The Best Art Museums in London
London has amazing world-class museums and we're here to help you discover some of these art museums.
The Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A)
The V&A is one of London’s most popular museums and holds more than 4 million objects in its permanent collection.
It was founded in 1852 by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who wanted an institution dedicated to the promotion of design and craftsmanship.
The museum first opened to the general public on 15 January 1857 as the South Kensington Museum under the directorship of Henry Cole (1808–1882). In 1891 the museum received its current name after Prince Albert's death by royal license.
Today it is funded principally by government grants and private donations. It is home to some of the world's most iconic artworks, including the Rosetta Stone, Egyptian mummies, and an impressive collection of paintings by Leonardo da Vinci.
The museum has two locations: South Kensington and Bethnal Green. The latter was opened in 2011 and houses works related to fashion, textiles, and design.
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The Tate Modern
The Tate Modern is one of the best art museums in London, and one of the best in the world. It's an iconic building, and it houses a huge collection of modern art.
Tate Modern spans five floors, with many different rooms dedicated to specific artists or types of work. The Tate Modern was originally built as a power station for London's transport system in the 1930s.
It wasn't until 2003 when it was converted into an art museum that it became the iconic landmark that it is today.
The building itself is worth seeing even if you're not interested in any of the art on display—it's an architectural marvel with an industrial feel that makes it a popular filming location for movies such as Sherlock Holmes and Skyfall.
The Tate Modern is always changing its exhibits, so there's always something new to see. The Tate Modern museum hosts several special exhibits every year that are not included in the regular admission price.
You can also take cooking classes at the Tate Modern! The classes are offered by Tastemakers Academy, which is part of their Food Studio program. They also offer classes in everything from basic knife skills to advanced pastry-making courses.
The Tate Modern also has a café on-site where you can grab a snack or even some lunch if you're hungry after walking around all day looking at art.
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It contains one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Western European art in the world. It's been open since 1824 and features works by artists like Rembrandt van Rijn, Edouard Manet, and Pablo Picasso.
Entrance is free every day except for Fridays from 5:30 p.m.- 8 p.m. when it charges £19 ($25) for adults and £14 ($18) for students with valid identification cards (16+). Children below 16 are admitted free at all times with an adult ticket holder or guardian.
The National Gallery in London's largest art museum and houses one of the most important collections of Western European paintings in the world. It's also a must-see for art lovers visiting London. The gallery was founded in 1824 and is located on Trafalgar Square (with the best view of Nelson's Column).
It has a collection of around 2,300 paintings that date from the mid-13th century to 1900. The museum contains some of the best works by artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, and Rembrandt.
There are many famous paintings here that you have probably seen before in books or online: "The Death of Seneca" by Jacques-Louis David; "The Raising of Lazarus" by Sebastiano del Piombo; "The School of Athens" by Raphael; "Nativity" by Pieter Bruegel The Elder; "Witches' Sabbath" by Hieronymus Bosch; and "A Woman Bathing" by Jean Baptiste Camille Corot.
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The Wallace Collection
The Wallace Collection is one of the best art museum in London because it addresses a niche audience. It's not the most popular place to visit, but it's a must for those who are interested in the history of European art.
The collection is housed in a mansion that was once home to Sir Richard Wallace, an industrialist who made his fortune during the Industrial Revolution.
Today, it houses thousands of works from all over Europe — from medieval to modern times — but it's especially strong in French art from the 18th century through Impressionism and Surrealism.
The museum has been open since 1872 and was originally intended as a private collection for Sir Richard (who was also an avid collector). After his death, his widow donated it to the British nation so that it could be enjoyed by all people — hence its name today.
The museum houses one of the finest collections of 17th- and 18th-century French decorative arts in the world.
It includes more than 4,000 paintings and sculptures, as well as furniture and porcelain dating around the Renaissance through to the 19th century. Artworks include paintings by Raphael, Rembrandt, and Rubens, as well as sculptures by Michelangelo and Donatello.
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The Tate has a great collection of British art, including works by J. M. W. Turner, David Hockney, and William Blake. It is considered the national gallery of British art, and the oldest in London. Its collection spans over 300 years of British art from 1500 to the present day.
It has a huge permanent collection that features works by Turner, Constable, and Gainsborough, as well as many other great British artists. The Tate Britain houses the country's national collection of British art from 1500 to the present.
The museum is boarded in a former power station on the banks of the Thames in Pimlico, close to Westminster and Vauxhall Bridges. The museum first opened its doors in 1897 as an offshoot of the Tate Gallery (now known as Tate Modern).
It expanded several times and now boasts four floors full of exhibits ranging from medieval religious paintings to contemporary sculptures. There are also temporary exhibitions held at the museum throughout the year, including those displaying work by modern artists such as Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst.
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The Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace
The Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace is the most exclusive art museum in London, and it's certainly one of the most beautiful.
The paintings on display include works by Rembrandt, Rubens, and Van Dyck. There are also portraits of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert by Sir George Hayter and John Everett Millais' famous painting "The Order of Release" (1863).
The gallery has been described as "one of Europe's finest small museums." The Queen's Gallery features works by some of the world's best artists, including Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Matisse.
It also contains a permanent collection of art from the Royal Collection — an extensive collection of over 6,000 paintings and sculptures that have been collected by monarchs since the 15th century. It is open to the public every day except Mondays and Tuesdays during the winter months (October to March).
It's also free to enter, but there is a £15 charge for taking photos inside the gallery. Whether you are a first-time visitor to London or a seasoned traveler, it is impossible to leave this city without having visited at least one of its world-class museums.
Nowhere else in the world can you find such an extensive collection of art and artifacts in such proximity. The enormous proportions of this city mean that it would take weeks to visit each museum individually, so we hope that our guide helps you navigate the best art museums in London.