The Imperial War Museum London examines the impact of war on soldiers and civilians, from the First World War until today.
Few museums greet you with canons. The Imperial War Museum of London, aptly encamped within the duck-egg dome and classical pillars of the Georgian former Bedlam hospital, adorns its lawn with heavy artillery.
In the airy hangar at the heart of the museum a spitfire soars over a red London bus, beside rising rockets and a biplane with paper-thin wings. The Imperial War Museum London examines the impact of war on soldiers and civilians, from the First World War until today.
Its permanent exhibitions include the Holocaust Exhibition and the Lord Ashcroft Gallery, showing examples of exceptional human courage and bravery. In the ‘A Family in Wartime’ exhibition, you can experience what it felt like to live underground in an Anderson shelter, listening to 1940s radio broadcasts. The Secret War exhibition is also fascinating and a favourite with anybody who likes a good spy story. It goes behind the scenes of the work of Britain’s Special Forces from the development of M15 and M16 before the First World War to the Cold War. The exhibition includes lots of bits and pieces which seem to have come straight out of a James Bond film. Finally don’t miss The Second World War galleries which tell the story of the War from the political developments that led to the declaration of war in Europe in 1939 to the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan in 1945.
Multimedia guides are available from the Information Desk in English, French, Italian and German. In the gift shop, you’ll find vintage toys, jackets and posters. The museum café provides a delicious selection of sandwiches and cakes.
Imperial War Museum
Lambeth Rd, London SE1 6HZ
Open every day 10.00-18.00.