First World War Galleries
100 years on from the Battle of the Somme, experience our ground-breaking First World War Galleries.
Discover the story of the war through the eyes of people in Britain and its empire, both on the home front and the fighting fronts. Gain an understanding of how the war started, why it continued, how the Allies won and its global impact. See over 1,300 objects drawn from IWM’s First World War collections – the richest and most comprehensive in the world. Ranging from weapons, uniforms and equipment, to diaries and letters, keepsakes and trinkets, photographs, film and art. Each object on displays gives a voice to the people who created them, used them or cared for them, and reveals stories not only of destruction, suffering and loss, but also endurance and innovation, duty and devotion, comradeship and love.
Free admission. Plan your visit
The Battle of the Somme
One of the most bitterly contested and costly battles of the First World War, lasting nearly five months, the Battle of the Somme (1 July - 18 November 1916) was a joint operation between British and French forces intended to achieve a decisive victory over the Germans on the Western Front. For many in Britain, the resulting battle remains the most painful and infamous episode of the First World War. Learn more
See how the war started, why it continued, how the Allies won and its impact on people's lives across the globe. Walk through a recreated trench with a Sopwith Camel plane swooping low overhead as a Mark V Tank looms above you. Explore the war at sea and campaigns in the Middle East, Africa, Gallipoli and the Western Front. From sentry duty to sports days find out about all aspects of life at the front.
Flight of the Stories
Watch Flight of the Stories – a short film for the First World War Galleries created by Aardman Studios
Talks and Events
An exclusive, hour long tour in our First World War Galleries looking at why and how the Battle of the Somme was fought and the impact it had on Britain and the world.
Available 7 days a week, 9-10am or 6.15-7.15pm
In this immersive object handling session, visitors of all ages can explore, discuss with our team and share their own responses about the original objects from our collections and their connections with the iconic objects on display in our atrium and the content of the First World War Galleries.
Every Saturday & Sunday, 11am - 4pm
Nearest tube stations:
Waterloo (15 mins)
Elephant and Castle (15 mins)
Please note that Lambeth North station is closed for lift replacement works between 13 July 2016 and mid-February 2017.
Open 10am - 6pm every day
Last admission is at 5.30pm