If you're in the capital for a visit this is the essential guide of free things to do in London 

It’s all in London, from Shakespeare’s First Folio to the Rosetta Stone, and it's all available to visit!

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No city on earth offers the sumptuous bounty of free world-class museums available in London. Here are the actual top 10, listed in order of the number of visitors each receives in the year.

1: British Museum

The national treasure trove of eclectic riches and wonders was gathered from across the globe during Britain’s glory days of exploration and empire. Don’t miss the mummies, of course, and the Elgin Marbles all on display at the British Museum

The British Museum

The British Museum

2: Tate Modern

The Tate Modern opened in 2000 in the old Bankside Power Station, London’s dramatic new home for international art since 1900 has unexpectedly become one of the most popular attractions in the capital. 

Millennium Bridge and Tate Modern art gallery

Millennium Bridge and Tate Modern art gallery

3: The National Gallery 

Titian to Turner, Van Dyke to Van Gogh, the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square houses one of the greatest collections of European painting in the world. 

The National Gallery & Trafalgar Square

The National Gallery & Trafalgar Square

4: Natural History Museum 

Botany, entomology, mineralogy, paleontology, and zoology: The Natural History Museum’s principal collections include 70 million items from dinosaurs to specimens collected by Darwin.

The Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum

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5: Science Museum 

Robotics, medical history, space exploration and an IMAX theater: it’s all at the Science Museum

Natural History Museum, London

Natural History Museum, London

6: Victoria and Albert Museum 

The world’s largest museum of the decorative arts, the V&A was built as a permanent home for the Great Exhibition of 1851 which was organised by Prince Albert, and it has kept growing to 145 galleries covering more than 12 acres. 

Victoria and Albert Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London, England

Victoria and Albert Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London, England

7: National Maritime Museum 

Take a ride downriver to Greenwich to visit Britain’s premier museum of maritime history, including the Royal Observatory and the 17th century Queen’s House.

National Maritime Museum Greenwich

National Maritime Museum Greenwich

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8: National Portrait Gallery 

Tucked in the back of the National Gallery, the collection includes 120,000 portraits of famous British men and women from the 16th century to the present. You’ll recognize more than a few faces at the National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery

9: Tate Britain

The home of British art from 1500 to the present, the original Tate Gallery on Millbank, now the Tate Britain, includes the world’s largest collection of paintings by J.M.W. Turner, John Constable and William Blake.

Tate Britain built between 1893-97 and commonly known as the Tate Gallery is situated at the side of the Thames at London's Millbank. Named after it's founder Sir Henry Tate it exhibits only British Art

Tate Britain built between 1893-97 and commonly known as the Tate Gallery is situated at the side of the Thames at London's Millbank. Named after it's founder Sir Henry Tate it exhibits only British Art

10: British Library 

It’s the manuscripts: the Lindisfarne Gospels, Gutenberg’s Bible, the holograph of Handel’s Messiah, da Vinci’s notebook, Captain Scott’s diary and much more than that which makes a visit to the British Library a must-do. 

View of the courtyard of the British Library, London, with the gothic towers of St Pancras Station peeping over the top at the right

View of the courtyard of the British Library, London, with the gothic towers of St Pancras Station peeping over the top at the right

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