By Elena-Amalia Radu
History and culture are two educational ways we can learn about this world’s wonders. From mummies to dinosaurs, from clothing to guns, and from ancient times to World War II, you can see remnants of the past lurking in contemporary life, and all of this in one place: London.
Even more than that, the majority of the places where you can ‘travel back in time’ and live what others once lived are FREE-ENTRY!
The Wallace Collection
Presenting a collection of paintings from the 15th to the 19th century, the Wallace Collection is where art-lovers fall in love with art once again.
“Not many people know the Wallace Collection, but it is a very underrated museum which everyone has to visit,” said Anna Merabishvili, travel blogger at No Space in My Passport.
“The museum is a collection of paintings, sculptures, furniture, and much more, transferred to the public by Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace. It is one of the greatest works of art to be ever transferred to the public.”
Address: Hertford House, Manchester Square W1U 3BN
Booking: You do not need a ticket for entry to the permanent collection
Natural History Museum – South Kensington
National History Museum. Picture Credit: Grant Ritchie
Home to some of the biggest dinosaur skeletons in the world and best known for the famous Blue Whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling of the entrance hall, the Natural History Museum is the place where any tourist or Londoner would like to visit at least once. If as a kid you were fascinated by cartoons where the starring characters were dinosaurs – or even better, if you have kids yourself – this is the perfect place to spend your day. Spend time learning about what once walked on the place where your own house is now located – you won’t regret it.
Address: Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 5BD
Booking: Best if you do it here, in advance
Victoria & Albert Museum – South Kensington
Victoria and Albert Museum. Picture Credit: Elena-Amalia Radu
Located at a ten-minute walk from the Natural History Museum, the V&A is the place where all you need is enough imagination to picture yourself in a ballroom, amongst royals. With its Victorian gothic architecture, the building has a large collection of sculptures, paintings, and even Victorian furniture. It also has an exhibition dedicated to Asian samurais, kimonos, and furniture. It is impossible to not feel teleported in another dimension here!
“I remember going to the V&A for the first time and seeing one of the exhibitions there. I was shocked by the huge scale of the museum and how beautiful it was.
“I had tea in the cafe there and explored the garden after visiting the museum, I couldn’t believe that such a beautiful museum could be free to enter,” said travel blogger Anna, recalling how she felt when she stepped into an entry-free museum here in London.
“Visiting museums is definitely an enriching and a culturally enlightening activity. You learn so much about the history of art or stimulate your brain into interpreting a piece of modern art. It is not only fun but also educational as you learn about new and old artists.”
Address: Guildhall Yard, London EC2V 5AE
Booking: Book your tickets here
Imperial War Museum – Kennington
Imperial War Museum. Picture Credit: Markus Leo
Jumping from the beauty of the Victorian era straight into the brutality of the 20th century and its World Wars, the Imperial War Museum is full of sensory expositions that would give you chills down the spine. Dedicated mostly to WWI, WWII, and the Holocaust, it’s important to keep a pack of tissues with you at all times.
In the World War I exposition there is even a war scene simulation, where visitors can walk through the trenches. Also, the permanent World War II and Holocaust Galleries will offer you raw uncensored stories of those who lived through times of war, from personal letters to belongings and even terribly emotional images.
Address: Lambeth Rd, London SE1 6HZ
Booking: Book your tickets here in advance
British Museum – Bloomsbury
British Museum. Picture Credit: Nicolas Lysandrou
Dress in your most comfortable clothes and arm yourself with a lot of patience, as this museum requires hours to visit. You’ll no doubt get lost amongst its ancient treasures, but what better place to lose yourself?
When looking at an Egyptian coffin, you’ll hear the Nile and its people chanting for their Pharaoh, and when looking at any ancient Greek or Roman artefact, you’ll hear Caesar expanding his Empire. You’ll be centimeters away from tombs and hieroglyphics and the lost world of South America.
Address: Great Russell St, London WC1B 3DG
Booking: You can book a timed slot here to guarantee entry
The British Library – Euston
Elena-Amalia Radu at the British Library. Picture credit: Elena-Amalia Radu
Although some might argue other museums are worth visiting more than The British Library, this incredible place is home to some of the most precious written documents of all the time, including the Magna Charta and the original writings of Shakespeare and Charles Dickens. If you’re a book lover, this is the perfect place to visit!
Address: 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB
Booking: No ticket required