Museum restaurants in London

A visit to one of these fantastic museum restaurants is the perfect way to refuel on a cultural day out in London.

Walking around London museums can make you hungry, but luckily you don't have to go far to find quality food and drink. These museum restaurants offer the chance to relax and enjoy a coffee or meal in beautiful surroundings.

British Museum: Great Court Restaurant

The British Museum's Great Court Restaurant overlooks the magnificent 19th-century Reading Room. Choose from afternoon teas, light lunches, meals and small plates such as charcuterie and cheeses washed down with a comprehensive range of wines and spirits. Look out for special menus reflecting current exhibitions.

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Camden Arts Centre Café Free

Have a look around Camden Arts Centre's free exhibitions and then enjoy a bite to eat in the café overlooking the garden. There's an array of tasty salads, sandwiches, pastries and homemade cakes, plus an excellent range of teas and coffees. If the weather is good, you can eat al fresco, making this a great place for families.

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Museum of London Docklands: Rum & Sugar

Rum & Sugar is housed in a Grade I listed warehouse on the dockside, built in 1802, which was used to store rum, molasses, coffee and cotton from the West Indies. Today, you can enjoy seasonal British dishes such as oysters, steaks and fish and an eclectic list of rums, cocktails, beers and wines.

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The National Gallery: The National Dining Rooms

Run by restaurateur Oliver Peyton, The National Dining Rooms overlook Trafalgar Square, and serve seasonal British fare such as venison tartare, cured Devon trout and Borders pheasant, as well as delicious afternoon teas. Pop into the gallery's National Café if you'd prefer something a little less formal.

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National Portrait Gallery: Portrait Restaurant

The National Portrait Gallery's Portrait Restaurant (closed until 2023) offers amazing views over Trafalgar Square towards the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye. The modern British menu features seasonal dishes using regional ingredients, such as Hereford beef, Dorset snails and Westcombe cheddar.

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Royal Academy Restaurant

The Royal Academy's original refreshment rooms, dating from 1885, have been given a stylish revamp by designer Tom Dixon. But the real highlight is the art on show, including sculpture from the gallery's collections and wall murals painted by Royal Academy artists. The menu includes seasonal British food and afternoon teas.

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Saatchi Gallery: Gallery Mess

The Saatchi Gallery's café-bar is housed in a beautiful, light room with a coved ceiling and al fresco tables. The constantly evolving menu includes plates like Moroccan spiced lamb, Dorset crab risotto, and tortellini of artichokes. There's a changing exhibition of artworks on the restaurant's walls, most of which are for sale.

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Tate Britain: Rex Whistler Restaurant

At Tate Britain's Rex Whistler Restaurant, you'll find modern British food, an award-winning wine list and a spectacular mural. The seasonal menu includes dishes such as dressed Cornish crab, char-grilled South Devon beef, and pea and baby leek tart. Kids eat free with every adult ordering two courses.

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Tate Modern Restaurant

The seventh-floor Tate Modern Restaurant boasts its own specially commissioned artwork, Cold Mouth Prayer by James Aldridge. The seasonal menu features dishes such as pea soup and devilled Cornish mackerel. A late lunch is served from 3pm, and there's also a bar where you can relax with a glass of wine.

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V&A Café

The V&A Café is located in the museum's original refreshment rooms – the Morris, Gamble and Poynter Rooms – which formed the first museum restaurant in the world. The rooms were intended as a showpiece of modern design, craftsmanship and manufacturing, and the décor still looks stunning today.

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Wallace Collection: Wallace Restaurant

At the Wallace Collection's elegant restaurant, diners eat in the sculpture garden underneath a fantastic glass roof. The French brasserie menu features many ingredients imported directly from France, with dishes including green vegetable cassoulet and grilled baby chicken. There's also a French afternoon tea.

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Whitechapel Gallery Cafe/Bar

For an relaxing experience in East London, head to the Whitechapel Gallery's Café/Bar, where you can pick from seasonal dishes such as chargrilled chorizo, red peppers and marjoram, or Longhorn beef burger with winter slaw. Make sure you leave room for a delicious cake from a menu that includes the likes of pear, date and ginger cake with lemon icing.

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