London's best military museums

From the stunning exhibitions at the recently re-opened Imperial War Museum to the National Maritime Museum's iconic memorabilia, London has a range of military museums to discover. 

Follow in the footsteps of Winston Churchill, experience the trenches of the First World War, and 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 military museums in London offer special exhibitions and some are free to enter! Take your pick of the top military museums listed below.

For all military and heritage fans, some important events to put in your London calendar are Trooping of the Colour, Changing the Guard and Beating Retreat.

Churchill War Rooms

Churchill directed his troops during WWII from this warren of underground rooms, and the Cabinet War Rooms are almost exactly as they were 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. 

Prices from £6.00 Book now

HMS Belfast

Stroll on the deck of a ship that took part in the D-Day landings. 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.

Prices from £4.50 Book now

Household Cavalry Museum

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 King. You can see troopers working with horses in the original 18th-century stables and try on real helmets and cuirasses.

Prices from £10.00 Book now

Old Royal Naval College

Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. © Reid
Explore Sir Christopher Wren’s iconic architecture at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. Admire the historical artefacts and interactive displays; from the breath-taking Painted Hall decorating over 40,000 square feet of walls and ceilings to the richly decorated and naval themed Chapel.
Prices from £15.00 Book now

Imperial War Museum Free

The newly refurbished Imperial War Museum tells the tales of those who 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.

National Maritime Museum Free

Head to the National Maritime Museum to relive Britain's encounters on the high seas. See the jacket Nelson wore 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.

National Army Museum Free

Find out more about the history of the armed forces at the National Army Museum. Embark on a journey through British history, from the British Civil Wars to the modern day, and see thousands of interesting objects and artefacts.

Royal Air Force Museum Free

Navigate through the history of aviation, from the earliest balloon flight to the latest Eurofighter, at the Royal Air Force (RAF) Museum. Discover a stunning collection of more than 100 aircraft, plus the Aeronauts Interactive Centre, and Finest Hour, the awe-inspiring audio-visual presentation of the Battle of Britain.

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.

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