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6 must-visit museums and galleries for students in London

The recent Times Higher Education Rankings show London remains the top performing city for universities, but there are many more reasons why London is a great place to study.

Boasting more than 1,000 museums and galleries, the British capital is the perfect place to develop your skills outside university, or to widen your horizons by learning new things.

Here are some of the best places to do just that.

Tate Modern and Tate Britain

Head along the river and venture inside Tate Britain and Tate Modern. These two strikingly different galleries cover a range of art, from British classical paintings to international contemporary installations, and both offer lots of options for students who want to take their education one step further. Attend curator tours and workshops, sign up for Tate’s popular talks and courses or drop by Tate Britain for one of its regular Art in Focus sessions, 15-minute talks dedicated to a different artwork every month.

British Museum

The world’s first national public museum when it was founded in 1753, the British Museum is now one of its most visited. Stroll around the many galleries and learn about ancient civilisations through daily object handling sessions. You can also sign up for lectures and talks about some of the greatest ancient societies, attend film screenings and even go for gallery tours before it opens. Join the British Museum’s membership programme for free entry to all exhibits, special members events and access to the Member’s Room, which includes a cafe and a study.

British Library

Visit the British Library to see rare manuscripts, such as original Shakespeare and Beatles works, and the Magna Carta. With a collection containing more than 150 million items in most known languages, 3 million new items added every year and 310,000 manuscript volumes, the British Library is a student’s dream. Sign up for a Reader Pass and access the library’s collection, order imagery, explore archives and have materials delivered to you in the Reading Room.


Attend some of London’s top art and design exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Over the years, this South Kensington museum has built quite a reputation for itself, with past exhibitions such as Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty and Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains. Take your design knowledge to the next level by signing up to its Learning Academy, which offer a range of short and long-term courses. Hone your skills with workshops that allow you to develop your expertise in topics as diverse as calligraphy, robots and leather clutch making.

National Portrait Gallery

From 18th-century aristocracy to Nelson Mandela, and from paintings to sculptures, the National Portrait Gallery showcases a range of subjects and mediums. Step into this Trafalgar Square institution to find out more about the art of portraiture through a diverse programme of events. Attend late-night openings on Friday, take part in life drawing sessions and talks, and gain knowledge with weekend workshops and lunchtime lectures.

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