London's Best Military Museums

From the stunning exhibitions at the Imperial War Museum to the National Maritime Museum's iconic memorabilia, London has a military museum to interest everyone. 

Follow in the footsteps of Winston Churchill, experience the trenches of the First World War or step aboard the largest surviving example of Britain's 20th century naval power – whether you're fascinated by all things military or just curious to learn more.

Most offer rotating programmes of special exhibitions and at almost all of London's military museums, entry is free too! Take your pick of the top military museums listed below.

Churchill War Rooms

Churchill directed his troops to victory during WWII from this warren of underground rooms, and the Cabinet War Rooms today are almost exactly those which were closed in August 1945. Take a tour through the famous rooms, then pop next door to the Churchill Museum for a fully interactive showcase of the great man's life. 

Firepower

Not many museums can say they've been open since 1820! Located in the historic Royal Arsenal – which was a well-kept secret for more than 300 years – The Royal Artillery Museum begins with the frighteningly realistic Field of Fire show, putting you in the middle of a battle, and takes you all the way through to guns used in the Gulf War.

Guards Museum

From the origins of the Bearskins to the thinking behind modern uniforms, delve into the history of the five regiments of the Foot Guards at the Guards Museum: bodyguards to the Sovereign since Charles I. Plan your visit to see the Changing the Guard too, for a full taste of London's pomp and ceremony. Under 16s go free.

HMS Belfast

Strolling along the deck of a ship that took part in the D-Day landings is hard to beat for a day out, and that's just one of the delights of the legendary HMS Belfast, moored on the Thames near Tower Bridge. Explore the Captain's Bridge, engine rooms and sailors' mess, then experience what life was like for her 950 crew. An unmissable day out.

Household Cavalry Museum

Located in the heart of Horse Guards, the Household Cavalry Museum offers a behind-the-scenes look at the uniquely British blend of pageantry and pomp that is day-to-day life for the regiment who guard the Queen. You can see troopers working with horses in the original 18th century stables and try on real helmets and cuirasses.

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Imperial War Museum

One of London's most moving museums, the Imperial War Museum tells the heart-wrenching tales of those who've lived, fought and died in conflicts from WWI to the present day. There's lots to see, from the horror of the trenches in the First World War Galleries to the hauntingly realistic Holocaust Exhibition. Admission is free

National Army Museum

If you want to discover how Britain's past has shaped our present, the National Army Museum is for you. Hear stories of soldiers who've won the Victoria Cross, read the order that launched the Charge of the Light Brigade and see a WWII anti-tank gun. The museum also houses a rolling programme of exhibitions. Entry is free.

National Maritime Museum

Ahoy there me hearties! Head to the National Maritime Museum to relive Britain's encounters on the high seas. You can see the jacket Nelson was wearing at Trafalgar, complete with the bullet-hole from that fatal shot, delve into the traditions of maritime London and try your hand at being captain in the All Hands Gallery. Entry is free.

Royal Airforce Museum

Navigate your way through the history of aviation, from the earliest balloon flight to the latest Eurofighter, at the Royal Airforce Museum. It's free to enter and houses a stunning collection of more than 100 aircraft, plus the Aeronauts Interactive Centre. Don't miss Our Finest Hour, the awe-inspiring audio-visual presentation of the Battle of Britain.

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