Covering contemporary design in architecture, fashion, graphic design and product design, the Design Museum won the European Museum of the Year Award in 2018. After moving from the South bank of the River Thames to its new site in Kensington in 2016, the Museum has gone from strength to strength and really highlights how ‘design can be humanities best friend.’
Kensington Palace is currently a working Royal Palace with several members of the Royal Family living on or near the site. It has been home to the Royal family for 300 years and was the birthplace of Queen Victoria. Enjoy a tour round the palace and a visit to the Royal Courtyard.
Located in Hyde Park, The Serpentine Galleries hosts a range of indoor and outdoor exhibitions. If you are in London over summer, don’t miss a trip on the lake as well as round the gallery!
Natural History Museum:
Interested in geology, space, dinosaurs, fossils and all things natural and historical? The Natural History Museum is the one for you! Housed in one of London’s most beautiful buildings, the Hintz Hall has been home to Dippy the Dinosaur and more recently Hope the Blue Whale as well as numerous other smaller fossils. The Natural History Museum collection contains artifacts from the Jurassic period but links them up to the modern day with the annual Wildlife Photographer of The Year Competition. If you love history and science, this museum is the perfect blend of both!
Victoria and Albert Museum
Originally combined with the Science Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum split into a separate museum covering art, fashion and design. With over 2.3 million antiques and modern pieces, the museum is home to fashion, photography, sculpture and jewellery from across the globe. Entrance to the main exhibition is free but the museum also hosts infamous paid exhibitions for example, Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams and Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty.
Buckingham Palace is home to The Queen of England and the administrative headquarters of the monarchy in the UK. For 10 weeks in summer, the Palace is open to visitors for them to explore the State Rooms and other special exhibitions. Within the gardens, there is a cafe serving light refreshments including tea, coffee, sandwiches and cake.
Tower of London
Officially named Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of The Tower of London, this castle is home to the Crown Jewels, the infamous Yeoman Wardens and the ravens. Legend has it that when the ravens leave the Tower, the Kingdom will fall. Located on the North Side of the River Thames, many historical prisoners were kept at the Tower and the Tower still holds an extensive armoury.
One of London’s major museums, the Science Museum covers all things science – from steam engines to rockets to medical dioramas. With 5 floors, there are 1,000s of objects on display – although the Science Museum actually holds over 300,000 in its archives. Located on Exhibition Road opposite the Victoria & Albert Museum, the two museums split in the early 20th Century and cover very different genres. Entrance to the main museum is free but some special exhibitions have an additional charge.
Hidden away behind the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street lies the Wallace Collection. Displaying 18th and 19th Century Works collected by the first four Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace, the Collection was bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace in1897. Today the Collection holds over 5,000 objects and is best known for its 18th Century French paintings.
After a beautiful day outdoors? Why not head to Kew Gardens (part of the Royal Botanic Gardens) and enjoy one of the largest and most diverse plant collections in the world. If you don’t fancy a picnic on your stroll, Kew has several cafes each offering afternoon tea and an excellent selection of food. Located only 30 minutes from the centre of London and tickets start from £13.95 for adults (free entrance for Members of Kew).
Visit the children’s garden and your young ones will be able to run, jump and play whilst learning about the different elements that plants need for survival. All sessions are 90 minutes and booking is now open online.
A Coronation Church since 1066 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Westminster Abbey hosts daily services as well as allowing tourists (and Londoners!) to explore outside of service hours. Guided tours operate daily and are one of the best ways to see the Abbey.
Due to their small nature, the Galleries have timed admission slots so do book ahead – especially at peak times!