As you probably know, after studying history I had the honor of serving the French Navy for 7 years as a lieutenant. Therefore, politico-military issues as well as military history and traditions are subjects that fascinate me.
London has many military museums that trace the history of the British Army and the armed conflicts in which Britain and the Commonwealth participated.
Visiting these museums, which are instructive and educational, will interest the general public and families as well as historians.
The Imperial War Museum: the Imperial War Museum
Opened in 1920 in what was once a mental hospital where Charlie Chaplin's mother stayed for some time, the Imperial War Museum is today a military museum exhibiting the armed conflicts in which Britain and the Commonwealth were involved from the First world war to the present day.
It has a rich and varied background such as an important collection of weapons, military vehicles, uniforms as well as posters, photographs and paintings relating the various conflicts in which the United Kingdom took part in the 20th century. Among the most iconic pieces we can see a German V2 rocket, Churchill's Mark VIII infantry tank and a Spitfire fighter.
We can also observe a very well reconstructed trench which gives an idea of the terrible living conditions of the soldiers subjected to bombardments, assaults and bad weather. In addition, a particularly interesting section, namely Secret War, traces the history of British espionage: MI5 (internal intelligence service) and MI6 (external intelligence service), to which the most famous spy belongs. : James Bond.
Finally, the exhibition on the Holocaust (not recommended for children under 14) is undoubtedly the highlight of the museum. This moving exhibition places great emphasis on deportation, with a model of the Auschwitz camp as its highlight.
Thus, the visit of the museum is a real plunge into the experience of war, with sounds and lights, and a fun interactive presentation allowing all generations to visit at their own pace.
Address : Lambeth Road, London SE1 6HZ
National Army Museum: National Army Museum
This military museum founded in 1960 in the Chelsea district, on the site of a former infirmary of the Royal Hospital Chelsea traces the history of the British army from 1066 to the present day.
The National Army Museum has four chronologically arranged thematic galleries featuring a rich collection of uniforms, decorations, models, sound recordings and videos explaining the various functions of the military throughout history.
Do not miss the huge model with 70 figurines of the Battle of Waterloo and the skeleton of Marengo, one of Napoleon's favorite horses, taken in Waterloo, as well as the reconstruction of a trench.
Address : Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London SW3 4HT
HMS Belfast: a military museum ship
Built in 1938 in the eponymous city of the Harland & Wolf shipyard where the Titanic was launched, the HMS Belfast distinguished himself during convoys in the Arctic and during the Normandy landings in 1944.
Seven decks are open to visitors who discover the different crew workstations and their living space after the shift. Each station is faithfully reconstructed using period materials and very realistic wax mannequins. You will discover in particular an operating room, a dentist's office, an isolation cell or a bakery!
The visit of HMS Belfast is to be shared with the family. Indeed, young children will be impressed by the size of the building and will enjoy having their picture taken instead of the admiral on the bridge. For teenagers, visiting the cruiser will allow them to review history lessons and more specifically the 3rd and XNUMXnd year program 😉
Included in the London Pass, London Explorer Pass andIventure London Attractions Pass.
The cruiser HMS Belfast is for free for children under 4 years old.
Address : The Queen’s Walk, London SE1 2JH
National Maritime Museum: one of the most important maritime museums in the world
Located at Greenwich, the National Maritime Museum presents the memories of English expeditions, as much commercial as scientific and warrior from the Middle Ages to the present day.
The Collection inaugurated in 1934 presents historical models of ships, maps and everyday objects. It is here that the largest library in the world is located, collecting documents on maritime themes.
But the most emblematic object of the museum is the uniform of Admiral Nelson which he wore on October 21, 1805 when he died at the Battle of Trafalgar which is one of the most important British naval victories.
Included in the London Pass.
Address : Park Row, Greenwich Peninsula, London SE10 9NF
Household Cavalry Museum: The History of the Royal Cavalry
Household Cavalry is a small museum presenting the history of the Cavalry of the Royal Guard from its origins in 1661 to the present day.
The Household Cavalry is made up of 2 regiments namely the Life Guards and Blues & Royals, considered the most prestigious regiment in the British Army, due to its role as the official bodyguard of the monarch.
They also participate in big events such as royal weddings, Jubilee celebration, Queen's birthday in ceremony Trooping the Colour, preceded by Beating Retreat.
During the visit of the old stables, the visitor can try on the uniforms of the Horse Guards made up of breastplates, jackets and helmets and put themselves in the shoes of a rider!
But the little extra is these boxes with glass walls, through which we can observe the guards who prepare their horses to ensure the changing of the guard.
Included in the London Pass.
Address : Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall, Westminster, London SW1A 2AX
The Guards Museum
Located in Wellington Barracks, the Guards Museum is a military museum open to the public that presents the history of the five infantry regiments of the British Guard from the XNUMXth century to the present day.
These five regiments are the Coldstream, the Grenadiers, the Scots, the Irishs and the Welshs, made up of elite soldiers who took part in foreign operations and who today ensure the protection of the royal family.
Included in the London Pass
Address : Wellington Barracks, Birdcage Walk, London SW1E 6HQ
The Fusilier Museum: a military museum at the Tower of London
The Fusiliers Museum, created in 1962, is located within the grounds of the Tower of London in a neo-medieval building built in 1840, after a fire. It traces the history and campaigns of the British infantry regiment, created by King Charles II in 1685.
These collections feature uniforms, flags, pennants as well as trophies collected on enemy battlefields.
Highlights include a collection of 12 Victoria Crosses, the uniform of King George V - a former Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment - and relics from Napoleon's war.
Tour of the Tower of London is included in the London Pass.
Address : St Katharine’s & Wapping, London EC3N 4AB
Churchill War Rooms: Winston Churchill's General Quarter
Churchill War Rooms is the Prime Minister's war cabinet where more than 500 people lived day and night from August 1939 to September 1945 and participated in the war effort. This labyrinth of around thirty rooms allows you to discover the living conditions of the members of the staff thanks to the original equipment and very realistic wax mannequins.
The most emblematic rooms are the War Room where Winston Churchill assembled his war cabinet, the Transatlantic Telephone Room where the Prime Minister safely contacted American Presidents or the Map Room and Churchill's Room.
This informative and educational visit is ideal for middle and high school students!
Included in the London Pass, London Explorer Pass and theiVenture Pass
Address : Clive Steps, King Charles St, London SW1A 2AQ
Royal Air Force Museum: the Air Force museum
The Royal Air Force Museum traces the history of British aviation and its role in the military history of the United Kingdom through one of the finest collections of military aircraft spread over the six hangars of the former airfield of 'Henson. Created in 1908, this airfield located in the north-west of London was the cradle of British aviation before becoming in 1972 a military museum.
Among the hundred or so aircraft on display, we can discover the legendary Blériot XI which was the first monoplane plane to cross the English Channel in 1909 or the Mustang P51, one of the most manoeuvrable and fastest propeller fighters in the world. Second World War.
This military museum has two flight simulators, immersive and interactive that provide the experience of controlling the takeoff, flight and landing of an aircraft.
Entrance to the museum is free and 4-hour tours in English are provided by a guide.
Address : Grahame Park Way, London NW9 5LL
More information about the museum More information about the guided tour