The National Army Museum in Chelsea is the central hub of all the British Army museums, as others tend to concentrate on just one regiment or corps. Starting with its formation during the English Civil War, the museum looks at the experience of soldiers over the centuries, up to the present day.
Built on the site of the former Infirmary for the Royal Hospital in Chelsea after it was bombed during World War II, the museum is situated on Royal Hospital Road in Chelsea, in a brutalist modern building designed in the 1960s.
Opened in 1971 and recently having undergone a massive refurbishment, the museum was reopened by the Queen in 2017, with a new focus on creating a dialogue about the army, exploring its purpose and looking at its relationship with the general public.
The museum is divided into five galleries, Soldier, Army, Battle, Society and Insight. So engrossed were we at the start of our visit, after two hours we were not able to do the Army Gallery justice, and had to skip the Insight Gallery altogether so we didn't miss our train home. My first tip for visiting the National Army Museum then is make sure you have ample time – three hours if you want to see all five galleries thoroughly.