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10 best free museums in London with Tripadvisor, from the National Gallery to the V&A

Mirror logo Mirror 16/07/2017 Emma Munbodh
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London has been named the museums capital of the world!

The capital city has topped a report by the Themed Entertainment Association, which found that from the 20 most-visited museums around the globe, four were in London - causing a tie at first place with Washington DC.

The British Museum, National Gallery, Tate Modern and Natural History Museum have proven to be the most popular with tourists - and all of them have free entry so they're ideal if you want to get your culture fix but don't want to break the bank.

If you're playing tourist and want to visit a museum or two, or check out some inspiring art at a top gallery in the capital, we've teamed up with Tripadvisor to round-up the city's best offerings - how many have you been to?

If you're sightseeing on a budget, you may also want to check out our handy guide to the best cheap days out in London - not to mention our top picks of the best budget hotels. After a trip with a bit of a difference? Check these 10 things you never knew you could do in London too!

1. British Museum

The British Museum houses a vast collection of world art and artefacts and is free to all visitors.

Its collection of over 8 million works, is among the largest in Europe, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present.

2. National Gallery

Founded in 1824, the iconic National Gallery houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900.

The museum is the fourth most visited art museum in the world, after the Musée du Louvre, the British Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

3. Victoria and Albert museum

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The Victoria and Albert Museum, often abbreviated as the V&A, is the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects.

It was founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Entrance to the museum has been free since 2001.

4. National Maritime Museum

The National Maritime Museum is the largest of its kind in the world, based in the heart of Greenwich, holding a number of significant items that charts Britain's rich history at sea.

The museum features the world's largest maritime library - with over 100, 000 volumes, including books from the 15th century, as well as artifacts, old shipping records and Royal Naval uniforms including Nelson's Trafalgar coat.

5. The Wallace Collection

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The Wallace Collection museum features a world-famous range of fine and decorative arts from the 15th to the 19th centuries with large holdings of French 18th-century paintings, furniture, porcelain and Old Master paintings shared across 25 galleries.

It was established in 1897 from the private collection mainly created by Richard Seymour-Conway, whose widow donated the entire collection to the nation.

6. Saatchi Gallery

Based on the Kings Road in West London, The Saatchi Gallery hosts contemporary art from lesser know artists from around the world.

Admission is free to all exhibitions, and this spring the gallery will host 'From Selfie to Self-Expression', which charts the art of the selfie through history. 

7. Natural History Museum

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The Natural History Museum is home to 80 million life and earth science specimens across five collections: botany, entomology, mineralogy, palaeontology and zoology.

The museum is particularly famous for its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons, also features a world-famous library containing books, journals, manuscripts, and artwork collections linked to the work and research of ongoing science experiments and historical projects.

8. The Royal Air Force Museum

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The Royal Air Force Museum, or RAF Museum, features five exhibition halls - Milestones of Flight, Bomber Hall, Historia Hangard, The Battle of Britain Hall and The Grahame-White Factory.

It houses over 100 aircrafts, including one of only two surviving Vickers Wellingtons left in the world and the Avro Lancaster SSugar, which flew 137 sorties.

9. National Portrait Gallery

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The National Portrait Gallery houses a collection of portraits of iconic and famous British people. It was the first portrait gallery in the world when it opened in 1856.

The collection includes photographs and caricatures as well as paintings, drawings and sculpture.

One of its best-known images is the Chandos portrait - the most famous portrait of William Shakespeare, although there is some uncertainty about whether the painting actually is of the playwright.

10. British Library

The British Library is the largest library in the world and a a major research library, holding around 170 million items from around the world in various languages.

The Library's collections include around 14 million books, along with substantial holdings of manuscripts and historical items dating back as far as 2000 BC.

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