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The Natural History Museum in London

London has pretty much become one of my favorite cities in the world.

There are always new and exciting activities popping up all over town especially during the summer. You can visit festivals, art exhibitions, botanical gardens, theater shows, museums, palaces, etc… the possibilities are endless! Even Londoners have to keep up with the newest and hottest events in the city. And don’t even get me started on the restaurants… the food is delicious and you can find all sorts of cuisines in the city.

But while there’s so much to do, it can also become a very expensive city, very quickly…

So when I’m on a tighter budget and/or have run out of cash from shopping the amazing sales and/or ate out waaaayy too much, I keep myself busy and inspired by visiting the many amazing, and absolutely free museums in the city. It’s so much inspiration in one spot and it never gets old – I try to visit at least one museum on every trip!

Here are just a few of my favorite museums to visit when I need something to do on a budget…


Before you head out,  just remember to get a trusty Oyster Card and make sure you download Citymapper for directions, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the city and its public transport system. I even keep a Tube Map app on my phone so that I can pull it up when I’m confused about what lines to take while I’m already out on the Tube.


Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A)

If you’re a design junkie like me, you have to check this place out! It’s considered the world’s leading art & design museum, and is full of inspiration. Not only is the architecture of the building stunning, but the V&A exhibits beautiful collections of contemporary and historic art from all over the world – including the Middle East. They have a stunning collection of Iranian rugs that you should definitely check out!

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A Chihuly in the main lobby

“The V&A has unrivalled collections of contemporary and historic art and design. It houses some of the world’s greatest resources for architecture, fashion, photography, theatre and performance, sculpture, contemporary design, ceramics, Asian art and design, furniture, textiles, jewellery, metalwork and many more.” – Victoria and Albert Museum, London

You do have to pay to see some of the special exhibitions at the V&A, but it’s basically free. Actually, not to be mean, but you’d be crazy not to go…

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V&A Exhibits

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Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum is obviously more about the past, present, and future of the natural world, and while it isn’t exactly design focused, you will, however, be in complete awe of the architecture of the building.

I also have a little bit of an obsession with seeing dinosaur skeletons so this is the perfect place to see that if you like that kinda thing!

NHM!

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NHM Gems
And did I forget to mention that they have a gem collection? I’m bummed I didn’t take more pictures, but it is very much worth seeing!

The National Gallery

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Paul Cézanne‘s Bathers (Les Grandes Baigneuses) (1894-1905), Photo Courtesy of the National Gallery website

Located in Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery houses works by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Renoir, Cézanne, Van Gogh as well as many more.

For the art buff, it’s a wonderful place to visit especially because they not only bring in special collections from abroad, but sometimes those exhibitions are free as well!

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Bathers at Asnières by Georges Seurat (1884), Photo Courtesy of the National Gallery website
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Vincent Van Gogh‘s famous Sunflowers painting (1888), Photo Courtesy of the National Gallery website

And if you really can’t make it out there, you can always visit their site for a virtual tour of the gallery or just check out some of their collections online.


British Museum

The British Museum, one of the world’s largest museums, made quite an impression on me. Some of the galleries are just stunning! I found myself admiring the architecture of the galleries as much as I loved seeing the work they showcased.

The Museum has around 100 galleries open to the public, and apparently houses a permanent collection of about 8 million works from all continents! The Museum is primarily dedicated to showcasing human history, art and culture, from the beginning to the present.

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The British Museum’s Reading Room

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An Easter Island statue
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A cape made out of gold, dating back to 1600-1900 BC!
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So this ship is made out of gold… AND is actually a clock!

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Mid Section Design

The other spots that I still need to visit are Tate Modern (a modern art gallery) and the Science Museum, located by the Natural History Museum. I’ll probably visit that one with my dad since he loves checking out old-school machinery 🙂

Since I go so often, I’ll keep you posted on some of the other exciting things that I do, especially if my trip is on a budget!

Follow me on Instagram for more travel updates (@thedesignsouk) or find me by looking up #thedesignsouktravels! I always post fun pics of my trips 🙂

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0 comments on “Travel Inspiration on a Budget: FREE Museums to visit in London”

  1. I haven’t been to Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), but it looks absolutely stunning. I love the artwork and the content it has going by what you shared. I would definitely like to drop by and have a peek.

    I personally felt that the content at Natural History Museum along with British Museum is somewhat similar to what we would often have at Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto especially like dinosaur skeletons, cape, sculpture et cetera.

    If you are into specimens, then I would suggest visiting American Museum of Natural History if you haven’t as it is incredible.

    Thank you for this post, it was a great read as usual.