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The following is a list with descriptions of some of London's finest museums and attractions that no visitor will want to miss. Exploring them on your own can be part of the adventure, but if you prefer to have a more organized and informative experience, consider the many tour groups designed to hit all the stops. Check with your concierge wherever you are staying, as many hotels offer discounted tour rates when purchased in advance.


The British Museum

The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture located in central London. Its collection comprises of seven million objects. It is widely considered amongst the largest and most comprehensive museums in the world. It strives to illustrate and document human history and culture from the beginning to the present. The musuem is located on Great Russel Street in Bloomsbury, near to Russel Square Station. As with all other national museums in the United Kingdom it charges no admission fee. The Museum preserves its universality in its collections of artefacts representing the cultures of the world, ancient and modern. Located in the Great Court, the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Centre contains the Paul Hamlyn Library of books about the Museum's collections, which is open to all visitors.

The British Museum has grown to become one of the largest museums in the world, displaying approximately 50,000 items from its collection. Currently there are nearly one hundred galleries open to the public. The British Museum houses the world's largest and most comprehensive collection of Egyptian antiquities outside the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. A collection of immense importance for its range and quality, it includes objects of all periods from virtually every site of importance in Egypt and the Sudan. The Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities of the British Museum has one of the world's largest and most comprehensive collections of antiquities from the Classical world, with over 100,000 objects. These mostly range in date from the beginning of the Greek Bronze Age (about 3200BC) to the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine I in the 4th century AD. The Department of the Middle East has the greatest collection of Mesopotamian antiquities outside Iraq. The holdings of Assyrian, Babylonian and Sumerian antiquities are among the most comprehensive in the world, a collection comprising of approximately 330,000 objects. the Department of Prints and Drawings holds the national collection of Western Prints and Drawings. The Department also has its own exhibition gallery in Room 90, where the displays and exhibitions change several times a year. The scope of the Department of Asia is extremely broad, its collections of over 75,000 objects covers the material culture of the whole Asian continent (from East, South, Central and South-East Asia) and from the Neolithic up to the present day. The British Museum houses one of the world's greatest and most comprehensive collections of Ethnographic material from Africa, Oceania and the Americas, representing the cultures of indigenous peoples throughout the world. Department of Coins and Medals is home to one of the world's finest numismatic collections, comprising about a million objects.

For more information regarding The British Museum please contact The British Museum, Great Russell Street, WC1B 3DG, London, Tel: +44 (0)20 7323 8299,

The British Museum

The Great Court surrounding the original Reading Room,
seen inside the British Museum

The Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum is one of three large museums on Exhibition Road in South Kensington. It's entrance is located on Cromwell Road. The museum is home to life and earth science specimens comprising some 70 million items within five main collections: Botany, Entomology, Mineralogy, Palaeontology and Zoology. The museum is a world-renowned centre of research, specialising in taxonomy, identification and conservation. The Natural History Museum Library contains extensive books, journals, manuscripts, and artwork collections linked to the work and research of the scientific departments. The museum is particularly famous for its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons, and ornate architecture. The Darwin Centre is a more recent addition to the museum, partly designed as a modern facility for storing the his collections. The museum runs a series of educational and public engagement programmes. These include for example a highly praised "How Science Works" hands on workshop for school students demonstrating the use of microfossils in geological research. Admission is free, though there are donation boxes in the foyer. Access to the library is by appointment only.

For more information and enquiries please contact Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD, UK, Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 5000 / +44 (0)20 7942 5011, E-mail:

The Natural History Museum

Front view of the Natural History Museum
Photograph © Stephantom

Imperial War Museum

Imperial War Museum in London. The museum was founded during the First World War in 1917 as to accurately record the war effort. Today the museum tries to inform people of modern war and its impact on society and its individuals. The museum's collections include archives of personal and official documents, photographs, film and video material, and oral history recordings; an extensive library, a large art collection, and examples of military vehicles and aircraft, equipment and other artefacts. The 1970s saw oral history gain increasing prominence and in 1972 the museum created the Department of Sound Records (now the Sound Archive) to record interviews with individuals who had experienced the First World War. Since the opening of the Holocaust and Crimes against Humanity exhibitions, a collecting department has been established to support them. Admission is free to the Imperial War Museum London.

For more information and enquiries please contact Imperial War Museum London, Lambeth Road, SE1 6HZ, London, United Kingdom, Tel: +44 (0)20 7416 5320, E-mail:

Imperial War Museum

A view of the atrium of the Imperial War Museum in London
Photograph taken by IxK8

Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum is located in the South Kensington district of The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London. It is the largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects with approximately 145 galleries, but given the vast extent of the collections only a small percentage is ever on display. Its collection spans 5,000 years of art, from ancient times to the present day, in virtually every medium, from the cultures of Europe, North America, Asia and North Africa. The holdings of ceramics, glass, textiles, costumes, silver, ironwork, jewellery, furniture, medieval objects, sculpture, prints and printmaking, drawings and photographs are among the largest and most comprehensive in the world. The museum possesses the world's largest collection of post-classical sculpture, the holdings of Italian Renaissance items are the largest outside Italy. The departments of Asia include art from South Asia, China, Japan, Korea and the Islamic world. The East Asian collections are among the best in Europe, with particular strengths in ceramics and metalwork, while the Islamic collection, alongside the Musée du Louvre and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, is amongst the largest in the world. The education department provides information for the casual visitor as well as for school groups, including integrating learning in the museum with the National Curriculum; it provides research facilities for students at degree level and beyond, with information and access to the collections. Several areas of the collection have dedicated study rooms, these allow access to items in the collection that are not currently on display, but in some cases require an appointment to be made.

For more information and enquiries please contact V&A South Kensington, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL, Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 2000, E-mail:

Victoria and Albert Museum

Facade of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Science Museum (London)

The Science Museum is one of the three major museums on Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London. It is part of the National Museum of Science and Industry. The Science Museum now holds a collection of over 300,000 items, including such famous items as Stephenson's Rocket, Puffing Billy (the oldest surviving steam locomotive), the first jet engine, a reconstruction of Francis Crick and James Watson's model of DNA, some of the earliest remaining steam engines, a working example of Charles Babbage's Difference engine, the first prototype of the 10,000-year Clock of the Long Now, and documentation of the first typewriter. It also contains hundreds of interactive exhibits. A recent addition is the IMAX 3D Cinema showing science and nature documentaries. The museum houses some of the many objects collected by Henry Wellcome around a medical theme. The collection is strong in clinical medicine, biosciences and public health. The Science Museum also has a dedicated library, it holds runs of periodicals, early books and manuscripts, and is used by scholars worldwide. Admission to the Science Museum is free.

For more information and enquiries please contact The Science Museum, Exhibition Rd, South Kensington, SW7 2DD, London, Tel: 0870 870 4868 (020 7942 4000), E-mail:

Science Museum (London)

Science Museum, Modern World Gallery, Transportation Zone
Photograph © redjar

HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast is a museum ship, originally a Royal Navy light cruiser, permanently moored in London on the River Thames and operated by the Imperial War Museum. Access to the ship is via a walkway which connects the quarterdeck with the pedestrianised footpath on the south bank of the River Thames. Today nine decks are open to the public including the upper decks. In addition to the various areas of the ship open to visitors, some compartments have been fitted out as dedicated exhibition space. Permanent exhibitions include 'HMS Belfast in War and Peace' and 'Life at Sea'. The cost of admission to HMS Belfast includes a multilingual audio guide.

For more information and enquiries please contact HMS Belfast, Morgan's Lane, Tooley Street, London, SE1 2JH, Tel: +44 (0)207 940 6300, E-mail:

HMS Belfast (C35)

HMS Belfast on the River Thames
Photograph © Raymond McCrae

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London, England, over the River Thames. The nearest London Underground station is Tower Hill on the Circle and District Lines, and the nearest Docklands Light Railway station is Tower Gateway. The exhibition now housed in the bridge's twin towers allows the public to walk through the high-level walkways. The walkways boast stunning views of the River Thames and many famous London sites. The exhibition also uses films, photos and interactive displays to explain why and how Tower Bridge was built. Visitors can access the original steam engines that once powered the bridge bascules, housed in a building close to the south end of the bridge.

For more information and enquiries please contact Tower Bridge Exhibition, Tower Bridge Road, London, SE1 2UP, United Kingdom, Tel: +44 (0) 20 7403 3761 or E-mail:

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge as seen from the North Bank

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