Magnificent museums: where to lose yourself in history near Chelsea

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Victoria and albert museum
Victoria and albert museum

Famed for its artistic heritage, the Chelsea area of London is also a great base for taking a day to discover some of the UK capital’s finest museums – indeed, themselves some of the finest museums in the entire world. So, simply take a scenic stroll or hop on a short Tube journey from hotels near Saatchi Gallery and you’ll quickly come across the likes of these attractions…

Science Museum

(Exhibition Road SW7 2DD)

Science Museum London

In the heart of the attraction-packed district of South Kensington known as ‘Albertopolis’ can be found some of the greatest museums on Planet Earth. First up is the Science Museum, which has fuelled the minds of many a young ’un and got them interested in science and even hooked for life, thanks to its fascinating, world-class interactive exhibits. Here you can check out the first steam engine (Stephenson’s Rocket), the first computer (Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine No. 1) and NASA’s Apollo 10 command module, in addition to a 3D IMAX cinema and galleries detailing innovations in the likes of medicine, space and time.

Victoria and Albert Museum

(Cromwell Road SW7 2RL)

Victoria and Albert Museum London

Just a few steps away from the Science Museum and you’ll come across one of the world’s biggest, most comprehensive and dedicated museums for the decorative arts. Indeed, this place comprises a staggering total of 145 separate galleries, brimming with artworks from across 5,000 years of civilisation; everything from glass to textiles, silver to ironwork, costumes to jewellery and prints to photos. With its incredible scope to cover practically any facet of culture, there truly is something to engage the interest of anyone – whatever their age!

Natural History Museum

(Cromwell Road SW7 5BD)

Natural History Museum London

Also along Exhibition Road you’ll discover this treasure trove of wonders, containing as it does up to 10,000 preserved animal specimens and 334 volumes of pressed plant species. Yet, while dedicated to the scientific catalogue and storage of flora and fauna it may be, there’s nothing staid about the Natural History Museum; it’s hugely popular with kids (of all ages) thanks to its commitment to switching on and keeping engaged young minds – always hugely popular is its fantastic section dedicated to dinosaurs and the prehistoric earth. But away from all the T-Rexes and velociraptors, it’s impossible not to come away having learned something – given its extraordinary 70 million-strong collection of zoology, mineralogy, botany and entomology items; some of which we originally donated by Charles Darwin.

National Army Museum

(Royal Hospital Road SW3 4HT)

National Army Museum

Finally, closer to accommodation in Chelsea (such as the hotel San Domenico House) is this attraction that sits next door to the legendary Royal Hospital. In fact, the whole thing’s just been redeveloped, ensuring it’s now fitted out with a large, bright and inviting atrium, which nicely reflects the fact that this place isn’t just about charting the history of the British Army of centuries past, but also giving deep insight into its role in much more recent times. As such, you can meander through its five impressive galleries (Soldier, Army, Battle, Society and Insight) and check-out all 2,500 objects that are currently on display, while there’s also a Play Base for budding junior squaddies.