Museums and art galleries are fantastic venues for culture, education and fun. To help you plan the perfect day exploring London’s incredible free collections, we’ve pulled together a list of some of the best museums for you to visit.

Best Free Museums in London

The British Museum

The white wall and glass roof of the central hall of the British Museum, a free museum in London.
The central interior of the British Museum, London

The British Museum is one of the most famous cultural venues in the capital. Amongst its most notable collections are the Rosetta Stone, the key to unlocking ancient languages, and the Parthenon Marbles, taken from the Acropolis of Athens. If you want to get close to globally significant objects and learn more about the world around you, the British Museum is the place for you.

Nearest tube station: Tottenham Court Road

The Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum offers insight into things outside the human sphere. Here you can get up close with some of the most magnificent creatures to have ever roamed the planet. The museum is great for children, with so much to explore and interactive features including an animatronic T-rex, hands-on collection points and, for the brave, an earthquake simulator. 

Nearest tube station: South Kensington

The Victoria and Albert Museum

People sit in the John Madejski Garden at the Victoria and Albert Museum, a free museum in London.
The John Madejski Garden at the Victoria and Albert Museum

The V&A is a must-see for anyone interested in fashion or design. Included in their displays are extensive examples of the finest furniture, wedding dresses, and designer clothes from throughout history and around the globe. 

Nearest tube station: South Kensington

The Science Museum

The Science Museum is a fantastic place to visit for families, with its innovative interactive displays providing hours of entertainment for all ages. There are over 15,000 objects on display here, allowing you to experience first hand some of the wonders of the modern world. 

Nearest tube station: South Kensington

The Museum of London

If you’re wanting to explore history specific to the city you’re visiting, the Museum of London is where you want to be. The galleries of this free museum tell the story of London’s past, from pre-history right through to the 2012 Olympics. Permanent galleries in this museum include remains of animals, including hippos that roamed the area before humans arrived, objects from the Roman and Medieval periods, and information about how the city has grown.

Nearest tube station: Barbican

The British Library

Alongside being a functioning copyright library, The British Library also has an astounding array of historical books and manuscripts in its collection.These include the Lindisfarne gospels, original transcripts from famous authors such as Jane Austen and beautifully illuminated, illustrated manuscripts from the medieval period. The library is a must-see for all book lovers and a rare opportunity to get close to your favourite authors’ original works.

Nearest tube station: Euston

Free Art Galleries in London

The National Gallery

The neo-classical style front façade of the National Gallery, a free museum in London
The front façade of the National Gallery, London

The National Gallery houses one of the finest collections of paintings anywhere in the world. Adorning its walls, you’ll find works by the likes of Titian, Cezanne, Monet, Rembrandt, van Gogh, Turner, Michelangelo, Raphael, da Vinci and many, many more. The gallery has permanent and rotating exhibitions, so there’s always something new to see. This free art gallery is just a stone’s throw from our Charing Cross hotel, the perfect location if you’re planning a trip to this gallery on your next trip.

Nearest tube station: Charing Cross

The National Portrait Gallery

Located close to its sister, The National Gallery, The National Portrait Gallery is the oldest portrait gallery in the world. It’s home to over 215,000 pieces from throughout the centuries up to the modern-day. The gallery hosts a series of rolling exhibitions, centred around topical themes. The collection includes portraits of famous Tudor figures, including Elizabeth I and Anne Boleyn, other monarchs of England, William Shakespeare, the Bronte Sisters, Charles Darwin, Horatio Nelson and many more.  

Nearest tube station: Charing Cross

Tate Britain

The collections of Tate Britain are presented free to the public on a rotational basis. The collections have their founding stones in what were previously the collections of JMW Turner, which he bequeathed to the museum upon his death. Since then they have been expanded to include more modern and varied pieces. The Tate Britain is also home to the Turner Art Prize exhibition every year, so you can have a look at the often-controversial finalists for the prestigious award. If you do visit Tate Britain, it’s easy to get to its sister gallery, the Tate Modern, via high-speed boat from Millbank Millennium Pier.

Nearest tube station: Pimlico

For more free things to do during your visit to London, check out our post on Our Favourite Free London Attractions. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, our centrally located Amba hotels at Charing Cross, Marble Arch and Grosvenor act as the perfect base for exploring the city.