers war and conflict from WWI to the present day — with an emphasis on WWII. The ground floor has tanks, trucks, planes, guns, and a range of other military equipment to explore.
There are also exhibits on the Holocaust, spies, and more.
The Saatchi Gallery is the private collection of businessman Charles Saatchi who founded the largest advertising agency in the 1980s. He opened his gallery in 1985 to show his extensive collection of contemporary art in 1985 and it’s grown to be one of the largest private collections in the world.
The collection features both up-and-coming and established contemporary artist so there is always something interesting/cutting-edge/bizarre to check out.
Tour the underground headquarters where Churchill ran British operations and lived during WWII. The museum is split up into two main parts — Churchill’s life and the war room that covers his wartime efforts.
London is also full of excellent street art if you’re looking to escape the museums. While you can find street examples scattered throughout the city, there are a few places that are famous for it.
Here are two good websites that will help guide you to the best spots: