One of the great things about London is the access to free art galleries and museums that are available if you are visiting or live in the city. Below are great free options you should consider on your next trip to London.
1) The Natural History Museum
Address: Cromwell Rd, Kensington, London SW7 5BD, UK
When I studied abroad in London in 2015, the Natural History Museum was one of the first things on my to do list. I had done research and its architectural appeal and content hooked me right away. Now, if you are planning a trip to the Natural History Museum, make sure you take into account that it is free. This means there will be a LOT of people trying to visit the museum throughout the day. I would recommend going in the early morning around the time the museum opens so you have enough time to explore it without feeling rushed.
When I first walked through the entrance, I immediately felt like I transformed into the world of Harry Potter because of the amazing architecture. There are many different areas within the museum to look for including the Earth Lab, which is a gallery that is centered around geology and houses fossils, minerals, and rocks. Other areas within the museum include an exhibit with gemstones, rocks, and minerals; ecological areas with animals and nature, and human biology.
2) The National Portrait Gallery
Address: Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN, UK
The National Gallery is another free option that is open almost year round (361 days a year to be exact) that is found in Trafalgar Square. This is definitely a place that you cannot miss when walking throughout the city. It is very centrally located and easy to get to. The National Gallery holds thousands of paintings displayed for the public and includes works of art by famous artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, and Vincent Van Gogh. Again, I would advise you to get to the museum early so that you do not feel rushed and to combat lines that are inevitable.
3) The British Museum
Address: Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3DG, UK
This museum was the first that I visited due to it being almost right next door to the university I was attending while studying abroad (Birkbeck, University of London), It has a beautiful interior as seen below. If you are looking for a museum that has history, culture, and art, this is the museum for you! I did not have time to discover all that the British Museum had to offer because it is so large, but there's a little bit of everything for anyone. I recommend planning a few hours to visit this museum if you do not want to be in a hurry and want to see of all the exhibits.
4) Tate Modern
Address: Bankside, London SE1 9TG, UK
There's a large spectrum of art dating from 1900 here, with well-known names like Picasso, Mondrian, and Warhol from the last century to more contemporary luminaries like Ellsworth Kelly and Gerhard Richter. There are also large spaces dedicated to multimedia installations and even "live action" pieces like a bubble machine.Tate Modern's location on the South Bank, directly in front of the Millennium Bridge. The Tate Modern has 7 levels, so plan your day wisely if you want to go here by giving yourself enough time to explore. This art museum houses tons of artwork from various artists and also has a 360 degree balcony that overlooks the River Thames. This museum does feature some exhibits that you have to pay to see, so check out their website before heading over.
5) Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)
Address: Cromwell Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW7 2RL, UK
The V&A is located right across the street from the Natural History Museum and Science Museum so it's pretty easy to find. What I love about the V&A is that although it's free to visit, there are really cool featured exhibits you can check out! When I was visited, there was a Pink Floyd exhibit going on so check out their website for their featured exhibit at the moment. In my opinion, there's a little something for everyone who visits the V&A, I particularly enjoyed the fashion exhibit. I found that of all the museums I visited, this one felt the least crowded (not to say it wasn't, just less than the others I've mentioned).