MUST SEE LONDON MUSEUMS VOL. 2
Written by Kieran Lockyer (Astor Hyde Park)
Summer is dawning on London which will come as a blessing to most. There are those of us though with pale skin looking to avoid a sunburn and others who are looking to replace the messy affairs and sticky floors of London’s famous pub-crawls with something a bit more cerebral. Do not fear, safe haven can be found in the many historical museums which litter the city of London, with free entry!
For the geeks and nerds, the Science museum located amongst a cluster of world class museums on Exhibition Road may pop out as a favourite. As you progress through the museum you will be taken on a virtual tour of the progress of modern technology.
From the work of James Watt and Puffing Billy (the oldest surviving steam locomotive), through the industrial revolution and development of cars, tools, and gadgets through to space (my personal favourite) where replicas of the lunar landing module and visions of future space travel reside. There is also a 3D IMAX cinema where additional exhibits can be viewed, though these often come at an extra cost.
The former Bankside Power Station is a fitting home for one of the world’s largest museums of modern and contemporary art. Having been repurposed and renovated by world-famous architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron in the year 2000, the museum sits on the picturesque River Thames that snakes through the city of London. My favorite path to the museum is from St Pauls Cathedral, crossing the Thames over the famous Millennium Bridge (another site to see for Harry Potter buffs).
Inside you will find art from 1900 to the present day from artists all over the world. Being a modern art museum it is more than just musty old paintings, with art being produced from mediums such as old televisions and radios, fire hoses and cous cous. On my last visit, I was even able to take home a souvenir from an artist who designs interactive exhibits.
Also among the cluster of impressive museums on Exhibition Road in South Kensington (only a few minutes’ walk from Astor Hyde Park) is the V&A, the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design with an incredible 4.5 million objects. Make sure you have a pair of comfortable walking shoes as this museum is BIG!
I’ve spent multiple 3+ hour trips to this monstrous assemblage of historical pieces of design, from architecture and 17th Century bedrooms to marble sculptures and fat diamond encrusted earrings, even modern industrial design like the iPhone is encompassed in this exhaustive collection.
Check out Part 1 of our MUST SEE LONDON MUSEUMS mini-guide