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National Army Museum

Museums, Military and maritime Chelsea Free
4 out of 5 stars
(4user reviews)
National Army Museum, Society Gallery, London
Nicky J Sims

Time Out says

Armies are expensive and so are museums devoted to them. Chelsea’s National Army Museum (next to the Royal Hospital) has just reopened after a three-year, £24 million redesign. A huge atrium has been carved out of the middle of the building, and the whole place is much lighter and less gloomy than before. It’s not just a structural redevelopment, though. The new museum reflects the fact that the history and perception of the British Army is always evolving, shifting and being re-understood. As a graph on display reveals, there are fewer people serving in the regular army today than at any time in the last 200 years, yet its media and public profile has maybe never been higher or more discussed. To reflect this, the museum has five new galleries representing different aspects of the boys in green (is that a thing? Maybe not): Soldier, Army, Battle, Society and Insight, plus a brand new Play Base for the under-eights to do a bit of junior square-bashing or whatever. There are now 2,500 objects on display, two-thirds for the first time. 


Address: Royal Hospital Rd
Transport: Tube: Sloane Square
Price: Free
Opening hours: 10am-5.30pm daily
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  • Until Friday April 17 2020

Users say (4)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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2 people listening

This is such a fascinating place. They have great collections and lots of interactive displays that kids and big kids will love e.g. drill marching, dismantling a rifle. The place houses one of Nightingale's lamps!! The place is incredibly family friendly lots of seating and the café is bright and has a great choice of food and cakes. There is a play area for kids you can book a slot at - which is pretty impressive compared to other soft play areas I've seen. It's not a huge museum but it is super slick and looks great. Not exactly a hidden gem but isn't an obvious museum choice - don't miss out.


The National Army Museum is one of the best free museums that London has to offer.

It may not be as famous as it's buddies over in South Kensington, but it's no less fascinating. I found myself spending 2 hours discovering about life in the army, the historical origins of the military and our relationship with those that have made it their life to protect us from threats from all over the world. Spread over 3 floors, I was grateful for the cosy cafe onsite that offered a delectable array of cakes and teas to refuel.

We think we have a good grasp about the army. It's been glorified during wartime and you don't have to think hard to recall a movie involving the army. But there is so much more we don't know. Since the National Army Museum, I now have a greater understanding. We'll form our opinions, whether negative or positive but this wonderful museum is a real eye-opener and no doubt will give you food for thought. 


It has taken three years for the Army Museum’s regeneration project and the results are, to my mind, mixed. The building and galleries themselves are open and easy to navigate; the realities of modern army life, and the public’s mixed approach to it throughout the 20th and 21st centuries are sensitively approached; the temporary exhibition spaces are large enough to intrigue as to the pieces to come. However it does feel a little stripped back – more Imperial War Museum reserve collection or storage space for the nearby Chelsea Hospital than a museum in its own right. Hopefully this will change in the months and years to come as the museum adapts to its wider spaces and fills its nooks.


This newly refurbished museum is great mainly because it works for all ages. There's informative displays for those hungry for information, interactive installations for those that don't want to just read and opportunities to play games, dress up as soldiers or take part in an army training drill exercise for the younger kids that need that little bit more to spark their interest. It's really modern in style and I really enjoyed the visit. More museums should follow their lead when it comes to trying out new things...for youngsters in particular.

I also really liked the design of the actual building. It wasn't busy when I visited even though it was a weekend. Feel slightly like this one is an ignored gem.

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