14 Awesome FREE Museums in London for your next trip

What’s better than an awesome museum? An awesome and free museum! In London, some of the most well-known world-class museums don’t charge their visitors for admission. The icing on the cake? They host some of the most incredible science, art, and history collections in the world. Be ready to take notes on the best free museums in London for your next trip!

History Museums

British Museum

The British Museum is the oldest national public museum, and home to one of the largest collections of finds and antiquities. Since its opening in 1759, it quickly expanded to the point that two national institutions were created: the Natural History Museum and the British Library. Without a doubt, it’s one of London’s gems, and one of the most popular attractions in the UK.

How much time should you spend there? When I lived in London it took me 3 days to fully enjoy all the collections, yes it’s that broad!

You should visit because of its impressive collection, featuring Egyptian mummies, the Elgin Marbles (from the Partenon), the Rosetta Stone, and the Portland vase, only to name a few.

OPEN ITS DOORS:
Daily from 10 AM to 5 PM
Friday closing hour is at 8 PM
Website: British Museum

British Library

As mentioned above, the British Library was once part of the British Museum. Because of its massive expansion, the British Museum’s library became a separate institution. With more than 170.000.000 items, the British Library was born.

You should visit because it features a copy of one of the world’s first printed books, along with manuscripts and maps that cover over 3000 years of human history. The oldest item in the British Library? The Chinese oracle bones, more than 3500 years old, used for divination.

OPEN ITS DOORS:
MON to FRI 9.30 AM to 8 PM
SAT 9.30 AM to 5 PM
SUN 11 AM to 5 PM
Check also their Website for the opening hours: British Library

Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology

Petrie Museum has an impressive collection of more than 80.000 artifacts. In fact, it is one of the biggest collections in the world of Egyptian and Sudanese history. It features objects of everyday life, but also funeral items, and even funerary texts.

Where to find Petrie Museum? Inside the University College London. Together with the Grant Museum of Zoology.

You should visit because it opens a world to the customs and traditions of the inhabitants of the Nile Valley.

OPEN ITS DOORS:
TUE to FRI 1 PM to 5 PM
SAT 11 AM to 5 PM
Website: Petrie Museum

Imperial War Museum

The Imperial War Museum has one of the richest collections of military memorabilia. Surprisingly, it was opened while WWII was still raging, with the aim to show how people continued their everyday life while the country was torn apart by the conflict.

You should visit because it includes an impressive collection of military objects including tanks and aircraft, as well as uniforms, advertising, and other memorabilia from the war.

OPEN ITS DOORS:
Daily from 10 AM to 6 PM.
Website: Imperial War Museums

The Royal Academy of Music Museum

Although this is quite small compared to the “giants” mentioned above, the Royal Academy of Music Museum is still an interesting museum to visit for music enthusiasts and experts.

You should visit because, if you are lucky enough, you may hear some students playing. Moreover, some instruments have been played by some of the greatest musicians.

OPEN ITS DOORS:
FRI 11 AM to 6 PM
Website: Royal Academy of Music

Art Galleries

The National Gallery

Recently under the spotlight, as two climate protesters threw soup on Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, the National Gallery has one of the richest art collections, spanning from primitive stone sculptures to paintings of the 19th.

You should visit because it is home to some of the most known paintings in the world. Featuring works by Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Van Eyck, Raphael, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh, Hans Holbein the Younger, Botticelli, Turner, and many other paint-brush legends.

I mean for FREE!!!

OPEN ITS DOORS:
Daily from 10 AM to 6 PM
Friday closing hour is at 9 PM
Website: The National Gallery

FREE Museums in London
If you are lucky enough you may catch musicians performing inside the museum.

Tate Britain

British art lovers, the Tate Britain is for you! Here you will fall in love with J.M.W. Turner’s paintings and other excellent artists. This gallery features also contemporary art, paintings, and sculptures, in its free-of-access exhibitions.

You should visit because it showcases British art excellence. Besides the above-mentioned William Turner, you will also find paintings from John Constable, William Blake, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, J.W. Waterhouse, and Francis Bacon.

OPEN ITS DOORS:
Daily from 10 AM to 6 PM
Website: Tate Britain

Tate Modern

One of the peculiarities of this museum is its location: a former power station. Tate Modern is the UK’s major modern art gallery, with art pieces from Futurism, Cubism, and Surrealism. Since 2019, the Tate Modern dethroned the British museum and has become the most visited museum in the UK with more than 1.4 million visitors.

You should visit because it’s one of the most important modern and contemporary art galleries in the world, with works by Matisse, Rothko, Dali, and Picasso.

OPEN ITS DOORS:
Daily from 10 AM to 6 PM
Website: Tate Modern

FREE Museums in London

The National Portrait Gallery

This gallery is a treasure for British historians enthusiasts. In fact, it features portraits from the Tudor period (16th century) to our present days.

You should visit because it is the most extensive collection of portraits in the world, with about 215.000 paintings (not all of them are displayed).

OPEN ITS DOORS:
The Museum is currently closed for refurbishment, it will open again in 2023.
Website: National Portrait Gallery

Victoria & Albert Museum

If I could choose to visit only one of the museums in London, I would go for the V&A. It’s much more than an art gallery. In reality, its collection spans from paintings to pottery, from sculptures to armors, and also contemporary design. And how not to mention the beautiful Dale Chihuly’s Rotunda Chandelier that welcomes its visitors?

This museum is a real gem!

You should visit because of the ceramic collection, the fashion and jewelry galleries, Morris & Gamble rooms, and last but not least, the Cast Courts. This two large halls gallery is full of reproductions of some of the most famous statues in the world. For the majority, the statues have better resisted the test of time than the originals. In a few cases, they are also the only testimony of statues that have been destroyed.

OPEN ITS DOORS:
Daily from 10 AM to 5.45 PM (Friday 10 AM to 10 PM)
Website: V&A · The Family Of Art, Design, And Performance Museums

The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection was once a private art collection that has been bequeathed to Britain in 1897. Besides the remarkable paintings, it also features an important collection of armors and arms.

You should visit because it has treasures from the Dutch, French, Italian, Spanish and British school, including works from Rembrandt, Canaletto, Turner, Titian, and J.H. Fragonard.

OPEN ITS DOORS:
Daily from 10 AM to 5 PM
Website: The Wallace Collection

Scientific Museums

The Natural History Museum

You don’t even need to enter to know this museum is great. The terracotta facade that invites visitors inside, is a work of art of Victorian architecture. When you step inside, the wonder continues as there is a giant skeleton suspended over your head. It belongs to “Hope” a blue whale.

The Natural History Museum hosts also one of the most prestigious Photography Awards, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year. This exhibition has an entry fee of 17£.

You should visit because it has more than 80.000 items divided into 5 sections: botany, paleontology, zoology, entomology, and mineralogy. A great collection to enjoy for adults and kids.

A little extra: if you visit from November to January you can ice-skate inside the Museum!

OPEN ITS DOORS:
Daily from 10 AM to 5.50 PM
Website: Natural History Museum

Science Museum

The third and last Museum on Exhibition Road, together with the V&A and the Natural History, is the Science Museum. It’s a very kid-friendly museum, that is both educational and entertaining.

You should visit because it has always been ahead of its time. In the 30s the museum was already displaying the effects of noise and air pollution. Since 2008, the museum has created an exhibit of how the climate will change our planet in 2050.

OPEN ITS DOORS:
Daily from 10 AM to 6 PM
Website: Science Museum

Grant Museum of Zoology

Animal brains, skeletons, and even a jar of moles… wait what?

The Grant Museum of Zoology is one of the most surprising museums in London. Its interiors are a fascinating mix between an apothecary and Ollivander’s Wand Shop. Despite its rather small size, it hosts more than 60.000 species, some of which are very rare. Just like the Petrie collection this museum is also inside the University College London.

You should visit because it’s the work of a lifetime of one of the most important scientists of its century. Robert Grant had an important influence on modern medicine and passed part of his knowledge to young Charles Darwin.

OPEN ITS DOORS:
TUE to FRI from 1 PM to 5 PM
SAT from 11 AL to 5 PM
Website: Grant Museum of Zoology

In conclusion

When visiting London, you will be spoilt for choice with all these free museums you can visit! However, you shouldn’t limit yourself to those. If you are interested in saving money while enjoying the main activities the city offers, consider buying the London Pass.

I hope this post will be useful for you to plan your next London trip! Before you leave check out our other destinations, for more travel inspiration around the world.

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16 thoughts on “14 Awesome FREE Museums in London for your next trip”

  1. Oh I would love to visit the Royal Academy of Music Museum! It looks so interesting. As does the Wallace Collection. Great post. Definitely saving for future travel planning!

  2. My husband and I went to the British Museum when we were in London. We didn’t have enough time during our stay there and plus we stayed kinda far, we would’ve loved to go to the Victoria & Albert and Imperial War Museums!

  3. I must admit that we often miss many of the great museums to visit in a city and London is no different. But I love the variety of museums in London. So much history and art to explore! We always worry about the weather in London. So I now have a lot of options to keep me dry on a rainy day!

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