Free Museums in London

Visitors from all over the world marvel at the fact that London is home to some of the largest, most impressive, and famous museums in existence. What makes it all the more impressive is that the majority museums in London are totally free! Here is our handy guide to the most popular, and best, of our free museums in London.

Check out our post on free things to do in London, our full Guide to London on a Budget as well as our 3 day London museum lover itinerary. Or, we’ll show you around on our pay-what-you-like British Museum Tour.

The Tate Modern – The most visited modern art museum in the world (over 4 million visitors a year!) it is also the largest. The Tate is Britain’s national gallery of modern art and is a destination for art-lovers from all across the globe. One of the most notable aspects of the Tate is the Turbine Hall. Built into a disused powerstation, the Tate can now put giantic art displays in the Turbine Hall which has a floor space of 3,400sq. ft. and has held works made by top artists from around the world such as Ai WeiWei, Anish Kapoor, and Doris Salcedo – just to name a few. The Tate also boasts a lovely cafe near the top of the building with wonderful views of the Thames, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the City of London. All yours to enjoy, without spending a single penny!

free London museums

The Victoria and Albert Museum – Arguably the greatest design and art museum in the entire world, and by extension one of the best free museums in London, the Victoria and Albert Museum holds artifacts that span over 3,000 years and come from every corner of the globe. Renaissance galleries, jewellery gallery, reconstructed Jacobean rooms, as well as wings dedicated entirely to things such as iron work and musical instruments, the Victoria and Albert has a display relevant to the interests of nearly any visiting tourist.

Opening Hours: Daily 10:00 – 17:45 (Friday until 22:00

Nearest Underground Station: South Kensington

The Science Museum – The largest and most visited science and technology museum in Europe, the Science Museum holds over 15,000 objects and is filled with interactive galleries and experiences. Holding items that have been sent to space, the bottom depths of the ocean, and everywhere in between the Science Museum is a hit with children and adults alike.

Opening Hours: Daily 10:00 – 18:00

Nearest Underground Station: South Kensington

The Natural History Museum  – A magnificent and gigantic building absolutely filled to the brim with artefacts to amaze every visitor, the Natural History Museum has been a London landmark since its’ construction nearly two centuries ago. Displaying dinosaur skeletons, a model  blue whale, a life size robotic T-Rex, a cutting from one of the largest trees in the world, and room after room of gemstones and minerals, the Natural History Museum also offers guests a self-guided tour.

Opening Hours: Daily 10:00 – 17:50 (Last Friday of each month – open late)

free British museumThe British Museum  – Founded in 1753, the collections held at the British Museum span over two million years of history! World famous objects kept here include the Rosetta Stone and Parthenon sculptures which are displayed alongside classic sights such as Egyptian mummies and ancient works of art from across the globe.

Opening Hours: Daily 10:00 – 17:30 (Fridays until 20:30)

Nearest Underground Stations: Holborn, Russell Square, Tottenham Court Road

The Museum of London – Telling the story of over 2,000 years of London History, the Museum of London shows how Londoners have lived since the very beginning. Spanning from the Romans to the Middle Ages to the Swinging London of the 1960’s, the Museum of London shares with guests all they need to know about the evolution of our city.

Opening Hours: Daily 10:00 – 18:00

Nearest Underground Station: St. Pauls, Barbican, Moorgate

The Museum of London, Docklands  – Housed in a 200 year old warehouse, the Museum of London Docklands tells the story of the capital through trade, migration and commerce that was based around this area of London for centuries. State of the art galleries and recreations of 19th century London are displayed alongside unusual objects fished from the Thames and guests can also join tours of the museum which bring this often unexplored area of London to vibrant life.

Opening Hours: Daily 10:00 – 18:00

Nearest Underground Stations: Canary Wharf, West India Quay (DLR)

The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich – An extensive collection of pieces that tell the story of Britain’s maritime heritage throughout the centuries, the National Maritime Museum is the world’s largest maritime museum and is filled to the brim with stories, objects, and galleries.

Opening Times: Daily 10:00 – 17:00

Nearest Underground Station: Cutty Sark (DLR)

The Queens House, Greenwich  – Built by Inigo Jones in the early 17th century, the Queens House was originally build for Anne of Denmark, wife of King James I. After surviving the subsequent civil war the Queen’s House became the focal point of Christopher Wren’s grand Greenwich architectural landscape. Now displaying a series of historical paintings telling the history of this fascinating building, the Queen’s House is a delightful treasure hidden in the hills of Greenwich.

Opening Times: Daily 10:00 – 17:00

Nearest Underground Stations: Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich (DLR)

The Old Royal Naval College – Dominating the Greenwich landscape along the River Thames, the Old Royal Naval College was designed by Christopher Wren and stands on the site of an earlier building: Greenwich Palace, lived in by none other than King Henry VIII himself. Today the ORNC is open to the public to explore the classical architecture, Christopher Wren chapel, and painted hall (where Admiral Lord Nelson lay in state after his death in Trafalgar). The Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre is also located here, a useful stop for all visitors to Greenwich.

Opening Hours: Daily 10:00 – 17:00 (Chapel opens at 12:30 on Sundays)

Nearest Underground Station: Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich (DLR)

Grant Museum of Zoology – Including many rare and now extinct specimens, the museum has a collection that covers the entirety of the animal kingdom. Specimens floating in fluid, skeletons and stuffed animals help create one of the most fascinating and curious collections in London.

Opening Times: Monday – Saturday 13:00 – 17:00

Nearest Underground Stations: Euston, Euston Square, Russell Square

The Bank of England Museum – Housed within the Bank of England, this little known museum traces the history of the bank from its’ foundation in the 1690’s to its’ current situation today. On display are gold bars, counterfeit money from throughout the centuries, weaponry used to defend the bank as well as documents signed and used by famous Bank of England customers like the Duchess of Marlborough, Admiral Lord Nelson and even George Washington!

Opening Times: Monday to Friday 10:00 – 17:00

Nearest Underground Stations: Bank, Monument

Museum of the Order of St. John  – Held inside a 16th century gatehouse (previously the entrance to the Priory of the Medieval Order of St. John) the museum today contains artifacts relating to the history of the knights who belonged to this order. Manuscripts, armour, art and archives, the story of the St. John’s Ambulance is told from their beginnings to the present day.

Opening Times: Monday – Saturday 10:00 – 17:00

Nearest Underground Station: Farringdon

The Imperial War Museum – Highlighting and explaining the lives of the millions of people who lived during World Wars One and Two, the Imperial War Museum explores the way war shapes society and sheds light on atrocities and tragedies oftentimes forgotten.

Opening Hours: Daily 10:00 – 18:00

Nearest Underground Stations: Lambeth North, Elephant & Castle, Waterloo

The Museum of Fulham Palace – Owned by the Bishops of London for over 1,300 years, Fulham Palace was originally built in the 11th century. The rooms that survive now hold a museum and gallery open to the public as well as access to the beautiful botanic gardens.

Opening Times: Summer months Monday to Thursday 12:30 – 16:30 Sundays 12:30 – 16:30   Winter months Monday to Thursday 12:30 – 15:30 Sundays 12:00 – 16:00

Nearest Underground Station: Putney Bridge