The 4 Best Museums in London That You Must Visit

As essential as seeing Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, eating fish and chips, or getting a curry in the East End, no trip to London would be complete without a visit to one of its fantastic  museums. But there are nearly 200 museums (!) in the city, so were do you begin?

Read along for our expert opinion on the ones that are worth a visit during your trip to London.

Megalodon skeleton inside Natural History Museum in London with people
For starters, a Megalodon skeleton soaring over your head at the Natural History Museum. Photo credit: Pauline Loroy

The British Museum

A fixture on the list of the most prestigious museums in the world, there was no way our list could not include the British Museum as one of the best museums in London.

From the moment you walk inside and are greeted by the Great Court, you can tell that this is no ordinary place.


  • The glass ceiling that covers the 2-acre courtyard, the largest covered square not only in London but also in the world, is a marvel in itself. 
  • There are three floors of countless wonders from all over the Earth. Our picks include the Rosetta Stone, the dynamic Lion Hunt carvings from the Assyrian Empire, and the Sutton-Hoo helmet. 
  • The Egyptian section on the ground floor is deserving of a special mention, too. Containing objects that date back to 10,000 BCE, it’s truly outstanding. And, when you cast your eyes on the imposing statues of Ramses III or Amenhotep III, you can understand why their citizens regarded them as gods.  

A map can be downloaded on their website for you to plan ahead, but trust us, it is normal to leave feeling like you missed something.   

Insider’s Tip: Weekdays are understandably less busy than the weekend. But evenings, Tuesdays, Sundays, and sunny days are the best for fewer crowds. Also don’t be put off by the lines on a busy day, as the security check lines move fast. 

Lastly, when there are special exhibits, the first and last weeks are extra busy, so check online to see if your trip coincides so you know what to expect. 

People walking inside The British Museum with architecture and blue sky
One of the best museums in London, entering the Great Court of the British Museum, you’ll have access to the history of the whole planet within its halls. Photo credit: Nicolas Lysandrou

The Victoria & Albert Museum

In the Victoria & Albert Museum, London has one of the world’s most unique and enjoyable museums. It really is difficult to explain the extent of the splendors on display in what is the 9th largest museum in the world.

Founded in 1852, Prince Albert sought to capitalize on the public and industrial interest in the arts after the Great Exhibition, the year before. As a result, the museum’s focus is not so much on one facet of the arts, but on everything that can inspire creative minds. 

In how many other museums will you be able to see a priceless sculpture from Rodin and intricately designed door handles given their flowers, to the same degree?

Highlights include:

  • The cast courts where you can be transported around the globe and see to-scale replicas of some of the world’s greatest artistic achievements, all in one room. 
  • Everything from Michelangelo’s David, the Pórtico de la Gloria from the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, and many other amazing works of art are here. 
  • The morbid but arresting Tipu’s Tiger, Constable’s landscapes, and a Fashion Gallery that spans five centuries of ever-changing styles and tastes. 

That being said, while having a plan before getting into some of the other museums is an advantage, part of the joy of visiting the V&A is getting lost in its vast and unparalleled collection. So give yourself time to take it all in. 

The extraordinary collection and mixture of arts, besides its astonishing size, are some of the reasons why we consider it one of the best museums to visit in London, as you’ll surely discover something amazing to remember.

Scultures in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London
Each room of the Victoria & Albert Museum will surprise you in a different way. Photo credit: Brett Jordan

The Natural History Museum

If you were to ask most Londoners for their favorite museum, the Natural History Museum would probably win out. Whether it is because of the memories of their exciting first visit as a child, or the chance to be reminded of the marvels our planet has to offer, as an adult, this is one museum you can’t afford to miss. Hence why we consider it one of the best museums in London, for adults and children alike.

All the delights are housed in a gorgeous gothic-meets-romanesque building, which is worth the visit, alone. The splendor of the main Hintze Hall evokes in you exactly what the architect Alfred Waterhouse wanted: that you feel like you are about to enter, “a cathedral to nature.” 

Everything, from dinosaurs, dodos, and diamonds, amounting to a staggering 80 million objects is spread out across four zones. A family favorite is the dinosaurs, of which there is a substantial collection of not only fossils but also to-scale models, some of which move, so be prepared! 

If that wasn’t enough, you can also see and touch a real meteor, as well as experience a real-life simulation of what an earthquake feels like. 

While the Natural History Museum, like all major London museums, is free, long queues are common. Avoid the long lines by booking online before, especially if you decide to go on the weekend. 

Main hall of The Natural History Museum in London
The architect intended it to be “a cathedral to nature,” what do you think? Photo credit: Joshua Rawson-Harris

The Wellcome Collection

Our last suggestion for museums to visit is not an obvious choice. It’s an underrated gem that will leave you wanting more. 

While most museums are focused on the results of human achievement or discovery, the charm of The Wellcome Collection is that it is mainly centered on the human condition itself. 

In the past, this has included exhibitions focused on sleep, joy, the effects of dirt, tranquility, and the psychology of magic.

Found in the transient Euston Road, the foundation of the Wellcome Collection comes from the private collection of prominent pharmacist and entrepreneur Henry Wellcome, who lived in the early 20th century. 

His obsession for collecting anything related to health and medicine meant that the collection houses an extensive assortment of medical objects from around the world, which make up the basis for the collection as a whole. 

You’ll be transported around the world to see how, over time, different cultures handled everything from childbirth to taking out teeth, reminding you why you should feel lucky that you live when you do!

We also must mention that the Wellcome Collection boasts one of the most interesting book shops/gift shops in any museum. It also has a beautiful reading room, which is a perfect place to spend a rainy day in London. If you want to snuggle up with a book to escape a downpour, for a few hours, this is the place. 

Reading Room with chairs and red carpet Wellcome Collection Museum in London
Get inspired by the Wellcome Collection exhibitions, or sit down in the museum’s calm and enjoy a good book. Photo credit: Burnsc10

Explore and be Inspired

While there are countless others we could have selected, we hope that you enjoyed our list and feel inspired to check them out. For us, these four museums are some of London’s best. Let us know which one is your favorite!

Even if you set aside time to check out the most appealing museum for you, in a city like London it’s almost impossible for you to see it all. 

For that reason, why not take the pressure off by checking out our London in a Day tour, so you can tick off the main sights in one hit? 

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