Museums are fantastic places! They provide places where we can broaden our knowledge, view historic objects we couldn’t come in to contact with anywhere else, or simply relish the illusion of stepping back in time.
But lets face it; as exciting and educational as they may be, we can’t always afford them. Steep entrance fees can often be a real obstacle, particularly if you are a budget traveller or a parent trying to find cheap solutions to entertain the kids!
But worry no more, as there is a solution for this problem: free museums! They very much exist, and there is a plethora of them waiting to be discovered in London!
And after trawling through the internet I’ve compiled my own list of 20 of the best free museums to visit in London! From great museums for kids to captivating places for grown ups, there is truly something for everyone!
Showcasing an enormous collection of dinosaur skeletons, fossils and taxidermied animals, this museum is highly geared towards it younger visitors and great fun for all the family!
This museum chronicles the history of London from prehistory right through to the modern-day! Particular gems include exhibitions on Roman London, and a colourful gallery of 19th century fashion through the decades!
One of the largest maritime museums in the world, this museum is positively bursting with thrilling stories of adventure and exploration, brought by life by historic artifacts, talks and even the odd actor!
Originally founded in 1852, the V&A has amassed a vast collection of art, ceramics and textiles from all over the world! Current highlights include an exhibition of medieval embroidery, and a collection of historic underwear!
Just round the corner from the Natural History Museum, this superb museum explores everything from transport to psychology! It’s fun, playful and incredibly interactive approach to learning makes it a great attraction for adults and little ones alike!
With a heavy focus on the human impact of war, this rather sombre museum traces modern warfare from WWI up to the 21st century. It’s a perfect place for reflection, but it’s harrowing and at times graphic content makes much of it unsuitable for children under 12.
This iconic gallery features portraits of some of the most famous people in British history! Those to grace its hallowed walls include the like of Shakespeare, Queen Victoria and the Bronte Sisters.
This indescribably massive South Bank gallery is home to some of the most surreal, unique and unusual art in the world. Ranging from the mildly disturbing to the simply beautiful, it’s an unmissable attraction for any art buff!
This museum explores the complex history of the British Army, and examines the impact it has had on both on this country and the wider world! Exhibits include the likes of Florence Nightingale’s jewellery, and even the skeleton of Napoleon’s horse!
This charming museum explores the universal experience of childhood through a vast collection of toys, games, clothing and other objects, ranging in date from the modern-day right back to the 1600’s!
Founded in 1901 by wealthy collector Frederik Horniman, this somewhat eccentric museum displays a vast collection of taxidermied animals, instruments and cultural artifacts. Look out for the giant walrus; he’s quite a sight!
This historic home and museum was built architect John Soane in 1837, and had been left largely unchanged since his death. It now stands as an 18th century time-capsule and an example of stunning architecture!
Home to over 100 aircrafts, this museum displays some of the most iconic planes in British history. Highlights include a Vulcan bomber and a life-sized model of a f-35 Joint Strike Fighter Jet – the only one on display worldwide!
This wonderfully warm and welcoming museum takes a look at the home and how interior tastes have changed over the last few centuries! Featuring historically furnished rooms and period gardens, it’s a splendid place for anyone with an interest in history!
Set inside a 200-year-old warehouse, this museum takes a frank and honest look at London’s history through trade, migration and commerce, as well as London’s involvement in the slave trade and sugar industry.
Certainly not for the squeamish, this surgical museum houses a large collection of anatomical, medical and zoological specimens. It also features exhibits looking at 21st century surgical techniques – if you can stomach it!
Estimated to hold a staggering 80,000 objects, this museum houses one of the most impressive collections of Egyptian archeological objects in the world! Highlights include a dancer’s beaded dress, dating back to an incredible 2400 BC!
If you harbour an interest in the history of the financial world then this is the museum for you! Learn about the bank’s 300 year old legacy, and take advantage of the opportunity to hold a real gold bar! Not that you get to keep it. Unfortunately.
Step in to the ruins of a real Roman amphitheatre to browse breath-taking examples of artwork dating as far back as the 16th century, before venturing in to the basement to view the remnants of 2,000 year old gladiator ring!
This world-famous gallery is home to some of the most sought after masterpieces in the world! Featuring the work of Leonardo da Vinci and Vincent Van Gogh among many, many others, you definitely can’t afford not to take advantage of it’s free admission!
Bonus: If you’re interested in free historical places in London why not pay a visit to Tower Hill? Home to the remains of St-Dunstan-in-the-East, a fantastically preserved remnant of London’s original Roman wall, the excavated remains of a medieval home and the Tower of London itself, there is plenty to see without spending a penny!
What’s your favourite free museum to visit in London? Do let me know in the comments!
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