London is every museum-lover's dream! From history museums to toy museums and even film museums, you're spoiled for choice. But, if you want to embrace your inner Picasso, here's a list of 5 museums that are perfect for your artsy soul. Who knows, you might just get inspired to create your next masterpiece ?
1. Leighton House Museum
The former home of Victorian artist Lord Frederic Leighton back in the 1800s, it was built exactly to his preference. This beauty was once his studio-house and like most artists, he started humbly but soon his home became a “private palace of art”.
What grabbed our attention is the magnificent Arab Hall with its golden dome. This hall is completed with his collection of elaborate mosaics and the walls are lined with geometrical Islamic tiles.
I mean think about it, having Islamic influenced interiors since way back in the 1800s – now that’s mind-blowing! SubhanAllah ?
Address: Leighton House Museum, 12 Holland Park Rd, Kensington, London W14 8LZ
Opening Hours: Opens daily from 10.00AM – 17.30PM except Tuesday.
Admission Fees: Adults - £7; Concession £5Children and young people under 5 go for FREE
Contact Details: + 44 (0)20 7602 3316
Nearest Underground Station: High Street Kensington, (Circle and District lines)
Nearest Overground Station: Kensington Olympia
2. British Museum
Credit: Foster and Partners
I’m pretty sure at some point of our lives we have read willingly or otherwise, on ancient civilizations from various parts of the world. Located in central London, the British museum offers a firsthand experience to heartily indulge on human history, art and culture from ancient Egypt (mummies!), Mesopotamia to the Islamic World and Japan’s modern advances. Not forgetting also to all the K-Pop fans - imagine a roomful of Korea’s artifacts and development across time!
It can get a little daunting visiting a huge museum like this - there are just too many to see and too little time! Being the first few in line right before the museum open its doors it’s a great way to start your visit at the British museum. Imagine this whole place all to yourself and your travelling buddies!
[Also read: Explore London On A Budget With 5 Travelling Hacks]
Since the various exhibitions at the British museum offers quite an extensive amount of things to see, shortlisting the rooms you want to visit is a great way to save time. And you can check out the exhibitions and rooms on their official page here.
Opening Hours: Opens every day except for Good Friday, 24, 25 and 26 December and 1 January
Museum Galleries are open daily from 10.00 – 17.30
Admission Fee: Free (Seasonal Special Exhibitions have a fee charged but the main halls are free)
Address: The British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG
Nearest Underground Station: Holborn (Central or Piccadilly line) (500m), Tottenham Court Road (Central and Northern line) (500m), Russell Square (Piccadilly line) (800m), Goodge Street (Northern line) (800m)
3. Victoria & Albert Museum
In short, the locals just call it V&A, one of Britain’s royal iconic couple. Situated just right next to the Natural History Museum, the V&A Museum stores the world’s greatest art and design creative expressions across time. As vast and subjective Art gets, so does the variety of art installations and exhibitions you will be able to find at the V&A. You name it, from architecture to textile; to books and ceramics; to photography and theatrical performances. It really sounds like a great place to get inspired and tingle your creative streak, if you ask me.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Because of their deep appreciation of art and it’s highly celebrated at all levels, it’s only logical to have their very own National Art Library. This library is situated at the first floor of V&A. If you’re an art student, a person who appreciates aesthetics or just someone who needs an inspiration – this is a place to check out. The nerdy traveler in me always wants to check out libraries of any kind in different cities – so this is a definite to-go place for me!
Opening Hours: Opens every day except for 24, 25 and 26 December.
Museum Galleries are open daily from 10.00 – 17.45
Tunnel Entrance to the V&A is open from 10.00 – 17.40 Saturday to Thursday, 10.00 – 20.00 on Fridays
National Art Library is open 10.00 – 17.30 Tuesday – Saturday, closed on Sundays and Mondays
Admission Fee: Free (Seasonal Special Exhibitions have a fee charged)
Address: Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Rd, London SW7 2RL
Nearest Underground Station: South Kensington (Circle, District and Piccadilly lines)
4. National Gallery
A definite visit for art buffers as it is one of the mostly visited Art museums next to Paris’ Musèe du Louvre and the British Museum. Located right at Trafalgar Square, visits on days you just want to wind down from London’s hustle are ideal. Just let your mind wander as you go through different paintings by different soulful artists.
Taking a peep into their Virtual Tour can help you decide if this is the right place for you! You can do that through this link (the wonders of the internet!)
It will also come in handy to know briefly about the time and environment these artists’ come from to appreciate their masterpieces. How else are you going to witness Da Vinci to Van Gogh’s famous masterpieces for FREE?
Address: The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN
Contact: 0207 584 0019
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday, 08.00 – 19.30, Saturday – Sunday, 09.00 – 19.00
Nearest Underground Station: Picacadilly Underground Station (Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines), Leicester Square Underground Station (Northern and Piccadilly lines) - 200metres away
Cinema Museum, Kensington
Technically this is not an art museum but film is a form of art right? This is a definite must-go place for movie buffs, filmmaking students or just a curious tourist/traveller! The Cinema Museum holds various collections of equipment, B-Sides and many more!
It's a great way to experience the difference between modern day cinemas, and the days where actual rolls of films were used to project onto the silver screen.
Avid fans will be able to appreciate the shop as they sell original movie posters, film memorabilia and the sorts!
Address: The Cinema Museum, 2 Dugard Way (off Renfrew Road), London SE11 4TH
Opening Hours: The museum is available for most days for visits ONLY with a guided tour. A guided tour should be booked in advanced by phone (as below) or email [email protected]
Admission fees: Adults pay a fee of £10, Child and Concession £7 (inclusive of guided tour)
Contact Details: + 44 (0)20 7840 2200
Nearest Underground Station: Goodge Street (Northern line)
Are you inspired yet? Let us know what other museums you'd recommend visiting in the comments below! We'd love to hear form you ?