Museums in the UK
The UK has hundreds of museums covering a huge range of subjects from doll's houses to warfare. The British Museum near Covent Garden is the grand daddy of them all, home to an unrivalled collection of art and artefacts from around the globe. Around South Kensington you'll find a set of great Victorian edifices: the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum, more or less side by side, all unrivalled for sheer splendour and scope.
Further east along the Thames, the Greenwich Maritime Museum, situated in and around the old Queen's House in Greenwich Park, offers a complete history of British seafaring, from ancient times to the present day. In Lambeth, the Imperial War Museum documents the history of man's violent and destructive tendencies. Nearly all London museums have interactive exhibits, and areas dedicated to children and education.
The Museum of London
Situated in the Barbican Centre at the heart of the City of London, the Museum of London provides a comprehensive history of the UK’s capital from prehistoric times to the present.
Not one of the most well-known UK attractions, the Museum of London provides visitors with an unforgettable experience, charting the story of one of the world’s most famous cities, from prehistoric times to the present.
Sir John Soanes Museum
The John Soanes Museum, tucked away in Holborn, is another of those quirky, oddball attractions that make exploring London so charming and rewarding. Students of architecture will love it, but there is also plenty to interest the layman.
Soane was born in 1753, and worked as an architect, becoming Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy in 1806. During his long career he indulged a passion for collecting, and gathered a great number of architectural plans, models and paintings, as well as turning his own home into a place to experiment with new architectural techniques - by buying up his neighbour's houses and remodelling them.
The Horniman Museum, at suburban Forest Hill in south London, is an unusual little gem of a place, making it a London attraction that's worth seeking out, a little off the tourist trail but well loved by locals.
The museum was set up by Victorian tea trader and keen amateur collector John Horniman in the 1860s, and his original artifacts form the basis of what is today an impressive and quirky little museum of ethnogrpahy.
Victoria and Albert Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum (more commonly called the V&A) is the world's biggest art and design museum, with more that four million pieces, and with its magnificent, opulent halls, it’s must be one of the world’s grandest too.
It was named after Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert, and it stands conveniently close to the Science and Natural History Museums – though attempting to visit all three in one day will likely lead to culture fatigue.
“Bringing science to life, and life to science”
The Science Museum is dedicated to bringing all scientific fields within the grasp of everyday people, with a vast selection of unique, innovative, fascinating, and interactive exhibits. It has been a favourite London attraction and UK attraction since its doors opened way back in 1857. Today, nearly two and a half million visitors pass through every year.
National Maritime Museum - Greenwich / London
The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich displays a great combination of history, art and geography, all in a stunning setting. The National Maritime Museum is one of London's more picturesque attractions, situated between the Thames, the old Royal Naval College (now Greenwich University), Greenwich Park and the Royal Observatory. The Museum incorporates the Royal Observatory and Queen's House, and is part of the Greenwich Maritime World Heritage site.
The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich welcomes over one and a half million visitors a year, making it one of the leading UK attractions. Many come to see the Nelson exhibition - Lord Horatio Nelson (1758-1805) was the iconic vice-admiral who galvanised the nation with victories over the French and Spanish navies, eventually dying at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. He was posthumously elevated to almost god-like status in Britain.
The Maritime Museum has over two million objects, including an extensive collection of blood-curdling arms, such as mortars, cannons, cannonades, muskets, swords and daggers. There is also an unrivalled collection of naval models, and the portrait collection is second only in importance to that of the National Gallery.
Established in 1753, The British Museum chronicles human history, from its earliest known origins up until the present day, through culture with over 13 million works of art and artefacts collected from all continents, making the collection one of the largest and most comprehensive of its kind in the world.
Apart from being a leading London attraction, the British Museum is also a well respected institute for cultural research, with teams of experts continually working with the collection to discover just who we are and where we come from.
Museum Highlights include: The Rosetta Stone – dating back to 196 BC, the Stone has been key in the deciphering of Egyptian hieroglyphs, and the Great Court, opened in 2000, the glass-roofed Court houses the Round Reading Room and is now a UK attraction in its own right.
Imperial War Museum - London
The Imperial War Museum in Lambeth, South London is an important historical UK attraction encompassing five sites around the UK. Imperial War Museum London houses collections of weaponry, war memorabilia, military vehicles and war-related artwork. Other UK attractions in the group include the aviation museum at Imperial War Museum Duxford, Cambridgeshire; HMS Belfast near London’s Tower Bridge; The Cabinet War Rooms in London’s Whitehall; and Imperial War Museum North in Manchester.
Natural History Museum
Housed in some of London's most breathtaking architecture, the Natural History Museum provides visitors with a mind-boggling array of exhibits, from earthquake simulators to dinosaur skeletons. The Museum's close proximity to two other major UK museums - the Science Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum - makes a visit to the area of South Kensington a must for all visitors to the UK.