Calling all culture vultures, it's International Museums Day on Friday 18th May. When in London you simply must take some time to visit the fascinating museums and galleries. Some of the most famous ones are free-entry - which means you can experience the best of the city's culture on a budget! We took a whole day to explore the top free museums in London; these are the ones we’d recommend...
1 Saatchi Gallery
Duke of York's HQ, King's Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 4RY
A refreshing newly opened modernistic gallery bursting with young artists interpretations and contemporary work. Having only just opened 9 years ago it is a must for those who like trendy, quirky, new art pieces as well as its cool location sitting in the heart of the Kings road, Chelsea. A constant array of different exhibitions have been and gone through the years at the gallery making it a definite frequent art gallery to visit to ensure you never miss a piece of artwork.
A perfect visit for one afternoon, It gives you some down time to relax, think and take a break.
2 National Maritime Museum
Park Row, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF
Just 15 minutes from Central London and a 10 minute walk from St Christopher's Inns Greenwich, the National Maritime Museum is definitely one worth visiting - and the oldest maritime museum in the world. Home to some of the world's most famous paintings and artefacts, explore the history of life on the sea - the adventures, the battles, the bravery and the discoveries - through the vast collection of art and objects.
Situated on the beautiful Greenwich part, why not pack a picnic to eat on the green - then walk to the Royal Observatory for incredible views of London. While you’re in the area (and sticking to the sea theme, check out Cutty Sark the world’s only surviving tea clipper, and fastest ship of her time.)
3 Natural History Museum
Cromwell Rd, Kensington, London SW7 5BD
The world renowned museum known for appearing in a number of famous films is home to just about every creature that has walked the planet from the great whale and the T-rex to the tiny lady bird . Start from the first room and walk your way through each one to learn how and why earth has formed the way it has today. For those scientists out there this is an unmissable museum to visit with amazing artifacts and discoveries from the pre historic dinosaur period - you’ll be entertained for hours. The Museum is easily accessible just a 2 minute walk from the London South Kensington underground! During the Christmas time, the Natural History Museum even hosts its own ice rink open to the public!
4 V&A Museum
Cromwell Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW7 2RL
This beautiful grand museum takes you back in time to experience the decorative arts and designs of our past ancestors. Discover the fashion through the eras as well as beautiful jewels and statues of important aristocrats. With the beautiful grounds that surrounds one of the world's largest museum it is simply breathtaking. Make sure to visit the traditional british cafe located on the ground floor of the museum, relax by the beautiful fountain whilst drinking a cup of tea. The Victoria and Albert is open daily from 10am - 10pm never miss the chance to experience some of the world's finest art collections.
5 The British Museum
Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3DG
The British Museum is dedicated to the past history of the human race. The culture of each country and art is represented and show through discovered artifacts found. Mummy tombs from previous egyptian kings and queens and discovered bodies lie in the museum for people to look at. Some of the most beautiful findings lie here in this museum which has changed perceptions of how people lived many 1000’s of years ago. Free tour guides are on offer for anyone who wishes a more in depth history lesson on certain topics. This was by far one of the most truly fascinating museums i've visited in London with so much to take in it's hard to leave the museum without wanting to look round more.
6 The National Gallery
Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN
With its bold Greek-style pillars, this museum is hard to miss if you’re in Trafalgar Square. Wander around the beautiful museum and you’ll find it’s full of incredible artists creations from many years ago. Portraits of important people in British history is the main theme in The National Gallery. Don't hesitate to ask the museum guides on a more indepth description of your favorite piece of art you've found amongst the rooms. Perch on a seat and take time to reflect giving you a moment to yourself or maybe attempt to draw a piece of art.
Article and photos by Hannah Winter