Museums of London
Charles Dickens Museum: The celebrated author lived here in relative comfort with his family but the squalor of London’s Victorian streets was never far away. It was a reality that continued to inspire his work and this museum houses examples of some initial drafts of Oliver Twist. Manuscripts, rare editions, personal items, paintings and other visual sources are all on display.
48 Doughty Street WC1N 4LX
RAF Museum: When Britain was outgunned and outnumbered during the Second World War, its heroic airforce proved to be the difference between victory and defeat. Although this museum celebrates the world of aviation at large, the iconic aircraft of the Battle of Britain take centre stage. Spitfires, Hurricanes and Lancasters are part of the nation’s heritage and here they can be seen up close and personal. The museum does not let us forget the people who developed, tested and fought in these machines and uses interactive exhibits to tell their story.
Graham Park Way, Colindale, NW9
British Museum: The museum first opened to the public in 1759 in Bloomsbury on the site of the current museum. It was largely founded 6 years earlier based on exhibits provided by the physician Sir Hans Sloane. Today it is a museum of human history and culture possessing over 13 million individual objects. This astonishing array of items showcases man’s existence from the earliest scientific records to our modern day existence making the British Museum collection one of the most comprehensive in the world.
Victoria and Albert Museum: The V&A in South Kensington is acclaimed to be the world’s greatest museum of art and design. Its collections are unrivalled in their scope and diversity. Within the museum’s walls, you can discover 3,000 years’ worth of amazing artefacts from some of the world’s richest cultures. These fascinating items include ceramics, furniture, fashion, glass, jewellery, metalwork, photographs, sculpture, textiles and paintings.
Natural History Museum: A visit to this particular museum is perhaps especially poignant at a time when nations are grappling with the issue of sustainable development. The Natural History museum focuses its efforts and attention on the discovery, understanding and responsible use of the natural world. Free entrance Monday to Sunday 10:00 – 17:50.
London Transport Museum: The history of London’s transport network. The London Underground system is the oldest in the world. The Museum’s charitable objectives are to: Preserve our transport heritage and interpret the vital role transport has played in the life of our city. Deliver education programmes for schools, working with over 100,000 young people every year. Work with communities throughout London on creative and educational projects both within and outside the Museum. Raise awareness of future transport issues and opportunities to promote a sustainable London.
The Science Museum: Founded in 1857 it owes its origins to the Great Exhibition held in the glass edifice now known as Crystal Palace. Due to the popularity of its exhibits during the Exhibition and by recommendation of its patron Prince Albert, the cash surplus resulting was dedicated towards funding a permanent home for many of the items. Today the Science Museum is internationally acclaimed for its historic collections, amazing galleries and extraordinary exhibitions.
The Imperial War Museum: As the name suggests, this museum is dedicated to military vehicles, weaponry, war memorabilia and an extensive library open to the public from Monday to Saturday. There is also a photographic archive, and an art collection of 20th century and later conflicts. Emphasis is placed on conflicts involving both Britain and the British Empire.
Sherlock Holmes Museum: England’s most famous private eye, Sherlock Holmes and his affable colleague Doctor Watson lived at 221b Baker Street between 1881-1904 based on the novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The 1st floor study overlooking Baker Street is still arranged as it would have been kept in Victorian Times. This celebrated address is certainly worth a visit.
The Museum of London: A wonderful resource that documents the history of London from prehistoric times to the present day. The museum is situated close to the Barbican Centre and a short stroll north of St Paul’s Cathedral. It overlooks the remains of the Roman city wall on the edge of the oldest part of London, referred to as the City, now the capital’s major financial district. The museum is mainly concerned with the social history of London and its denizens. Admission is free.