Free museums in London
Culture needn't cost the earth. Here's our guide to free-entry museums in the capital
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 west London
More entertaining than its modern exterior suggests, this museum dedicated to the history of the British Army kicks off with 'Redcoats', a gallery that starts at Agincourt in 1415 and ends with the American War of Independence. Upstairs, 'The Road to Waterloo' marches through 20 years of struggle against the French, featuring 70,000 model soldiers. Also on display is the kit of Olympic medal winner Dame Kelly Holmes (an ex-army athlete), while Major Michael 'Bronco' Lane, conqueror of Everest, has donated his frostbitten fingertips.
- Royal Hospital Rd, SW3 4HT
Both a research institution and a fabulous museum, the NHM opened in Alfred Waterhouse's purpose-built, Romanesque palazzo on the Cromwell Road in 1881. Now joined by the splendid Darwin Centre extension, the original building still looks quite magnificent. The pale blue and terracotta façade just about prepares you for the natural wonders within.
- Cromwell Rd, SW7 5BD
Only marginally less popular with kids than its natural historical neighbour, the Science Museum is a celebration of the wonders of technology in the service of our daily lives. In 'Exploring Space', rocket science and the lunar landings are illustrated by dramatically lit mock-ups and models, before the museum gears up for its core collection in 'Making the Modern World'. Located here are the Apollo 10 command module, classic cars and an absorbing collection of everyday technological marvels from 1750 to the present.
- Exhibition Rd, SW7 2DD
The V&A is one of the world's most magnificent museums, its foundation stone laid on this site by Queen Victoria in her last official public engagement in 1899. It is a superb showcase for applied arts from around the world, appreciably calmer than its tearaway cousins on the other side of Exhibition Road. Some 150 grand galleries on seven floors contain countless pieces of furniture, ceramics, sculpture, paintings, posters, jewellery, metalwork, glass, textiles and dress, spanning several centuries.
- Cromwell Rd, SW7 2RL
Find London's best free museums
Vikings: Life and Legend
Mind Maps: Stories from Psychology
Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story
3D: Printing the Future
Made in London: Jewellery Now
Open Cockpits Evening at the Royal Air Force Museum
The Cheapside Hoard: London's Lost Jewels
London Stories: The Serco Prize for Illustration
Hello, My name is Paul Smith