The Best Museums & Art Galleries in Westminster – Mus3ums

Search for Museums

Westminster / United Kingdom

Westminster is a government district, based in London, which was the former administrative capital of the Kingdom of England and is today part of the wider City of Westminster on the north bank of the River Thames. It is home to one of the highest concentrations of visitor attractions and historic landmarks in London, including: the Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral. Historically the area lay within St Margaret's parish, City and Liberty of Westminster, Middlesex. The name Westminster originated from the informal description of the abbey church and royal peculiar of St Peter's , located west of the City of London . The abbey was part of the royal palace that had been created here by Edward the Confessor. It has been the home of the permanent institutions of England's government continuously since about 1200 , and from 1707 the British Government. In a government context, Westminster often refers to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, located in the UNESCO World Heritage Palace of Westminster — also known as the Houses of Parliament. The area is the centre of Her Majesty's Government, with Parliament in the Palace of Westminster and most of the major Government ministries known as Whitehall, itself the site of the royal palace that replaced that at Westminster. The area has a substantial residential population. By the 20th Century Westminster has seen rising numbers of residential apartments with wealthy inhabitants. Hotels, large Victorian homes and barracks exist near to Buckingham Palace.

National Gallery

Westminster / United Kingdom

The National Gallery is an art museum in Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, in Central London. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900.The Gallery is an exempt charity, and a non-departmental public body of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Its collection belongs to the government on behalf of the British public, and entry to the main collection is free of charge. In 2019, it was ranked seventh in the world on the List of most visited art museums.Unlike comparable museums in continental Europe, the National Gallery was not formed by nationalising an existing royal or princely art collection. It came into being when the British government bought 38 paintings from the heirs of John Julius Angerstein in 1824. After that initial purchase the Gallery was shaped mainly by its early directors, especially Sir Charles Lock Eastlake, and by private donations, which now account for two-thirds of the collection. The collection is smaller than many European national galleries, but encyclopaedic in scope; most major developments in Western painting "from Giotto to Cézanne" are represented with important works. It used to be claimed that this was one of the few national galleries that had all its works on permanent exhibition, but this is no longer the case. The present building, the third to house the National Gallery, was designed by William Wilkins from 1832 to 1838. Only the facade onto Trafalgar Square remains essentially unchanged from this time, as the building has been expanded piecemeal throughout its history. Wilkins's building was often criticised for the perceived weaknesses of its design and for its lack of space; the latter problem led to the establishment of the Tate Gallery for British art in 1897. The Sainsbury Wing, a 1991 extension to the west by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, is a significant example of Postmodernist architecture in Britain. The current Director of the National Gallery is Gabriele Finaldi.

Wallace Collection

Westminster / United Kingdom

The Wallace Collection is a museum in London occupying Hertford House in Manchester Square, the former townhouse of the Seymour family, Marquesses of Hertford. It is named after Sir Richard Wallace, who built the extensive collection, along with the Marquesses of Hertford, in the 18th and 19th centuries. The collection features fine and decorative arts from the 15th to the 19th centuries with important holdings of French 18th-century paintings, furniture, arms and armour, porcelain and Old Master paintings arranged into 25 galleries. It is open to the public and entry is free.It was established in 1897 from the private collection mainly created by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford , who left both it and the house to his illegitimate son Sir Richard Wallace , whose widow bequeathed the entire collection to the nation. The collection opened to permanent public view in 1900 in Hertford House, and remains there to this day. A condition of the bequest was that no object should ever leave the collection, even for loan exhibitions. In September 2019, the Board of Trustees announced that they had successfully obtained an Order from the Charity Commission for England & Wales which allowed them to enter into temporary loan agreements for the first time.The United Kingdom is particularly rich in the works of the ancien régime, purchased by wealthy families during the revolutionary sales, held in France after the end of the French Revolution. The triumvirate of The Wallace Collection, Waddesdon Manor and the Royal Collection, all three located in the United Kingdom, forms arguably the largest, most important and extant collection of French 18th-century decorative arts in the world, rivalled only by the triumvirate of the Musée du Louvre, Château de Versailles and Mobilier National in France. The Wallace Collection is a non-departmental public body and the current director is Xavier Bray.

Tate Britain

Westminster / United Kingdom

Tate Britain, known from 1897 to 1932 as the National Gallery of British Art and from 1932 to 2000 as the Tate Gallery, is an art museum on Millbank in the City of Westminster in London. It is part of the Tate network of galleries in England, with Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives. It is the oldest gallery in the network, having opened in 1897. It houses a substantial collection of the art of the United Kingdom since Tudor times, and in particular has large holdings of the works of J. M. W. Turner, who bequeathed all his own collection to the nation. It is one of the largest museums in the country.

Royal Academy of Arts

Westminster / United Kingdom

The Royal Academy of Arts is an art institution based in Burlington House on Piccadilly in London. It has a unique position as an independent, privately funded institution led by eminent artists and architects. Its purpose is to promote the creation, enjoyment and appreciation of the visual arts through exhibitions, education and debate.

Royal Collection

Westminster / United Kingdom

The Royal Collection of the British Royal family is the largest private art collection in the world.Spread among 13 occupied and historic royal residences in the United Kingdom, the collection is owned by Elizabeth II and overseen by the Royal Collection Trust. The Queen owns some of the collection in right of the Crown and some as a private individual. It is made up of over one million objects, including 7,000 paintings, over 150,000 works on paper, this including 30,000 watercolours and drawings, and about 450,000 photographs, as well as tapestries, furniture, ceramics, textiles, carriages, weapons, armour, jewellery, clocks, musical instruments, tableware, plants, manuscripts, books, and sculptures. Some of the buildings which house the collection, like Hampton Court Palace, are open to the public and not lived in by the Royal Family, whilst others, like Windsor Castle and Kensington Palace, are both residences and open to the public. The Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace in London was built specially to exhibit pieces from the collection on a rotating basis. There is a similar art gallery next to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, and a Drawings Gallery at Windsor Castle. The Crown Jewels are on public display in the Jewel House at the Tower of London. About 3,000 objects are on loan to museums throughout the world, and many others are lent on a temporary basis to exhibitions.

National Army Museum

Westminster / United Kingdom

The National Army Museum is the British Army's central museum. It is located in the Chelsea district of central London, adjacent to the Royal Hospital Chelsea, the home of the "Chelsea Pensioners". The museum is a non-departmental public body. It is usually open to the public from 10:00am to 5:30pm, except on 25–26 December and 1 January. Admission is free. Having reopened in March 2017 following a major £23.75 million re-development project including £11.5m from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the museum houses five galleries that cover British military history from the English Civil War up to modern day.This remit for the overall history of British land forces contrasts with those of other military museums in the United Kingdom concentrating on the history of individual corps and regiments of the British Army. It also differs from the subject matter of the Imperial War Museum, another national museum in London, which has a wider remit of theme but a narrower remit of time .

Courtauld Gallery

Westminster / United Kingdom

The Courtauld Gallery is an art museum in Somerset House, on the Strand in central London. It houses the art collection of the Courtauld Institute of Art, a self-governing college of the University of London specialising in the study of the history of art. The Courtauld collection was formed largely through donations and bequests and includes paintings, drawings, sculptures and other works from medieval to modern times; it is particularly known for its French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. The collection contains some 530 paintings and over 26,000 drawings and prints. The head of the Courtauld Gallery is Ernst Vegelin. The gallery closed on 3 September, 2018 for a major redevelopment, called Courtauld Connects, and is due to reopen in 2021.

The Fleming Collection

Westminster / United Kingdom

The Fleming Collection is a large private collection of Scottish art. It was on display in a gallery in Berkeley Square, central London, England until the gallery's closure in 2016.

Royal Hospital Chelsea

Westminster / United Kingdom

The Royal Hospital Chelsea is a retirement home and nursing home for some 300 veterans of the British Army. Founded as an almshouse, the ancient sense of the word "hospital", it is a 66-acre site located on Royal Hospital Road in Chelsea. It is an independent charity and relies partly upon donations to cover day-to-day running costs to provide care and accommodation for veterans. Residents are known as Chelsea Pensioners. Any man or woman who is over the age of 65 and served as a regular soldier may apply to become a resident, if they have found themselves in a time of need and are "of good character". They must not, however, have any dependent spouse or family, and former Officers must have served at least 12 years in the ranks before receiving a commission. The gardens of the Royal Hospital are Grade II listed on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.