Monday, June 22, 2015

Let's talk about: London's free museums

The majority of London's museums are completely free.
If you plan on exploring many of the most popular museums you can just walk in and have a great time! Let's have a look at just a few of them!

The British Museum

The British Museum is probably London's most famous museum. 
It is one of the world's oldest museums dedicated to human history and culture. 
It has 8 million objects from all continents!
Some of the most famous attractions here are the Rosetta Stone and the Parthenon sculptures. 

The National Gallery

The National Gallery has an extensive art collection spanning from the 13th century to the 1900's. 
Some of the more well known paintings housed here include: "Venus and Mars" by Botticelli, "The Entombment" by Michelangelo, "Sunflowers" by Van Gogh, and "The Water Lily Pond" by Monet. 

The National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery is just behind the National Gallery and houses a collection made up entirely of portraits. It is the world's largest collection of personalities and faces, from the late Middle Ages to the present day. The portraits range from Kings and Queens to musicians and film stars. 
Free artist-led drawing sessions are held every Friday at 6pm.
There is also a rooftop restaurant with views across the London skyline.

Tate Modern

The Tate Modern is said to be the most visited modern art gallery in the world. 
It is along the Thames River, housed in the former Bankside Power Station. 
The Turbine Hall runs the length of the entire building and you can see works by Cezanne, Bonnard, Matisse, Picasso, Dali, Warhol, and Bourgeois among many others. 
Kids 12 and under eat for free at either the Tate cafe or restaurant. 
Every weekend, families are encouraged to drop in and play with different tools and media.

Tate Britain

The Tate Britain is part of the same collection as the Tate Modern. This is the more historical art museum with the largest collection of British art in the world, from 1500 to the present day. 
Their collection of JMW Turner and other classic British artists is unrivaled. 

Natural History Museum

It is hard not to be impressed by this museum. It is so beautiful inside and out. 
There is so much history here that many say you need several visits. 
In the main hall you are greeted by the giant skeleton of Diplodocus. 

There is something for everyone and all ages here. It is dedicated to Earth's natural and wildlife history. There are 70 million plant, animal, fossil, rock, and mineral specimens held by the museum. 
They encourage you to touch, smell, and press buttons for the most entertaining experience possible. 
If you visit with your kids you can visit the information desk to get a free Explorer backpack that is full of themed activity guides, binoculars, and a safari hat.

The Science Museum

 This interactive museum has a gallery that covers 200 years of information and communication technology, offers a complete look at 3D printing, the Apollo 10 command capsule, Stephenson's Rocket, and hundreds of hands-on exhibits and daily free shows and demonstrations. 
It celebrates humankind's advancements in all fields of science. 
It changes it exhibits regularly. It is all about learning. 
The Science Museum is the most visited science and technology museum in Europe. 
Blast off into space on an Apollo space mission in the 3D and 4D simulators or watch a film on the large IMAX 3D Cinema.

Victoria & Albert Museum

The Victoria & Albert has a large collection of decorative arts. It represents more than 3,000 years of human creativity with collections unrivalled in their scope and diversity. 
Highlights include the Medieval Renaissance galleries containing some of the greatest surviving treasures from the period, the Jewellery gallery, and the British Galleries, illustrating the history of Britain through the nation's art and design. 
The permanent collection is free however the temporary exhibitions are not always free. 
Themed backpacks are available to be borrowed. They include jigsaws, puzzles, and construction games. 

The Museum of London

The Museum of London spans time and showcases the history of London. 
It documents the city's social history from prehistoric to modern times. 
Discover prehistoric London, see how the city changed under Romans and Saxons, Medieval London, civil wars, plague, and fire. 
Then go into the Galleries of Modern London where you can walk the streets of Victorian London, take a stroll in the pleasure gardens, and see the magnificent Lord Mayor's coach.

The British Library

The British Library, while not technically a museum, is one of the world's greatest research institutions and offers a great experience. 
With a reader pass you can access the collections which span all cultures and exceed 150 million items including books, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers, and sound recordings including Magna Carta, Shakespeare's First Folio and Codex Sinaiticus,  Lewis Carroll's manuscripts of Alice's Adventures Under Ground, Beatles lyrics handwritten by John Lennon, and drawings by Leonardo da Vinci.

As you can see, London has some very impressive places to visit for free!
And there are many more. 
*Have you been to any of these museums?
*Which one(s) would you be the most interested in visiting.


Donna said...

Wow, what an informative post! I'm going to pin this for future reference. I didn't know that most of London's museums are free! That just makes it even more of an awesome place.

The Kings said...

I don't know what plans are in store when we visit London but the museums that most interested me are: Museum of London, British Library, Victoria and Albert, British Museum, Natural History, and Science. To see all those we would need to stay for a year!!

cheryl said...

Donna- yeah I was pretty surprised when I started researching. There are a lot of things that cost money that are worth doing as well but it is so cool to know you could spend quite a bit of time seeing these amazing places/things for free.

Mom- Yeah. We definitely won't have time for all of these in the few days we are in London. But if we have time I think I am the most interested in the British Library!

Seth and Julie said...

I don't think it was free, but the Imperial War Museum was really great, although really gut-wrenching as well.

cheryl said...

I will have to look into that one.