Free Museums in London: Hundreds of Years of History at Your Fingertips
Natural History Museum
A short tube ride away is South Kensington where stands the Natural History Museum, perhaps the most spectacular-looking museum in the country. Opened in 1881, this grand Victorian building is packed with everything pertaining to the natural world.
The massive collection is a result of the curiosity and globetrotting efforts of the English who sought to collect everything during Victorian times.
Here you’ll find fossils, stuffed animals (including the extinct Dodo bird and other endangered creatures), rocks and dinosaur bones among interactive displays that’ll bring out the kid in everyone. One of its greatest delights is the dinosaur section with its focal piece — a frightening Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Of particular interest is the Darwin Centre, which houses 22 million zoological specimens including those collected on Charles Darwin’s 1831 voyage to the Galapagos Islands.
An opposite wing of this expansive museum houses a fantastic interactive presentation on earth sciences, should you want to brush up on the planets, earthquakes and global warming.
Photo Credit: Science Museum
A stone’s throw away from the Natural History Museum is the Science Museum and London’s IMAX. Another popular one for the kids, this venue offers plenty of interactive stuff and great displays, from steam engines to space capsules.
For those with a penchant for the medical, examine the science and art of medicine on the top floors. This display recounts the history of medicine, from stone-age witch doctors to nuclear medicine.
Don’t forget to see the shrunken heads in a display case on the fourth floor.
Victoria and Albert Museum
Across the street from the Science Museum is the Victoria and Albert Museum, which boasts the largest collection of Italian renaissance sculpture outside Italy, an impressive cache of Indian art, a dress collection, Asian art and whimsical medieval sculptures.