Top 10 London Museums

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From major attractions such as the National Maritime Museum and Imperial War Museum to smaller, quirkier exhibitions, London caters to every taste.

Cabinet War Rooms

‘We will fight them on the beaches’, Winston Churchill famously told the nation in a broadcast from this tomb like bunker, where his government took refuge during WWII. From 2005, the new Churchill Museum joined the perfectly preserved Map Room and reconstructed bedrooms.

Dali Universe

If you miss this, it will seem like you missed everything in London. This gallery’s black walls, low lighting and mirrors make it seem like the surrealist artist’s deliciously twisted subconscious. On display are melted watches, fire, crutches, a lobster telephone, a Mae West lips sofa and more.

Design Museum

This sparkling white building is the place to enthuse over the latest objects of modern design, before snaffling yourself a slice of aesthetic perfection the ship. Recent exhibitions have featured Manolo Blahnik’s shoes and avant-garde architecture of the ‘60s.

Geffrye Museum

With a sequence of recreated domestic interiors along 14 interconnected almshouses, running chronologically from Elizabethan times to the end of the 20th century, this museum is a lot more edifying than any ordinary furniture showroom.

Imperial War Museum

Even committed pacifists appreciate the Imperial War Museum. That is because, alongside its internationally famous collection of planes, tanks and other military hardware, it provides a telling lesson in modern history. Highlights include a re-created WWI trench and bomb shelter and a Holocaust exhibition.

Kenwood House

House a small collection of paintings by Gainsborough, Reynolds, Rembrandt, Turner and Vermeer, this neoclassical mansion set in magnificent grounds beside Hampstead Heath is a perfect picture of Jane Austen Englishness.

London’s Transport Museum

Learn how London made the transition from horse drawn carriages to the tube, the Docklands Light Rail and the ultramodern Jubilee line extension.

MCC Museum & Lord’s Tour

The Ashes trophy never leaves this famous cricket ground, much to the chagrin of winning Australian teams. But the club has broken with tradition by erecting a media centre resembling a spaceship.

Museum of London

Inigo Jones’ magnificent neoclassical building hosts an impressive collection that even confirmed landlubbers should not miss. The glass-roofed Neptune Court, a golden 18th century royal barge, the Passengers cruise lingers exhibit and the uniform Nelson was wearing when fatally shot are just several of many highlights.

Sherlock Holes Museum

Like its address – which should be 239 (where the fictional Holmes lived) instead of the advertised 221b – this homage to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional detective slightly misses the mark. Waxworks and mementos ‘left’ by Watson and Holmes are rather tacky, but die-hard fans will still enjoy.

Honorable Mention

Museum of London

Savvy Londoners list this place as a favorite. More than one million objects, ranging from the ice age to the internet – including re-created Roman streets, a gilded coach and a Great Fire diorama – lay out the rich tapestry of the city’s history.


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