Traveling to the birthplace of my mother has always been an aspiration of mine but unfortunately not a financially viable one until now. This trip has been 25 years in the making, and after saving up for what feels like forever, my museum tour of London couldn’t have been any better than I had dreamed. We invite you to read on for this guest post by Jane Lucero.
So Many London Museums, Only 48 Hours
I had one idea that was ingrained in my brain for the last 5-6 years, and that was to travel to London and partake in somewhat of a personalized museum tour. You see, I have an infatuation with museums – I have ever since I can remember. And although there is an abundance of museums in Manila, where I live now, I have been reading up on some of the delightful museums that have been operating in London for hundreds of years, as I planned this 48 hour jaunt of my museum tour of London.
So, when I finally arrived in my dream destination, London shocked me for better and worse. Firstly, and totally unrelated to my passion for museums was how efficient everything seemed compared to Manila.
Something I may have forgotten to mention when I began this article is that I had previously never left the Philippines. I’d only ventured to the obligatory islands like Boracay, Cebu and Palawan before this leap of faith to one of the world’s busiest cities.
Firstly, the airports were extremely clean and seemingly uber efficient compared to our very own Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport, which a couple of years ago was voted the world’s worst airport. I arrived at Gatwick Airport, which Parking4Less describes as one of the most efficient airports in terms of its parking services and singular runway. It was certainly a far cry from Ninoy. It also has trains that connected directly to London, which helped me on my way.
Upon arrival, I checked into my accommodation and relaxed for the night. The next two days would be something that I had been planning for years. I had 48 hours to visit as many museums as humanly possible before I set off to see some distant relatives.
Here’s a quick overview of four of my favorite London museums, from a total 11 museums visited over the space of 48 hours.
THE BRITISH MUSEUM
Time Out declares that The British Museum “is one of the oldest museums in the world.” And frankly, that was one of my main reasons for visiting. Famous for artifacts such as the Rosetta Stone and relics from Ancient Egypt, it draws millions through its doors every year.
Typically the museum was packed with people, and a hoard of tours looking on in awe at the magnificent historical pieces on show. I found the museum utterly compelling and would recommend it to anyone.
NATIONAL SCIENCE MUSEUM
I arrived pretty late in the day to this particular museum so unfortunately didn’t get the allotted amount of time to peruse its various exhibitions that I wanted to. What I did get to see though was worth the trip. Exhibitions like the Exploring Space galleries tailored for my interests in all things space related as well as the magnificent Apollo 10 flight simulator that has been in the museum for a considerable amount of time, and has been declared as one of the most visited exhibitions.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get chance to visit the in-house IMAX theatre that is housed in the museum – which I have read glowing reports on from various publications. I did, however, get chance to venture to the Dana Centre, an adults-only exhibition that showcases performance events and lectures throughout the day.
After a hectic first day where I managed to visit a total of 7 museums, day two was set to be a more chilled out affair, and one in which I got to visit two of my favorite museums that I had read about: Tate Modern and Imperial War Museum.
Part of the reason I had hurried around a considerable amount of museums in the first day was because I wanted to spend an extended amount of time in the Tate Modern (main picture). Renowned for being a “powerhouse of modern art,” it didn’t disappoint.
At the time I visited the Tate, it was showing the ‘Conflict, Time, Photography’ exhibition. Said exhibition “focuses on the passing of time, tracing a diverse and poignant journey through over 150 years of conflict around the world, since the invention of photography.”
It was a stunning exhibition that depicted the world on its knees after wars such as the Vietnam War, Gulf War, and the devastation in Nagasaki after the atomic bomb. It was one of those exhibitions that brought to life the sheer destruction of said wars to life. It also made me want to visit each place and see how over time they have recovered.
IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM
After having a major facelift in 2014 by architects Foster & Partners, the Imperial War Museum was reopened to coincide with the centenary year of World War I. So, this was perfect timing for me as it reopened couple of weeks before my arrival in London.
I knew what to expect when entering the Imperial WM and aside from the Tate Modern, this was probably up there with the museums I was most excited about seeing in person. Chockfull with memorabilia and artifacts from various wars dating back to WWI; even to more modern day wars such as in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But probably my favorite part of the Imperial WM was the Holocaust Exhibition. Centering on the concentration camps it had so many interesting things on show as well as a Crimes Against Humanity Exhibition that was as compelling as it was tear jerking. Within the CAH Exhibition there was a feature film, which focused on contemporary genocide, which was utterly enthralling.
The Imperial WM brought the curtain down on my museum trip to London, and one in which I will never forget. Hopefully this tale of some of the standout museums in London will inspire some readers to plan their own trips to London around some of these wonderful educational monuments.
Guest Author Bio: Jane Lucero
Jane is a journalism graduate, who has been a freelance history writer ever since she left University. While not writing, she dreams about traveling the world, and one day visiting Egypt and seeing the Pyramids in person. In her spare time, Jane plays Badminton and volunteers at a shelter in Manila helping less-fortunate children.
Disclaimer: This is a guest blog post; opinions expressed are those of the guest author.