Ok, so there are around 250 museums in London according to this site on Wikipedia, so let’s be honest, you gotta choose. Here are the ones we chose and didn’t regret.
- Churchill War Rooms. Well worth it. Fun facts we learned, and maybe should have already known:
- Churchill was hilarious (we had an awareness)
- His mum was American
- He escaped a prison in South Africa while in the military
- He drank, siesta’ed, smoked cigars, ate what he wanted and lived until 90 years old. And I fight off every pound, boo!
- He lost his election after WW II and then won again, the comeback kid.
The exhibit is very well done and helps you picture being right there with the cabinet during the bombings. The museum is great but save some energy for the rooms which come after (the map room, the broadcasting room, the typists’ room and the bedrooms) which are, in our view, the highlight.
- The National Portrait gallery (admission was free when we visited). See our write up in London Touring: Westminster. Worth a visit.
- The Museum of London (admission is free). We came for Lord Mayors carriage which was out for repairs however, it has a great exhibit from pre Roman days through the modern times. We visited the Roman bit, the medieval times and the exhibit on the plague and the great London fire but will return for the whole shebang.
- The Crown Jewels and the White Tower. If you’re there, check out the Crown Jewels and the armory in the white tower of the Tower of London. When Oliver Cromwell and company overthrew the monarchy in the English Civil war, the current set of Crown Jewels were destroyed or melted down. Since 1831, a new crown has been made for each queen consort for their coronation. In addition to being used at coronations, some of the jewels are used to open Parliament and for christenings and royal weddings. Picture below is from the armory, no pics of the Crown Jewels allowed.
- The British Museum (admission is free). See the Rosetta Stone with everyone else and then move on to things you like. Things we checked out:
- The Greek Parthenon exhibit. Ok, so maybe we are biased but we (as Greece lovers) wish this was all together in Athens. While it is probably true that the Parthenon’s “lost marbles” (the ones found in this museum) owe their collective current existence to the salvaging done by Lord Elgin, it would be nice to see them returned to Athens and the acropolis museum. Since we saw those that are there, in Athens, a few years ago we wanted to see the rest here. For a relatively unbiased view and more on the history of the “lost marbles” you can read here.
- The Djanogly gallery of clocks and watches. Boring you say? Nay sir, nay. Show up on the hour to hear them chime. We arrived at 13:00 hours which unfortunately meant only one chime, ding or bing per clock. If only an hour earlier… for reals these are some really interesting clocks.
Lastly, many of the museums of London are free. Help keep them that way and drop a few quid in the offering jars, will ya mate?