London’s Best Military Museums

This post lists and describes the best military museums in London, including free museums and those that focus on specific services. 

 

 


FREE MILITARY MUSEUMS IN LONDON

From ships to aviation and spanning both World Wars, London has a treasure trove of memorabilia and artifacts that teach us about UK military history throughout the centuries.  

Be sure to read our post on free things to do in London for more budget-friendly activities. We have more free museums in London listed in this post.

These are all appropriate for children. For more family-friendly ideas, check out our post on things to do with kids in London.


National Army Museum

If you’re interested in the British Army and how the Army interacted with and influenced society, visit the National Army Museum.
 

 
Learn the origins of the British Army, how it has adapted to technology, and how it has communicated with the public.


National Maritime Museum in Greenwich

Surrounded by water as the British Isles are, traveling across oceans and other bodies of water have shaped the nation and its foreign relations.

 

 

Go to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich to learn about maritime technology, wars fought, and how the UK began its trading with the outside world.

Take along our self-guided tour of Greenwich.  


Royal Air Force Museum

The Royal Air Force Museum is a must-see for anyone who loves aviation technology and history.

 

 
Visit this museum to see old planes from both World Wars as well as various other aircraft pieces and wartime memorabilia.

Kids will also stay entertained in the interactive gallery and 3D experience.


Imperial War Museum London

The Imperial War Museum in London is just one branch of five British military museum locations throughout England.

 

 

The IWM London focuses on displaying the perspectives of people who lived through war themselves. The exhibits cover multiple wars and have artifacts from soldiers and civilians.

 


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MUSEUMS WITH AN ENTRY FEE

Unfortunately, not all of London’s museums are free. But a visit to the right museum can be priceless – especially if you’re interested in the UK military.

 

 

Here are a few of London’s military museums with an entry fee.  


Churchill War Rooms

These underground bunkers are in the middle of London, still looking exactly as they did on the last day of World War II.

The Churchill War Rooms are a popular way to look at how the Allies waged war. They also include some space dedicated to Winston Churchill’s life.

This museum is included for free with several tourist attraction discount passes.  


HMS Belfast

The Imperial War Museum operates the HMS Belfast as a museum. She was commissioned in 1938 and went on her first mission in 1939.

The HMS Belfast and crew also served as Bombardment Force E’s headquarters during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. You can visit today to see what life on the ship was like during World War II.

This museum is included for free with several tourist attraction discount passes.  


Guards Museum

Get your questions answered about the Queen’s Guards at the Guards Museum. Why do they wear their large hats? How do guards join the Changing of the Guard ceremony?

This museum tells the stories of the most famous soldiers with uniforms and artifacts.

This museum is included for free with several tourist attraction discount passes.  


Household Cavalry Museum

You can get a look at how the mounted military dress, train, and go through their daily routines at the Household Cavalry Museum.

 

 

Many visitors love getting a behind-the-scenes look at how the horses are cared for and what the Queen’s Cavalry still does in today’s modern world. 

This museum is included for free with several tourist attraction discount passes.


Tower of London

The Tower of London fascinates people all over the world, thanks to its long history of being used as a fortress, holding prisoners, and now as the home of the Crown Jewels.

Walk through the Tower to go back in time, see armor of past kings and their horses, and be entertained by the charismatic Beefeaters when they give tours. And don’t forget to see the Crown Jewels!

This museum is included for free with several tourist attraction discount passes.

 


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INCLUDED IN TOURIST PASSES

If you’re looking to save a few pounds on entry into some of the paid military museums, getting a London city pass is the way to go.

 

 

Some of the inclusive passes will give you free entrance to these museums:

  • HMS Belfast
  • Churchill War Rooms
  • Household Cavalry Museum
  • Tower of London
  • Guards Museum

 


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OTHER THINGS TO DO IN LONDON

For more affordable things to do, you can read our London on a budget post. We have inspiration for your daily itineraries and tips on how to get discounted tickets.

 

 

Our suggestions for other things to do in London:

 


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