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11 museums history lovers need to visit in London – In pictures



11 museums history lovers need to visit in London – In pictures

1/11

Hampton Court Palace
Getty Images

2/11

Ragged School Museum

3/11

Natural History Museum
UNSPLASH/Daniel Rauber

4/11

National Maritime Museum
Getty Images

5/11

Sir John Soane’s Museum

6/11

Black Cultural Archives

7/11

V&A
Peter Kelleher

8/11

British Museum
British Museum

9/11

Museum of London
Museum of London

10/11

Imperial War Museum
PA Archive/PA Images

11/11

British Library
AFP/Getty Images

1/11

Hampton Court Palace
Getty Images

2/11

Ragged School Museum

3/11

Natural History Museum
UNSPLASH/Daniel Rauber

4/11

National Maritime Museum
Getty Images

5/11

Sir John Soane’s Museum

6/11

Black Cultural Archives

7/11

V&A
Peter Kelleher

8/11

British Museum
British Museum

9/11

Museum of London
Museum of London

10/11

Imperial War Museum
PA Archive/PA Images

11/11

British Library
AFP/Getty Images

Arts

Best museums in London for history lovers

  • Ailis Brennan

  • Friday 7 September 2018 17:21





Click to follow
GO London

GO LONDON newsletter

History buffs, you’re in good company in London, with the city being a magnet for world class historians and historical collections.

Later this month, the Science Museum will be using its forensic expertise to turn historian on the mystery of the Romanov royal family in Russia in its new exhibition, The Last Tsar: Blood and Revolution . 

London museums are, however, no stranger to illuminating the past. From Tudor palaces to ancient Egyptian mummies, via the world’s oldest book and a 147 million year old dinosaur, these are the museums that will give your your history fix in London.

For prehistoric history… Natural History Museum

(UNSPLASH/Daniel Rauber)

Starting at the beginning of humanity would be a pretty good place to start, but the Natural History Museum goes even further than that. From a a 147 million year old Archaeopteryx to a stuffed Dodo and pigeons owned by natural history godfather Charles Darwin, there you can get up close and personal with pretty much any species imaginable. If that’s not enough, gazing up at the 25 metre long skeleton of a magnificent blue whale is a pretty great way to make an entrance.


Cromwell Road, Kensington, SW7 5BD. Admission free (with charged ticketed exhibitions);  nhm.ac.uk

For ancient history… British Museum

(British Museum)

The British Museum’s global reputation is widely down to its extraordinary array of artefacts from ancient civilisations, including the largest collection of ancient Egyptian objects outside of Egypt itself. Alongside the 120 mummies and the prized Rosetta Stone, you’ll also find the Parthenon sculptures from ancient Greece, sculpted reliefs of lion hunts from ancient Assyria and mosaics from Roman Britain.

Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, WC1B 3DG. Admission free (with charged ticketed exhibitions);  britishmuseum.org

For Tudor history… Hampton Court Palace

(Getty Images)

It’s not quite a museum, but Hampton Court Palace is arguably something much better. A historical artefact in itself, the home of Henry VIII is a perfect place to immerse yourself in Tudor history, with visitors permitted to roam pretty much anywhere, from the Great Hall to the palace’s kitchens. Be careful as you peruse the Gallery – this is where the ghost of Henry VIII’s fifth wife Catherine Howard is said to be seen, having run down it screaming on finding out she was likely to be beheaded.

Molesey, East Molesey KT8 9AU. Admission is £19.20 for adults, £9.60 for children;  hrp.org.uk

For Georgian history… Sir John Soane’s Museum

When it comes to historic houses, there are few that are better preserved than that of architect Sir John Soane. The famous architect decreed that his home and its content would become a museum after he died, meaning visitors can snoop around the stunning Georgian home to this day. Soane was a fervent collector, so inside you’ll find anything from an Egyptian tomb to paintings by JMW Turner.

13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A 3BP. Admission is free (with charged ticketed tours);  soane.org

For Victorian history… Ragged School Museum 

It was a hard knock life for many Victorian children. Dr Barnardo knew this, and began setting up homes for poor children in London. This museum occupies the site of the Ragged School set up by the philanthropist in 1877, and its star exhibit is the old school room preserved since the Victorian era, which frequently hosts school trips to experience a day in the life of a nineteenth century child. Victoriana enthusiasts can also head to the Charles Dickens Museum and the Old Operating Theatre to find similar immersive experiences.

46-50 Copperfield Road, E3 4RR. Admission is free (with charges for school groups and talks); raggedschoolmuseum.org.uk

For London history… Museum of London 

(Museum of London)

London has been around for a good two thousand years now, so there’s an awful lot of history to explore. The Museum of London encompasses all of that and more, with objects in its collection ranging from a mammoth tusk to the Thomas Heatherwick-designed cauldron from the 2012 London Olympics. In between, you’ll find Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst’s hunger strike medal, Oliver Cromwell’s death mask and the Lord Mayor of London’s Golden State coach.

150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN. Admission free, including for ticketed exhibitions;  museumoflondon.org.uk

For maritime history… National Maritime Museum 

(Getty Images)

Want to turn yourself from a landlubber to a salty seadog. Short of actually getting on a boat, the National Maritime Museum is a good place to start, with hundreds of years of British naval history under its roof, from the coat Nelson was wearing when he was fatally wounded to Yinka Shonibare’s Ship In A Bottle that you may remember from Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth. Like the sound of it? It’s about to get even better with a £126m development meaning four new galleries will open this month.

Park Row, SE10 9NF. Admission free (with charged ticketed exhibitions);  rmg.co.uk/national-maritime-museum

For war history… Imperial War Museum

(PA Archive/PA Images)

With war comes violence and tragedy, but it should never be forgotten. This was the thinking behind the creation of the Imperial War Museum, which opened after the end of the First World War, intended as a means for promoting world peace. Whilst conflicts continue to rage across the globe, it has become a museum that chronicles how war has changed over the last century. From a gleaming Spitfire, to a burned out car from Baghdad and a harrowing exhibition on the Holocaust, there are objects in this museum you’ll never forget.

Lambeth Road, SE1 6HZ. Admission is free (with charged ticketed exhibitions);  iwm.org.uk

For black history… Black Cultural Archives 

When historian Len Garrison opened the Black Cultural Archives in 1981, the Brixton museum became the first – and is still the only – facility dedicated to the chronicling the history of African and Caribbean communities in Britain. A very contemporary museum, its work goes beyond the preserving of historical materials, but is also focused on putting on talks and events for discussion of contemporary issues.

1 Windrush Square, Brixton, SW2 1EF; Admission free (with charged ticketed events);  blackculturalarchives.org

For literary history… British Library

(AFP/Getty Images)

This museum is quite literally one for the history books – 25 million of them to be precise. All in all, the British Library is home to some 150 million items, from manuscripts to maps, newspapers to musical scores. Among them you’ll find the Magna Carta and Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook, as well as many literary treasures including original manuscripts of Charles Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway, and the Diamond Sutra, the world’s earliest dated printed book.

96 Euston Road, NW1 2DB. Admission free (ticketed exhibitions are charged); bl.uk

For design history… V&A

(Peter Kelleher)

When it comes to looking good, the V&A has been doing it since 1852, and its collection has been doing it since well before that. A homage to all things decorative, innovative and well-designed, the Victoria and Albert Museum houses stunning examples of craftwork ranging from the world’s oldest dated carpet (the rather stunning Ardabil carpet) to Mary Quant’s mini skirts from the Swinging Sixties. 

Cromwell Road, Kensington, SW7 2RL. Admission free (with charged ticketed exhibitions); vam.ac.uk

Related Tags:

Arts

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Museums

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History

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Exhibitions

Share this review




Discover the best of London

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Created with Sketch.

Created with Sketch.

Go London

Going Out in London Discover



Evening Standard Arts In Association With


11 museums history lovers need to visit in London – In pictures



11 museums history lovers need to visit in London – In pictures

1/11

Hampton Court Palace
Getty Images

2/11

Ragged School Museum

3/11

Natural History Museum
UNSPLASH/Daniel Rauber

4/11

National Maritime Museum
Getty Images

5/11

Sir John Soane’s Museum

6/11

Black Cultural Archives

7/11

V&A
Peter Kelleher

8/11

British Museum
British Museum

9/11

Museum of London
Museum of London

10/11

Imperial War Museum
PA Archive/PA Images

11/11

British Library
AFP/Getty Images

1/11

Hampton Court Palace
Getty Images

2/11

Ragged School Museum

3/11

Natural History Museum
UNSPLASH/Daniel Rauber

4/11

National Maritime Museum
Getty Images

5/11

Sir John Soane’s Museum

6/11

Black Cultural Archives

7/11

V&A
Peter Kelleher

8/11

British Museum
British Museum

9/11

Museum of London
Museum of London

10/11

Imperial War Museum
PA Archive/PA Images

11/11

British Library
AFP/Getty Images

Arts

Best museums in London for history lovers

  • Ailis Brennan

  • Friday 7 September 2018 17:21





Click to follow
GO London

GO LONDON newsletter

History buffs, you’re in good company in London, with the city being a magnet for world class historians and historical collections.

Later this month, the Science Museum will be using its forensic expertise to turn historian on the mystery of the Romanov royal family in Russia in its new exhibition, The Last Tsar: Blood and Revolution . 

London museums are, however, no stranger to illuminating the past. From Tudor palaces to ancient Egyptian mummies, via the world’s oldest book and a 147 million year old dinosaur, these are the museums that will give your your history fix in London.

For prehistoric history… Natural History Museum

(UNSPLASH/Daniel Rauber)

Starting at the beginning of humanity would be a pretty good place to start, but the Natural History Museum goes even further than that. From a a 147 million year old Archaeopteryx to a stuffed Dodo and pigeons owned by natural history godfather Charles Darwin, there you can get up close and personal with pretty much any species imaginable. If that’s not enough, gazing up at the 25 metre long skeleton of a magnificent blue whale is a pretty great way to make an entrance.


Cromwell Road, Kensington, SW7 5BD. Admission free (with charged ticketed exhibitions);  nhm.ac.uk

For ancient history… British Museum

(British Museum)

The British Museum’s global reputation is widely down to its extraordinary array of artefacts from ancient civilisations, including the largest collection of ancient Egyptian objects outside of Egypt itself. Alongside the 120 mummies and the prized Rosetta Stone, you’ll also find the Parthenon sculptures from ancient Greece, sculpted reliefs of lion hunts from ancient Assyria and mosaics from Roman Britain.

Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, WC1B 3DG. Admission free (with charged ticketed exhibitions);  britishmuseum.org

For Tudor history… Hampton Court Palace

(Getty Images)

It’s not quite a museum, but Hampton Court Palace is arguably something much better. A historical artefact in itself, the home of Henry VIII is a perfect place to immerse yourself in Tudor history, with visitors permitted to roam pretty much anywhere, from the Great Hall to the palace’s kitchens. Be careful as you peruse the Gallery – this is where the ghost of Henry VIII’s fifth wife Catherine Howard is said to be seen, having run down it screaming on finding out she was likely to be beheaded.

Molesey, East Molesey KT8 9AU. Admission is £19.20 for adults, £9.60 for children;  hrp.org.uk

For Georgian history… Sir John Soane’s Museum

When it comes to historic houses, there are few that are better preserved than that of architect Sir John Soane. The famous architect decreed that his home and its content would become a museum after he died, meaning visitors can snoop around the stunning Georgian home to this day. Soane was a fervent collector, so inside you’ll find anything from an Egyptian tomb to paintings by JMW Turner.

13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A 3BP. Admission is free (with charged ticketed tours);  soane.org

For Victorian history… Ragged School Museum 

It was a hard knock life for many Victorian children. Dr Barnardo knew this, and began setting up homes for poor children in London. This museum occupies the site of the Ragged School set up by the philanthropist in 1877, and its star exhibit is the old school room preserved since the Victorian era, which frequently hosts school trips to experience a day in the life of a nineteenth century child. Victoriana enthusiasts can also head to the Charles Dickens Museum and the Old Operating Theatre to find similar immersive experiences.

46-50 Copperfield Road, E3 4RR. Admission is free (with charges for school groups and talks); raggedschoolmuseum.org.uk

For London history… Museum of London 

(Museum of London)

London has been around for a good two thousand years now, so there’s an awful lot of history to explore. The Museum of London encompasses all of that and more, with objects in its collection ranging from a mammoth tusk to the Thomas Heatherwick-designed cauldron from the 2012 London Olympics. In between, you’ll find Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst’s hunger strike medal, Oliver Cromwell’s death mask and the Lord Mayor of London’s Golden State coach.

150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN. Admission free, including for ticketed exhibitions;  museumoflondon.org.uk

For maritime history… National Maritime Museum 

(Getty Images)

Want to turn yourself from a landlubber to a salty seadog. Short of actually getting on a boat, the National Maritime Museum is a good place to start, with hundreds of years of British naval history under its roof, from the coat Nelson was wearing when he was fatally wounded to Yinka Shonibare’s Ship In A Bottle that you may remember from Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth. Like the sound of it? It’s about to get even better with a £126m development meaning four new galleries will open this month.

Park Row, SE10 9NF. Admission free (with charged ticketed exhibitions);  rmg.co.uk/national-maritime-museum

For war history… Imperial War Museum

(PA Archive/PA Images)

With war comes violence and tragedy, but it should never be forgotten. This was the thinking behind the creation of the Imperial War Museum, which opened after the end of the First World War, intended as a means for promoting world peace. Whilst conflicts continue to rage across the globe, it has become a museum that chronicles how war has changed over the last century. From a gleaming Spitfire, to a burned out car from Baghdad and a harrowing exhibition on the Holocaust, there are objects in this museum you’ll never forget.

Lambeth Road, SE1 6HZ. Admission is free (with charged ticketed exhibitions);  iwm.org.uk

For black history… Black Cultural Archives 

When historian Len Garrison opened the Black Cultural Archives in 1981, the Brixton museum became the first – and is still the only – facility dedicated to the chronicling the history of African and Caribbean communities in Britain. A very contemporary museum, its work goes beyond the preserving of historical materials, but is also focused on putting on talks and events for discussion of contemporary issues.

1 Windrush Square, Brixton, SW2 1EF; Admission free (with charged ticketed events);  blackculturalarchives.org

For literary history… British Library

(AFP/Getty Images)

This museum is quite literally one for the history books – 25 million of them to be precise. All in all, the British Library is home to some 150 million items, from manuscripts to maps, newspapers to musical scores. Among them you’ll find the Magna Carta and Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook, as well as many literary treasures including original manuscripts of Charles Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway, and the Diamond Sutra, the world’s earliest dated printed book.

96 Euston Road, NW1 2DB. Admission free (ticketed exhibitions are charged); bl.uk

For design history… V&A

(Peter Kelleher)

When it comes to looking good, the V&A has been doing it since 1852, and its collection has been doing it since well before that. A homage to all things decorative, innovative and well-designed, the Victoria and Albert Museum houses stunning examples of craftwork ranging from the world’s oldest dated carpet (the rather stunning Ardabil carpet) to Mary Quant’s mini skirts from the Swinging Sixties. 

Cromwell Road, Kensington, SW7 2RL. Admission free (with charged ticketed exhibitions); vam.ac.uk

Related Tags:

Arts

|

Museums

|

History

|

Exhibitions

Share this review




Discover the best of London

Or seek out something yourself

Please wait….