One of the many perks of student life in London are its world famous museums and galleries. More often than not, the best museums are totally free to enter. Here’s eight museums and galleries around the city that offer a little bit of everything.
1. Tate modern – Formerly a post-war power station, the Tate Modern’s stark post-war modernist design stands out along London’s southbank. Since its opening in May 2000, it has become one of the city’s best known galleries. The museum features contemporary and modern art since 1900 and also attracts the world’s most cutting-edge artists. General admission is free, however there is usually an admission fee for the special exhibits and events. Opening times are 10am – 6pm Sunday through Thursday and 10am – 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
2. Wallace collection – Located just a short walk south of campus, the Wallace Collection is a great slice of history preserved amongst London’s modern backdrop. The historic building, now a National musuem, has been meticulously preserved and gives a snapshot into how London’s elite once lived. The museum’s 25 galleries house master French art works dating back to the 18th century as well an amazing armoury. General admission is free. Opening times are 10am – 5pm daily.
3. Horniman Museum & Gardens – Located in Forest Hill, the Horniman Museum has been going since Victorian times and features internationally important anthropological collections as well as a natural history collection. There are also musical instruments amongst the collections and a mesmerizing aquarium. Admission is free, however, the aquarium has a fee. Open hours are 10:30am – 5:30pm.
4. Brunel Museum – Explore one of the oldest sections of the first underground system in the world at the Brunel Museum, located just near Rotherhithe station. The museum is a designated international landmark and its permanent exhibition tells the dramatic story of how the Thames tunnel was constructed. Part of Marc Brunel’s Engine House, the building housed steam engines that pumped water out of the Thames tunnel, keeping it dry. There are numerous events throughout the year and there are shady gardens which overlook the river. Admission is £3.00 and £1.50 for concessions, however the entry to the Great Eastern launch ramps is free. Open hours are 10am – 5pm daily.
5. Museum of Brands, Packaging & Advertising – This museum features original and unique brands and items dating back to the Victorian period up to today. There are more than 12,000 items on display from the Robert Opie Collection, from toys and games, to the major ads and fads across the decades. Located near London’s Portobello Road in Nottinghill, the museum is a great chance for students particularly into marketing the check out the highlights and lowlights of consumer culture. Admission is £6.50 and £4.00 concessions. Opening hours are 10am – 6pm Tuesday through Saturday and 11:00am – 5pm Saturday.
6. Haunch of Venison – Right in the heart of London’s West End is the Haunch of Venison gallery. It has hosted internationally acclaimed contemporary art since 2002 and is considered one of the top commercial galleries of its kind in Britain. Admission is free to all and opening hours are 10am – 6pm Monday through Friday and 10am to 5pm on Saturday.
7. Estorick Collection of Modern Art – This museum is devoted to Italian modern art and includes prominent futurist works as well as sculptures and figurative works dating back to the 1890s. Located near the Highbury & Islington overground station, the museum is housed in a splendidly preserved Grade II listed Georgian building. While the admission fee is normally £5.00, if you take your student ID card (an NUS ID), admission is totally free.
8. Banner Repeater – Perhaps one of the quirkiest galleries, Banner Repeater is a relatively new location that is located on Platform 1 at Hackney Downs railways station. The space opened in 2009 and is operated by an artist collective. Exhibits and events feature everything from lectures to workshops to contemporary installations. Entry is free, all you need is an oyster card. Best of all, the space is open to the public as a place of study and even has wi-fi access.