I don’t know about you, but my idea of a fantastic holiday involves spending plenty of time enjoying museums and art galleries and being surrounded by beautiful masterpieces and artefacts from times gone by. I have always been passionate about art and history and I get goosebumps when I look at a particularly impressive piece of art or an ancient artefact and imagine it being created many centuries ago. When I am immersed in a museum, the hours can fly by and I don’t even notice. My boyfriend is not so interested in history and he learned years ago that he doesn’t want to attend a museum with me, because I spend far too long looking, learning and soaking up every last detail. That’s fine however, it means that I can enjoy at my own pace!
For a museum lover like me, one of the greatest cities in the world is London, England. This city dates back over 2,000 years and has been one of the most important capitals for many centuries. London’s history has a lot of stories to tell, from plague to fire to civil war, aerial bombardment and terrorist attacks. London has a collection of superb world class museums and, best of all, most of them are free so I can enjoy to my heart’s content even on a small travel budget.
London’s Most Famous Museums
There are so many great museums in London that I couldn’t possibly visit them all during my stay. However, I did make it a priority to visit some of the biggest and most famous ones, such as:
The British Museum
With a collection that includes the Rosetta Stone and the Parthenon Sculptures, this museum was on the top of my list. I loved the Ancient Egypt collection.
The Museum of London
This was a great place to learn about the history of London as a city, from prehistoric times through Roman rule and medieval times, all the way up to Modern London.
The Natural History Museum
I loved the life sized Blue Whale on display here, as well as the permanent dinosaur exhibition. The Central Hall is also pretty impressive.
The Victoria and Albert Museum
This is another one of my favourite museums, as it showcases such a beautiful collection of artworks, textiles, paintings and sculptures from around the world.
The best part about all of these museums is that entry is free! Some of the special exhibitions will require tickets, but there are more than enough free exhibitions in London to keep you going for days without spending a single pound! For other free museums, you can check out the Wallace Collection, the Whitechapel Gallery and the Tate Britain.
Quirky and Strange Museums
Along with these major museums, there are a few strange and interesting attractions that really piqued my interest.
The Churchill Museum
I found it fascinating to learn about the childhood and career of Churchill and to see the Cabinet War Rooms totally recreated to resemble what they would have looked like during WWII.
The Sherlock Holmes Museum
Located (of course) on Baker Street this is a great museum dedicated to the characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson as created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. You can even get your photo taken with an actor in period costume outside the door.
This fun museum showcases the history of British cartoon art, from the Bash Street Kids to Dennis the Menace and much more.
Save Money with the London Pass
If you want to save a little bit of money on your trip, get a London Pass which will give you free entry into a number of great tourist attractions all around London. If you want to visit several of the paid museums, you might find it cheaper to buy the London Pass.
Where to Stay
There are a number of great stylish and hip hotels in London where you can stay during your museum trip. For example, check out Hotel 41 for pure opulence and luxury with an old fashioned design or Church Street Hotel for a welcoming boutique atmosphere with Cuban/Mexican inspired design.
Have fun and enjoy the art and culture of London!