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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.

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 tours.

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

Eye-opener tours

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

11.15am – Roman Britain, Room 49
11.30am – Ancient Greece, Room 17
11.45am – Ancient Iraq, Room 56
12 noon – Africa, Room 24
12.15pm – Collecting the World, (meet outside Room 1)
12.30pm – Enlightenment Gallery, Room 1
2.15pm – World of Money, Room 68
2.30pm – Ancient Eygpt, Room 64
2.45pm – Medieval Europe, Room 41
3.15pm – Ancient Rome, Room 70
3.45pm – Assyrian Reliefs, Room 6

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

Spotlight tours

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

5pm & 5.30pm – The Parthenon, Room 17
6.30pm & 7pm – The Enlightenment, Room 1
5pm & 5.30pm – The Rosetta Stone, Room 1
6.30pm & 7pm – Death in Ancient Egypt, Room 64

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.

11am – Artists and Society
12pm – In the Studio
2pm – Materials and Objects
2.30pm – Highlights Tour: Bruce Nauman (30 minute tour – until  23 July 2018)
3pm – Media Networks: Pop! Art Everywhere

When: Daily
Duration: Approximately 45 minutes
Meeting point: Varies according to tour. Check the links above.

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 tours focus on 5-6 paintings in the collection. The paintings selected change every day. Highly recommended, especially if you take a tour by Leslie Primo. Check his calendar to find the dates of his next National Gallery tours.

When: Daily
Times: 11.30am & 2.30pm
Duration: 1 hour
Meeting point: Sainsbury Wing Information Desk

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Tate Britain

Four tours a day cover different themes. The 3pm tour covers the Turner collection.

11am – The Growth of British Art
12pm – People and places of the 19th century
2pm – Becoming Modern: Art to the present day
3pm – The paintings of JMW Turner

When: Daily
Duration: Approximately 45 minutes
Meeting point: Top of Manton Foyer stairs

Art in Focus, a lunchtime talk at 1.15pm, focuses on one painting each month

When: Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday
Duration: Approximately 15 minutes
Meeting point: Check at the Information Desk

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V&A

Introductory tour

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

10.30am
12.30pm
1.30pm
3.30pm

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

Other V&A tours

The V&A has several one-hour tours that focus on particular galleries and collections:

11.30am – Medieval & Renaissance galleries
12noon – Europe 1600-1815
2pm – Theatre & Performance tour
2.30pm – Britain 1500-1900

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
Wounded: Conflict, casualties and care

Meeting point: Information Desk, Level 0


National Portrait Gallery

There are no free tours at National Portrait Gallery. They have 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

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 highlights tour covers the history of Hertford House, its former occupants and the best pieces in the collection.

When: Daily
Times: Monday–Thursday 2.30pm, Friday, Saturday & Sunday 11.30am & 2.30pm
Duration: 1 hour
Meeting point: Front State room

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Royal Academy

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

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

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




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Last updated: 10 April 2018