Free museums in London

Culture needn't cost the earth. Here's our guide to free-entry museums in the capital

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You need not worry if you're sightseeing on a budget as plenty of London's top museums are free to explore. Head to the British Museum for some free art and culture, the Natural History Museum for amazing artefacts, learn something new at the Science Museum or discover art and design at the V&A all free of charge.

Here's our guide to the best free museums in London and you can find them all on our map below.

Free museums in south London

Horniman Museum

South-east London's premier free family attraction, the Horniman was once the home of tea trader Frederick J Horniman, it's an eccentric-looking art nouveau building (check out the clocktower, which starts as a circle and ends as a square), with a main entrance that gives out on to extensive gardens.

  1. 100 London Road, SE23 3PQ
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Imperial War Museum (closed until July 2013)

Located in the stately 1815 building that once housed the Bethlem Royal Hospital for the insane (aka Bedlam), the museum holds an important collection of art, much of it commissioned during WWI and WWII, in addition to examples of the machinery of war, official communications, manuscripts of war literature and other, more personal artefacts from various conflicts. Please note: the museum will be closed until July 2013 to allow for the transformation of its WWI galleries in time for the centenary of the Great War in 2014.

  1. Lambeth Rd, SE1 6HZ
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National Maritime Museum

The world's largest maritime museum contains a huge store of creatively organised maritime art, cartography, models and regalia. Ground-level galleries include Explorers, which covers great sea expeditions back to medieval times, and Maritime London, which concentrates on the city as a port and currently contains Nelson's uniform, complete with fatal bullet-hole; it will move to the new Sammy Ofer Wing on completion in 2013.

  1. Romney Rd, SE10 9NF
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Tate Modern

This powerhouse of modern art is awe-inspiring even before you enter, thanks to its industrial architecture. Inside, the original cavernous turbine hall is used to jaw-dropping effect as the home of large-scale, temporary installations. The permanent collection features heavy-hitters such as Matisse, Rothko, Bacon, Twombly and Beuys. Tate Modern does weekend after-hours gallery-going extremely well, opening until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

  1. Bankside, SE1 9TG
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Find London's best free museums






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6 comments
Miroslava
Miroslava

Thank you for so many helpful informationa. So far I'm using Time Out for last year to get the most important tips while travelling)

Rosie
Rosie

It is a shame The Horniman Museum didn't make that list. We took my daughters there last summer and they both had a wonderful time - the gardens and the nature walk in particular are great. A definite must if you're planning a trip with younger children - especially in the Summer.

Rosie
Rosie

It is a shame The Horniman Museum didn't make that list. We took my daughters there last summer and they both had a wonderful time - the gardens and the nature walk in particular are great. A definite must if you're planning a trip with younger children - especially in the Summer.

Pranish
Pranish

It's really amazing guide abt which 1 is next to that 1..Now same time n route i can visit more than 1 .its Awesome xxx

Roxanne
Roxanne

Ohhh awesome!!! This helped a lot.

Tina Wright
Tina Wright

This is absolutely fantastic. so much do and choose.