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5 Free Museums You Have To Check Out In London (With Halal Food Nearby)

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Nadrah Mustafa •  Feb 07, 2016


All that research on London but you still don’t know which English museum you should start with? Or are you not convinced that museums are your thing? Try this list to help you kick-start your fancy stroll along some of London main and finest museums! And just maybe we are able to change your mind and spark some inspiration ;)

Credit: Giphy

P.S. Don't forget to check out our customized Google maps at the end of the article to help you navigate your way around!

1. British Museum

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The Great Court, 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!

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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]

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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)

Halal Food Nearby - Hiba Express

After all that mental transportation through time and civilizations; I’d be famished with all the brain work. Hiba Express is very near to the British museum. In fact, it is just across the Holborn Underground Station. Serving Lebanese and Palestinian delicacies, Hiba Express promises a unique flavour to your London experience! And their selling point? Halal!

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Priced from as low as £4.95 for their hot Shawarma wraps or Falafel, they also offer other dishes that vary in price. If you are on-the-go, Meal Deals probably suits best and priced from £8.50 - £12.50. I don’t know what’s with London and smoothies! So you guessed it right, Hiba certainly does offer smoothies that are priced at £3.45 for the cutely named smoothies – King’ Cross, Holborn, Paddington and many more.

[Check Out: Dine Like A Local In London]

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Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday - 1100 to 0000, Sunday - 1200 to 0000

Address: Hiba Express 113 High Holborn, Clerkenwell, London WC1V 6JQ

Contact: 020 7831 5171

Nearest Underground Station: Holborn (Central or Piccadilly line) (500m), Tottenham Court Road (Central and Northern line), Russell Square (Piccadilly line), Goodge Street (Northern line)

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2. Natural History Museum

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Visiting the Natural History Museum is not only exciting for us adults, but can be super thrilling for kids too as the museum believes in hands-on experience. So not only will you be entertained with insightful knowledge, you will also be able to experience it too! I mean come on, how many of us have the luxury to say “oh yeah, I met (and touched) Dippy the dinosaur!”. Now imagine your kid saying that to his/her friends! How cool of a parent can you get?

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The Natural History Museum divides its sections into 4 different coloured zone each sugarcoated with an experience to remember! The Blue zone covers the amazing diversity of life on Earth, the Red zone will take you on a journey through the amazing earthly sculpture and treasures. The Green will sweep you off your feet with its fascinating facts on life forms and environments while at the Orange zone you will be able to see scientists at work and enjoy the tranquility of their Wildlife Garden. Look out for their growing fox cubs at the garden early or later in the day!

[Also read: 3 Tips To Exploring London With Your Little Ones]

Opening Hours: Opens every day except for 24, 25 and 26 December.

Museum Galleries are open daily from 10.00 to 17.50.

Admission Fee: Free (Seasonal Special Exhibitions have a fee charged, main halls are free)

Address: Natural History Museum, Cromwell Rd., London SW7 5BD

Nearest Underground Station: South Kensington (Circle, District and Piccadilly lines)

Halal Food Nearby - Bosphorus Kebabs

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They say a healthy meal should have all colours – is this good enough? :P

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Near the Natural History Museum there’s an old time Kebab place. Rumour has it that Bosphorus Kebab has been around longer than I have existed on this earth! If this place was a real life adult, he would have enough years to go through a mid-life crisis - just kidding! Must be a reason they have been around for a long time, and you guessed it – delicious Doner Kebab!

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It’s not a fancy restaurant with all the flamboyant stuff, but I really love my doner kebab and I’m all about indulging authentic ambiance. Although known for their doner kebab meat, there are surely other variety of selections as well. But do not that there are no chips (English for French Fries) served at the place. For only about £8 to £10, you will sure be fueled up for your next museum visit!

Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday, 11.00 – 23.30

Address: Bosphorous Kebab, 59, Old Brompton Rd., Kensington, London, SW7 3JS

Contact: 020 7584 4048

Nearest Underground Station: South Kensington (Circle, District and Piccadilly lines)

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3. Victoria & Albert Museum

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Credit: Junho Jung at Flickr from South Korea [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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.

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National Art Library

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!

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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)

Halal food nearby - Roots & Bulbs

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After embracing yourself in arts and culture, it is time to extend your creative streak, wind down and just hear yourself think and reflect. We think Roots & Bulbs makes a good place just for that. Built on a strong philosophical statement, Roots & Bulbs believes in 3 main values: honesty, transparency and quality. They are very passionate in clean food and best possible ingredients just for their customers.

Detoxifying cold-pressed juice, here I come!
Detoxifying cold-pressed juice, here I come!

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#HHWT Tip: Do note that this eatery doesn't serve pork but they do serve chicken that's not halal-certified. So stick to the vegetarian/seafood options!

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Opening Hours: Monday – Friday, 08.00 – 19.30, Saturday – Sunday, 09.00 – 19.00

Address: Roots & Bulbs, 10-12 Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London SW7

Contact: 0207 584 0019

Nearest Underground Station: South Kensington (Circle, District and Piccadilly lines)

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4. Science Museum

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To add flavour to all that artsy experience you just had, the Science Museum is the next place you should pop in, just to give a little balance to all that left-right brain thingy ma jig. The Science Museum is known worldwide for its wide array of exhibitions, collections and galleries. Showcases that intrigue your mind to probe further on our existence, our limitless Universe and everything that you could think of under the sun!

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If time is a factor (again!), the must-go showcases at the Science Museum are the: Energy Hall, Exploring Space, Making the Modern World, Who Am I and Flight. But of course there are other selections that may interest you more. If you’re not up for those exhibitions, at least catch a show event at their IMAX Theatre (for some fee)!

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After all that in-depth research, who knows you might be the next Einstein? :P

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Opening Hours: Opens every day except for Good Friday, 24, 25 and 26 December

Museum Galleries are open daily from 10.00 – 18.00

Admission Fee: Free (IMAX Theatre, flight simulators and other special exhibitions have an entry fee)

Address: Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2DD.

Nearest Underground Station: South Kensington (Circle, District and Piccadilly lines)

#HHWT Tip: As the Science Museum is very near the Natural History Museum and V&A, you can head to either Bosphorus Kebabs or Roots and Bulbs to get your meal!

5. National Gallery

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Credit: Diego Delso [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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.

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Credit: Rudolf Schuba (Flickr: London - The National Gallery) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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!)

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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,

Halal food nearby - Rasa Sayang

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Rasa Sayang restaurant is approximately 10 minutes walk form the National Gallery and is situated right at London’s Chinatown. It is the only Halal restaurant in the area which really makes a good place to fuel yourself up before exploring London’s Chinatown next. Talk about killing two birds with one footing! Serving Malaysian and Singaporean cuisines, Rasa Sayang not only offers Asian delicacies at a reasonable price, but will definitely reminds me of home (a girl’s got to have her nasi lemak fix).

From a 3 course set meal priced only at £13.90 , to Malaysian favourites like Ipoh Hor Fun (£7.50) and deep fried sambal fish (£7.80) will definitely keep you full throughout the day.

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Just go through their menu on this link, you will see what I mean. Imagine being away from home, and being able to drink cincau and soya milk!

Address: Rasa Sayang, 5 Macclesfield Street London, W1D 6AY

Contact: 020 7734 1382

Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday -1200 to 2300, Friday to Saturday - 1200 to 0000, Sunday - 1130 to 2130

Nearest Underground Station: Piccadilly Underground Station (Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines)

Leicester Square Underground Station (Northern and Piccadilly lines)

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There are just too many museums in London that it is impossible to squeeze everything in a list. We hope that these selections above can help you on what to expect on your London adventure as we work on our next list for other London quirky museums! ;)

And of course, to help you navigate around these free museums, we've also plotted down the museums and eateries on a map for you to refer to!