If you’re in London with the kids and looking for a fun activity, or you’re all shopped out and need a way to unwind, London is home to a great range of museums that are well worth checking out during your trip to the city.

There’s such a great range that, whatever you’re into, you’re sure to find a great option to learn and explore. From science experiments and dinosaur skeletons to art and the history of fashion, we’ve put together a list of some of the best museums to visit in London.

Best Free Museums in London

Museums aren’t just a fun activity – many of the best options in the city are also free, making them a wallet-friendly way to spend an afternoon in London soaking up some culture. Here are eight fascinating spots that won’t cost a penny to visit. 

The British Museum in London

British Museum

Nearest tube station: Holborn

Visiting the British Museum in London is free to do, so is definitely worth adding to your list while you’re in the city. This huge museum showcases an impressive two million years of human history. The permanent collection boasts interesting artefacts from across the world, including the Rosetta Stone. 

If you’re planning a trip to London and would like the British Museum right on your doorstep, why not take a look at our Thistle Holborn hotel? Just around the corner from the British Museum and a short stroll from the world-famous Covent Garden, our Holborn hotel is the perfect base for exploring central London.  

Science Museum 

Nearest tube station: South Kensington 

The amazing sights and interactive displays make London’s Science Museum the perfect spot for both kids and adults. Explore seven object galleries, special exhibitions and even an IMAX Theatre, allowing you to learn all about science – with the opportunity to even take part in experiments yourself! 

The Imperial War Museum in London

Imperial War Museum

Nearest tube station: Lambeth North

For an eye-opening look at the history of modern warfare, pay a visit to the Imperial War Museum. This powerful museum looks at conflicts across the world, from World Wars I and II through to the present day. Alongside object galleries, you can also learn about the causes of war and the way in which people’s lives are impacted, making this a thought-provoking and educational place to visit with the kids. 

Museum of London

Nearest tube station: Barbican 

This museum offers a look at London – but not quite as you know it! The Museum of London takes a closer look at the city, dating all the way back to prehistoric times. This fascinating museum includes exhibits detailing the middle ages, Roman London, and London’s Victorian era, showcasing London and its people during these times. The Museum of London is a great spot for history buffs, and well worth adding to your London agenda! 

Dinosaur skeleton at the Natural History Museum, London

Natural History Museum

Nearest tube station: South Kensington 

From the iconic foyer to the unique displays, a visit to the Natural History Museum is a must if you’re in London. The Natural History Museum walks you through the history of all life on earth, so there really are endless things to see and discover. If you’re visiting with the kids, head straight to the dinosaur skeletons, or pop into the human biology gallery to learn all about human evolution.

The National Gallery

Nearest tube station: Charing Cross

If you’re a fan of art, head straight to The National Gallery. This hot-spot boasts famous paintings from artistic icons including Da Vinci and Van Gogh. The adjoining National Portrait Gallery is also a great way to spend an afternoon in the city, offering a large art portrait collection including stunning historic pieces alongside modern day gems.

Why not stay in our Thistle Trafalgar hotel and enjoy having the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery right on your doorstep? 

Inside the Victoria and Albert Museum, London


Victoria and Albert Museum

Nearest tube station: South Kensington 

Those with an eye for fashion will love the stunning displays at The Victoria and Albert Museum. From fashion through to furniture, the famous V&A museum of design and art offers an enjoyable, creative experience that the whole family can enjoy. Alongside displays of Queen Victoria’s jewellery and iconic photography, you can also check out a year-round calendar of special exhibitions celebrating all things fashion and design. 

London Museum Exhibitions

While all the museums on our list are free entry, most also offer special exhibitions throughout the year. While they often have an extra fee, these exhibitions offer rare or famous special collections, meaning they are well worth the additional ticket price. We’d recommend looking at museums that interest you ahead of your visit, to see what’s on and what takes your fancy. 

If you’re visiting London and are looking for somewhere to stay, why not look at our centrally located Thistle hotels? With options such as Thistle Piccadilly, Thistle London Hyde Park Kensington Gardens and Thistle City Barbican Shoreditch, you can enjoy central London and all it has to offer from the moment you step out of the door.