IWM London (part of Imperial War Museums)

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




General enquiries



020 7416 5000


020 7416 5374

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.
IWM London © IWM
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IWM London tells the stories of those whose lives have been shaped by war through the depth, breadth and impact of our Galleries, displays and events. Our new First World War Galleries tell the story of the war – how it started, why it continued and its global impact – through the lives of those who experienced it.

Our dramatic new atrium – featuring iconic objects including a Harrier jet, Spitfire plane and V2 rocket – reveals how people’s lives have been affected by war and conflict from the First World War to the present day.

Explore stories and key moments from the Second World War in A Family in Wartime and The Holocaust. Discover stories of bravery in The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes and delve into the world of espionage in Secret War.

IWM is a member of the First World War Centenary Partnership, a network of organisations committed to the delivery of the First World War Centenary Programme: a global programme of events and activities inspiring young and old to remember the impact of the First World War on people and society today.

Find out more at www.1914.org

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Open daily, 10.00-18.00

Closed 24 - 26 December, 6 January - 19 July 2014

Admission charges


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.

Horrible Histories: Spies

  • 19 July 2014 — 4 January 2015 *on now

Uncover the deadly world of spies at this major interactive exhibition for families. Horrible Histories®: Spies brings the horrible history of Second World War spies and their secret schemes to life, based on Terry Deary’s book from the bestselling Horrible Histories series.

Find out which sneaky spies told the biggest lies, how exploding rats were used to sabotage German factories, and what secret agents carried in their suitcases (apart from their socks!). From exploding camel poo to irritating itching powder, this exhibition reveals the terrible tricks, traps and techniques used by spies to make secret war on the enemy – all the gore and more!

Set out on your own spy mission through the exhibition. Follow the trail to collect stamps to see what’s in a clever spy’s kit and keep your wits about you as you test your undercover skills including using devious disguises, sniffing out invisible ink and cracking cunning codes. See objects used by Second World War spies and discover the stories of the real wartime Super Spies before finding out if you’ve got what it takes to join their ruthless ranks.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly
  • Especially for children


Adult - £6.20
Child (4-15) - £3.30
Concessions - £4.40
Family of 3 - £12.25
Family of 4 - £15.60
Family of 5 - £19

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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



Oppy Wood, 1917, Evening by John Nash (1918)

Truth and Memory: British Art of the First World War

  • 19 July 2014 — 8 March 2015 *on now

Truth and Memory will be the largest exhibition and first major retrospective of British First World War art for almost 100 years and will include work by some of Britain’s most important artists of the twentieth century. Using artworks drawn mainly from IWM’s national collection, this exhibition will assess the immediate impact and enduring legacy of British art of the First World War.

Truth will explore how artists encountering the front lines experimented with new forms of art to capture the totally unfamiliar experience of the First World War. Through the work of CRW Nevinson, Paul Nash and William Orpen, amongst others, the exhibition will consider British artists’ quest for an authentic or ‘truthful’ representation of modern war.

Memory will move on to look at works produced at the end of the war and in its immediate aftermath, exploring the ambitious plans of Lord Beaverbrook’s British War Memorials Committee and the Imperial War Museum to build an artistic record of the nation’s war. Key commissioned paintings, such as Wyndham Lewis’s A Battery Shelled, will be displayed alongside important sculptural works like Jacob Epstein’s The Tin Hat and Eric Kennington’s studies for his Soissons Memorial to the Missing.



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





Decoy gun

IWM Contemporary: Jane and Louise Wilson

  • 15 October 2014 — 11 January 2015 *on now

The premiere of Undead Sun, a significant new video installation by Turner Prize-nominated artists Jane and Louise Wilson. The work was commissioned to mark the Centenary of the First World War and explores perspectives on visibility, technology and the reconstruction of narratives during that time.

During the First World War, the advent of aerial warfare and surveillance triggered rapid advance in optics and other technological innovation. Alongside these, new counter-measures in the arts of concealment and camouflage emerged.

Alluding to the threat of exposure from above, Undead Sun investigates ideas of vision, viewpoints and the visible. Consequently it also highlights the hidden and the concealed. The film itself is presented within a specially constructed architectural setting, in which the viewer’s own lines of sight are directed, and partially obstructed by screens of gauze.

This is the first iteration of an unfolding project, commissioned in partnership by Film and Video Umbrella, IWM, MIMA, Middlesbrough and Wolverhampton Art Gallery for the Centenary of the First World War. With special thanks to Artliner.

Supported using public funding from Arts Council England.



Three soldiers walking with their backs to the camera

War Story: Afghanistan 2014

  • 23 October 2014 — 6 September 2015 *on now

This year marks the end of a 13 year period where British troops have been in a combat role in Afghanistan. Through the little known personal stories of those on the ground, IWM London’s new display War Story: Afghanistan 2014 provides a snapshot of this pivotal point in the country’s history.

The voices and experiences of British troops, members of the Afghan National Security Forces and UK government and NGO workers will give visitors an insight into the transition at this time in terms of security and development, highlighting how the future of Afghanistan is delicately poised.

War Story is supported by Boeing Defence UK Ltd, a subsidiary of The Boeing Company.

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:




photograph of poppies

Poppy Field

  • 25 October — 2 November 2014

Grow your own poppy from paper and wire, and plant it in our poppy field to remember those who gave their lives to protect their country, from the First World War to conflicts today.

Suitable for

  • Any age



Martin Brown

Martin Brown Draws the First World War

  • 26 October 2014

12pm and 3pm

Illustrator Martin Brown will be bringing his art to life in an action-packed show full of jokes, stories and live drawing. Brush up on your art skills and hear some of the First World War stories of life in the Trenches which inspired Martin’s drawings for Horrible Histories® Terrible Trenches.

There will also be a chance for all budding artists to meet Martin at a book signing after the event. Copies of the latest Horrible Histories® titles will be available from our shop.

Suitable for the whole family.

Event ticket does not include admission to Horrible Histories®: Spies.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Ages 4 and up £7



Stories of World War One Edited by Tony Bradman

First World War in Children's Literature

  • 27 October 2014

12 - 1pm and 3 - 4pm

Join three renowned writers as they discuss the impact of and their approach to the First World War in children’s literature, fact and fiction.

Sarah Ridley will talk about how real wartime letters helped to inspire Dear Jelly and Brothers At War and Bernard Ashley will explore why Shadow of the Zeppelin offers several viewpoints from the First World War from both English and German perspectives. They will be joined by editor and writer Tony Bradman who has collated a fantastic anthology, Stories of World War One that brings together stories of soldiers from Britain and its Commonwealth.

Following the event there will be a book signing by the authors.

Recommended age 9+

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Ages 4 and up £7



War Horse at the New London Theatre

Inside the Horse

  • 28 — 29 October 2014 3-4pm

Join us as we go behind the scenes of the international blockbuster War Horse as Associate Puppetry Director Jimmy Grimes demonstrates how the horses work and tells us how the show was developed.

Joey, the life-size horse puppet, will meet visitors after the event.

Suitable for the whole family.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Ages 4 and up £10



Rae Smith

In Conversation with Rae Smith

  • 28 — 29 October 2014 12-1pm

Rae Smith, the Tony Award-winning designer of War Horse, will speak about her creative approach to the story and how IWM inspired her original designs, before taking questions from the audience.

Rae will also be signing copies of Michael Morpurgo's new hardback version of War Horse, which features her stunning illustrations.

Suitable for the whole family.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Ages 4 and up £10



Photograph of woman with a letter

First World War: Poems from the Front

  • 4 November 2014 7-9:30pm

Join John Simpson as he chairs a discussion that explores poems of the First World War including poetry readings by the relatives of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. Followed by Q and A session.

Suitable for

  • 18+
  • 16-17
  • 14-15


Adults £12.00, Concessions/IWM Friends £10.00.



photograph of elsie knocker and mairi chisholm

Why Soldiers Fight: From the First World War to Afghanistan

  • 19 November 2014 7-9:30pm

The British soldier serving in 2014, with their state of the art equipment, looks very different to the volunteer ‘Tommy’ of the First World War. But are today’s soldiers so different from those who served in 1914?

Followed by Q and A session.

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 14-15
  • 18+


Adults £12.00, Concessions/IWM Friends £10.00.



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?