Imperial War Museum

The IWM London is the first Imperial War Museum to open among the five currently active. A space dedicated to the history of conflicts in which the British armed forces participated.

The Imperial War Museum London, commonly abbreviated to IWM London, is a museum dedicated to the civil and military war efforts in which the United Kingdom has been involved since the First World War. The IWM London is one of the five Imperial War Museums in England - the others being the HMS Belfast, the Churchill War Rooms, the IWM Duxford, and the IWM North.

The IWM was established in 1920 at the Crystal Palace. Shortly after, in 1924, the museum was moved to the Imperial Institute building in South Kensington, where it stayed only for 12 years, after which it was moved to its current location.

After WWII, in 1966, the building was expanded to accommodate new collections and facilities. It was in this period that the other IWM branches were opened. The museum underwent further renovation work in 2013-2014.

Plane exhibit at the Imperial War Museum
The Imperial War Museum exhibits several planes, tanks, and other military vehicles.

Inside the Imperial War Museum London, you can find permanent galleries as well as temporary exhibition facilities and a cinema. Some of the IWM’s biggest spaces are dedicated to the two World Wars, the Holocaust, and the contemporary age (1945-present).

You’ll find special sections dedicated to war heroes and key moments in the Second World War. In the atrium, you can see original objects and machinery that have been used in one or more conflicts. Particularly appreciated by the public are the spaces dedicated to espionage and covert operations.


Lambeth Road, Lambeth, London SE1 6HZ.

The Imperial War Museum is located in the former Bethlem Royal Hospital in Lambeth, south of the River Thames in Central London.

The museum is not far from the Garden Museum and Lambeth Palace, just to its west. Further north along the river are the Sea Life Centre and the London Eye. On the other side of the Thames are Big Ben, Westminster Palace, and Westminster Abbey.

Imperial War Museum tickets and price

The Imperial War Museum is always free to enter for everyone. You can just turn up on the day and queue to enter the museum, but you can also book your timed entry online on the Imperial War Museum’s website .


The Imperial War Museum is open every day between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm. The busiest days are normally Saturdays, so we recommend visiting during the week if you want to avoid big crowds. The average visit to the Imperial War Museum lasts around 2 hours, although the museum itself recommends around 3 hours to go around the halls and rooms.

Day Opening time Closure
Mon-Sun 10:00 am 6:00 pm


To reach the Imperial War Museum, you can use get off at two different Tube stations, Lambeth North (Bakerloo line) and Elephant & Castle (Bakerloo and Northern lines). They are located northwest and southeast of the museum respectively and they are both less than 10 minutes away.

If you’d rather take the bus, lines 3, 12, 53, 148, 344, 360, 453, and C10 stop all around the park where the Imperial War Museum is located.

You can find a summary of the public transport options in the table below.

Method Underground Bus
Lines Bakerloo, Northern 3, 12, 53, 148, 344, 360, 453, and C10
Stops Lambeth North and Elephant & Castle -

Obviously, you can also get a cab to the Imperial War Museum, but we don’t recommend it, considering the heavy traffic in London and the high taxi fares.

Nearby sights

Garden Museum - 850 m (0.5 miles) west, 10-minute walk.

Sea Life Centre - 1.2 km (0.8 miles) west, 16-minute walk.

London Eye - 1.4 km (0.8 miles) northwest, 17-minute walk.

Big Ben - 1.5 km (0.9 miles) northwest, 19-minute walk.

Westminster Palace - 1.7 km (1.1 miles) northwest, 22-minute walk.

Westminster Abbey - 1.8 km (1.1 miles) northwest, 23-minute walk.

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Imperial War Museum