London is packed with cultural attractions, which makes it one of the best destinations in the world for anyone with even a slight interest in history. The city is packed with museums, many of which boast some of the most expansive historical collections you will find anywhere on the planet.
While there are many different options for a budget friendly night out in London, if you want something more culturally enriching you should check out our definitive guide below to the best free museums in the English capital.
The British Museum is the perfect place to retrace the history of the world through its vast collection of artefacts gathered from across the globe.
These include the Parthenon sculptures and the Rosetta Stone – two of the most iconic attractions you can view in any museum worldwide. The British Museum contains around eight million objects, making for one of the most in-depth exploration projects you could possibly undertake.
Visitors can marvel in the overwhelming diversity of human cultures from across the ages, all of which is available without breaking into your wallet.
Natural History Museum
Billed as ‘a world-class visitor attraction and leading science research centre’ the Natural History Museum does exactly what it says on the tin. With more than 80 million objects spanning billions of years to explore, you will need to make repeated visits to take everything in.
The Museum’s new science and digitisation centre in Wokingham is an excellent offshoot, providing visitors with more insights into the history of the natural world. However, for many people the Natural History Museum is all about the exhibition of dinosaurs. After all, who doesn’t want to say ‘hello’ to a Tyrannosaurus?
If you prefer your look at history to be a little more scientific, the Science Museum’s vast array of interactive displays are truly unmissable.
The permanent collection features Amy Johnson’s Gipsy Moth plane, which she flew solo from London to Australia in 1930. She was the first woman to achieve the feat. A new exhibition showcasing the power of music has proved to be hugely popular with visitors to the museum since it was launched in October.
With other favourites such as Power Up, Exploring Space, Wonderlab and more, the Science Museum is a great day out for all the family.
National Maritime Museum
The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich showcases Britain’s rich naval history – from sea battles to exploratory expeditions overseas. Its most popular exhibit is the Cutty Sark – a famous 19th-century clipper ship that was the fastest of its time and which could hold around 10,000 tea chests.
When steam ships arrived on the scene, the Cutty Sark was repurposed to transport other goods such as wool from Melbourne to New York or coal from Shanghai to Sydney.
The visitor route around the Cutty Sark incorporates several interactive exhibits and games that make learning fun for any youngsters in your party.
Have you ever wondered what it means to be human? If so, the Wellcome Collection in Euston Road is the perfect to place to educate yourself.
Visitors can view collections and interact with a wide range of digital content to broaden their knowledge about the connections between science, medicine, art, and life. Wellcome’s latest exhibition explores the concept of beauty across cultures, providing visitors with a unique insight into how this has evolved through history.
With over 200 items, including historical objects, artworks, films and new commissions, the exhibition will leave you reflecting on whether your pre-conceived ideas about beauty are accurate.
National Army Museum
The National Army Museum is the leading authority on the British Army and the work it has done to ensure the country’s citizens can enjoy their freedom.
While the concept of war and conflict may not appeal to everyone, it is often viewed as unavoidable whenever tyrannical regimes impact the world. The museum examines the role the Army has played from British Civil Wars to modern days conflicts, offering exclusive insights into the reasons why those events took place.
By showcasing the stories of the people who sacrificed themselves to protect others, the museum challenges how people think about the Army and their relationship with it.
Museum of London
The Museum of London’s unique collections include over a million objects from thousands of years of the English capital city’s history. One of its most popular sections is its sports exhibit, which incorporates some of the most iconic memorabilia from events which have been staged in London.
These include hugely collectible items from the 1966 World Cup which was famously won by England when they defeated West Germany in the final at Wembley Stadium. The museum also shines a light on the history of lower-ranked sports such as ice hockey and swimming, while its coverage of underprivileged athletes is awe-inspiring.