Originally we were just going to write a post about London. There is however, such a huge variety of different amazing things to do in the capital, we just can’t cover them all in a single post. So this one is going to be all about the museums of London. Even this though is too broader topic so we’re narrowing it down even further to just five of our favourites. You can easily spend the day exploring any of the great museums, and if you really want to see everything they have to offer you’ll need to come back multiple times. Whether it’s just way to spend a rainy afternoon, or you’re a dedicated fan of all things historical then these museums are for you. And the best bit? They’re all totally free to enter (although after seeing some of the artefacts on display) it’s more than likely that you will want to make a donation. So here’s our choices:
The British Museum
Location: Great Russel Street, WC1B 3DG | Closest Tube Station: Tottenham Court Road There’s a reason why the British Museum is the most visited visitor attraction in the UK; it’s amazing. That word, amazing, gets overused, too often but in this instance it’s the perfect word. The BM as it’s known houses artefacts from virtually all of human history, across the world. It’s quite something to travel right across time and space in a single day. Standout objects in the collections include the Rosetta Stone, a statue from Easter Island, or the Elgin marbles. Plus, the galleries of Egyptian mummies are always hugely popular attractions for the kids. Instead of the traditional dry and boring museums that you get elsewhere the BM is an incredibly slick operation at the forefront of academic research. Simply wandering through the galleries at random is always a delight as you never know what you’ll find. And if that isn’t enough there are normally one to two major exhibitions that take place each year. With a host of different treausres to learn about there it’s definitely worth organisiing your trip around these. For more details check out the British Museum Website.
The National Gallery
Location: Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN | Closest Tube Station: Charing Cross Located in heart of central London, it’s worth going to the National Gallery just for the arrival. Looking out across the Trafalgar square past the fountains and Nelson’s column, you get a great view of London as it stretches down to the Thames. Inside, the National Gallery is home to some of the greatest paintings in the world. Divided into different historical eras you can simply wander past some of beautiful pictures from all corners of the planet. When you’re suddenly able to get up close and personal with works by Monet, Vermerr, Durer, Titian – just to name a few. It’s also the home of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. If you can’t get there though you can always see the gallery online through their virtual tours. If that isn’t enough art for you then just next door is the National Portrait Gallery. Again it could be another day out in itself, but is a wonderful experience by seeing the famous faces of years gone by. More details at the National Gallery Website.
The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)
Location: Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL | Closest Tube Station: South Kensington The V&A is one of those fantastic museums where you never know what you’re going to see next. The museum which bills itself as ‘the world’s greatest art and design museum’ boasts a super eclectic range of paintings, sculpture and objects that can have you looking at the architecture of the Islamic Middle East in one gallery, and then there’s a collection of 1940’s knitting patterns in the next. All in all, you’ll never know what you’re going to see next! With an impressive range of exhibitions which sell out fast, there’s an equally impressive restaurant which is designed to give a 1920’s period feel, where occasionally you’ll find someone playing the piano whilst you enjoy a cup of tea and slice of cake. Special mention also has to go to the cast courts; a gargantuan room full of impressions of sculptures from around the world, with everything from Trajan’s column to the sculptures of medieval European churches. It’s always fairly quiet so ideal if you want to escape some of the hustle and bustle of the busier galleries. More information a the V&A Website.
Natural History Museum
Location: Cromwell Road, SW7 5BD | Closest Tube Station: South Kensington Only a short walk away from the V&A is the Natural History Museum – a far more family friendly, hands-on kind of place. It seems to have inspired generations of children to learn more about dinosaurs and has a stunning range of plants, animals and dinosaurs. There’s plenty of things for the kids to play with, and if you want to see research in action then the Darwin Centre located at the back of the building is the place to go. As well as the star attraction of the Diplodocus in the main hall, it’s well worth walking around past the life size model of the Blue Whale, which shows you there impressive size. If you really want to give your kids something to remember, then the museum also runs a select few ‘Dino-snore’ events throughout the year where your kids can attend a sleepover event at the museum! More details at the Natural History Museum Website.
The Science Museum
Location: Exhibition Road, SW7 2DD | Closet Tube Station: South Kensington Covering all aspects of science and technology, The Science Museum is a fantastic day out if you have kids with you. Covering everything from steam rockets and spaceships to DNA and psychology you’ll definitely learn something here. There a huge number of interactive games and attractions to play around with, both for kids and big kids. Plus there are plenty of diverse exhibitions on throughout the year if you want to learn more. After leaving there’s plenty of games and tools on their website to carry on learning. It’s definitely a really inspirational space. More details the Science Museum Website. Photo credit to Misko | cc