FREE Museums in London (and Beyond): Travel Essentials


Here at ‘Travel Essentials’, we cover everything you might need to know for your next Tudor trip. From the best Tudor places to visit and upcoming Tudor events to preparing for the Great British weather and the best places to eat and drink, we’re your very own travel guide.

May is a significant month on the Tudor calendar with the anniversary of Anne Boleyn’s execution. Still, this year it also marks the reopening of cultural and heritage sites in England. In this episode, Philippa and I share our knowledge of free London museums and Tudor places to visit in London – all free of charge. Whatever your travel budget, London can be expensive, but with our recommendations, you can visit some beautiful museums without paying an admission fee. However, with some restrictions still in place at this publication time, advance booking is essential. You can tune in to listen to the episode here. Show notes follow, including all the links mentioned in this episode.

FREE London Museums: Show Notes

Victoria and Albert Museum. Located in Kensington, West London, the V&A Museum is outside central London but well served by buses and the underground. It has a Tudor exhibition with fantastic Tudor artefacts, including Henry VIII’s writing box.

Greenwich: Best approached using the Thames Clipper commuter boat, Greenwich is an area steeped in Tudor history. While nothing remains of Greenwich Palace, one of the central palaces of the Tudor court, a recent archaeological dig revealed two rooms from the Tudor palace. With a free visitor centre and lots of open space, you can travel back in time and imagine Greenwich during the Tudor period.

British Museum: Just 1.5 miles northwest of central London, The British Museum has a free, permanent collection and some paid exhibitions. The Tudor exhibition is free of charge and includes some fabulous artefacts, including Henry VIII’s astrolabe. Look out for the free talks by curators of each room – they’re a great way to learn more about the exhibition.

Royal Armouries, Leeds: If you’re heading north, this museum is not to be missed. It’s home to two armours made for Henry VIII to wear at the Field of Cloth of Gold. Interestingly, both armours were made in the Royal Workshops at Greenwich.

The National Archives at Kew and The British Library: For the true Tudor connoisseurs, here’s your chance to see and touch original Tudor documents. Entry is free, but booking in advance and specifying which documents you’d like to see is essential. Full instructions on document handling are given on arrival.

Free London Museums: Some Essential Links

We hope you enjoyed our discussion of some free museums in London. If you would like to find out more about any of the resources we mention in the podcast, please see the links provided below:

Harvington Hall in the Spotlight

Young historian and soprano, Katie Marshall joins us to discuss her recommended place to visit: Harvington Hall.

Discover the story behind Harvington Hall in this podcast, recorded from Harvington Hall.

Katie Marshall can be found on Twitter: @katiehalf1533 and Instagram: @katiermarshall. Her guest blog on the early places associated with Mary Queen of Scots in France can be read here: Mary Queen of Scots: A Glittering Future At The French Court

The Tudor Travel Guide welcomed Katie Marshall as a guest to today’s Tudor History and Travel Show. Katie is a historical researcher with a particular interest in Elizabeth I and the Tudor court and Renaissance portraiture. Katie engages with other researchers and historians who share her passion, attending courses and discussions and reviewing books and videos in these areas. Alongside her historical interests, Katie is a Classic BRIT Award nominated Soprano who has performed around the UK and overseas, having had the opportunity to work with many acclaimed musical directors and composers, performing in many historic locations.

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