The main museums in Kensington and Chelsea are the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum (also known as the “V&A”). These are all located right next to each other in South Kensington just near the tube station.
Other museums worth checking out are the Royal College of Music’s Museum of Music, the National Army Museum and the Museum of Brands, Packaging & Advertising. The RCM Museum of Music prides itself on having the world’s oldest keyboard. It is is located just opposite the Royal Albert Hall within the Royal College of Music main building.
The National Army Museum is located right next to the Royal Hospital near the Chelsea Embankment and is a great place to learn about past and present wars and conflicts. It’s also interesting to see the transformation of the British Army from 1066 to the present day.
Lastly, the Museum of Brands is located just around the corner from the famous Portobello Road Market. It examines at how packaging and advertising on every day consumer goods have changed from the Victorian era to the present day.
All of these museums provide hours of free (not to mention educational) entertainment! They can also be great study spaces or a relaxing place to grab a cup of tea in a charming garden or sleek café. As is most architecture in K&C, the museum exteriors are particularly spectacular and definitely worth a visit.
The Museum of Brands, Packaging & Advertising shows off advertisements and packaging of consumer goods from the Victorian Era and demonstrates the progression of this consumer culture to modern day times. Tucked around the corner from the famous Portobello Road, this museum is an unexpected hidden surprise.
Play the clarinet and want to learn a bit about its history? The Royal College of Music’s Museum of Music might just be your forte. See the world’s oldest keyboard, explore unique instruments from Asia, Africa and Europe and check out the musical collections of the royals, such as King Edward VII, as well as famous composers such as Holst and Elgar. There are also oil paintings, manuscripts, letters and photographs of world renowned musicians.
The National Army Museum is located next to the Royal Hospital and is approximately a 15-20 minute walk from Sloane Square tube station. The museum explores the history of the British Army and has permanent exhibits looking at the World Wars to more current affairs such as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The museum often has celebrity guest speakers and lunchtime lectures on a variety of topics.
Whether dinosaurs, rocks or bugs are your forte – the Natural History Museum has something for everyone. This museum itself dates back over 130 years and its impressive walls and ornate architecture are sure to draw a crowd. The museum has over 70 million items of natural history amusements in addition to a restaurant, three different cafes and a picnic area with a bar and a snack-food vendor. See some dinosaurs, have a cup of tea and some cake and explore the natural realm.
The Science Museum in South Kensington is a great place to learn about science and have fun doing it. With over 150 years under their belt, these guys have science down to… err… a science! With an entire interactive section of the museum, you can learn hands on about things like electricity, magnetism and energy. The museum also has an IMAX cinema and an interactive jet flight simulator. Come and explore the world of science!
The “V&A”, as they call it, has been a serene place for art lovers alike to come explore the world’s foremost art and design for over 160 years. Named after Victoria and Prince Albert, the museum covers over 5,000 years of art around the globe. The special exhibits at the Victoria and Albert Museum frequently change and cover a wide range of genres – from fashion, to toys, to famous movie costumes – there’s always something of interest.