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Imperial War Museum

#44 of 1,481 things to do in London
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Address: Lambeth Road, London SE1 6HZ, England
Phone Number: +44 20 7416 5000
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Closed now
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Sun - Sat 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

IWM London tells the stories of people's experiences of modern war from the...

IWM London tells the stories of people's experiences of modern war from the First World War to conflicts today. Mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme over 2016 and experience our ground-breaking First World War Galleries. Our IWM Contemporary art programme continues with work by protest photographer Edward Barber from 26 May - 4 September 2016 and works by artist Mahwish Chishty later in 2016. From 28 July 2016 artist-photographer Edmund Clark presents an exhibition exploring hidden experiences of state control, touching on issues of security, legality and ethics during the 'Global War on Terror'. Discover astonishing acts of bravery in The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes exhibition, delve into the world of espionage in Secret War and explore key moments of the Second World War in the award-winning Holocaust Exhibition. Find out how Britain's armed forces deal with very different aspects of global security in Fighting Extremes: From Ebola to ISIS, until 13 November 2016.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 6,628 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 3457
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    Very good
  • 422
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  • 173
Wished we had more time.

Due to time constraints, my husband and I had only 2 hours to visit this museum. It covers a wide variety of topics and wars - WWI, WWII, Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. The... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed yesterday
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6,628 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 5,612: English reviews
Level Contributor
69 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 148 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

Due to time constraints, my husband and I had only 2 hours to visit this museum. It covers a wide variety of topics and wars - WWI, WWII, Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. The exhibits were well put together and included actual equipment, vehicles, etc. The Holocaust exhibit was extremely moving but we did not have enough time to fully appreciate... More 

1 Thank LikesAGoodDeal
Edmond, Oklahoma, United States
Level Contributor
29 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

This museum was definitely an unexpected highlight in our trip. I wasn't overly interested in some of the information, so my wife and I moved along to the WWII and holocaust sections. The holocaust part was incredibly well done, and we spent a few hours on this floor alone. There are tons of relics and very interesting videos playing throughout.... More 

1 Thank Alex F
Saint John, Canada
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

The IWM is not a place to run through, plan to spend most of the day or even a couple of days. The IWM London does not glorify war, but illustrates all aspects...in particular the people and the impacts of war. If you have a chance, sit in on a staff lecture, it really helps to understand the stories behind... More 

1 Thank Kim F
Tubingen, Germany
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW via mobile

First things first, I am not interested in war. Like at all. But this museum had me captivated and I enjoyed every minute there. I have to admit, we were rather done after visiting the two floors with the world wars and did not go to the other floors. The whole museum was interactive and with videos of contemporary witnesses,... More 

1 Thank Sophie R
Buckhurst Hill, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

me and my fiance found this museum so interesting and it answered a lot of questions concerning some of the real truth and reasons we fight and have wars sadly these do happen and the public have little say in the matter ! wow this visit was so worth it and one we will surely repeat .

Thank Martin D
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
53 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

Two boys, 9 and 11. Incredible depth of presentation and just right for two boys who have a very keen interest in all things military and really interested in WW1&2. Lots to see, think about and contemplate. I would suspect the history library gets a bit of a cold shoulder. We spent some time there almost alone and the lads... More 

Thank Gordon W
Level Contributor
103 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

If you have some free time, you could visit this museum. Not a must-see though. There was an interesting part that focused on the lives of one family in Word War II and what happened to each of them. There are some planes and vehicles on display and a separate section on the Holocaust.

Thank calsand
Southampton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
97 reviews
50 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

Quite simply the best museum I have ever been to. Great layout and everything is concise and interesting to read and look at. The Holocaust exhibition is out of this world. It really make you feel like you were there especially if you spend an hour reading the signs and watching the mini documentaries. Would definitely recommend! You will need... More 

1 Thank Liam B
Chesterfield, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
42 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

This place walks you back through Britains place in history, the good, the bad and often the very ugly. It reminds us of what has been and what could have been and the very DNA of our country and the thousands of men and women that fought to protect our values and defend others. The WW1 exhibition was harrowing, the... More 

Thank 911john2015
Surrey, England
Level Contributor
59 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

My husband and I were very excited to visit this exhibition but it was rather disappointing and had very few artefacts. In general though I love this museum. This was followed by a visit to the over priced café with rude staff. Paid for hot drinks and when the order was messed up by them questioned me for my receipt... More 

Thank JudeYuill

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Questions & Answers

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Stroud, United Kingdom

Sorry, but the visit I and a friend made at Christmastime was NOT good – have been chuntering about it ever since, but only now had time to register our experience. First, I should say that neither of us is so young: one cannot climb up many stairs at a time, the other cannot go either up or down, both walk quite slowly. Fortunately the comparatively shallow steps at the main entrance were possible for us both. But once inside there is nowhere to sit down. I was early, so therefore opted for a preliminary walk around. The full flight of stairs down to the lower level greets one almost as soon as inside the main hall. Once on the main concourse there I headed for the First World War exhibition, thinking to have a quick preliminary look before coming back later – not a good idea: it is very tight in its layout – people spending time reading detailed information obstruct the way of others wanting to move more quickly. No alternative routes or intermediate way of exiting, had to continue zig-zagging to the end (was running out of time). Then had to queue at the main enquiry desk (only one person manning it) to find out where the lifts were (not signed). They are right at the rear of the main hall. Once back up on the main entrance level, had to walk all the way round the side gallery and through a secondary shop area to return to the front entrance. Asked there if there was somewhere I could sit to wait for my friend; a helpful member of staff said he would fetch 'the' chair for me. He came back and said he was sorry, he couldn't find it. Just then I spotted my friend sitting near the entrance doors, on the said chair, ie, only one available chair (ordinary office or café type) . . . Then, since my friend could not do the flight of stairs down to the lower concourse, we had to work our way right round to the rear of the hall to reach the lifts; at least I now knew where they were – no signs of course. There are four lifts, set apart from one another (no seating while one waits for the next one), and then that dash to get to whichever comes first before its doors shut again. When we were leaving we commented to the pleasant young woman at the front door, who hoped we had enjoyed our visit, that the steps at the main columned entrance would defeat some people, and there was no sign there to say how anyone with mobility limitations could get access. She said there was a sign at the main entrance gate, directing people to a level entrance along the side (no covered way to same, no surprise there!). As it happened we both came via side gates where we didn't spot any such directions. We expressed our concern that that didn't equate with equality of access and bless her, she came out with that classic remark that annoys beyond measure: 'They can't do anything because it's a Listed building'. (So is Burlington House in Piccadilly, but the Royal Academy seem to have managed to effect ramped access). She kindly suggested we filled in a visitor feedback form if we wanted to comment; we thought that a good idea, until we learnt that one of us would have to go back down to the lower level enquiry desk to get hold of a copy. Signage is certainly an issue throughout the building – it was hard to find the café at the lower level – we laughed, saying it was probably good that it wasn't signed as it wouldn't be too busy (we were right). So much for stairs (many), seats (few), lifts (obscure), signage (meagre). Women with reduced visual acuity would be stumped by the use of unrelieved battleship grey in the ladies toilets – would struggle to work out which were the actual cubicle doors and how they opened. And the warren of those facilities must be alarmingly confusing for anyone with poor vision or the beginnings of dementia. I should like to think the facilities for men are better, but somehow doubt it. The Disability Discrimination Act was passed more than 20 years ago. If this was an old, unmodernised museum in a small town, the inadequacies of all these facilities would still be unacceptable; they certainly are in a nationally important museum in a capital city, and especially one that is publicly funded and has had a comparatively recent major refurbishments.

6 months ago
Nottingham, United Kingdom
over a year ago

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