According to best-medical-schools, the capital of Great Britain is at the same time called the world capital of museums. Some of them have collected the richest collections, canceled the entrance fee. Others, like the Tower Bridge Museum or the Cutty Sark ship museum, entered the London Pass system, while others became a real attraction: why does London need its own Disneyland when there is a museum on Baker Street, Madame Tussauds, Harry Potter Museum at Warner Bros Studios. Even the most classical of London’s museums are arranged in such a way that the visitor can not only watch, but almost take part in the exhibition.
The main museums of the capital are free for the British and visitors from other countries. There is usually free Wi-Fi, free toilets, reasonably priced cafes (you can bring your own food, but you can eat outside of the cafe), and even free printed materials in different languages. In this case, it is customary to leave a donation, the recommended amount of which is indicated right there.
The British Museum is usually compared with the Louvre and the St. Petersburg Hermitage. The richest collection of antiquities is stored here: fragments and sculptures from the Athenian Parthenon and other temples; mummies and sarcophagi taken out of Egypt (as well as papyrus scrolls, grandiose sculptures, utensils); funerary, cult, household items from Ancient Mesopotamia (Assyria, Akkad, Sumer, Babylon).
The Museum of Natural History is famous for its collection of ancient animals (skeletons and interactive dummies of dinosaurs, saber-toothed tigers and other prehistoric creatures). For comparison, in St. Petersburg, something similar can be seen in the Kuntskamera and the Zoological Museum of the Russian Academy of Sciences, but here the exhibits have multi-colored illumination, make sounds, and imitate movement.
During the school holidays, there is a queue at the main entrance, so it is better to use the additional one from Exhibition Road. And everyone be prepared for a large number of school groups, as children are brought here both for lessons and for excursions.
A few steps away is the Science Museum, where all the exhibits (aircraft, ships, cars, various engines and household appliances) are designed and assembled in such a way that visitors spin, launch and touch them with their hands.
The Victoria and Albert Museum is the largest museum of “arts and crafts” in London: completely different objects of artistic value are collected under one roof. From tapestries and figurines to balconies and balustrades.
They go to the London National Gallery to finally look at the paintings: here the collection is full of names and masterpieces (more than 2 thousand paintings in total). These are the artists of Western Europe – paintings from the 13th century to the beginning of the 20th century (Titian, Raphael, Rubens, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Van Dyck, Velasquez, Botticelli, Bosch, van Gogh, da Vinci).
The Tate Modern is the place to be to get acquainted with modern painting (works painted after 1900) and not only. In a former power plant on the south bank of the Thames, there is enough space for large-scale installations, sometimes shocking and always original. The gallery has existed since 2000 and is one of the ten most visited in the world.
Madame Tussauds is another face of London, this time skillfully sculpted from wax for the amusement of the public. The museum was once famous for the death masks of those executed on the guillotine in Paris (1845). Since then, technologies have changed, wax figures began to be stored much longer, processed with special compounds – but the horror room is still in place, only the figures began to move, smells and sounds were added.
Fun fact: you can take pictures with the sculptures for free (with the exception of the British royal family, with members of which a special photographer takes pictures).
The Sherlock Holmes Museum is quite consistent with the spirit of Conan Doyle’s stories, they tried to make it very authentic. Here you can take pictures in Sherlock’s cap, sit in his armchair, read a newspaper by the fireplace.
The London Dungeon Museum is worth a visit for the sake of the medieval capital of England, when stench and sewage were an integral part of the streets, and public executions were a favorite spectacle of the crowd.
What to try
Some dishes of English cuisine have become so part of everyday, Russian-European life that we have not noticed them for a long time. The British formed traditions: a hearty breakfast, eating meat in large chunks or meat pies, drinking tea, a little dried muffins.
You should definitely try the continental breakfast (aka English). It includes: cereal or muesli, rolls, croissants, jam, sliced ham and cheese. English breakfast: add fried eggs, fried bacon, stewed beans, toast, fried sausages or sausages here; there can also be fried mushrooms, stewed kidneys, vegetables and fried potatoes. The meaning of that breakfast is that if you survived it, then you can safely not have lunch.
Another national dish is meat pie. This is a decent piece of beef tenderloin wrapped in a puff pastry roll with sauce and mushrooms. It is considered a festive treat and is served with potatoes or other vegetables. You can try “Shepherd’s Pie” – an even more traditional dish – a layered casserole of lamb / beef or minced meat with mashed potatoes.
You shouldn’t leave England without tasting roast beef. Wash it down with an English beer or ale. By the way, they say that in England bottled beer will be tastier than draft beer – taste it.
Fish and chips in London are offered on every corner: in cheap eateries and restaurants. This is the usual French fries with breaded fish fillet. The difference in cost is decent – from 4 to 20 GBP. The sauce for it (from green peas with mayonnaise and a minimal addition of vegetables) is prepared in each institution in its own way.
For dessert – pudding (pie in a water bath). It can be fruity, with the addition of cream, candied fruits or molasses. It is also worth trying the local muffins (chocolate, berry, candied fruit) and the English version of the crushed biscuit cheesecake.