Museums and galleries

Exterior of the Wellcome Trust gallery in London

The UK is packed full of outstanding museums and art galleries… and the best news is that many are free of charge to visit! Here are some of our favourites.

Museums and history

In north England and the Midlands, you can enjoy a glimpse of history at one of the area's many themed museums. At the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, you can see what life was like in the UK hundreds of years ago. And at the Jorvik Viking Centre in York you can see, hear – and smell! – Viking life.

In Scotland, you can discover the fascinating history of the country at The National Museum, while the National Museum of Cardiff explores Wales' past.

Heading south, the British Museum in London is home to some of the world's most famous artefacts, including over 2 million objects from Africa, the Middle East, Ancient Egypt and Asia. Other popular London museums include the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum (which specialises in art and design) and Royal Museums Greenwich, which includes the newly-restored Cutty Sark and National Maritime Museum.

In Northern Ireland, head to the Titanic Belfast. This world-famous museum is built on the site where the liner was made.

Art galleries

London's Tate Modern and the National Gallery are two of the UK's most famous art spaces. The Tate hosts sell-out shows and has an impressive permanent collection, while the National Gallery is home to paintings dating from the 13th to the 19th centuries. Look out for many smaller galleries in London, including temporary exhibitions from world-renowned artists.

In Scotland, visit Glasgow's Kelvingrove Art Gallery. Over the years, the gallery has showcased a range of shows – from art that depicts Glaswegian life to Italian sketchings.

In northern England, try the Lowry in Salford. The gallery, which specialises in modern and contemporary art, exhibits many media including photography, design and prints.

Find out more

Read our article on History and heritage for more suggestions. To find out more, go to the Visit Britain or Discover Northern Ireland websites, or join Love GREAT Britain on Facebook.