One of the – many – reasons why London is one of my favourite cities in Europe is because of its great cultural offer. And best of all, many museums and galleries are absolutely free, as they should be: art within everyone’s reach! If you’re visiting the British capital, here’s what London’s best museums are – free and super interesting!
🏛 The 10 best museums in London and FREE!
According to the World Cities Culture Forum, London has more than 190 registered museums, many of them with free admission. Here’s a list of London’s best free museums for you to choose from.
🔶 NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
Natural History Museum of London by elRoce / Shutterstock
This museum is located in the neighborhood of South Kengsinton and you will recognize it by its imposing Victorian style building. This is the first museum in London and for free! I recommend you because it is simply sensational.
What will you find inside the Natural History Museum? In addition to dinosaur skeletons (which are the undisputed protagonists of the museum), it has an immense collection of specimens spanning more than 4.5 billion years!
For example, you can see the skeleton of a blue whale more than 25 metres long, precious stones or a piece of the moon from the Apollo 17 mission that Nixon gave to the UK.
✏️ Practical information: Open daily from 10am to 5.50pm. Free entrance. The address is: National History Museum, Cromwell Road SW7 5BD. Nearest subway: South Kengsington (leaves you 5 minutes walk from the museum). More information on their website.
🔶 SCIENCE MUSEUM
London Science Museum by Alex Segre / Shutterstock
This museum, like the Natural History Museum, is located in the neighborhood of South Kengsington and dates from 1857. Being an interactive museum, it is ideal for young and old, because you can touch and interact with everything!
What are you going to find in this museum? The museum is dedicated to scientific evolution with the inventions that have marked a milestone in the world and ranging from energy, telecommunications, aviation or space.
Some objects you’ll see are a replica of the Apollo 10 command module, the first steam locomotive, the Galilean telescope, a replica of the first aeroplane with which aviation began, the first plane that successfully crossed the Atlantic (non-stop), an imposing collection of clocks spanning from the 17th century to the present day or the first telephone created by Alexander Graham Bell.
✏️ Practical information: Open daily from 10am to 6pm. Free entrance. The address is: Science Museum, Exhibition Road SW7 2DD. Nearest subway: South Kengsington (leaves you 5 minutes walk from the museum). More information on their website.
🔶 VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM
V&A Museum by Liudmila Kotvitckaia / Shutterstock
Among the best museums in London and free! I recommend this one located in the South Kengsington neighborhood (although the three are very close: the Science and the Natural History can not see the same day, they are immense!).
What are you going to find in this museum? Everything related to design and art in the world is concentrated here, with objects that are more than 5,000 years old! The collection includes, for example, furniture, photographs, sculptures, jewellery, textiles, embroidery, tapestry, posters, musical instruments, ceramics…
Some objects you will see are a dress, trousers and shawl supposedly belonging to the 19th century Queen of Avadh, Lucknow (India); paintings such as “The Miraculous Draught of Fishies” by Raphael or sculptures by Rodin, Bernini or Michelangelo.
✏️ Practical information: Open daily from 10am to 5.45pm (except Fridays when it closes at 10pm). Free entrance. The address is: Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Rd. SW7 2RL. Nearest subway: South Kengsington (leaves you 5 minutes walk from the museum). More information on their website.
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Entrance to the National Gallery by Trafalgar Sq. via Shutterstock
This is the most important national gallery of classical art in London and is located in the heart of the city (Trafalgar Square).
What are you going to find in this museum? The museum is very large, so choose your route well (they give you maps at the entrance) and you can see the best paintings made by Western European artists who embrace from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century in a collection contains more than 2,000 works.
The best known artists in the world have their representation here: Cézanne, Johannes Vermeer, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Monet, Tiziano, Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Van Gogh, Da Vinci… and the list is very long!
My recommendation is that you visit the Museum with a guided tour in Spanish, where in 3 hours they show you the most important areas and paintings and offer you a lot of interesting information.
✏️ Practical information: Open every day from 10am to 6pm (Fridays open until 9pm). Free entrance. The address is: National Gallery Museum, Trafalgar Square. Nearest meters: Leicester Square or Charing Cross. More information on their website.
🔶 BRITISH MUSEUM
British Museum by Giovanni G / Shutterstock
This museum, with its imposing entrance of Ionian columns, houses inside more than 7 million (yes, millions!) of pieces brought from every corner of the world. The largest collections are those of Rome, Egypt, Greece and the Near East.
What are you going to find in this museum? The most spectacular objects are the “Rosetta Stone” and the sculptures of the Greek Parthenon. But other items not to be missed are “The Sloane Astrolabe” which is more than 7 centuries old, the bust of Ramses II (almost 3 meters high), armor of samurai and even have an Easter Island Moai!
My recommendation is that you walk through it with a FREE guided tour in Spanish, which will take you to see the most important areas (keep in mind that the museum is immense) and explain the most relevant of each piece.
✏️ Practical information: Open daily from 10 to 5.30pm (Friday closes at 8.30pm). Free entrance. The address is: British Museum, Great Russell St. Nearest meters: Holborn or Tottenham Court Road (both leave you 5 minutes walk from the museum). More information on their website.
🔶 TATE MODERN
Millennium Bridge and Tate Modern via Shutterstock
This is the most important museum of modern and contemporary art in the city and is believed to have one of the most complete collections in the world. It is in the building that formerly occupied the Bankside power station, located on the banks of the Thames, in front of the Millennium Bridge.
What are you going to find in this museum? You can admire contemporary art collections of internationally renowned artists such as Bacon, Warhol, Dalí, Mondrian or Picasso. The essential ones are “Seagram’s murals” by M. Rothko, “The Snail” by Matisse, “Water lilies” by Monet, the sculpture “Naked woman with necklace” by Picasso or Warhol’s “Marylin’s Diptych”.
✏️ Practical information: Open Sunday through Thursday from 10am to 6pm and Friday and Saturday from 10am to 10pm. Free entrance. The address is: Tate Modern, Bankside SE1 9TG. Nearest meters: Southwark (leaves you 600 meters from the museum) and Blackfriars (leaves you 800 meters). More information on their website.
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Tate Britain by I Wei Huang / Shutterstock
The best place to admire British art from 1500 to the present day is in this museum, Tate Britain. It is located on the banks of the Thames, in the neighborhood of Westminster and oor outside, the building is beautiful, with neoclassical style.
What are you going to find in this museum? In it you will find the largest collection of works by JMW Turner. There are also works by authors such as Bacon, Gainsborough, William Hogarth, William Blake, John Constable, Henry Moore or Whistler.
✏️ Practical information: Open daily from 10am to 6pm. Free entrance. The address is: Tate Britain, Milbank. Nearest meters: Primlico (leaves you 600 meters from the museum) or Vauxhall (about 850 meters from the museum). More information on their website.
🔶 MUSEUM OF LONDON & DOCKLANDS
London Museum by Nataliia Zhekova / Shutterstock
This is the same museum, with two different locations. The “Museum of London” is in the Barbican area and the “Museum of London Docklands” is located in the Canary Wharf area (about 6km away). Even so, both collect, through an extensive collection of objects, documents and photographs, the history of the city, from prehistoric times to the present day. If you only have time to visit one, I recommend the Museu of London.
What are you going to find at the Museum of London? Here you can dig deeper (and in chronological order, which helps understanding) into the history of the city and its inhabitants from prehistory to the present day, including the “Great London Fire” of 1666. You will see photographs, diagrams, fashion, sculptures, models, interactive samples, urban development and much more!
What are you going to find at the Museum of London Docklands? This is the museum of the port area of London and was inaugurated in 2003. It will take you through the history of London as a port, from the Roman settlement to the modernisation of this port area, including the museum building, a former sugar warehouse, the exhibition of “London, Sugar and Slaves” or London’s secret “rivers”.
✏️ Practical information:
*The Museum of London is open every day from 10am to 6pm. Free entrance. The address is: 150 London Wall, Barbican. Nearest meters: Barbican or St. Paul’s (both leave you 5 minutes walk from the museum). More information on their website.
*The Museum of London Docklands is open every day from 10am to 6pm. Free entrance. The address is: West India Quay, No. 1, Warehouse, Hertsmere Rd, Canary Wharf. Nearest subway: Canary Wharf (both leave you 5 minutes walk from the museum). More information on their website.
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Saatchi gallery by andersphoto / Shutterstock
The Saatchi Gallery is owned by the publicist of the same name and houses a large private collection of international contemporary art. In the Chelsea district, it stands in an imposing building.
What are you going to find in this museum? Here you will find a fresh and interesting collection of contemporary art. To keep it current, they usually renew their collections every 3 or 4 years -although many works remain. But the goal is to accommodate current artists and those who will be the “greats” of tomorrow.
✏️ Practical information: Open daily from 10am to 6pm. Free entrance. The address is: Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road SW3 4RY. Nearest subway: Sloane Square (leaves you 5 minutes walk from the museum). More information on their website.
🔶 NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM
London Maritime Museum via Shutterstock
The National Maritime Museum is located in the Greenwich district and here you can explore the maritime history of Great Britain with models of ships, nautical articles, works of art related to the maritime world, plans, official public records, cartographies or manuscripts.
What are you going to find in this museum? Some of the most interesting or curious objects you will find in the Maritime Museum are the uniform worn by Admiral Nelson when he was killed in the Battle of Trafalgar or JMW Turner’s work of art “The Battle of Trafalgar”. They also have 4 new galleries where they teach us the pirate adventures, the challenges of the Arctic and Antarctic explorations or the trip to the world’s largest ocean.
✏️ Practical information: Open daily from 10am to 5pm. Free entrance. The address is: National Maritime Museum, Romney Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF. Nearest subway: Greenwich (leaves you 10 minutes walk from the museum). More information on their website.
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