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 the British people and the 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 display 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.
The Battle of the Somme | 100 years on
Watch IWM’s short film to discover facts about the Battle of the Somme and see how the site has changed since 1916.
Talks and Events
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