Last Updated on December 13, 2022
London is a hub of world-class art galleries and stunning exhibitions. Its prestigious art and culture have been preserved in historic houses for centuries.
The invaluable artworks have been on display to the public for free at state museums in the UK since 2001. The capital city has some of the most iconic selections of galleries. Plus, the museums cost zilch to visit.
The following is a list of the top free museums in London that one should visit during their trip to the city.
#1. The Tate Modern – Free Museum In London
As the name suggests, Tate Modern is a free art museum in London displaying modern and contemporary art alike. The gallery was established in 2000. In no time, Tate Modern has become a noted museum in London. The towering monolith of art houses one of the world’s largest modern and contemporary collections.
Tate Modern is UK’s top three tourist attractions, generating €100 million in national revenue annually. The arts at Tate Modern and the building’s architecture are as stunning as the other. The gallery has a vast hall, The Turbine Hall, which is 35 meters high and 135 meters long.
Tate Modern has preserved thousands of artworks dating back to the 90s. You can find the artworks of Monet, Hepworth, Pollock, and Rothko. You can also see art pieces by Picasso from every period of his life.
Sunday to Thursday from 10.00 am – 18.00 pm
Friday to Saturday 10.00 am – 22.00 pm
Address: Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG
Getting To Tate Modern
Tube: Take a tube at Southwark Station on the Jubilee Line to Tate Modern, 800 meters approx, which takes 10 minutes. You can also get on Underground Station St Pauls on the Central Line, 1,100 meters approx, which takes 15 minutes.
Bus: If you are going by Blackfriars Bridge Road, take any of the bus routes—45, 63 and 100. Bus route 381 parses through Southwark Street, and 344 parses through Southwark Bridge Road.
Train: The nearest station to Tate Modern is Blackfriars and London Bridge. Blackfriars is very close to Tate Modern. Right outside the station, you can spot the museum. From London Bridge, however, Tate Modern is a 10-minutes walk away.
#2. The National Gallery – Free Museum In London
Featuring impressive masterpieces, the National Gallery is a must-see free museum in London. The gallery showcases the art works of Botticelli, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci, Turner, and Renoir. It also displays pieces from the mid-1200s to 1900.
The works of prolific post-Renaissance European artists are kept alive in the National Gallery. It takes a lot of time exploring the depths of the gallery. Art workshops, poetry, printmaking sessions are held at the gallery. The entrance to the gallery is free. Charges are levied only on some special exhibitions.
Daily 10 am to 6 pm, and Friday 10 am to 9 pm
Trafalgar Square, Westminster, London WC2N 5DN
Telephone/Email: +44 (0)20 7747 2885/[email protected]
Closest Station: Charing Cross is the closest station, two-minute walk, to the National Gallery. You can also travel on Embankment and Leicester Square.
#3. Science Museum – Free Museum In London
The Science Museum is one of the best free museums in London. It is also the most visited science and technology museum in Europe. The museum has been functional since 1857. With over 15,000 objects on display, the Science Museum also encourages scientific debates through interactive galleries.
The world-class 3D and 4D stimulators at the museum are immersive; fly with Red Arrows or dodge in space in the Apollo space mission. In the IMAX 3D cinema, you can watch a film on a screen taller than four-double decker buses in the UK.
Entry is free, except for IMAX 3D and other special exhibitions.
The museum is open daily from 10.00-18.00.
Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2DD
Email/Phone: [email protected]/020 7942 4000
Transport: Get on South Kensington tube, use a subway from the station concourse. It is a 5-minutes walk to the Science Museum.
#4. Museum Of London – Free Museum In London
Unlike the other art museums of London, the Museum of London solely showcases the history of London. Reflecting on the capital’s turbulent past; from prehistoric times to modern times, the Museum of London gives you a good understanding of how the city evolved from Romans and Saxons.
Witness the noted and disastrous incidents in London history at the Museum of London. Time travel to Victorian London and marvel at the streets, gardens and Lord Mayor’s coach.
Entry to the Museum of London is free. The daily highlight tours are free, you need to book tickets for the hour-long Welcome to London tour on Saturdays at 11:00, which costs €8.50 per person.
The Museum of London is open every day from 10:00 to 18:00. It closes only for Christmas (24-26 December).
150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN
Telephone/Email: +44 (0)20 7001 9844/[email protected]
Public Transport: You can take a tube to the Barbican or St Paul’s. From there the museum is a 5-minutes walk away. Take a train – Liverpool Street. Bus routes 4, 8, 25, 56, 100, 172, 242, 388, 521 stop by London Wall.
#5. National Maritime Museum – Free Museum In London
The National Maritime Museum treasures Britain’s maritime history. Located in Greenwich, London, the museum has fourteen galleries. Learn the history of the seas during the Roman landings and find out why J.M.W. Turner’s largest painting stoked controversy.
At the museum, you get a chance to hold the blood-stained uniform of Admiral Nelson, which he wore during the Battle of Trafalgar.
At the Pacific Encounters gallery, learn the origins of the Pacific through the European legacy. Get into the shoes of ordinary seamen. At the Tudor and Stuart gallery, experience the lives of famous people, including Christopher Columbus, Elizabeth I, and Francis Drake.
At the Polar Worlds gallery, learn the heroic tales of brave explorers, who pushed the boundaries of endurance.
The National Maritime Museum is a part of the Royal Museums Greenwich. Royal Observatory, Cutty Sark and the Queen’s House are included in the museum.
Apart from learning maritime historic events at the museum, there are thrilling adventures for the kids too to keep them entertained. Kids under 7s can play AHOY for free, and kids 6-12-year-olds can play All Hands.
The museum is free for visitors, except for special events and exhibitions. Children’s Gallery is ticketed during weekends and school holidays.
The museum is open daily from 10.00 am to 17.00 pm
Romney Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF
Telephone/Email: +44 (0)20 8312 6608/[email protected]
Public Transport: Cutty Sark, DLR Greenwich rail station and Maze Hill rail station and Greenwich Pier are nearest stations to Greenwich, the town center. You can get to the museum by rail or river. From Cannon Street and the London Bridge rail, there are direct routes to Greenwich town center.
Boat travel to the museum is also convenient as the pier is situated next to the Cutty Sark at a 5-minute distance to the museum. Europe’s first Ramp Riders are also available making the travel easy for the wheelchair users getting on and off the boats.
Use bus routes 129, 177, 180, 188, 286, 386 and N1 to the museum.
#6. Queen’s House – Free Museum In London
Queen’s House, a museum in London, is a must-see during your trip to Greenwich, London. The museum with its neoclassical architecture is the most significant building in English architectural history because Queen’s House was once the royal residence built between 1616 and 1635.
Be awestruck at the stunning Great Hall, walk door to door, peek through the windows and explore the grandeur of Queen’s House. Watch the amazing Armada portrait of Elizabeth I. You can also watch the award-winning artworks of Richard Wright at the museum.
Take a look at the first geometric self-supporting spiral stairs in Britain – Tulip Stairs. Also, don’t forget to click amazing pictures on the iconic stairs.
Part of Royal Museums, the Queen’s House includes the Cutty Sark, Royal Observatory, and the National Maritime Museum.
Entry to the museum is free. You can pre-book for a guided tour if you are keen on the history of Greenwich and the House. The museum is open daily from 10.00 am to 17.00 pm.
Romney Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF
Telephone/Email: +44 (0)20 8312 6565/[email protected]
Transport: Bus routes 129 and 177 stop by Greenwich. Use DLR; Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich. You can also take the SouthEastern train to the museum.
#7. Imperial War Museum – Free Museum In London
The Imperial War Museum is the world’s leading museum of war. It tells you how lives were torn apart in the crosshairs of the First World War. The museum sheds light on the powerful yet untold stories of voiceless people during the war. From letters to films to photographs and artifacts, the museum has it all.
Imperial War Museum exhibits varied perspectives of artists, journalists, poets and writers during the warfare. The museum’s vast collection is laid out across six floors. Uniforms, vehicles, and weapons used in the war are also exhibited at the museum. The art pieces will move your spirit and inspire you.
The influence and repercussions of the war are everlasting. The objects displayed at the museum tell many stories.
Step into the world-famous atrium, learn about the imperial war, and explore award-winning galleries at the Imperial War Museum.
Entry & Opening Timings
The admission fee is charged for special exhibitions only. The museum is open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. It is closed for three days during Christmas (24-26 December).
he admission fee is charged for special exhibitions only. The museum is open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. It is closed for three days during Christmas (24-26 December).
Lambeth Road, London SE1 6HZ
Telephone/Email: +44 (0)20 7416 5000/[email protected]
Public Transport: Lambeth North underground station is 5 minutes from the Imperial War Museum. London Road underground station is 7 minutes away, and Kennington tube station is 10 minutes from the museum. You can also take the Waterloo train to the museum.
#8. The Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) – Free Museum In London
Representing more than 3,000 years of art, The Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) in London is one of the world’s most notable major art, design, and performance museums. After the recent renovation, the museum looks more spectacular. The museum houses more than 2.27 million objects in its 145 galleries.
By gallery space, The Victoria and Albert Museum is the eighth largest art museum. Your trip to London is not complete without visiting this regal museum.
The museum building was inaugurated and named after Queen Victoria and her husband. Explore the world’s largest collection of post-classical sculptures which dates back to the period around 500-1450 AD.
One will be wonderstruck at the jewelry gallery of the museum; Queen Victoria’s sapphire and diamond coronet are displayed at the museum. Marvel at the iconic and stunning treasures from the Cast Courts at the Museum. Unravel the stories of Britain and the rest of Europe through the artistic works of 1600-1815 of Europe and British galleries.
Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2RL
Telephone/Email: +44 (0)20 7942 2000/[email protected]
How To Get There: There are no direct trains to The Victoria and Albert Museum; however, you can travel by bus and underground connections to the museum. South Kensington, on the District, Piccadilly and Circle lines, is the nearest underground station to the museum. From the station, the museum is a 5-minute walk.
The museum is open daily from 10 am to 5.45 pm except on Fridays. On Fridays, the museum operates from 10 am to 10 pm. During the three days of Christmas, 24-26 December, the museum will be closed.
London is synonymous with museums and galleries. History and stories reflect through these artworks. They say culture doesn’t have to cost, that is why some of the museums are free. The above-listed museums are must-see free museums in London.