In London, there is a museum for everything. Natural history, literary history and even athletic history is able to be explored in the city's galleries! On show isn't just the expansive and turbulent history of the United Kingdom, but exhibitions from countries across the world and from every era you can think of. There are a multitude of options available, so we've divided some of the most popular museums into the ones that are free and those that require a paid entry.

Don't know how to get there? We've got you sorted with the best ways to reach each museum by Tube, so put our tips to using the London Underground into action. Our guide to London's museums will help you navigate the cultural catalyst, and provide you with all the information you need to know. 

What are the best free museums in London?

They say the best things in life are free, just like some of the best attractions to visit in London are! Find out all the details below about what you can see and how to get there - and the best part is they're all free to enter!

  1. British Museum
  2. Museum of London
  3. Natural History Museum

What are the best museums you have to pay to get into?

If you don't mind spending a penny or two, be sure to check out these fantastic museums in London when you're there next! Check out the information you need to know about each attraction below.

  1. London Transportation Museum
  2. Charles Dickens Museum
  3. Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum

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Best museums in London with free entry

  1. British Museum
  2. Museum of London
  3. Natural History Museum

#1 British Museum

Dedicated to the human history and culture, this museum has some permanent worldly exhibitions along with a few special attractions. With over 8 million works, the museum is among the largest and most expansive in the world. It also boasts the title of one of the oldest in the world, being established in 1753.

You’ll find galleries based on Africa, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece & Rome, Asia, Europe, Middle East, & Themed Galleries.The British Museum has exhibitions that run for a couple of months at a time, so make sure to check what the British Museum is showing when you're visiting London. To make your trip even more special, you can experience the museum with a private morning tour before it opens, gaining unforgettable access and insight into the current exhibitions.

You can find the British Museum in the central London suburb of Bloomsbury. While making your trip to the museum, take a stroll through the area's picturesque parks and squares which are blooming with greenery against the inner city grey. Whether you're spending a few hours or the whole day here, everything is at your fingertips with multiple restaurants and cafes, family events and free activities to take part in!

Gallery overview

  • The Enlightenment Era
  • Egyptian Sculpture
  • Ancient Lives, New Discoveries
  • Assyrian Sculpture
  • Athens and Lycia
  • Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
  • Europe 1900-present
  • Mesopotamia

How do I get to the British Museum?

Take the Central or Piccadilly Line to the Holborn station on the Tube.

What are the opening hours of the British Museum?

The British Museum is open from 10am to 5.30pm, daily. However, on Fridays, the museum is open late until 10.30pm, except for Good Friday.

#2 Museum of London

When you visit this museum, you’ll have a chance to peek into London all the way back in the prehistoric times. Explore the city that was once ruled by the Romans and the Saxons, check out the famous medieval London, walk through the streets of the Victorian era and learn about the Great Fire of 1666. The museum also hosts a bevy of special events such as a Sleepover at the Museum, where you get full reign of the museum after hours, get a three-course dinner, comedy performances and more. The Museum of London located at London Wall and is an extremely family friendly location for everyone to enjoy!

The Museum of London also has a location at the London Docklands. The galleries here dive into the deep history of trade in London. Learn the history of London's docks, stories of merchants and pirates who transformed the city and explore the dark alleyways of London's sailor town. The Docklands Museum also gives you an insight into how the city has changed dramatically and fared through war and disaster. There is also an interactive space for children and parents, called Mudlarks, providing a stimulating learning environment into the nautical history of London.

Gallery overview for Museum of London

  • London before London
  • Roman London
  • Medieval London
  • War, Plague, and Fire
  • Expanding City: 1666-1850s
  • People’s City: 1850s-1940s
  • World City: 1950s-today

How do I get to the Museum of London?

You can get off at the Barbican stop, accessible via the Circle, Hammersmith City, and Metropolitan lines or use the St. Paul’s stop on the Central line on the Tube.

What time does the Museum of London open?

The Museum of London is open daily from 10am to 6pm at both locations!

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#3 Natural History Museum

This world-class attraction is not just a leading science research centre, it'll also keep you entertained for hours on end. With sprawling displays everywhere you look, the Natural History Museum will take you back further in time than you can get your head around. They care for over 80 million specimens, spanning billions of years - so it's no wonder why more than 5 million visitors go through the entry door each year! Make your way to Cromwell Road, Kensington to visit this free attraction on your next London trip.

Fun Fact

If you're a fan of the Royal Family, you'll be interested to now that the Duchess of Cambridge is a Patron of the Museum. Visit the Natural History Museum when in London to find out about the Duchess' involvement in their work!

Exhibition overview at the Natural History Museum

  • Dinosaurs
  • Mammals and marine invertebrates
  • Human biology
  • Treasures
  • Fossils and minerals
  • Creepy crawlies
  • Human evolution
  • Volcanoes and earthquakes

How do I get to the Natural History Museum?

The closest Tube station is South Kensington on the District, Piccadilly and Circle lines. You'll find the station is only a 5-minute walk from the Museum's Exhibition Road entrance.

You can also reach the Natural History Museum via the Gloucester Road station, which services the above Tube lines and is about a few minutes' walk from the Queen's Gate entrance.

What are the opening hours of the Natural History Museum?

You'll be able to visit the museum between the hours of 10am to 5.50pm - keep in mind your last chance to enter is by 5.30pm!

Best museums with paid entry

  1. London Transportation Museum
  2. Charles Dickens Museum
  3. Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum

#1 London Transportation Museum

In this museum, you can explore the story of London, its transportation and the people who have travelled and worked in the city during the last 200 years. Go back in time to 19th Century London where walking and rowing boats were the only form of transport, moving then to horse-drawn cabs, trams and railways. Taking this journey through the Industrial Revolution is fascinating and will give you some interesting facts about the infamous London Underground - something to whip out when you catch the tube home!

The museum puts all of this into life, allowing you to look at the designs that started it all, along with how the growth of suburbs affected the area’s transportation. Within the gallery you can explore 19th-century London, all the way to how transport was impacted during the War. Nestled in the heart of Covent Garden, the London Transportation Museum is easy to access by underground, bus, boat or bike!

Gallery overview

  • 19th-Century London
  • Steam Underground 1863-1905
  • Growth of the Suburbs
  • Design for Travel
  • On the Surface 1900-1945
  • On the Surface after 1945
  • London’s Transport at War

How do I get to the London Transportation Museum?

Take the Piccadilly Line to Covent Garden stop on the Tube.

Alternatively, the closest bus stops to the museum are Strand or Aldwych.

If you are taking the Thames Clipper, Embankment Pier is the closest pier to the museum.

How much is the London Transportation Museum?

  • Adults - £18
  • Concession - £17
  • 17 years and under - Free

It is important to note that if you book online, the museum entry is only £16.50 for adults and £15.50 for concession.

What are the opening hours of the London Transportation Museum?

  • Every day 10am to 6pm.

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#2 Charles Dickens Museum

Perhaps one of London’s most famous authors, Charles Dickens wrote Victorian works that are still being enjoyed today, including Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol. The Museum was transformed out of the residence where Dickens’ lived from 1837-1839. It was here that two of his daughters were born, where his sister-in-law went to her final rest, and where many of his greatest works were penned.

In the museum, you can check out over 100,000 items including manuscripts, rare editions, personal items, paintings and more. As well, take a walk through rooms decorated in early Victorian style as they might have been when Dickens lived there. The museum hosts many exciting events such as a weekly reading group, costumed tours, and the museum by candlelight. Located in Holborn within the London Borough of Camden, the Charles Dickens Museum will be enjoyed by all bookworms alike! A trip to the museum could be followed by a stroll through the infamous Camden markets for the best eats, drinks, shopping and music in London.

How do I get to the Charles Dickens Museum?

Take the Piccadilly Line on the Tube to Russell Square.

How much is Charles Dickens Museum?

  • Adults - £9.50
  • Concession - £7.50
  • Children 6-16 years - £4.5
  • Children under 6 years - Free

What hours are the Charles Dickens Museum open?

The Charles Dickens Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, from 10am to 5pm.

#3 Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum

The oldest tennis tournament in the world is held every year at the All England Club, where it has been held since 1877. While the prestigious match brings out close to 40,000 spectators, the museum will be a less crowded way to experience the match. Catch a glimpse at the championship trophies or stroll through memorabilia lane with items dating back to 1555. The kids will love the interactive consoles and the 3D film capturing the essence of Wimbledon. You can also see the outfits worn by many of the champions along with special mementos they have generously donated. 

How do I get to the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum?

Take the District line on the Tube to Wimbledon Park.

How much is the Wimbledon Museum?

Adults

  • £13 - Museum Only
  • £25 - Museum and Tour

Children

  • £8 - Museum Only
  • £15 - Museum and Tour

Now that you are up to scratch on the museums of London (the list keeps going, if you are still thirsting for knowledge and exhibits, by the way), you can finish planning out your itinerary. With so much history and culture, it’s no wonder people flock to London to take in the superb exhibits and more.

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