The Museums of London – A Storehouse of History and Culture

Wherever you decide to stay on your visit to London, you will be near a museum. There are 240 museums in London so there is something to suit every taste. There are small museums in the outer suburbs, and big museums in Central London. Some of these museums are the greatest of their kind in the world. London has a unique place in the world because of its historical legacy. This is reflected in some of the magnificent collections and exhibitions.

The museums in London have a tremendous inheritance of wonderful artefacts.This means that many people visiting London want to put the museums in the 'must visit' list.

The British Museum

The British Museum is possibly the most famous London museum and is one of the top visitor attractions in England. The enigmatic Rosetta Stone has been exhibited here since 1802 when it was taken from the defeated French army. There are Aztec artefacts, Chinese ceramics and European sculptors.

Historical Drama

What if historical drama is more your forte? Could Jack the Ripper have known that many thousands of people would follow in his evil footsteps down those now infamous East London alleyways along Jack the Ripper Walk? Now you can take that walk and frighten yourself in the process.

Did Sir Arthur Conan Doyle get a premonition that his fictitious sleuth would come to life at the Sherlock Holmes Museum? Now you can enjoy sitting where Holmes sat in his study at the famous address, 221b Baker Street. Or take a trip back to Dickensian England and visit the house where Charles Dickens lived and wrote Oliver Twist and The Pickwick Papers.

Military Museums

You might be a military man. Then the National Army Museum may be for you. You can follow this with the Royal Air Force Museum in Hendon and The Imperial War Museum.

If you still have enough time, you might like to revisit the Crimean War at the Florence Nightingale Museum or try Firepower: The Royal Artillery Museum.

Sports Museums

If sport is all you think about you will not miss out. Try the Arsenal Football Club Museum, the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum or the MCC Museum at Lords Cricket Ground.

Art Galleries

Then for the art connoisseur, there's the magnificent National Gallery on Trafalgar Square where you can see over 2000 masterpieces. For those with a more eclectic taste, the wonderful Institute of Contemporary Arts awaits you. Then there is the Tate Britain, the home of British art from 1500 to the present day. Then of course the quirky Tate Modern housed in the refurbished former Banks Power Station on the River Thames opposite St Paul's Cathedral.

A Floating Museum

Now that we are on the subject of the River Thames, how about visiting the floating museum that comes in the guise of HMS Belfast? This magnificent cruiser is a branch of the Imperial War Museum and is moored between London Bridge and Tower Bridge.

South Kensington Museums

We have not even mentioned the jewels in the crown. No, we are not talking here about the Tower of London (which is another unique museum), but the gems in South Kensington. The splendid Victoria and Albert Museum, is in Cromwell Road, where you could spend all day just admiring its magnificent architecture. Then the Natural History Museum next door, which houses the world-famous collection of dinosaur skeletons, among many thousands of other exhibits from the natural world.

These are places for visitors to collect enduring memories as well as places of research and development. And do not forgot the short walk along Exhibition Road to the Science Museum. You could spend all day in here visiting the Imax cinema and discovering what it felt like to be a lunar astronaut or check out Stephenson's Rocket or a Model T Ford.

Plan your stay

You can already see that you should not visit London without a plan. Do your homework well. Check the Internet and the guide books to plan your itinerary. That way you will not leave disappointed. Do not try and do everything in a short stay. Choose your targets well and save the rest for the next time you visit. Select a hotel that suits your plan and your pocket. You may be fortunate enough to stay in one of the hotels that are a modern day working museum giving you a glimpse into Victorian London through its Gothic or Renaissance Revival Architecture.

You need to have stamina for your time in London. After a hard day's walking around the museums there is just enough time to rest briefly, enjoy your dinner and get ready for the London theater. But that, is another story.

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