My inner geek loves nothing more than hitting up London’s best museums and galleries on weekends. We’re so fortunate that the majority of them are free, and some are also home to great coffee date spots, such as the V&A Cafe (which is so stunning that it even gets its own post).
We’ve tried to keep the list versatile and insightful, so some favourites (such as the National Portrait Gallery and British Museum) didn’t quite make the cut, but feel free to share your favourites in the comments section below.
I frequently find myself returning to the Saatchi Gallery, yet I can’t quite work out why I love it so much. It’s a manageable size, which probably helps for short-attention-span me, spread mainly across two bright and airy floors. The works are always interesting and quite out of the ordinary, such as this bust sculpted from a leg of Spanish ham:
On Saturdays you can also lose yourself in the food market that sets up shop right outside the gallery.
This is a bit of a central London hidden gem, tucked away on Lincoln Inn’s Fields (just behind Holborn station). Formerly the home of an eccentric art collector, walking into the museum feels like stepping back in time, and at every turn you’re confronted with even more artefacts and trinkets. For a romantic experience, head down on the first Tuesday evening of the month, when you can take a candlelit tour of the house.
If you’re looking for a drink after your visit, The Seven Stars is an intimate little pub around the corner from John Soane’s serving up great ales, beers and wines.
Situated right on Euston Road in one of the most congested parts of London, you’d be forgiven for never having ventured to the Wellcome Collection. However, this is my favourite educational spot in London, and I’m always really excited when a new exhibition opens. Occasionally the museum is host to some of London’s quirkier installations, such as yellowbluepink last year, which consisted of a room filled with coloured mist – great for Instragram, not so great for being able to find your date (which in some cases may be deemed a blessing).
On the first Friday of each month the Wellcome Collection hosts its Lates session, which includes cocktails, a chilled out DJ and option to dine at the restaurant
4. Tate Modern
This is definitely a marmite one. In my student days I used to frequent the Tate Modern and laugh at “masterpieces” such as Mirror On Canvas (which, in case your wondering, is exactly what the work’s title implies), but there’s no denying that the space itself is hugely impressive, and we can’t forget that it’s home to some great pieces by Warhol, Picasso and Dalí. The cafe and restaurant on the 5th floor overlooking the Thames is also reason enough to visit, and you can combine the trip with a lovely stroll along the river.
This one could be accused of being a bit heavy for a date, but it is a fascinating museum that reminds us of the tumultuous and sometimes horrible past. You can easily while away hours here, and even though we all learned about the World Wars at school, the Imperial War Museum sets everything out in an engaging way and really brings it all to life.
On a sunny day, you can follow up the visit with a picnic on the grounds, or pop across to Grand Union which has a nice rooftop terrace.