The top ten museums in London

Looking for a culture fix in the capital? Here are the ten best museums London has to offer in 2018

In London you’re never far from a museum. We’ve got national museums, free museumsweird museums, museums specialising in cartoons, advertising, medicine, toys and Freud. There are more than 170 of them, including some of the world’s finest. Here’s our top ten, the museums and galleries with ace exhibitions, brilliant events and vast permanent collections that you absolutely shouldn’t miss in London. Most of them are free to enter too, so what are you waiting for?
RECOMMENDED: The 50 top attractions in London

1
Best buildings in London: V&A
Museums, Art and design
V&A
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What is it? One of the greatest collections of decorative art, design, fashion and textiles in the world. The permanent exhibits in this South Ken cathedral to creativity are free to visit and include a mini pet cemetery.
Why go? To drool over amazing design and gobble up cake in the sunny courtyard.
icon-location-pin Brompton
2
The British Museum
Marc Haegeman
Museums, History
British Museum
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What is it? A home to some of the most significant global finds by British explorers. In 1759 the British Museum became the first ever national museum to open to the public.
Why go? To see some of the weird and wonderful objects that you’ve heard so much about, like the Rosetta Stone and the Parthenon sculptures, for free.
icon-location-pin Bloomsbury
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3
tate modern extension
Art, Galleries
Tate Modern
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What is it? A riverside icon dedicated to all things modern art. Based in the old Bankside Power Station, works by the likes of Warhol, Dalí and Hockney, as well as unusual, eye-grabbing installations, are all part of the free permanent collection.
Why go? To be inspired and challenged. Plus, if you can get in, the members’ bar has an incredible view of the London skyline.
icon-location-pin South Bank
4
101 Things to do in London: National Maritime Museum
Museums, Military and maritime
National Maritime Museum
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What is it? An ode to all things nautical and a treasure trove of watery artefacts, maps, art and memorabilia. The museum is part of the Royal Museums, Greenwich, which also features the Queen's House, Cutty Sark and the Royal Observatory.
Why go? To be wowed by historical exhibits such as Admiral Nelson’s uniform
icon-location-pin Greenwich
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5
New_Natural History Museum020.jpg
Museums, Natural history
Natural History Museum
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What is it? The magnificent South Kensington home of around 80 million plant, animal, fossil, rock and mineral specimens. This fascinating museum, which is also a world-class research institution, is full of natural wonders.
Why go? To come face-to-face with animatronic dinosaurs, a man-sized model of a foetus, a dodo, a giant sequoia tree, an earthquake simulator, glow-in-the-dark crystals and much more.
icon-location-pin Brompton
6
The National Gallery
The National Gallery Photographic Department.
Art, Galleries
National Gallery
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What is it? A first-class and entirely free-to-enter artistic institution in the heart of Trafalgar Square. Founded in 1824, The National Gallery is home to more than 2,000 works from artists such as da Vinci, van Gogh, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Turner, Picasso, Matisse and Cézanne.
Why go? To learn more about the world’s acclaimed artworks and even try your hand at sketching in the galleries.
icon-location-pin Trafalgar Square
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7
Design Museum
Hufton + Crow
Museums, Art and design
Design Museum
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What is it? A fascinating museum that explores contemporary design and architecture. The Design Museum is full of free temporary exhibitions, pop-ups and bookable displays.
Why go? The museum’s new home in Kensington is a design feat in its own right, and when you’ve finished you can take a detour to the nearby Holland Park Kyoto Garden.
icon-location-pin Kensington
8
Museums, Science and technology
Science Museum
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What is it? An incredible, hands-on museum that features seven floors of entertaining and educational exhibits, including the Apollo 10 command module, a virtual reality space-descent experience, old Nokia mobiles and a sixteenth-century artificial arm.
Why go? To discover the incredible Information Age exhibition – which is where the Queen sent her first tweet.
icon-location-pin Brompton
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9
101 Things To Do in London: London Transport Museum
Museums, Transport
London Transport Museum
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What is it? The Covent Garden residence of all things London Transport. It’s home to vintage red Routemaster buses, early examples of tube trains, maps, transport signs and uniforms, as well as ace posters, artworks and photographs capturing London from 1860 to today.
Why go? Turns out the history of London’s world-famous transport network is totally fascinating, and once you’ve bought entry you can visit anytime for an entire year.
icon-location-pin Covent Garden
10
Imperial War Museum
Museums, Military and maritime
Imperial War Museum
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What is it? A powerful museum shining a light on people’s experiences of conflict from the First World War to today. A few minutes’ walk from Waterloo, IWM is made up of permanent galleries, such as the ace Curiosities of War exhibit, and temporary displays, exploring recent conflicts and terrorist attacks.
Why go? For impressive and extensive collections, including the moving and eye-opening permanent Holocaust exhibition (not recommended for under 14s).
icon-location-pin Kennington
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