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Free Guided Tours of London Museums and Galleries

Most major London museums and galleries offer free guided tours of their collections (although not all have resumed post-Covid).

The tours are ideal if you don’t have much time and want to get the most out of your visit. Even with time to spare, most of them are worth doing anyway.

For most tours, there’s no need to book in advance — just turn up and wait at the meeting point. Tickets must be collected from the information desks for the Museum of London

British Museum
Tate Modern
National Gallery
Tate Britain
V&A
Science Museum
National Portrait Gallery
Museum of London
Wallace Collection
Royal Academy
Wellcome Collection

British Museum

Eye-opener tours

Their volunteer-led eye-opener tours show you the highlights of some of the most important rooms in the museum.

When: Daily
Duration: 30-40 minutes
Meeting point: Meet at the room

Friday night spotlight tours

20-minute tours on Fridays when the museum is open until 8.30pm.

When: Friday
Duration: 20 minutes
Meeting point: Meet at the room

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Tate Modern

Free 45-minute introductory tours of the collection’s highlights.

When:12pm, 1pm & 2pm Daily
Duration: 45 minutes
Meeting point: Level 2, Natalie Bell Building

Top Tip: Don’t miss the viewing gallery on level 10 of the Blavatnik building. It’s one of the best free views of London.

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Their 60-minute taster tour focuses on 5-6 paintings in the collection. The paintings selected change every day. Highly recommended.

When: Tuesdays-Thursdays
Times: 3pm
Duration: 1 hour
Meeting point: Sainsbury Wing Information Desk

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Tate Britain

Three tours a day. See Tate Britain Tours.

When: Daily 12pm, 1pm and 2pm
Duration: Approximately 45 minutes
Meeting point: Top of Manton Foyer stairs


V&A

Highlights tour

The Victoria & Albert’s one-hour highlights tour focuses on the highlights of the collection and the history of the museum.

When: Daily 10.30am & 2pm
Duration: 1 hour
Meeting point: Meeting Point, Grand Entrance

Daily V&A tours

The V&A has several one-hour tours that focus on particular galleries and collections. Check the website for further details. Please note that these are volunteer-led tours and are subect to cancellation.

11:30 Designing the V&A
12:30 Fashion
13:30 Treasure of Europe
14:30 Theatre & Performance
15:00 Britain

When: Daily
Duration: 1 hour
Meeting point: Meeting point, Grand Entrance

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Science Museum

The Science Museum has a free 40-minutute highlights tour and tours of specific galleries. Dates and times vary. Click the links below for the next available tours.

Volunteer Highlights tour
Exploring Space gallery tour
Flight gallery tour
Making the Modern World gallery tour

Meeting point: Information Desk, Level 0


National Portrait Gallery

Closed for refurbishment until 2023

There are free highlights tours at the National Portrait Gallery on Saturday.

When: Saturdays
Times: 11am and 3pm
Duration: 45-60 minutes
Meeting point: the Main Hall

There is a 30-minute ‘Portrait of the Day’ talk every day.

When: Daily
Times: 12.30pm
Duration: 30 minutes
Meeting point: Varies. Check the events calendar.

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Museum of London

Tours currently suspended

There are tours of the permanent galleries every day. The tours vary — check with the information desk in the foyer on the day.

When: Daily
Times: Check at the information desk
Duration: 1 hour
Meeting point: Museum foyer
Notes: Tickets need to be collected from the information desk

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Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection’s Great gallery highlights tour covers the best pieces in the collection. Reserve place at the entrance desk.

When: Daily
Times: 2.30pm
Duration: 30 minutes
Meeting point: Great gallery (First Floor)

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Royal Academy

Temporarily suspended


Free guided tours
of the John Madejski Fine Rooms and selected works from the Royal Academy collection. Covers the history of the Royal Academy and Burlington House

When: Check website for days
Times: 12–1pm
Duration: 1 hour
Meeting point: Entrance hall


Wellcome Collection

Temporarily suspended

Daily guided tour of the Wellcome Collection’s permanent collection.

When: Tuesday-Sunday
Times: 11.30am, 2.30pm, 3.30pm
Duration: 30 minutes
Meeting point: Entrance hall

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Last updated: 7 June 2022