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The National Gallery is a magnificent Georgian edifice on the northern side of Trafalgar Square that houses a massive collection of Western European art. Started in 1838, you can find the works of master Leonardo Da Vinci in the Sainsbury wing of the gallery, alongside Botticelli and Bellini. The west wing contains works by Titian, Michelangelo and Raphael, the north wing contains works by Rubens, Rembrandt and Caravaggio, and the east wing contains works by Seurat, Canaletto, Degas and Monet. A portable audio guide is available in six different languages.
The British Museum is one of London's top tourist attractions, as well as a major scholarly resource. Its collection was bequeathed to the nation in 1753, and the museum's distinctive Greek Revival structure was constructed during the 19th Century. The collection expanded massively during the heyday of the British Empire, leading to the museum's reputation for acquiring from sources all over the globe, leaving it with over 6.5 million objects. The displays cover about 5.5 hectares (14 acres) making it impossible to see everything in one visit. The famous Rosetta Stone, Assyrian Reliefs, Parthenon Marbles, and the vast Egyptian collection are a few of the British Museum's most well known exhibits.
The UK's National Gallery for Modern and Contemporary Art, Tate Modern has been a dazzling microcosm of the art world since it first opened its doors in 2000 and is one of the largest of its kind in the world. A remarkable merger between the past and present, Tate Modern displays the stunning national collection of modern and contemporary art, featuring both British and international artists from 1900s to the present. Here, artwork by the likes of Matice, Warhol, Picasso, Dalí, and Pollock, sit alongside those of contemporary artists who are redefining the very meaning of art. The gallery sits amid the concrete jungle of Bankside, fitted into the former Power Station with a few nifty additions. The most obvious is the two-storey glass extension that sits atop the roof, while the original lattice brickwork and towering chimney of the heritage building have been retained. Later extensions include the Blavatnik Building, with its striking sloped facade, and the conversion of the subterranean oil tanks into a permanent showcase for the performing arts. Admission is free, however, tickets must be purchased for special exhibitions.
This museum is housed within the Bank of England, in the heart of London. It traces the history of the Bank, also known as the "Old Lady," from its foundation by Royal Charter in 1694 to its role to date as the nation's central bank. Exhibits include early writing equipment, weapons once used to defend the bank against robbers, coins, photographs and archaeological finds uncovered when the Bank was rebuilt between 1925 and 1939, which include four extremely rare Roman gold bars. The Bank also hosts regular exhibitions and activities for children.
The Victoria and Albert Museum celebrates the rich culture of a bygone era. It includes around 4.5 million objects including ceramics, fashion, furniture, glass, metalwork, paintings, photographs, prints, sculpture and textiles. Collections from as far as East Asia, South and Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Egypt are housed in the V&A Museum. One can explore the world's most comprehensive holding of post-classical European sculpture. The museum frequently holds exhibitions of its collections. And what's more, you could even shop for books, stationery, gifts and jewelry at the museum. After working up an appetite, head to the V&A Cafe for a bite.
With its seven expansive floors, the Science Museum allows one to explore the history of technology and glimpse into the future. Starting at the crowd-favorite gallery, Launchpad, where you learn the laws of science, you can move through a vast array of interactive galleries which demand audience participation. From medical history to nuclear physics, the museum has got it all covered. Challenging the perception among many children that science is boring, the multitude of things to press, touch, watch and think about, make this museum a firm favorite with the kids. A popular attraction is the IMAX cinema, where you can enjoy interesting 2D and 3D films at a nominal fee.
Explore the natural history of the planet Earth, from the prehistoric era to the present day, at one of London's most visited museums. In 1881, the Natural History Museum moved to its present venue. Designed by Alfred Waterhouse, this building is now one of London's most beautiful and recognized museums. The halls house more than 300 years worth of collections, with over 68 million specimens. Broadly divided into Life and Earth galleries, the museum provides much more than can be seen in a day, and your feet will get tired before your brain does. Let your kids run wild among dinosaur skeletons, erupting volcanoes and life size constructs of blue whales - it's unlikely they'll ever forget their first visit here.
The National Maritime Museum is bright, and the fresh air will make you feel like you're on deck. The various exhibitions in the galleries offer an interactive experience with heaving open hatchway doors, turning the ship's wheel and using Viking oars. Check out ancient uniforms, follow Admiral Nelson's sea-faring career, watch archive material of passenger ocean travel, discover what life was like in Britain's maritime heyday, and get involved in various workshops. Wind down in the lush Global Garden, the glorious result of exotic seeds brought back by sailors.