London’s world class museums and art galleries bring history and culture alive with exhibitions and displays to suit every taste and interest when staying at the Best Western Palm Hotel, one of the finest hotels in North London.
Looking at a guidebook it is all too easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of museums and art galleries within London, for this is a city where history and culture have a prominent place. From the fossils to contemporary art, children’s games to fashion there is a museum or art gallery. All are within easy reach of the Palm Hotel.
For most visitors the British Museum is a ‘must see’ destination. As one of the oldest and largest museums in the world, it can only ever display a small proportion of its entire collection. Strolling through its permanent galleries reveals a treasure trove of stunning artefacts such as the Lewis Chessmen, the Sutton Hoo warriors helmet, the Rosetta Stone and the Lindow Man.
Not far away in Trafalgar Square is the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery which house nearly 3,000 works of art from Giotto to Van Gogh. Stroll down past Charing Cross Railway station to visit Somerset House which contains the renowned paintings of the Courtauld Institute. This is a lovely place to relax for a few minutes amid the splendour of the great square with its choreographed fountains perfect for children to run through!
The Tate Modern at Bankside focuses primarily on contemporary art while the Design Museum offers an opportunity to explore famous brands and design styles. Travel into London’s East End to visit the Whitechapel Gallery, which offers a variety of changing modern art exhibitions that can at times be almost risqué.
Designed as a centre for museums and the arts by the Queen Victoria and her consort, Prince Albert, South Kensington is home to the V&A, Natural History Museum and the Science Museum. The Victoria and Albert Museum is definitely the place to go if you want to see any form of decorative arts covering everything from ceramics to photography, jewellery to portrait miniatures, sculpture to fashion. The size of the collections are huge and the exhibits stunning. Anyone who likes Beatrix Potter should look carefully in the costume galleries as this is where she found inspiration for the famous coat created by the mice in the story ‘The Tailor of Gloucester’
The Natural History Museum is only a few minutes walk away, and has over 70 million specimens of plants, fossils, animals and minerals. By far the most popular exhibit is the giant plaster cast of a Diplodocus greeting visitors in the entrance hall. Equally stunning is the cross section of a giant Sequoia tree and the Bee Tree opening out to show a busy bee hive.
Travel to the stars when visiting the Exploring Space galleries within the adjacent Science Museum. This is where you can see an X ray telescope that has flown in space missions and a model of the Beagle 2 Mars Lander. Alternatively explore medical history in the Wellcome Galleries or the history of information and communications. Children love the Launch Pad with its hands on exhibits.
Turning eastwards, the Museum of London at the Barbican tells the story of the city’s growth from Roman times to the present day using reconstructed room interiors and artefacts found during archaeological digs. A spectacular reminder of recent events can be seen in the form of the great Heatherwick Cauldron which housed the Olympic Flame during the 2012 games.
Take a trip down the Thames to the National Maritime Museum and find out about the importance of the sea to Britain’s development. And that’s not all – this is where you can truly step across time at the historic Greenwich Meridian before returning to the finest of the London Best Western Hotels, Palm Hotel and some evening entertainment which is a must when staying at one of the luxurious hotels near Wembley Stadium and Arena.