London is home to some of the world’s best museums and art galleries, and no trip to London is complete without visiting some of these. With such a wide array of museums from which to choose, there is literally something for everyone’s taste and interest.
It’s not easy to narrow a list of London’s museums down to identify those that are “the best”. Almost every imaginable theme has a museum to showcase it: war, children’s toys, British history, natural history, costume, portraiture...
Here we offer the top six museums for the first time visitor to London.
The National Gallery
Located in a magnificent building on Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery was founded in 1824 and today is home to more than two thousand works of portraiture. Masterpieces to be enjoyed include pieces by Raphael, Titian, Monet, and Van Gogh; famous portraits of British monarchs, as well as modern pieces by artists such as Andy Warhol and Annie Liebovitz.
The British Museum
As one of the world’s oldest museums, the British Museum in Bloomsbury houses a vast collection, with only a tiny fraction of the whole on display at one time. It is truly a museum which deserves multiple visits. Highlights of permanent exhibitions include the Egyptian mummies, the Rosetta Stone, the Sutton Hoo burial haul, the Elgin Marbles, and Lindow Man. Other permanent exhibitions include the gallery of Ancient Iran, the Living and Dying Exhibit, and a collection of artifacts from the eighteenth century.
The Victoria and Albert Museum
This magnificent museum in the heart of South Kensington was founded by Queen Victoria in 1899 at what proved to be her final official public engagement as queen. Showcasing applied arts collected worldwide, it has one hundred and fifty grand galleries. Items dating across several centuries include dress, jewellery, glass, textiles, ceramics, sculpture and paintings. Highlights of the museum include cartoons by Raphael, Italian Renaissance sculptures, the Ardabil Carpet, and mediaeval mosaic floors.
The Tate Modern
Housed in what was previously the Bankside Power Station, the Tate Modern gallery showcases a vast collection of modern art, including installations and pieces by such modern masters as Rothko, Matisse, Constable, Francis Bacon, Warhol, Weiwei, and Millais. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is adjacent to the Tate Modern.
The Natural History Museum
A wonderful South Kensington museum for the whole family to enjoy, the Natural History Museum less than 5 mins drive from Presidential Apartments Kensington opened in 1881 and is the place to go in central London to see dinosaur skeletons! From dino-bones to animatronic dinosaurs; creepy crawlies to bird and mammal taxidermy; precious metals, gemstones and crystals; a summer live wildlife garden display, and insect and plant specimens: this is a museum that will delight visitors both young and old.
Science Museum and Library of Science
On Exhibition Road in South Kensington, this museum was founded in 1857, and showcases world’s most comprehensive and wide-ranging collections in the areas of history and advancements of science and technology. Collections include Medical History, Veterinary History, Agriculture, Information and Communications Technologies, artefacts incorporating human remains, a model of the first international satellite in the world, Britain's first broadcast transmitter, Cosmos and Culture, Science in the 18th Century, and Antenna – What’s new in Science?
For the visitors staying in Aparthotels London, there are a myriad of other museums in London which also deserve a visit; these include the Churchill War Rooms, the National Maritime Museum, the Imperial War Museum, the Design Museum, the Charles Dickens Museum, Pollock’s Toy Museum, the Garden Museum... the list goes on. Staying at the Presidential Serviced Apartments London in Kensington is a wonderful base from which to gain easy access to museums and galleries all over London.