Museums and Art Galleries

Tate Britain – started by Henry Tate in 1897 with his collection of 65 paintings, this art gallery houses approximately 300 oil paintings and 30,000 watercolours by JMW Turner, our famous watercolour painter from the 19th century. There are many wonderful paintings by leading Pre-Raphaelites as well as works by Hogarth, Blake and Constable. Magnificent sculpture awaits you too such as works by Jacob Epstein, Eric Gill, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.

Victoria and Albert Museum – our leading fine and applied arts museum. This is a real treasure trove of artefacts from many centuries, beautifully laid out by the museum’s curators. As well as Chinese and Islamic art, there are galleries of glass, ceramics, silver, armour as well as the splendid British Galleries (the Great Bed of Ware and Tipu’s Tiger to name but two items) and the relatively new Medieval and Renaissance Galleries.

The National History Museum – not only a children’s delight but also a fascinating place for adults too. As well as the famous dinosaur collections, there is the superlative new Darwin Centre. It houses 22 million zoological specimens which are stored in alcohol, and if you take a behind the scenes tour, you will see the so-called Spirit Collection – sharks, foxes and all manner of mammals in formaldehyde. You can be entertained in the Attenborough Studio by attending a talk with film by a visiting biologist or visit Cocoon, the vast cocoon-shaped building which contains the museum’s collection of 28 million insects and 6 million plants – all behind glass. These interactive galleries with touch screens make it fun for the children – not in the least dull.

The National Gallery – This world-famous art gallery holds the national collection of master paintings from the 13th century to the beginning of the 20th century. It holds more than 2,300 paintings – so it is vast but it does contain some very famous paintings such as Van Gogh’s Sunflowers and the Ambassadors by Hans Holbein. Other highlights include works by Monet, Van Eyck, Thomas Gainsborough, JMW Turner, Botticelli, Raphael, Rubens and Velazquez.

The British Museum is a world leader in museums. A highlights tour of the British Museum will reveal a few of this museum’s treasures such as the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon Marbles, the Lewis Chessmen and the Royal Cup. If you are interested in Ancient Egypt and Egyptian mummies, then look no further. If you are more taken by Anglo Saxon or Roman treasures, then those galleries will provide plenty to absorb the visitor.

The National Maritime Museum is one of several places to visit at Greenwich. This fascinating museum reveals much of the Britain’s maritime history. It is vast and holds nearly 2.5 million items. Highlights include the magnificent ceremonial barge made for Frederick, Prince of Wales and the jacket that Lord Nelson wore when he was shot at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. You can learn also about early English colonies, the voyages of Sir Francis Drake, Captain Cook and Ernest Shackleton. You can also visit the new Sammy Ofer Wing with its special exhibitions gallery and the permanent exhibition entitled ‘Voyagers.’ This is a great day out for the family and lots of fun.