If you’re making your way across the pond this summer for the Olympics, don’t forget to plan the cultural aspect of your trip. Check out the top 5 most popular museums in England, all located in London, for an edifying, enjoyable experience.
5. National Portrait Gallery
Since its founding in 1856, the gallery has aimed to honor the individuals who have shaped and are shaping British history and culture. With collections spanning from Tutor and Elizabethan, Stuart and Civil War, Georgian and Regency, and Victorian and Edwardian eras, to the 20th century and Contemporary time periods, the National Portrait Gallery works to promote the appreciation of portraiture in all media. This includes photographs, caricatures, paintings, drawings, and sculpture.
4. Victoria and Albert Museum
Founded in 1852, the Victoria and Albert Museum is a vanguard of art and design. Collections include: Architecture, Asia, British Galleries, Ceramics, Childhood, Contemporary, Fashion & Jewellery, Furniture, Glass, Metalwork, Paintings and Drawings, Photography, Prints and Books, Sculpture, Textiles, and Theater. The museum strives to promote the practice of design and its appreciation and understanding in the world.
3. National Gallery
The National Gallery has the third highest annual attendance of all museums in England, with nearly 5 million visitors each year. This gallery, founded in 1824, houses the national collection of Western European paintings from the 13th-19th centuries. The collections from the 13th-15th centuries include Duccio, Uccello, van Eyck, Lippi, Mantegna, Botticelli, Dürer, Memling, and Bellini. The 16th-century collection includes Leonardo, Cranach, Michelangelo, Raphael, Holbein, Bruegel, Bronzino, Titian, and Veronese. For the 17th-century paintings, the gallery houses Caravaggio, Rubens, Poussin, Van Dyck, Velázquez, Claude, Rembrandt, Cuyp, and Vermeer. Finally, the 18th- to early 20th-century paintings boast pieces by Canaletto, Goya, Turner, Constable, Ingres, Degas, Cézanne, Monet, and Van Gogh.
2. Tate Modern
The Tate Modern is the English gallery of international modern art. It is part of the Tate museum family, comprised of Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, Tate St. Ives, and Tate Modern. The museum houses many classic masterpieces, from artists like Picasso and Matisse, as well as an exceptional Surrealist section, with Dalí, Ernst, Magritte and Mirò. The American Abstract Expressionism boasts major works by Pollock and Rothko. Pop art includes major works of Lichtenstein and Warhol. Other collections pertain to Minimal, Abstract, Sculpture, Conceptual and Contemporary Art.
1. British Museum
With over 5.8 million annual visitors, the British Museum is the most popular in all of England. Founded in 1753, this museum has a spectacular collection of art and antiquities, from ancient and contemporary culture. Housed in a British architectural landmark, this collection spans two million years of human history. Collections range from society or time-specific–Ancient Egypt and Sudan, Greece and Rome, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Oceania, Americas, Europe, Prehistory–to area-specific, Drawings, Coins and Medals, Conservation, Scientific Research, and Libraries and Archives.