Culture vultures: head to London's best museums and galleries

Way better than TOWIE

Museums and Galleries? Yawn.
Well that's where you're wrong, matie.

There will be no yawning at this list of London's best culture hot-spots; and not just because you're swatting up in a bid to impress someone who reads The Guardian.

It goes without saying that London has long been at the forefront of advances in science, thinking, the arts and everything which underpins and colours the incredible civilisation in which we live today (worthy, or what?); it's therefore right that we document our progress - enabling us to look back at our development and marvel at a history of which to be proud.

So stoke the furnaces of the grey matter and take in some of the world's most informative and awe-inspiring galleries and museums.


God bless us, every one. (In a Tiny Tim-type way.)




The British Museum
Great Russell Street

AIL Says: The British Museum might not quite have its foot in the present, but if it’s dusty old museums full of history and wonder you want then it will do just fine. There are mummies and they alone make this one of London’s best museums. It is home to Britain’s past treasures and secrets – who knew learning could be so fun!

  • MUSEUM
  • EVENTS
  • USERS 8/10
London Canal Museum
12-13 New Wharf Road

AIL Says: This might sound about as fun as The Museum of Watching Paint Dry, but give it a chance and you’ll be won over. First of all, all canals are great – the Suez, the Panama, the Regent’s – there’re loads of them. Second, this museum is interesting. Who doesn’t want to hear about the history of the waterways, the lives of the workers and the horses that dragged the boats? Take a chance - heritage is huge right now.

  • MUSEUM
National Portrait Gallery
St Martin's Place

AIL Says: Established in 1856, The National Portrait Gallery is one of London’s most historic museums. With a vast permanent collection backed by six or seven temporary shows a year, there is always something – or someone – new to see. You can also view the collection in the new multimedia room and enjoy the amazing views across Trafalgar Square from the Portrait restaurant on the top floor.

  • GALLERY
  • EVENTS
V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum)
Cromwell Road, South Kensington

AIL Says: The V&A Museum in South Kensington has a little bit of everything. Amazing architecture – in particular its domed roof, a beautiful courtyard (soon to be developed into an even more appealing public space) and a collection of art, fashion and antiquities from throughout the ages. From ball gowns to Bowie, and Raphael to Samurai, there is a something for everyone.

  • MUSEUM
  • EVENTS
  • OUR REVIEW 8/10
Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising (MOBPA)
111-117 Lancaster Road, Notting Hill

AIL Says: Brands; they’re the choice of a new generation. What could be more natural than for a city like London to host such a place? Jocular, titillating copy aside; The Museum of Brands is an underrated treasure. Anybody interested in the history of design, graphics or advertising should be able to appreciate its cultural importance. For anybody else it’s worth a trip for branded mind bumps alone –courtesy of old packaging, ads, posters and slogans. Just do it.

  • MUSEUM
  • EVENTS
Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road

AIL Says: The Natural History Museum and The Science Museum are so close that they are basically the same place. Fact. Okay, not a fact but a trip to one can quite simply be followed by a trip to the other. Blue whales, dinosaurs, biology and “earthquake games” are all part of the fun to be had at the South Kensington museums. There are even ice rinks in winter!

  • MUSEUM
  • EVENTS
  • USERS 10/10
Science Museum
Exhibition Road, South Kensington

AIL Says: The Natural History Museum and The Science Museum are so close that they are basically the same place. Fact. Okay, not a fact but a trip to one can quite simply be followed by a trip to the other. Blue whales, dinosaurs, biology and “earthquake games” are all part of the fun to be had at the South Kensington museums. There are even ice rinks in winter!

  • MUSEUM
The Sherlock Holmes Museum
221b Baker Street

AIL Says: Located at 221b, Baker Street, The Sherlock Holmes Museum is a relic to the writing of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his most famous character. Anybody who has ever had even the most fleeting interest in the brainiac detective should visit this recreation of his abode just to say they’ve been there and done it.

  • MUSEUM
The Photographers' Gallery
16-18 Ramillies Street Soho W1F 7LW
Region: Soho
Nearest Station: Oxford Circus (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: Having closed and then re-opened after much needed refurbishment, the new Photographers' Gallery is a slick place to visit. Located on Ramillies Street, just off Oxford Street, you’ll find exhibitions, digital projects and – in the ground floor bookshop – one of the best place in London to find photography books.

  • ART GALLERIES & FINE ART DEALERS
The Magic Circle Museum
12 Stephenson Way

AIL Says: Take all you learned from your Paul Daniels Magic Kit and put it into practice at The Magic Circle Museum in Euston. It’s tiny – standing room for only 35 – and with exhibits like Harry Houdini’s handcuffs and rabbit in hat spoilers, who could resist? The website says “perfect for anniversaries…” and who can argue with that – after all, isn’t love just magic?! Da-daa!!

  • MUSEUM
The Tate Modern
Bankside

AIL Says: The best thing about most of London’s museums/galleries is that they are usually free and the Tate Modern is the biggest and cheapest of all. Sure, if you’ve visited before then by all means pay for the exhibition but if not there is enough to see at Tate Modern to keep you busy for hours. There’s also the added bonus of the Turbine Hall and its installations along with a great shop selling anything from art books to stationery.

  • GALLERY
  • EVENTS


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