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London boasts over 200 museums, covering a bewildering range of topics. Whether the visitor is interested in science, heritage, sewing machines, or packaging and advertising, there is a museum which meets the need.
Many of the museums are free to enter, but benefit from visitor donations. Other museums charge for entry and seeking advance museum entry tickets can save money. Some museums who do charge a fee are part of special ticket groupings which allow entry to several attractions at a discounted price.
A selection of the most popular and some of the more esoteric are included here.
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This is one of the largest London museums, very popular and home to the Elgin Marbles, the Tomb of Payava, the Sutton Hoo treasure and extensive Egyptian galleries.
Covering wars from the First World War to the present day with a wide range of exhibits. There are generally several special short term exhibitions in place.
Close to London’s Covent Garden, the museum tracks the history of travel in London, with many original buses, underground trains, vehicles and photographs. Ideal for travel buffs.
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The National Gallery houses over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century. Notable works include paintings by Leornado da Vinci, Michelangelo, Canaletto, Rembrandt, Vincent van Gogh and JMW Turner, and the collection belongs to the British public. Entry to the main (permanent) collection is free.
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From dinosaurs to tadpoles, blue whales to rocks, there is plenty to see in one of the most spectacular buildings in the Capital. Over 70 millions specimens are housed at the museum.
There are over 10,000 exhibits at the Science Museum, from steam powered engines to the Apollo 10 Command module which orbited the Moon. In july 2010 the transformed Welcome wing was opened, giving the museum more space, and new permanent exhibitions. This is a good museum for children, with child friendly areas for exploration of science. It also includes an IMAX theatre and the Forcefield (for which you need to pay). It is also visited a lot by schools as a field trip during schoolweeks.
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The Tate Britain has a fine collection of British work from medieval times to the present day, particularly notable for its Turner collection, as the annual Turner Prize exhibition is hosted by Tate Britain.
The Tate Modern has the largest collection of Modern Art in Europe, and it is spectacularly located in the old Bankside power station across the Millennium bridge on the Southbank. The collection at Tate Modern is organised thematically. When it was first open, the collection was divided into four broad groups: History/Memory/Society; Nude/Action/Body; Landscape/Matter/Environment; and Still Life/Object/Real Life. It has since been reorganised and the current layout (2010) are: Material Gestures (which focus are abstraction and expressionism), Poetry and Dream (which explores attitudes to sexuality), Energy and Process (which centres on Arte Povera), and States of Flux (which brings together Cubism, Futurism, Vorticism and Pop Art). The turbine hall hosts a series of temporary large-scale modern art installations.
With seven miles of exhibition space and over four million objects, the V&A is one of London’s premier attractions. Featuring decorative art and design from the past 5,000 years.
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