Best war and military museums in London

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. 
Visit London Editors
Written by Visit London Editors 24 May 2024

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 war museums in London offer special exhibitions and some are free to enter! Take your pick of the top war and 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. 

Where:

Clive Steps, King Charles Street, Westminster, London, SW1A 2AQ

Price:

From £6.00

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.

Where:

The Queen's Walk, London, SE1 2JH

Price:

From £4.50

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.

Where:

Horse Guards, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2AX

Price:

From £10.00

Old Royal Naval College

Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. © visitlondon.com/Jon 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.
Where:

Cutty Sark Gardens, Greenwich, London, SE10 9LW

Price:

From £16.50

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.

Where:

Lambeth Road, London, SE1 6HZ

Price:

Free

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.

Where:

Romney Road, Greenwich, London, SE10 9NF

Price:

Free

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.

Where:

Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 4HT

Price:

Free

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.

Where:

Grahame Park Way, Colindale, Barnet, London, NW9 5LL

Price:

Free

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.

Where:

Wellington Barracks , Birdcage Walk, London, SW1E 6HQ

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