Museums and Art GalleriesHere is a selection of some of the best London museums and art galleries.
Bank of England Museum Threadneedle Street, EC2
Shows the history of the Bank and has an interactive video display on the Bank's role today.
Tube: Bank. Open: Mon.-Fri. 10-5, admission free, Tel. 020 7601 5545
British Museum Great Russell Street, WC1
You can spend a lifetime seeing this museum. Archaeology, drawings, coins, armour, and on and on. One of the great museums of the world.
Tube: Russell Square, Holborn, Tottenham Court Road. Open Monday-Saturday 10-5, Sunday 2:30-6, Tel. 020 7636 1555
Imperial War Museum Lambeth Road, SE1
Exhibits on the First and Second World Wars, art galleries, and "Blitz Experience" and "Trench Experience" exhibits.
Tube: Lambeth North, Elephant & Castle. Open daily 10-6, Tel. 020 7416 5000
London Transport Museum Covent Garden, WC2
The history of public transportation in London: buses, trams, trains, posters, videos, and working exhibits. Sit in the driver's seat of a bus or underground train. Find a souvenir in the shop full of transport themed gifts.
Tube: Covent Garden, Charing Cross, Leicester Square. Open Sat.-Thurs. 10-6, Fri. 11-6, Tel. 020 7836 8557
Museum of London London Wall, EC2
A marvellous way to spend a rainy afternoon in London. The museum's exhibits are arranged in chronological order from prehistoric times to the present. There is a relief map of the Thames valley, and models of Old St. Paul's and the White Tower in the time of William the Conqueror, as well as an audio-visual recreation of the Great Fire. The centrepiece of the museum is the Lord Mayor's State Coach, built in 1757 and still used in the annual Lord Mayor's Show.
Tube: St. Paul's, Barbican, Moorgate. Open: Tues.-Sat. 10-5:50, Sun. 12-5:50, Tel. 020 7600 3699
National Gallery Trafalgar Square, WC2
One of the world's great art museums, the National Gallery faces onto Trafalgar Square. Pigeons and tourists outside, but inside a wealth of magnificent European art from the 13th to the 20th century. Despite the presence of Gainsborough's Mr. And Mrs. Andrews, and Constable's Haywain, this is not the place to look for a large gathering of native British art, as the honour of housing the national collection falls to the Tate Gallery. Never mind, what is here is priceless. The prize of the collection is probably Leonardo da Vinci's Virgin and Child with St. Anne and John the Baptist, but there are also works by Rembrandt, Boticelli, Vermeer, Goya, Manet, and Renoir, among many, many others.
Tube: Charing Cross, Embankment, Leicester Square. Free admission to the main gallery. Open: Wed.-Sat. 10-6 (open Wed. until 10pm), and Sun. 12-6, Tel. 020 7839 3321
National Maritime Museum Greenwich, SE10
The largest maritime museum in the world contains some 2500 models of ships, plus paintings, navigational instruments, uniforms, and historical artifacts telling the long story of Britain at sea. Look for the collection of royal barges and the special exhibits on Nelson and Cook. The Museum is housed in Queen's House and includes the Royal Observatory further up the hill.
Rail: Maze Hill, Docklands Light Railway: Cutty Sark or by Riverbus to Greenwich Pier. Open: Monday-Saturday 10-6, Sunday 2-6, Tel. 020-8858-4422
National Portrait Gallery Martin's Place, WC2
Just around the corner from the National Gallery. This is the place to come if you simply must put a face to the names you've been picking up in historical romance novels. Portraits of the famous and infamous in British history from the Tudors to the 20th century, though, not as a rule, any of living persons.
Tube: Charing Cross, Embankment, Leicester Square, free admission. Open: Mon.-Sat. 10-6, Sun. 12-6, Tel. 020 7306 0055
Natural History Museum Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7
Originally part of the British Museum, the collection grew so large it required a separate identity. Dinosaur skeletons, fossils, human biology, Britain's major habitats examined, and the ever-popular Creepy Crawlies exhibit.
Tube: South Kensington. Open: Mon.-Sat. 10-5:50, Sun. 11-5:50, Tel. 020 7938 9123
Science Museum Exhibition Road, SW7
Wow! Engineering, technology, industry, children's gallery, working models, rail transport, astronomy, and much, much, more. This is fun! Hands-on exhibits teach the fundamentals of science without appearing to teach.
Tube: South Kensington. Open daily 10-6, Tel. 020 938 9000
Tate Britain Millbank, SW1
Permanent national collection of British painting, including the Turner Collection, modern sculpture and prints, and a changing program of major exhibits (for which an admission fee is charged).
Tube: Pimlico, free admission. Open: Mon.-Fri. 10-5:50, Sun. 2-5:50, Tel. 020 7887 8000
Tate Modern Queen's Walk, SE1
The former Bankside Power Station is the new home of the "Tate #2", the Tate Gallery collection of international modern art, including works by modern masters like Picasso and Cezanne.
Tube: Blackfriars, London Bridge. Free admission. Open: Daily 10.00am-15.50pm.
Victoria and Albert Museum South Kensington, SW7
Museum of the decorative arts, including furniture, jewellery, carpets, sculpture, reliquaries, prints, Dress Collection, and more. Free guided tours. One of the world's great museums.
Tube: South Kensington. Open: Tues.-Sun. 10-5:50, Sun. 12-5:50, Tel. 020 7938 8500
Destination guides by kind permission of Britain Express