UK’s past is enclosed in more than 170 museums scattered in the beautiful city of London. Not visiting one of its famous museums will strip you out of an authentic tourist experience. If you are someone who’s energized by art, relics, architecture, and storytelling, you will surely love doing a museum crawl in London. Most of London’s museums offer free entry to galleries and sometimes charging for special exhibitions.
If you are overwhelmed in choosing museums to visit, you can include these five famous museums worth visiting in London.
Imperial War Museum in Southwark
This treasured museum of London aims to show onlookers the warfare era and commemorate the lives of those who sacrificed during World War I and II. It was established in 1917 when Sir Alfred Mond, serving as Liberal MP, proposed building a museum to record the war events.
The building’s exterior is a masterpiece. Imperial War Museum is situated in an old Georgian building in Lambeth Road of Southwark and was built in the former Bethlem Royal Hospital. What’s notable on its exterior is the impressive green dome which has become the museum’s distinct feature among other museums in London.
Imperial War Museum houses 800000 collections relating to modern warfare and showcasing the vehicles used during World Wars. The museum boasts items like the V1 flying bomb and V2 rocket, Letter to Lord Kitchener, Mine Detector, Blackshirt Automobile Club Car Badge, and the Silent Protest playing cards.
Natural History Museum in South Kensington
Another top museum in London is located along Exhibition Road in South Kensington – the Natural History Museum. This museum was built through Sir Hans Sloane’s collection of artifacts and specimens during his travel worldwide.
It was after Sloane’s death that the government purchased his collections and built the British Museum. Natural History Museum is formerly part of the British Museum only until 1963.
This museum houses around 80 million artifacts and species of plants, animals, dinosaur fossils, crystals, and insects. The most visited area of the Natural History Museum is its Hintze Hall which exhibits the 25-meter skeleton of a blue whale and 129-million-year-old dinosaur fossil. As you go along, you will also see plant fossils estimated to exist million years ago, seaweed fossils, and a 120-year-old Turbinaria coral.
The building’s interior is designed with intricate Romanesque style, massive balconies, and a high ceiling that can hold gigantic fossils. Other than the fossils, there are an original collection of about 50,000 books in the museum and about 10,000 preserved animals.
Victoria and Albert Museum in Cromwell Road
The Victoria and Albert Museum is famous among arts, fashion, design, and Italian renaissance admirers. The museum was founded in 1852 under the name Museum of Manufactures and later renamed The Victoria and Albert Museum in honor of the royal couple Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
This museum is near the Natural History Museum, notable for its elaborate exterior, entrances, and the sculptures of the country’s greatest artists. Along Exhibition Road, you can see ten statues of craft workers and ten painters along Cromwell Road.
There are about 2 million items to go through in The Victoria and Albert Museum ranging from paintings, ceramics, and jewelry pieces. One of the museum’s treasured pieces is Tipu’s Tiger depicting an image of an agonizing man attacked by a tiger. It is a wooden automaton created for the Tipu Sultan in the 18th century.
Among other pieces, you can find in the museum are Trajan’s Column and The Ardabil Carpet.
British Museum in Bloomsbury
This museum houses around 8 million artifacts to showcase among spectators. It opened in 1759 and is considered one of the oldest museums in the world. Today, there are various departments to visit when you go to The British Museum.
You don’t want to miss the Rosetta Stone, which is the most treasured artifact of London. Rosetta Stone is a slab of stone carrying inscriptions of hieroglyphs, demotic and Ancient Greek. This artifact helped experts further decipher the history of ancient Egypt.
The Sophilos Vase, The Parthenon Sculptures, and The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman are among other items you can see here.
London Transport Museum in Covent Garden
The evolution of London’s transport system is depicted in this museum carrying 500,000 photographs, old cars, trucks, buses, and coaches. It even has air transport and water transport items London used to have in its heyday.
London Transport Museum opened in 1980 aiming to highlight London’s transport from the past years. Here, you will see the iconic red double-decker bus of London and the steam engines, rail system, and black cab.
If you are interested in transport systems, you can try the “Interactive Train Challenges” in the museum, try fixing trains in the museum’s “Future Engineers” section, or trace London’s corner in London’s massive map in the middle of the museum.