IWM London (part of Imperial War Museums)

Visitors looking at the Mark I Spitfire in the Atrium at IWM London
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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 until 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.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Open daily, 10am - 6pm (last entry 5.45pm). Closed 24-26 December.

Admission charges

General Admission free, charges apply for special exhibitions.


  • National Art Pass
Getting there

Visiting us by London Underground
IWM London is a short walk from Waterloo (15 mins) and Elephant and Castle (15 mins) underground stations. Please note that Lambeth North station will be closed from 14 July 2016 - early 2017.

Visiting us by Bus
Local bus routes that stop near IWM London include 159, 360, 109, 344 and 360.

Visiting us by Train
IWM London is a short 15 minute walk from London Waterloo, Waterloo East, and Elephant and Castle rail stations.

Additional info

Wheelchair access to all areas and disabled toilets available on each floor.

20th Century Collections, include: Art, Documents, Film and Video Archive, Printed Books, Photograph Archive, Sound Archive, Exhibits and Firearms

Items from this collection

Collection details

Archives, Aviation, Coins and Medals, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Industry, Literature, Maritime, Personalities, Photography, Social History, Weapons and War

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Lord Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum London

The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes

  • 19 July 2014 — 31 December 2016 *on now

Visitors to the Lord Ashcroft Gallery’s Extraordinary Heroes exhibition can discover the personal stories behind each medal on display in a state-of-the-art space filled with interactive touch-screens, multimedia platforms and original interpretation.

The new gallery examines the concept of bravery and the personal stories behind the award of the medals. Alongside the precious medals are many objects on display for the first time as well as newly commissioned artwork, film and photography.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Imperial War Museum London





Holocaust Exhibition

  • 1 November 2013 — 1 November 2018 *on now

This highly-acclaimed permanent exhibition uses film, photographs and a large number of rare artefacts – many brought from Germany and Eastern Europe – to document the history of the Nazi persecution of the Jews and other groups before and during the Second World War.

The Exhibition features over 600 objects, from moving testimonies of survivors and a 13 metre long model depicting events at Auschwitz-Birkenau, through to the letters of an eight year old French Jewish boy who hid in an orphanage before his betrayal and deportation to Auschwitz.

Recommended for children aged 14 and above

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children



photograph of the interior of iwm london's First World War galleries

First World War Galleries

  • 19 July 2014 — 31 December 2019 *on now

In the new First World War Galleries, made up of 14 areas, visitors will discover the story of the First World War, how it started, why it continued, how it was won and its global impact, through the lives of those who experienced it on the front line and the home front.

Drawing on our First World War collections – the richest and most comprehensive in the world – the Galleries will feature objects large and small, many of which have never been seen before from lucky charms made from shell fragments to iconic recruitment posters and huge ship models. Objects on show will include weapons and uniforms through to diaries, letters and souvenirs, which will sit alongside photographs, art and film.

Having considered some of the big questions and choices, ordinary and extraordinary, that the people of Britain and its former Empire had to face in this first ‘total war’, visitors will leave the Galleries with a new perspective on this landmark conflict.

Suitable for

  • Any age



Soldier's helmet with popcorn

Real to Reel: A Century of War Movies

  • 1 July 2016 — 8 January 2017 *on now

Go behind the scenes of some of the most iconic war
films which have captured the imagination of cinema-going
audiences for generations through personal
testimony and original items including costumes, props,
scripts and set designs.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the release of the original
blockbuster, The Battle of the Somme, this immersive exhibition explores how filmmakers have found
inspiration from war’s inherent drama to translate stories
of love and loss, fear and courage and triumph and tragedy
into blockbusters for the big screen.


Adult £10 Child £5 Concessions £7



Edmund Clark: War of Terror

  • 28 July 2016 — 28 August 2017 *on now

This thought-provoking exhibition brings together several series of work by artist-photographer Edmund Clark to explore the hidden experiences of state control during the 'Global War on Terror'.

Looking at issues of security, secrecy, representation and legality, the show focuses on the measures taken by states to protect their citizens from the threat of terrorism, and the far-reaching effects of such methods of control.

The exhibition brings together several series of Clark's work including images and documents of CIA operated secret prisons or 'black sites', photographs from the detention camps at Guantanamo Bay, correspondence from around the world sent to a British detainee in Guantanamo that was transformed by the censorship and intervention of the US military, and the experience of a 'controlled person' who was placed in a house in suburban England under the restrictive conditions of a control order – a form of house arrest or detention without trial – introduced in 2005.

An immersive experience, the exhibition uses sound, moving images and large multi-media installations as well as photographs and documents to invoke a sensory engagement with the experiences of observation, detention and disorientation induced by the systems of control Clark explores.



Visions of War Above and Below

  • 1 October 2016 — 12 March 2017 *on now

Discover a variety of imaginative responses to conflict, from surreal depictions of aircraft as creatures, to abstract views of bombing raids and detailed drawings of life in submarines. Artworks from the First World War through to today are brought together to present a range of viewpoints of war above and below.



Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
British soldiers eating hot rations in the Ancre Valley during the Battle of the Somme, October 1916.

Lives of the First World War

  • 12 May 2014 — 31 December 2018 *on now

By the end of the centenary the project will have built the permanent digital memorial to more than 8 million men and women from across Britain and the Commonwealth and saved their stories for future generations.

Bringing together material from museums, libraries, archives and family collections from across the world together in one place, IWM needs your help to explore these documents, to link them together and to start telling the stories of those who served in uniform and worked on the home front.

Find out more about the project and how you can get involved here:




IWM Contemporary: Mahwish Chishty

  • 19 October 2016 — 19 March 2017 *on now

The first UK exhibition by Pakistan-born, US-based artist Mahwish Chishty.

Chishty’s work combines silhouettes of military drones with decorative Pakistani folk art patterns to highlight the way in which the presence of foreign drones over Pakistan has become a feature of the physical, psychological and cultural environment of the country.



Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

How Do We Remember? WebQuest


What sort of things do we remember about the past? How do we capture these memories? This online activity encourages children to investigate the history of the Imperial War Museum and some of its artefacts, before recording a memory of their own in the form of a paper boat. The boats can come together in a classroom display.

How to obtain

Open the How Do We Remember? box, then click Start WebQuest.

Imperial War Museum WebQuests


WebQuests are online activities for children, using the collections of nine national museums and galleries.

The Children's War WebQuest


What were children's lives like in the Second World War? This online investigation uses the collections of the Imperial War Museum to help children imagine the daily life of a child on the Home Front, leading to a piece of creative writing.

How to obtain

Open the Children's War box, then click Start WebQuest.

What was life like in the Second World War?


Getting there

Visiting us by London Underground
IWM London is a short walk from Waterloo (15 mins) and Elephant and Castle (15 mins) underground stations. Please note that Lambeth North station will be closed from 14 July 2016 - early 2017.

Visiting us by Bus
Local bus routes that stop near IWM London include 159, 360, 109, 344 and 360.

Visiting us by Train
IWM London is a short 15 minute walk from London Waterloo, Waterloo East, and Elephant and Castle rail stations.

IWM London (part of Imperial War Museums)
Lambeth Road
Greater London




General enquiries



020 7416 5000

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.