Best free museums to visit in London

40+ Best Free Museums In London Worth Your Visit Today

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Looking to manage your budget by exploring free museums in London?

Well, this city makes it EASY. There are literally dozens of them spread throughout London. In this guide, we have collected all the free museums in one place so you don’t have to trawl the internet for hours researching.

Now, grab a cup of very British tea, and get planning as we discover today’s topic: What museums are free in London?

What to Expect from Free Museums in London

Tate Gallery free museum in London

Like many cities, free museums in London can be hit or miss. They can be utterly fabulous – such as the Tate Gallery – or they can be small and only worth your while if you are popping in whilst waiting for the bus.

However, they all carry a huge benefit – they are FREE to enter. And if any of you have been to London in recent times you will notice that it is a pricey vacation spot.

Once you have read this guide you will be able to decide for yourself whether it is worth it to even visit museums with an entry fee – you might get your cultural fix simply by hopping around the free ones.

So if you have been asking yourself is National Museum in London free, then read on.

Difference Between Museum And Gallery

Before we start, let’s clear up a question we see often, and that is what is the difference between a museum and a gallery.

Officially, a gallery is a place that showcases a certain type of artwork, usually by one artist, or a bunch of artists working on one theme. Usually (but not always) the gallery aims to generate income for the artist.

On the other hand, museums usually display a wide range of artifacts relating to a specific topic, with no aim to sell products. Oftentimes this is related to a particular topic, such as the national history of a country, or a particular genre – such as modern art.

In this guide we include a mixture of both.

Free Museums in Central London

British Museum central London free entrance

For the majority of visitors to London, Central London will be your main stomping ground.

Especially for a first time visitor, it makes sense to stay, eat and sightsee in and around the heart of London.

Here are some of the best free museums in Central London from which you can pick.

Interactive Map – Free Museums In Central London Map

Here is a handy interactive map that shows you the best free museums in and around Central London.

The National Gallery London

If you love art then the National Gallery is for you. With a collection of over 2300 paintings and free entry, it's a great place to spend a rainy afternoon.

You probably already know what the building looks like from its striking columns that are apparent on photos of Trafalgar Square – you can't get more central than this.

  • Address: Trafalgar Square, London
  • Opening hours: Open Monday through Sunday 10 am to 6 pm

The Mithraeum

This old Roman temple looks like something straight out of Rome. Surrounded by modern buildings, you wouldn’t even know it is there. A must see when in central London.

  • Address : Queen Victoria Street London EC4N 8BN
  • Opening Hours: Closed Mondays, open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 6pm and on Sunday 12 pm to 5 pm

The British Museum Free Entry!

British Museum London inside look

Located in west central London, the British Museum has over 8 million artifacts documenting human history.

It is one of the most comprehensive collections in the world. It is grouped into “departments” covering geographical locations from across the globe.

  • Address: Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG
  • Opening hours: Open Monday through Sunday 10 am to 5 pm, late night Fridays to 8.30 pm
  • FAQ – is the British Museum in London free? Yes!

The Bank of England Museum

Interested in currency and the history of the Great British Pound? Then the Bank of England Museum has it all. Check out over three centuries of coins, notes and more.

  • Address: Bartholomew Lane, London EC2R 8AH
  • Opening hours: Monday through Friday 10 am to 5 pm

The Guildhall Library

Full of famous books about a range of subjects including culture, food, family life and more.

  • Address: Aldermanbury EC2V 7HH
  • Opening Hours: 9.30 to 5 pm, closed Sundays

Grant Museum of Zoology

If you are interested in things like zoology and all things dissectable you can catch up on a range of items and displays that have been analyzed in the animal world.

  • Address: Rockefeller Building, 21 University St, London WC1E 6DE, United Kingdom
  • Opening Hours: Tuesday to Friday 1 pm to 5 pm, Saturday 11 am to 5 pm, closed Sunday and Monday

Museum of London

The Museum of London is being rebranded as the London Museum. Its previous location at London Wall in Barbican in the east of the city has been closed in December 2022, and it will relocate to West Smithfield in central London in 2026.

london pass tipTip – To keep abreast of the developments on the new build, follow them here.

  • Address: Previously in Barbican London Wall. New address in West Smithfield from 2026
  • Opening Hours: Currently Closed, 2026 reopening

The National Gallery

Over 200,000 paintings and artworks mainly from the 16th century onward, the National Gallery is a free London museum that offers art buffs an all encompassing experience.

  • Address: St. Martin's Place WC2H 0HE
  • Opening Hours : Open daily 10am–6pm and Friday until 9pm

Sir John Soane’s Museum

A museum located in the old home of Mr John Soane – this little known treasure is full of interesting art work with paintings stuffed in every corner.

  • Address: 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields WC2A 3BP
  • Opening Hours: 10 am to 5 pm, closed Monday and Tuesday

Free Museums in North London (List of free museums in London North)

The British Library

Home to some of Britain's best loved treasures, the British Library is where you can check out the Magna Carta as well as some authentic and original song lyrics from bands like the Beatles!

  • Address: 96 Euston Road, NW1
  • Opening Hours: Monday through Thursday 9.30 am to 8 pm, Friday 9.30 am to 6 pm, Saturday 9.30 am to 5 pm. Sunday 11 am to 5 pm

Queer Britain Museum

An LGBTQ+ museum in London that was the first of its kind in the UK and is a celebration of all things Pride and beyond.

  • Address: 2 Granary Square London N1C
  • Opening Hours: 12 pm to 6 pm, closed Tuesdays

The Wellcome Museum

A fascinating collection of medical artifacts from the days of yore, as well as some modern developments in technology too.

  • Address: 183 Euston Road NW1
  • Opening Hours: 10 am to 6 pm, late nights to 8 pm, closed on Mondays

Free Museums in South London – Including Interactive Map!

The National Army Museum

Located in south west London the National Army Museum is a place to come if you want to see tanks, helmets and other memorabilia dedicated to those what have defended their country.

  • Address: Royal Hospital Road SW3 London
  • Opening Hours: 10 am to 5.30 pm, closed on Mondays

The Tate Britain

Part of the wider collection of Tate Galleries, the Tate Britain offers visitors the chance to see traditional British art dating back as far as the Tudors. There are also some more recent additions to the collection.

  • Address: Millbank, London SW1P 4RG
  • Opening Hours: Open Daily from 10 am to 6 pm

The Horniman Museum

Most famous for its collection of stuffed dead animals, the Horniman also has displays of anthropology and a nice garden to explore.

  • Address: 100 London Rd, London SE23 3PQ, United Kingdom
  • Opening Hours: Daily 10 am to 5.30 pm

The National Maritime Museum

National Maritime Museum in South London free visit

Models of ships, flags from ships, things that used to be in ships, and paintings of ships! If you are a sea loving person, then this is the museum for you!

  • Address: Romney Rd, London SE10 9NF
  • Opening Hours: 10 am to 5 pm

The Royal Air Force Museum

History of the British RAF is on display in this aerodrome. If you want to see a firm favorite of Britain, then it will be worth a stop by.

  • Address: Grahame Park Way, NW9 5LL
  • Opening Hours: 10 am to 5 pm

The Tate Modern

Can be visited along with the Tate Britain on the same day. The Tate Modern is a free modern art museum in London. It is home to a huge collection of great contemporary works and is one of our favorites !

  • Address: Millbank SW1P 4RG
  • Opening Hours: Open Daily from 10 am to 6 pm

HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast entrance free

This cool navy boat is a floating museum right on the River Thames was built in Harland and Wolff – the famous shipyard that built the Titanic. It is now full of artifacts and reconstructed ship quarters.

  • Address: The Queen’s Walk SE1
  • Opening Hours: 10 am to 5 pm

The Science Museum

A museum dedicated to all things science, the Science Museum London free entry is worth it. Note however that you need a ticket to enter. These must be booked online in advance here to secure your place! This is one of the great things to do with kids London has to offer!

  • FAQ: Is the Science Museum free in London? Answer? Yes
  • Address: Exhibition Road SW7 2 London
  • Opening Hours: Daily from 10 am to 6 pm

Natural History Museum

London Natural History Museum free entrance

Here, in the same area of London as the Science Museum you can find the Natural History Museum. It is perhaps most famous amongst visitors for the massive plaster cast replica of Dippy the Dinosaur. It is also home to the Otumpa meteorite. Is the natural history museum in London Free? Yes!! Entry is open to all free of charge.

  • Address: Exhibition Road SW7 2 London
  • Opening Hours: Daily from 10 am to 6 pm

Victorian And Albert Museum

With millions of artifacts dedicated to art, design and all things creative in its possession, the Victoria and Albert museum can never display everything at once! If you are into art and design this is perhaps the free museum in London you need to visit!

  • Address: Cromwell Road SW7
  • Opening Hours: Daily 10 am to 17:45 pm, late night opening on Friday to 10 pm

Churchill War Rooms

The Churchill War Rooms are part of the Imperial War Museum and are home to the famous Cabinet War Rooms that were the workplace bunker of the government during WWII!

  • Address: Clive Steps, King Charles St, Westminster SW1A 2AQ
  • Opening Hours: 09.30 am to 6 pm

Imperial War Museum

The main branch of the Imperial War Museum is found on the Lambeth road and is dedicated in memory of those who have suffered in conflicts since the First World War

  • FAQ – Is the Imperial War Museum in London free? Answer – Yes!
  • Address: Lambeth Road, Westminster SE1
  • Opening Hours: 10 am to 6 pm

Queen’s House

An old royal palace is home here to an extensive collection of marine paintings as well as the Royal Observatory Greenwich

  • Address: Romney Rd, Greater, London SE10 9NF, United Kingdom
  • Opening Hours from 10 am to 5 pm

Free Museums in East London – Including Interactive Map!

The V&A Museum of Childhood

A museum for children full of fun things to see and touch, the Museum of Childhood has been closed and will be rebranded as the Young V&A and become a fun place for imaginative play.

  • Address: Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green E2 9PA
  • Opening Hours: Open daily 10am–5:45pm

Museum of London Docklands

Situated in the E14 postcode of London, this museum focuses on the importance of the Thames River to London and also the role played by the transportation method during slavery.

  • Address: 1 West India Quay, Hertsmere Road, E14
  • Opening Hours: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

Whitechapel Gallery

Known as the gallery for everyone, this is an inclusive art gallery housed in a turn of the 20th century building and hosts regular interesting art exhibitions

  • Address: 77-82 Whitechapel High Street
  • Opening Hours : 11 am to 6 pm, closed Mondays

Geffrye Museum of the Home

A celebration of what the Home means to different people, including interesting displays on how the multi cultural population of London defines their personal space.

  • Address: 136 Kingsland Road London E2 8EA
  • Opening Hours: 10 am to 5 pm

Free Museums in West London – Including Interactive Map!- Free Entrance Museums in London West!

The Cartoon Museum

One for cartoon lovers young and old, the cartoon museum is one of the free galleries and museums in London West and contains over 9000 comics and scripts for fans of this drawn art form.

  • Address: 63 Wells Road London, W1T
  • Opening Hours: Daily 10.30 am to 5.30 pm, closed Mondays. Late night opening until 8 pm on Thursdays.

The Design Museum

Another great museum to visit for those who love design and fashion, architectural drawings and the world of graphic design. Perfect for students studying elsewhere.

  • Address 224-238 Kensington High St, London W8
  • Opening Hours: Daily 10 am to 6 pm, late night open to 9 pm on Friday and Saturday
  • FAQ: Is the Design Museum in London free? Answer: Yes

Serpentine Galleries

Located beside the Serpentine lake, the galleries offer a range of temporary interesting art exhibitions and stunning grounds within Kensington Gardens.

  • Address – London W2 3XA
  • Opening Hours: 10 am to 6 pm daily, closed Mondays

The Wallace Collection

Fancy art and collectibles spanning the centuries are on display here in this equally fancy period townhouse.

  • Address: Hertford House, Manchester Square, W1U 3BN
  • Opening Hours: Daily between 10 am and 5 pm

The Royal Academy of Arts

A hugely symbolic and important art exhibition and institution in the United Kingdom, the museum hosts a range of exhibitions and events

  • Address: Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD, United Kingdom
  • Opening Hours: Daily 10 am to 5.30 pm, Closed Mondays, Late night openings on Friday to 9.30 pm

The Petrie Museum

An interesting and free to visit Egyptology museum in London, containing tens of thousands of artifacts from Egypt and even the Sudan.

  • Address: Malet Place WC1E 6BT
  • Opening Hours: Tuesday to Friday 1 pm to 5 pm, closed Sunday and Monday, open Saturdays 11 am to 5 pm

Museum of Brands

Explore some of Britain's favorite brands and iconic advertising that grew out of the development of a consumer culture dating back to the time of Queen Victoria.

  • Address: 111/117 Lancaster Road, W11
  • Opening Hours: Daily 10 am to 6 pm

Hampstead Museum

Located in Burgh House on the first floor there is a bunch of information on those who have lived in the house and surrounding area. The house itself is simply stunning and was built in 1704.

  • Address: New End Square, Hampstead, NW3 1LT
  • Opening Hours: Open on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays from 12 pm to 5 pm

Anaesthesia Heritage Centre

Interested in learning about how doctors knock people out? Then this one's for you in this museum that tells the story of everything related to anesthesia.

  • Address 21 Portland Place London W1B
  • Hours: Monday to Friday 10 am to 6 pm

Soho Photography Quarter

This is a new and fun outdoor concept with open air shows and exhibits related to modern photography.

  • Address: Ramillies Place W1
  • Opening Hours: Monday to Wednesday, Saturdays 10 am to 6 pm, Thursday and Friday 10 am to 8 pm, Sunday 11 am to 6 pm

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

Those interested in Architecture and design can visit interactive exhibitions for free of charge at the RIBA in Portland Place.

  • Address: 66 Portland Place W1B
  • Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 8 am to 5.30 pm (late night to 8 pm Tuesdays), Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, closed Sundays

Quick 3 Top Picks For Free Museums In London For Kids

So out of this extensive list, what are the free museums in London for Kids that we would recommend?

london pass tipTip – Probably, the Natural History Museum to start, then the Science Museum, and finally the Young V&A.

Quick 3 Top Picks For Free Museums In London For Students

Tate Modern Gallery entrance

Depending on what you are studying, there is probably something on this list specifically tailored to your interest.

However, the best museums for Students in London with free entry would be the British Museum, the Tate Modern and perhaps the cartoon museum!

3 Tips For Visiting Free Galleries And Museums In London

  1. Check the website for visiting – since many of these museums are charitable organizations with some run by volunteers you should validate the opening times in advance.
  1. Check you don’t need a ticket – some of these free museums in London still require you to reserve a ticket place in advance.
  1. Check the exhibition you want to see – whilst all of these museums are free entry, you will find that specialist rotating exhibitions will usually carry and entry fee and may require advance tickets.

FAQs about Free Museums In London faq

Here are some of the most frequent questions we get asked about free museums in London.

Are all museums in London free?

No - museums like Madame Tussauds or the Tower of London carry entry fees, but there is a huge number of free museums in London to explore.

How many free museums in London?

There are rumored to be around 170 museums in London Town. Our guide covers almost 40 of those!

Why are museums in London free?

National museums in London are free to encourage visitor numbers to the city and increase the number of charitable donations.


No you have no excuse not to visit London – you could fill your whole trip with free museums!

Since you now know that you don’t have to splash all your cash on this, you might need to consider what type of city pass is best for you when visiting the city.

Take a look at our city pass guides to make the right decision for your budget.

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