London’s roots stems back to the Middle Ages when Roman settlers began building bridges of the Thames River. Currently made up of 8 million residents split in 32 boroughs, London is a very old city that offers educational history lessons. In this guide, I’ll go over the top five educational activities in London. These attractions are ideal for history lovers, families with children, and any tourists new to the city.
1. Museum of London
The Museum of London was founded in 1979. The primary goal is to preserve and record London’s history and culture. The exhibits teach museum visitors about London’s prehistoric, historic, and present times. This includes notable events in London’s timeline, cultural aspects, and political development.
A large portion of the museum covers London’s prehistoric time. This section of the museum is called London Before London. It’s one of the permanent galleries. Prehistory is the span of time before the invention of writing systems, meaning before any recorded history took place. This includes the Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age. Prehistoric London covers 450,000 BC to the arrival of the Romans in 50 AD. In this gallery, visitors will find a skull of a wild ox that lived sometime in 245,000 to 186,000 BC. Another popular relic is the remains of a Shepperton woman who is over 5,000 years old.
Other permanent galleries include Roman London, Medieval London, and the War, Plague, and Fire exhibit. Roman London covers London’s founding by the Romans from 50 AD to 410 AD. Medieval London begins with the collapse of the Roman civilization to Queen Elizabeth I’s accession to the throne in 1558. The War, Plague, and Fire exhibit covers the time period between 1550s and 1660s. This era was famous for being Shakespeare’s time.
2. British Museum
The British Museum was founded in 1753. Its mission is to preserve and display pieces dedicated to human history and worldwide cultures. The British Museum is the United Kingdom’s most visited museum and also contains the most comprehensive collection known to mankind.
Visitors should expect to see something from every culture and location around the world and from every era of human history. You’ll find historic relics from Greece, Egypt, the Middle East, Rome, Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. These relics will span from prehistory to the present. Some of the most famous artifacts include the Rosetta Stone, Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon, and the sole surviving manuscript of Beowulf.
Perhaps the best part about the British Museum is its price. It’s completely free to visit. A visit to the British Museum will take roughly four to eight hours. Make sure to arrive early to avoid the crowds.
3. Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is a free science museum in London which was established in 1881. It currently caters to 4 million visitors annually. The museums focuses on botany, entomology, mineralogy, paleontology, and zoology.
Although the Natural History Museum is primarily a science museum, it does contain artifacts of historical significance such as specimen which were originally collected by Sir Charles Darwin. It also acts as a research library and institution.