Recommendations

Free museums and galleries in London

The Blavatnik Wing at the National Portrait Gallery

These extraordinary venues have world-class collections, must-see exhibitions and even quarters for a pet lemur – and you can visit them for free.

If you’re looking for a low-cost day out in London, the city has a wide selection of museums and galleries that are free at the point of entry, or with a National Art Pass from Art Fund.

Better still, they are some of the city’s best – home to collections unrivalled elsewhere and stories that are a true source of wonder. Read on for our selection of the top 10 free museums in London.

Where can I see art in London for free with an Art Pass?

01
British Museum, The Great Court

British Museum

The British Museum charts two million years of human history and culture, with 80,000 objects on display across 70 rooms. It’s home to some of the world’s most famous objects, as well as meticulously researched special exhibitions. Don’t miss the Sutton Hoo ship burial finds and the Rosetta Stone, which unlocked the meaning of the Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.

02
Young V&A, Museum of the Year Winner, 2024. Image courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum, London. © David Parry

Young V&A

Across the three playful galleries at Young V&A are interactive exhibits, objects from much-loved children’s stories and workshops for older kids. This colourful, fun museum is specifically aimed at young people – right down to the lunchtime meal boxes in the Town Square Café.

03
National Portrait Gallery, Museum of the Year finalist, 2024. Image courtesy of National Portrait Gallery. Photo: © David Parry

National Portrait Gallery

Home to 220,000 works from the 8th century to the present day, the National Portrait Gallery explores all aspects of the art of portraiture – from historic works offering a glimpse into the past, through to cutting-edge contemporary painting. Enjoy the recent rehang of the entire collection, presenting stories previously missing from British history, and explore the galleries in the newly converted East Wing.

04
Eltham Palace and Gardens, interior

Eltham Palace and Gardens

This lesser-known gem combines a medieval palace that was the childhood home of Henry VIII with an Art Deco extension built by unconventional millionaires Virginia and Stephen Courtauld – who added a map room, golden bathroom and quarters for their pet lemur. Along with 19 acres of gardens and a glasshouse café, it’s an endlessly surprising place to explore.

05
Dulwich Picture Gallery, Interior

Dulwich Picture Gallery

Dulwich Picture Gallery predates the National Gallery, and is home to a collection which began as a commission for the King of Poland. Beyond this intriguing history, the gallery has built a reputation for its brilliant programme of special exhibitions – and the peaceful grounds are a lovely spot for lunch.

06
Leighton House
Leighton House

Leighton House

The former home and studio of celebrated Victorian artist Frederic, Lord Leighton has exceptional rooms decorated by craftspeople and artists over a 30-year period. Now a museum filled with paintings by Leighton and his contemporaries, the house is a jaw-dropping example of a home transformed into an artwork in its own right.

07
V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum), The John Madejski Garden at the V&A

V&A South Kensington

Charting 5,000 years of art and design within superbly crafted surrounds, the V&A regularly commands record visitor numbers. Housed in a building that took 50 years to complete are numerous priceless rarities among a collection of 2.3 million objects and exceptional temporary exhibitions.

08

Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA)

Founded by a group of artists and poets in 1946, the ICA is now dedicated to presenting and producing new work in performance, film, music and the visual arts, with a cross-disciplinary programme that interrogates our past and present, as well as looking to the future. It has a history of promoting visionary new artists – so is always one to watch.

09
The Top Landing at The Courtauld Gallery
The Top Landing at The Courtauld Gallery

The Courtauld Gallery

Most famous for its exceptional collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works, the Courtauld Gallery is the place to see stand-out works by Van Gogh, Manet, Renoir and Cézanne alongside artworks ranging from the medieval period to the present day. A £57m refurbishment has seen the galleries refreshed and rehung in the stunning surrounds of Somerset House.

10
Tate Modern

Tate Modern

International modern and contemporary art fill the spaces of the former Bankside Power Station, with a modern extension offering 10 additional floors to explore. At the heart of Tate Modern is the Turbine Hall, a cavernous space that’s been used for installations on a scale unlike any you’ll see elsewhere.

IndividualTiana Clarke Please note this is an example card and not a reflection of the final product

The more you see, the more we do.

The National Art Pass lets you enjoy free entry to hundreds of museums, galleries and historic places across the UK, while raising money to support them.

Are your sure you want to leave checkout?