Britain's Top Museums

#1 The British Museum

A list of British museums would certainly be remiss to not include mention of the world famous British Museum. The British Museum was founded in 1753 and focuses in exhibitions centered around the evolution of human history and culture across the globe. It is free to enter, though special exhibitions will often require that you pay a fee, and all visits to the museum must be planned in advance due to its popularity. It is located in the Bloomsbury area of London. Notable artifacts include the Rosetta Stone, the Tree of Life, and Henry VIII’s combat & tournament armour.

#2 Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum is a vast, prestigious museum that exhibits a wide collection of objects, artifacts and fossils from across history and even pre-history. Construction of the museum began in 1873 and ended in 1881. It doubles as a science research centre, with discoveries and research focused around animal and biological history. It is free to enter, though special exhibitions will often require that you pay a fee, and all visits to the museum must be planned in advance. It is located in South Kensington, London.

#3 The National Gallery

The National Gallery is an art museum dedicated to exhibitions featuring European art from across the eras. Over 2,400 paintings are housed in the museum, dating from circa 1200-1900. It was built in 1824, and is located within Westminster, Central London. Entry is free, but requires a booking in advance. Furthermore, small donations are available and encouraged in order to help fund maintenance costs and keep the museum running. It was built in 1824, and is owned by the government of the United Kingdom.

#4 The Ashmolean Museum

The Ashmolean Museum is a museum dedicated to archaeology and art through the ages. It is owned by the University of Oxford. It houses many notable and significant artifacts, such as the Alfred Jewel, which was forged on the orders of King Alfred the Great. The function of the jewel is uncertain, but it is generally accepted that it was attached to a pointer which would then be used to follow words on a page. The museum is free to enter, and does not require booking in advance. It is widely recognised as being the first modern museum, and was named after its founder, Elias Ashmole. It is located on Beaumont Street in Oxford. 

#5 Churchill War Rooms

The Churchill War Rooms are a complex of secret underground headquarters where the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, lived and worked during the years of World War Two. Years after the war, they have now been converted into a series of museum exhibitions which showcase the centre of Britain’s war effort. The museum is not public, and requires a payment in order to enter with ticket prices ranging from £12-28. Construction of the war rooms began in 1938, and they became fully operational a week before Britain declared war on Germany.

#6 The Victoria & Albert Museum

The Victoria & Albert Museum is the world’s leading museum for art, design and performance, and recognised as the largest museum for applied arts in the world. It was founded in 1852 and originally known as the South Kensington Museum, but was later renamed to the Victoria & Albert Museum in commemoration of their contributions to the construction and development of the museum. It hosts a wide range of exhibitions every week, and is free to enter without a requirement for booking.

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