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Enjoy the Year of the Museum in the capital

Published: Friday 17th of September 2010

Holidaymakers looking for things to do in London could be tempted to head to some of the best museums in the country.

And as 2010 is the Year of the Museum in the south-east, tourists, visitors and locals have been heading to the capital to explore these interesting buildings full of artefacts, history and wonderful works of art.

With more than 300 museums across the city ranging from the traditional to the obscure, people are never short of a thing to do in London.

As most of the main ones are now free to the pubic, they also give visitors the perfect opportunity to have a day out with the family without spending a penny.

The better known venues, including the British Museum and the Science Museum, offer London tourists an abundance of historical items, pictures and interactive displays.

However, there are also the smaller, more individual ones that are also well worth a look.

The Cartoon Museum on Little Russell Street, for instance, is bound to be a hit with children, with its displays of British caricatures and comics. As well as classic animations, there are also collections of more satirical drawings, including work depicting the relationship between Bush and Blair.

Book fans can check out the Charles Dickens Museum on Dought Street, where they can enter the very house where Dickens once resided.

The building contains authentic material from the writer, as well as other memorabilia of his life.

Holidaymakers can also use this as an opportunity to find out more about the city by visiting the Museum of London, where they can follow the capital's history from prehistoric times through to the present day.

Its new exhibition called the Galleries of Modern London has just been opened, providing visitors with the perfect impetus to check it out.

Of the more traditional collection houses, the Imperial War Museum remains one of the most popular.

Located on the Southbank near Westminster, it is set back from the rest of the central London venues, adding to its distinction.

Indeed, the museum remains very different from the rest as it is the only one that has exhibits of the First and Second World Wars.

Its Holocaust Exhibition is one of the most emotive displays visitors are likely to come across during their London visit and it holds historical material explaining the story behind the Nazi's persecution of the Jews during World War Two.

Displays of photographs, newspapers, posters and films show the story behind the mass slaughter, while victims' toys, diaries, photos and clothes make the reality even more poignant.

The website said: "The silence and intensity of emotion only deepens as you go further into the exhibition."

However, families with young children can take part in a number of more uplifting activities at the museum reminiscent of life in the 1940s such as learning how to farm during wartime and being taught how to sew.

For those with a short amount of time in the capital, a visit to the Natural History Museum should be high on the list of things to do in London.

The diverse array of exhibitions it has on display is definitely going to keep even the most easily distracted kids entertained.

On entering the magnificent building in London's South Kensington, visitors are greeted with the authentic skeleton of a dinosaur that stands tall and mighty in the centre of the foyer.

Within seconds, youngsters are bound to be dumbfounded, which provides an excellent opportunity to lead them into the Blue Zone, where they can read about the history of dinosaurs, come face-to-face with fossils and learn about evolution through the millennia.

Nature fanatics can check out the Red and Green Zones where they can discover the science behind the earth and its ecology, while budding biologists are likely to find themselves learning about mammals, reptiles and human biology.

There is a fantastic range of sightseeing opportunities to be had in London but visitors should also remember to spend time exploring some of the country's best educational facilities, where they can learn more about science, novelists or simply take a journey back in time.

And what better time to go exploring than during the remainder of 2010 - the Year of the Museum. 

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