Hamizah Binti Afandi, third year BA Archaeology and Anthropology, shares her favourite London museums and galleries.
You are never far from a museum in London. From a gallery as small as a bedroom to a majestic multi-storey complex, London has a museum for almost everything that comes to mind. Despite its reputation as a pricey city, London plays host to many world-class exhibitions and stunning collections that you can access for free. These are not only great to supplement your course, but also worth visiting in your moments of leisure. We’ve put together a list of our favourites for you to start with, but we’re sure you’ll discover your own gems too.
The Museum of London covers everything you could want to know about the history of London. If you wish to discover more about London in the Roman and Medieval eras, as well as the city's restoration after the Great Fire, then this should be your first point of call upon arriving in London! After your visit, spend some time visiting the remains of the London Wall located just outside the museum - or take ‘The London Wall Walk' if you’re really into the city’s Roman roots.
From wildlife to geology, the Natural History Museum has a lot of natural knowledge to share! You don’t have to be a biologist to love a day out here, so make sure it’s on your list to visit. They even have a beautiful ice rink outside the museum in winter! What can be better than a perfect ice-skating experience with this iconic museum in the background?
Despite its less aesthetic external appearance, the Science Museum is one of the most interactive museums in London! It might not look quite as fancy as the other two museums in South Kensington from the outside, but trust me, you'll have a lot of fun once you get inside! The museum’s permanent exhibitions include an interactive gallery on climate change, a unique collection on the evolution of the clock and watch, as well as an aviation gallery full of hanging aircraft! The museum also hosts a range of fascinating free or paid temporary exhibitions, so be sure to check them out while you’re in the area!
Are you a passionate museumgoer? Perfect, because we are too! UCL Museums Society draws like-minded people together and organises group trips to many interesting exhibitions in London. One of its main aims is to introduce students to the more obscure museums in London. We’ve previously conducted trips to the Sir John Soane’s Museum, Museum of the Order of St John’s, Wellcome Collection, and, of course, UCL’s very own museums!
In the past year, the society has also special tours with a number of amazing institutions, including a private tour to see the British Library behind-the-scenes work in their Conservation Studio, a guided tour with UCL Special Collections to explore the university’s very own manuscripts archive and rare books, and a private tour of the Victoria and Albert Museum collection.
Check out the society’s Facebook page for more information on their past and upcoming events!