Do you just want to enjoy visiting a museum in London where there aren’t many kids running around?

Or you want to leave your own kids at home and have the full experience of learning and admiring exhibits without the responsibility of babysitting?

London is a veritable oasis of culture and there are plenty of museums more suitable to adults that would enrich your knowledge and cultural experience.

With this in mind, we recommend the following 20 London museums for adults to visit if you want a fun and relaxing day out.

Table of Contents

1. The British Museum

One of the most comprehensive collections of human culture and history in the world can be admired at the British Museum.

It contains approximately 8 million items from all over the globe offerring a complete and seamless illustration of human culture, ranging from its first documented instances to present.

Fortunately, the exhibits are well organised into different departments according to age and place of origin.

For example, you can see places like Asia, Ancient Egypt, Greece & Rome and Middle East to name a few.

  • Opening hours – Mon-Sun: 10am-5;30pm; Fri: 10am-8:30pm.
  • Address – Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG

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2. Victoria and Albert Museum

The museum with the largest collection of design and decorative arts in the world is housed by the Victoria and Albert Museum.

145 galleries exhibit the 4.5 million items in the collection that come from different continents, some up to 5000 years ago.

For instance, one of Europe’s very best East Asia collections is stored here.

The museum also has the largest collection of post-classical sculpture in the world and the greatest Islamic collection in the West.

The items range from medieval objects, to costumes, silver, sculpture, ceramics, drawings, glass, photographs, textiles, jewelry, furniture and ironwork.

  • Opening Hours – Mon-Sun: 10am-5:45pm; Fri: 10am-10pm.
  • Address – South Kensington, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL

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3. National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery is an art gallery situated in London.

It contains an assortment of portraits of British people and historical figures.

The Gallery opened in 1856 as the world’s first portrait gallery and has been housed in its current space since 1896.

The collection is divided into several departments.

The Primary Collection, the Reference Collection, the Photographs Collection, Recent Acquisitions, Conservation and Collection Loans.

Young children may find this museum a bit boring so its likely most visitors will be appreciative adults who know more about the various portraits on display.

  • Opening Hours – Mon-Sun: 10am-6pm; Thur-Fri: 10am-9pm.
  • Address – St Martin’s Place, London WC2H 0HE.

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4. Tate Modern

Situated in London and pertaining to the Tate group, Tate Modern is the British national gallery of international modern art.

It is one of the most popular modern art galleries in the world, counting approximately 4.7 million visitors a year.

On top of this, The Tate group also includes Tate Liverpool, Tate Ives, Tate Britain and Tate Online.

The works are distributed in several displays, depending on artistic movement and artist.

These include Energy and Process, Structure and Clarity, Poetry & Dream and Transformed Visions as permanent exhibitions.

In addition, there may be special temporary exhibitions held here.

  • Opening Hours – Sun-Thu: 10am-6pm; Fri-Sat: 10am-10pm.
  • Address – Bankside, London SE1 9TG.

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5. Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum in South Kensington sits on Exhibition Road, with the Science Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Its collection covers 80 million exhibits, a variety of specimens from different divisions of natural history, including mineralogy, entomology, botany, paleontology and zoology.

The museum is also known for its specialized research in the field of taxonomy, identification and conservation, as well as special specimens collected by Charles Darwin and dinosaur skeletons.

The Natural History Museum Library is equally impressive, containing books, journals, manuscripts and artwork collections, but access to the public is only granted with an appointment.

  • Opening Hours – Mon-Sun: 10am-5:50pm
  • Address – Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD

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6. Madame Tussauds

The world-famous Madam Tussauds is a wax figure museum that features models of film stars, celebrities, the royal family, sports stars, historical figures, movie characters and maybe most notably, infamous murderers.

One of the more popular areas is the Chamber of Horrors, which hosts the likes of Jack the Ripper, Hitler and other terrifying characters.

Marie Tussaud was the wax sculptor who founded and popularized the concept, and over the years, it has become one of the most beloved tourist attractions in London.

In fact, it was so successful that other museums were opened in cities like Shanghai, Los Angeles and Sydney.

While you may see some kids chasing photos with their favorite celebrities, it’s still a suitable musuem and gallery for young adults.

  • Opening Hours – Off Peak: 9:30am-5:30pm; Peak: 9am-6pm; Super Peak: 9am-7pm.
  • Address – Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LR

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7. Museum of London

The Museum of London can be found on London Wall and it represents a documentation of the city’s history, ranging from prehistoric to modern times.

The social history of London and its residents is one of the main attractions.

It’s collection is fragmented in chronologically-assigned galleries which contain items like pictures, original artefacts, models and diagrams.

These galleries include “London Before London”, “Medieval London”, “War, Plague and Fire”, “Expanding City”, “People’s City” and “World City”.

  • Opening Hours – Mon-Sun: 10am-6pm.
  • Address – 150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN.

Official site

8. National Gallery

The art museum located in Trafalgar Square is called the National Gallery and it contains a collection of more than 2,300 paintings, spanning from the 13th century to 1900.

It is immensely popular and, in fact, occupies fourth place in terms of most visited museums in the world.

The collection is small, but comprehensive, successfully representing the majority of the significant Western movements and artists.

For adults, you could easily spend a couple of hours here admiring the different paintings.

Kids would struggle to appreciate the importance of paintings on display.

  • Opening Hours – Mon-Sun: 10am-6pm; Fri: 10am-9pm.
  • Address – Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN.

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9. National Maritime Museum

Possibly the biggest of its kind in the world, the National Maritime Museum is located in Greenwich, London and it is the most important maritime museum in the United Kingdom.

2.5 million exhibits comprise the complete collection, although a significant part of these are housed in different British museums.

Fortunately, you can still see many original documents, ship models, maritime art, cartography and navigational instruments here.

It’s likely there will be some young ones goofing around at the various interactive exhibits, but it’s still a fantastic museum for adults to visit.

  • Opening Hours – Mon-Sun: 10am-5pm.
  • Address – Greenwich, London SE10 9NF.

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10. Imperial War Museum

The Imperial War Museum in London shares a name with the national museum organization it pertains to, which also has four other locations, two of them also in London.

The museum was opened with the purpose of recording and documenting British military and civil war activity in the First World War.

Nowadays, the institution covers all British military operations after 1914, in order to provide a better understanding of the experience of modern wartime.

  • Opening Hours – Mon-Sun: 10am-6pm.
  • Address – Lambeth Road, London SE1 6HZ.

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11. Sir John Soane’s Museum

This museum was formerly the official house of the architect Sir John Soane.

He is best known for designing the Bank of England.

Inside the museum you can find and admire no less than 20,000 works, antiquities and architectural drawings signed by Piranesi, Canaletto, Turner and Soane himself.

Don’t miss the Egyptian Sarcophagus of Seti, an impressive antique piece of art.

  • Opening Hours – Tue-Sat: 10am-5pm.
  • Address – 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3BP.

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12. Sherlock Holmes Museum

Those who are fans of Sherlock Holmes stories must not miss the museum dedicated to the world-famous detective.

The museum was opened in 1990 and since then it has attracted millions of tourists.

Inside, you can find all the items that define this well-known fictional character: his laboratory, his typewriter and even his pipe.

The younger generation probably don’t know too much about Sherlock Holmes, so you can rest assured there will only be mostly mature adults around the museum.

  • Opening Hours – Mon-Sun: 9.30am-6pm
  • Address – 221b Baker St., London NW1 6XE

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13. The Science Museum

Grown ups will love thed Science Museum in London.

It’s located on Exhibition Road and visited by over 3 million tourists each year.

Some of the most renowned galleries inside the Science Museum are Engineer your Future, Exploring Space, and Flight and Making the Modern World.

Its collection and interactive galleries include more than 15,000 items, including the world-famous Apollo 10 capsule.

There’s a lot to learn and adults will definitely have a better understanding of the exhibits than the little ones.

  • Opening Hours – Mon-Sun: 10am-6pm
  • Address – Exhibition Road, London SW7 2DD

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14. The Cartoon Museum

If you’re into cartoons and comic books, then this is the perfect venue for you.

The Cartoon Museum in London is the first cartoon museum in Britain and features thousands of caricatures, cartoons, animations and comic strips.

It also includes a library with 4,000 comics, 5,000 books and 250 other exhibits.

As an adult, you would be able to appreciate some of the classic cartoons much better than the kids of today.

  • Opening Hours – Mon-Sat: 10.30am-5.30pm; Sun: 12pm-5.30pm.
  • Address – 35 Little Russell Street, Holborn, London WC1A 2HH.

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15. London Transport Museum

This peculiar, yet interesting museum explains and conserves London’s transport heritage.

Inside the extraordinary London Transport Museum you can admire the very first Underground steam train in the world and the famous red buses in the British capital.

Moreover, the museum is home to a train carriage that was in use in the 1890s – the padded cell.

You can also see the original London Underground map and have fun with the various interactive exhibits.

  • Opening Hours – Mon-Thu; Weekends: 10am-6pm; Fri: 11am-6pm.
  • Address – Covent Garden Piazza, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7BB.

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16. Design Museum

If you are passionate about the world of design, then there is no better destination for adults than the Design Museum in London.

It includes various exhibitions on digital design, architecture, transport, fashion, products, graphic design and furniture.

The Times listed it as one of the top 5 museums in 2007.

The exhibits are continuously changing and the most notable have been: the History of Video Games and the Shoe Design signed by the famous Manolo Blahnik.

The Print Cafe inside the museum will allow you to relax while enjoying the stunning view of Tower Bridge and River Thames.

  • Opening Hours – Mon-Sun: 10am-5.45pm.
  • Address – Shad Thames, Bermondsey, London SE1 2YD.

Official site

17. Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising

For a complete and thorough history of consumer culture, visit the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising.

Its collection includes 12,000 items related to the industry ranging from Victorian times till modern days.

Here, you can see everything related to brands and advertising: games, products, toys, posters and vintage packaging.

There is a Time Tunnel presenting collections in chronological order.

  • Opening Hours – Tue-Sat: 10am-6pm; Sun: 11am-5pm.
  • Address – 2 Colville Mews, Lonsdale Road, London W11 2AR.

Official site

18. The Charles Dickens Museum

Charles Dickens Museum is located in Holborn, London.

He lived here with his wife Catherine and 3 of their children from 1837 til 1839.

Today, the museum features temporary and permanent exhibitions.

For example, you’ll see restored rooms, letters written and received by Charles Dickens, pictures, furniture and first editions of Dickens’ books.

All classic exhibits of Charles Dickens that really only adults can admire.

  • Opening Hours – Mon-Sun: 10am-5pm.
  • Address – 48 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LX.

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19. Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum

Tennis fans all over the world, look no further than the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum in London.

You will see some of the most famous and wanted titles in tennis, including sounds, traditions, sights, trophies and triumphs.

Through interactive guides, exhibits and touch screens, you can explore the evolution of this wonderful sport.

An interesting exhibition called “The Whites of Wimbledon” presents the progress of Wimbledon outfits and tennis fashion.

Kids certainly won’t appreciate the history of Wimbledon so you can rest easy and appreciate all the memorabilia items, stories and exhibits.

  • Opening Hours – Mon-Sun: 10am-5pm.
  • Address – Church Road, Wimbledon, London SW19 5AE.

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20. Bank of England Museum

Many people don’t know that the famous Bank of England also houses a museum presenting the Bank’s history from 1694 till present day.

The Stock Office is one of the most interesting exhibitions, representing a 18th century office where the stock holders used to go get their dividends.

Also, have a look at the Bank Today department.

This is where people can see most of the modern Bank’s activities.

Other exhibits at the museum include a collection of coins, notes, a bar of gold that people can see and touch, official documents, silver, old economy and numismatic books.

  • Opening Hours – Mon-Fri: 10am-5pm.
  • Address – Bartholomew Lane, City of London, London EC2R 8AH.

Official site

There are many other museums in London perfect for adults, but if you’re limited on time, these would be the first museums and galleries to visit.

Have you been to other London museums that are worthwhile?

Let us know in the comments below.

For all new cities, I go overboard on my itinerary, just to see every major attraction. Countries I've visited include New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Cambodia, Japan and Thailand. Mostly Asian countries. Next target - Europe!