Yesterday my MA archaeology class took a trip to the Petrie Egyptian Archaeology musuem at UCL, and it was so wonderful that it has inspired today’s blog post about my ‘favourite museums in London’.
Most tourists flock to Kensington for the Science Museum and Natural History Museum, but perhaps I’ll give you a few ideas for some other amazing museums in the city!
The Petrie Egyptian Archaeology Museum, UCL
They don’t have much space, but they have some pretty amazing artefacts that are literally thousands of years old. It’s free to go, and while UCL is a bit of a maze, it’s not difficult to find. The Petrie is situated right next to the Engineering building (above a pizza shop, much to the disdain of the museum curators). Euston or Warren Street are the nearest stations, it’s right by Senate House. They have the world’s oldest intact garment, from 2800BC! Did I mention that it’s free?
The British Museum
Of course this is my favourite, I’m a Classicist! Don’t get me started on the Parthenon Frieze marbles (FYI: they’re displayed completely incorrectly), but they’ve got some wonderful things in there. Everyone crowds around the Rosetta Stone of course, but make sure to go upstairs to check out the Roman stuff too. If you’re interested in Egypt, the British Museum has everything. They’ve also recenty opened a gallery all about China, which has some absolutely beautiful artworks, vases, etc. Funnily enough, I actually went there last night. The British Museum is great, I’d love to work there one day. Closest stations are Holborn, Tottenham Court Road, and Euston. It’s free… and they have the best gift shop.
The Victoria & Albert Museum
The V&A is the kind of place that you could easily spend an entire day in. They have a huge array of different exhibitions, from Renaissance sculpture to Japanese fashion. I saw a beautiful lolita dress in there once!
The V&A always have the most exciting temporary exhibitons in my opinion, I’ve been to so many of them! From musicians to modern art and theatrical costumes, it’s worth a visit. It’s also my favourite museum to just sit down and enjoy a coffee and a cake in, especially in the Spring/Summer, because they have a lovely courtyard with fountains.
The Science Museum
I couldn’t really write a blog post about London museums and not include the Science museum. To be honest, I’m not a fan of the Natural History museum, I’d choose the V&A or British Museum over that any day (and the queues are always horrendous), but I do like the Science Museum. It’s fun, very engaging, and always changing. If you’ve got children, this is the one you’ll want to go to! It’s free.
Sir John Soane’s Museum
I adore Sir John Soane’s Museum. He was a 19th century architect and collector of antiquities. His house is the museum, which has been untouched for 180 years, as he requested. It takes you back to another time, and it’s absolutely jam-packed with amazing sculptures, art, a library and other interesting artefacts.
If you’re thinking of going, they actually run a candlelit tour on the first Tuesday evening of every month. My Classics friends and I have been meaning to go, but we always either forget or have other plans! It sounds awesome though. Less than 5 minutes walk from Holborn station, it’s a great one to check out alongside the British Museum. It’s free.
The Museum of London
For some reason, I’d always overlooked the Museum of London in the past 4 years I’ve been here. I don’t know why, perhaps due to it’s location right in the maze of the Barbican… Anyway, my archaeology class took a trip there a few weeks ago, and I really enjoyed it. It’s a lot more modern than some of the other museums I’ve mentioned, but they’ve got some great stuff! From Prehistory to the Romans, it’s another one that children would enjoy. There’s also a Museum of London in the Docklands near Canary Wharf, I’ve been meaning to go there too.
Viktor Wynd’s Museum of Curiosities
Now here’s one for the brave. Viktor Wynd’s Museum of Curiosities, which also happens to be a super cool cocktail bar, has many weird and wonderful things in it. It’s mysterious, in East London of course, and while the exhibition tour underground costs around £5 I believe, the bar itself is absolutely filled with curiosities and interesting artwork too. I featured it in a blog post a while ago if you’d like to see more!
There we have it, some of my favourite museums in London. There are still so many I’m yet to visit, such as the Design Museum, the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich and the Sherlock Holmes Museum to name a few…
I was considering including a few art galleries (Mayfair is the dream if you’re an art-lover), but I’ll save those for another blog post!
What are your favourite museums in London / your city? I’d love to visit the Louvre one day!