What you need to know about museums in London!

This one factor completely changes the game for visiting museums.

Whether you’re the type of traveller who loves a good afternoon spent wandering through an art museum for hours on end, or whether you get bored after 30 minutes and want to move on to the next activity, you’ll find that this works to your benefit…

Museums in London are all FREE. Certain galleries within a museum might have paid entry if it’s a special or temporary exhibit, but most (if not all?) museums and the galleries inside are free in London. 

This means you can come back as many times as you want, whenever you want. You don’t have to commit an entire afternoon to ensuring you see all the highlights and classics in order to get your money’s worth. Only have an hour to spare? Great, go for an hour – or less! You’ll be back next Tuesday. Want to take it one room at a time? Go ahead and check off one room each week for the rest of the year.

My aunt and uncle texted us in the middle of a Friday and asked if anyone was interested in stopping by the Tate Britain. We met at 4pm, had some espresso and cake on the patio, and stayed until the museum closed at 6pm. At first I was anxious when we hadn’t gotten through all of the Turners yet and the museum staff started ushering us out of the gallery at closing time. But then I remembered with relief that I could literally come back tomorrow (or every day after that) and see every single piece of art in that museum if I wanted to – completely free of charge. How wild is that. 

Another important note – the bars and cafés at museums here are actually excellent. I feel like in the US you buy food at cultural facilities only if you’re starving and aren’t allowed to bring your own food in, and then your choices are cold fries or a mediocre sandwich at an exorbitant price. We ate at the cafés at both the Tate Modern and the Tate Britain and plan to do so at every visit from now on. The food was great and the atmosphere is 10/10. 

Five museums you should definitely visit when in London:

Tate Modern – modern and contemporary art from around the world

Tate Britain – displays 500 years of British art

British National Gallery – collection of some of the greatest paintings in the world

National Portrait Gallery – portraits of historical importance and famous British people

The British Museum – dedicated to human history, art, and culture

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My husband and I recently packed our bags and moved from California to London. Our timeline here is still tbd but if you'd like to follow along on this crazy adventure, you can sign up for my weekly Monday morning newsletter. I'll be sharing about our travels, what inspires, and honest thoughts about this questionable life decision.