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seetheworld May 26th, 2006 05:21 PM

London Museums...If you had to pick only one to visit...
which one would it be?

We have limited time in London. We both enjoy art, science, and natural history (although my husband really enjoys history, I do not).

Any suggestions? Also, are there any "free" days (as there are in the states)?

Thank you. :)

obxgirl May 26th, 2006 05:28 PM

How about a trifecta in the Natural History, Science and Victoria & Albert museums? All three are co-located within a short distance of the South Kensington tube?

Admission is free to all but donations always appreciated.

jody May 26th, 2006 05:31 PM

My DH would say the Imperial War museum but my choice would be the Museum of London at Barbican... either one would provide art , history and science.

I will say one of my favorite paintings is at IWM but for all around overview..go for London Museum

As an aside..I would hate to have limited time in London!!

bookchick May 26th, 2006 05:32 PM

Excellent suggestion, obxgirl! I spent almost an entire day in the Victoria & Albert museum, and it's true that you just put whatever you feel you can donate into the large lucite container inside, and just head in...marvelous!


janisj May 26th, 2006 05:35 PM

Probably the V&A (but there are soooooo many great ones it is a hard choice) All the decorative arts, plus the awesome Raphael Cartoons, etc.

The British is AMAZING but can be totally overwhelming. The Bldg itself and the wonderful Great Court is worth a visit even if not for all the collections.

Since almost all the museums and galleries are free you can make several short visits to the V&A, British, National Gallery, etc. etc.

seetheworld May 26th, 2006 05:44 PM

I did not realize that the British museums were free -- how lovely. Although we would certainly contribute a donation.

Yes, according to my map, the "trifecta" would be convenient and walkable?

I would love to visit the Great Court and Reading Room. Are there cafes located in this area?

Thanks, you are all great!

janisj May 26th, 2006 05:46 PM

Yes - there are cafes and a very good restaurant in various parts/levels of the Great Court.

Catbert May 26th, 2006 05:53 PM

I think the trifecta idea is a great one. They are very close to eachother. And even if you don't like history, you MUST walk into the Museum of Natural History. The building is so beautiful. I love the marble staircases.

Pammyjo May 26th, 2006 05:57 PM

The National Gallery. I have made two trips to London just to BE THERE! It is truly my favorite.

eliza3 May 26th, 2006 06:42 PM

If I had limited time I would do either the British Museum or several of the others as suggested. The BM can be overwhelming but is just wonderful. Also agree re Museum of London - very accessible and doesn't seem to attract many crowds.

seetheworld May 27th, 2006 02:49 PM

Since the Natural History, Science, and V&A museums are all closely situated, we will head there for a bit. Any recommendations for lunch or dinner in the area?

What can you recommend near the British Museum?

And is there a "better" time to visit - morning or afternoon?

Thanks for your help!

amaclise May 27th, 2006 02:57 PM

There are numerous delightful dining spots around the South Kensington tube station area, near your "trifecta" with which I wholeheartedly agree!!!

Have to say the Museum of London is great too!

janisj May 27th, 2006 03:03 PM

I would eat linch IN the V&A and IN the British Museum. Both have nice restaurants so you don't have to leave to find something.

The British M has several places to eat - but the nicest is The Court Restaurant at the top of the Great Court.

seetheworld May 27th, 2006 03:53 PM

Thank you for the response janisj and amaclise.

The BM's restaurant website looks very nice. I just wanted to be sure since many of the museums I have been to only offer cafeteria style service. If we end up eating in the museusm, I wanted something a little nicer. :)

I will also do a search in the Kensington station area.

jody May 27th, 2006 04:31 PM

For dining near your trifecta...for casual at lunch try Cafe Montepeliano, across and down a bit from Harrods ..for dinner but a bit more expensive try Montepeliano on Montpelier St or St Quentin

bob_brown May 27th, 2006 07:10 PM

Only one? Aargh. What a decision. I don't think I could make a rational choice. I think I would write the names on pieces of paper, throw them in a hat, and draw out one.

How about two little ones instead!

I think an individual's interests have to play a role in the decision. The choice is not simple, and I think you are almost trying to split the unsplitable hair. That is why I say just pick one.

I think the decision is similar to that of saying which play should I see? How can one make a rational decision?

If you regard the Tower of London as a museum, the choice gets even more complex.

I think if push came to shove with me, I would say the British Museum because nowhere else can you see the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles. That said, there is uniqueness everywhere you turn.

Get the hat!

cw May 27th, 2006 07:40 PM

London has so many wonderful museums. The Imperial War Museum and the National Portrait Gallery are two of my favorites.

But, if I could only choose one . . . it would be the British Museum. I agree with Bob Brown.

We had a lovely lunch there at the open terrace above the reading room.


Joe18 May 27th, 2006 08:02 PM

While it sounds as though you may have already decided, I'll add another suggestion. I always try to start a London visit by going to the National Portrait Gallery. It's good art and good history--portraits of royals and notables from the Tudors to QEII. Then I go to the Cafe in the Crypt at St. Martins in the Fields (directly across the street for lunch), then around the corner to the National Gallery. Both NPG and NG are free, and the latter has a great collection. I'm especially fond of the early Italian Renaissance paintings in the Sainsbury Wing of the NG, designed by Philadelphia architect Robert Venture.

amaclise May 28th, 2006 05:40 AM

Joe, I thought of the Nat'l Portrait Gallery too (My Fav!!) but the mention that only her husband likes history stopped me. It's hard to know who all those portraits are of if you don't like history. Their love of science and natural history also made trhe trifecta seem right. Tough choice as Trafalgar Square is a great area!

ilovetotravel29 May 28th, 2006 06:35 AM

I would say to visit the Victoria and Albert has one of the best collections of art and artifacts I have ever seen!

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