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Top 5 Best Museums in London

Top 5 Best Museums in London

A thousand years of world history can be found within the streets of the United Kingdom’s capital if you know where to look. Whether it’s the life’s work of naturalists such as Charles Darwin immortalized in the Natural History Museum, or the impact of war on Britain and the world explored in the Imperial War Museum, there’s something for everyone. This rich tapestry of museums cannot be enjoyed in only one day, so we’ve comprised a list of the ‘must-see’ museums in one of Europe’s biggest cities.

Imperial War Museum

Imperial War Museum

Located in Southwark, the Imperial War Museum first opened its doors in 1920. Over the decades it has widened its remit to provide the public with an understanding of modern warfare and the wartime experience. Housed on the site of the old Bethlem Royal Hospital, the awe-inspiring building is a sight to see. Alongside its stunning architecture, two 15-inch naval guns from HMS Resolution and HMS Ramillies greet visitors. On entry, the atrium alone is a feast for the eyes of any military history enthusiast, including a Mark V Tank, a V-2 and Polaris missile, Spitfire aircraft, and many other military artefacts. Specialized exhibitions include the First World War trench exhibit and Holocaust exhibition.

Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum is one of the most iconic museums in London. Located on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, it’s one of three major museums on this street. The building houses over 80 million individual items covering five categories: botany, mineralogy, zoology, paleontology, and entomology. The museum’s most famous area, Hintze Hall, once housed a plaster cast of a complete Diplodocus dinosaur skeleton and is now home to a complete blue whale skeleton. Visitors can take a walk through the history of the animal kingdom and human evolution, and with extensive exhibitions and specimens, visitors can spend a full and exciting day here.

The Victoria and Albert Museum

 Victoria & Albert Museum

By far the largest museum of applied and decorative arts and design in the country, the Victoria and Albert Museum (known as the V&A) is a must-see for those with an interest in all things art and fashion. The vast collection of artefacts covers a series of categories including ‘Asia’, ‘Furniture, Textiles and Fashion’, ‘Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics & Glass’, and ‘Word & Image’. The museum is the proud host of the world’s largest collection of post-classical sculpture, with the most Italian Renaissance pieces outside Italy. With such a vast collection of artefacts, you can spend countless hours exploring the museum. Alongside the permanent exhibitions, the V&A also houses a range of ever-changing unique exhibits.

The British Museum

 The British Museum

Located in Bloomsbury, the British Museum was the first public national museum in the world and is arguably the largest of its kind. Opened to the public in 1759 it quickly gathered a large and comprehensive collection of artefacts from around the world. The museum has up to eight million artefacts with only 80,000 ever on show at one time. The British Museum’s many departments include: ‘Ancient Egypt and Sudan’, ‘Greece and Rome’, ‘Middle East’, ‘Britain, Europe, and Prehistory’, ‘Coins and Medals’, and ‘Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas’. This museum is a history buffs dream and spending the day here will leave visitors with a wider understanding of humanity’s cultural history.

London Transport Museum

"RM and RT type London 'buses" by James E. Petts is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

There are few more iconic symbols of London than the red double-decker bus or the black Hackney Carriage taxicab. A visit to the London Transport Museum will delight visitors with examples of steam engines from the early days of rail power, early red buses, and the famous black cab. The museum, which is in the Covent Garden piazza, has been open for decades and welcomes thousands through its front doors. This museum is especially for those with an interest in transportation, but also for those ‘out-of-towners’ who wish to sample something that is quintessentially London and British.  

 

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Written by Matthew L.

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