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What are your tips for visiting London’s museums?

Newton...
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for Newton
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Tripadvisor Staff  
What are your tips for visiting London’s museums?
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Hi TripAdvisor travelers and locals,

We’re posting to ask for your invaluable advice and tips for visiting London’s museums.

In the past year, we've compiled several guides for local media and travel blogs with advice on visiting major cities around the world, based on suggestions and knowledge provided by forum contributors like you. These guides are intended to help and inspire visitors to plan the best trips possible.

Since London is a major tourist destination with world famous museums, we wanted create a similar guide for London’s museums. We’ve created this thread to invite you all to share your current tips and advice for visiting museums in London.

We’ll pick out the best tips and include them in the final guide, which we will be sharing with editorial media in London. The guide will be credited to the TripAdvisor London travel forum.

So, what advice would you give visitors to London when visiting its beautiful museums, whether they are general tips (such as purchasing tickets online in advance) or tips for specific museums you have visited (days they are free, best time of the day, specific monuments or art pieces to check out, etc.)? We’d love to hear from you.

Thank you very much!

TA_Jeanine

TripAdvisor Staff

Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
6,706 posts
1. Re: What are your tips for visiting London’s museums?
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Visit the ones that interest YOU. Don't worry about what is the "most popular" Or what someone on some Internet forum insists you must do or suggests is more important than some other one.

Visit the exhibits that interest YOU. If that's a few things and can be done an hour, fine. Don't worry if someone insists you need to spend 5 hours there. Or suggests you haven't done it justice unless you spend two days there.

This applies everywhere. Not just London.

Edited: 6 years ago
England, United...
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2. Re: What are your tips for visiting London’s museums?
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I would also recommend having a look at a site such as "What's on in London". Throughout the year, there are various, wonderful events taking place all over London. Some are for the day, others for a few days. Let's inject a little spontaneity as well as trekking round the usual haunts.

Illinois
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3. Re: What are your tips for visiting London’s museums?
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I'd avoid the Science Museum and Natural History Museum on weekends and school holidays. Packed with kids then.

Sydney, Australia
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11,123 posts
4. Re: What are your tips for visiting London’s museums?
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Number one tip: Whatever your obsure hobby or interest is, there is likely to be a museum in London to indulge your habit.

Other tips:

* Check opening hours. Many larger museums are open late at night at least once a week and there tend to be fewer visitors in the evening

* Advance ticket purchases are rarely necessary for permanent collections. Depending on the popularity of a special ticketed exhibition, you may want to buy tickets in advance

* Museums are not just about the items you see hung on walls or displayed in cases. So many museums hold events like lectures, tours inside the museum, excursions outside the museum, musical events etc.

* Consider museum membership,even if you are an infrequent visitor. Members get magazines with more in-depth information, invitations to member-only events and previews. Some museums also have member only rooms for their use.

* Looking for souvenirs? Don't bypass the gift shop. Some of the best gifts I have bought for myself and others has been in museum shops. My favourite shops are the Museum of London for everything they sell and the V&A for the jewellery they sell.

New Mexico
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5. Re: What are your tips for visiting London’s museums?
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Most of the museum/attractions have cafes/restaurants (sometimes more than one); consider having lunch/tea at one of the ones you are visiting. This will often save you some time. I have found the food to be reasonably priced and quite good. Menus are usually available online for perusal prior to your visit.

New Mexico
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6. Re: What are your tips for visiting London’s museums?
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Consider a membership in the Historic Royal Palaces, especially if you plan to visit 2 or more of the 5 venues in the London area (either on one trip or multiple trips over a year).

http://www.hrp.org.uk/supportus/membership/

Scottsdale, Arizona
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7. Re: What are your tips for visiting London’s museums?
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My biggest tip is to find out where things are ahead of time and make notes. It's so easy to miss something you want to see because museums like the V&A and British Museum are huge. So find your must see exhibits first and then wander around and see what you stumble across.

U.S. expats
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8. Re: What are your tips for visiting London’s museums?
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If you are visiting a museum with kids, don't overdo it. Get a map, and let the kids guide you through places they enjoy, instead of dragging through things that may not thrill them. My son loved picking out certain rooms in the British Museum, and enjoyed it more than if we had told him where to go and what to see.

It seems like common sense, but I see so many people doing it the other way.

London, United...
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9. Re: What are your tips for visiting London’s museums?
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If you're short on time, look for one of the "highlights" tours run by guides in many museums. That way you get a flavour of the place even if you can't stay as long as you would like.

Bingley, United...
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for Edinburgh
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10. Re: What are your tips for visiting London’s museums?
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Don't overdo it, generally museums are free (though donations are encouraged) so you don't *have* to spend several hours there and can just pop in for a couple of hours.

Do some research before hand. The websites are a mine of information

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