Museums in London – Our Recommendations



The Arts




There are many great museums in London. Here are our top recommendations while you are there:

The Design Museum of London: Formerly located at 28 Shad Thames on the south side of the Thames just east of the Tower Bridge, the museum has moved to a new and larger building at 224-238 Kensington High St. Make sure to check out the exhibition schedule. I was in the old location and am excited to visit the new building next time I am in London. 

Fashion and Textile Museum: Located at 83 Bermondsey Street not too far from London Bridge Tube station, this is a Museum offering exhibitions, courses and workshops. The building was designed by well-known Mexican architect Ricardo Legoretta. I loved an exhibition on British pop culture of the 1960’s including designs by Mary Quant and other Carnaby Street shops. There is also a nice café adjacent to the museum.

Dennis Sever’s House: Located at 18 Folgate Street, a short walk from the Spitalfields Market, is a very different museum that was recommended to me by two different people. Created by Dennis Severs who died in 1999, this is a very unique place that totally stimulates your senses. You walk in silence through ten rooms of a house that is totally decorated as a home would have been in the early 18th century. It is like you enter a still life painting with the family still living there. You will see and smell fresh fruit, a half-eaten breakfast or a piece of fruit on the table, a cup of tea and sweets. You do this by candlelight or by the glowing embers of coal in the fireplace. You hear sounds, the clocks chiming, whispers, the creaking of old wooden floors. You are lost in another time!!!

Tate Modern: I Loved walking through the Tate Modern again after being there after it first opened. The new Tanks have just opened which is dedicated to live, video and performance art. Check out the website for the current exhibition calendar.

Royal Academy of Arts: Located next to the Burlington Arcade in Burlington House on Piccadilly, this is a museum with a collection focusing on British art and artists from the 18th century to the present day. There are paintings by Gainsborough, Turner, Constable, Sargent, and Hockney. I saw a wonderful impressionist show.

I did the Royal Day out with a tour of the state rooms of Buckingham Palace, a visit to the Royal Mews with the great carriages and the coronation carriage, and the Queens Gallery where I saw a wonderful prints/drawings show by Leonardo da Vinci. I loved seeing the Palace again particularly since this is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Victoria & Albert Museum: I went to the V&A Museum on Cromwell Road which has a huge collection of decorative arts and design. It is somewhat overwhelming so pick and choose the areas you want to focus on. I did see a contemporary exhibition on British design and saw some 20th century design, snuff boxes and silver.

As far as museums go, see the National Gallery and the British Museum. After a traveling exhibition of impressionist works at the Art Institute of Chicago several years ago, I really enjoyed the Courtauld Institute Galleries which contains the private collection of Samuel Courtauld. There are works by Manet, Degas, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Seurat and Cezanne plus others by Rubens, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Durer and Rembrandt.

The Tate Gallery in Westminster is also a must.