The RCM Museum of Music

The Royal College of Music Museum in London is a true treasure trove for music lovers and history buffs. Housed within the Royal College of Music, the museum boasts an impressive collection of over 100,000 items, including manuscripts, instruments, and memorabilia that span several centuries of musical history.

Located in South Kensington and a stone's throw from the Royal Albert Hall, the collection has a wealth of manuscripts by famous composers such as Handel, Purcell, and Elgar. Visitors can also see a range of rare and unique instruments, including a Stradivarius viola and a collection of early keyboard instruments.

One of the museum's highlights is the Handel Collection, which includes original scores and manuscripts by the great composer, as well as a selection of his personal possessions, such as his harpsichord and a portrait of him.

The museum also has a strong focus on the history of the Royal College of Music itself, with displays on the college's illustrious past. Including its founding in 1883 and the famous alumni musicians who have studied there such as Ralph Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Britten, and Mark-Anthony Turnage.

In addition to its permanent collection, the museum also regularly hosts temporary exhibitions, which have covered a wide range of subjects, including the history of the piano and the life and work of specific composers.

The museum is open to the public and offers guided tours and a range of educational programs for school groups and adults. It is a great place to visit for anyone interested in the history of music and the role that the Royal College of Music has played in shaping the world of classical music.

Overall, the Royal College of Music Museum is a must-see destination for music lovers visiting London. Its impressive collection and interesting exhibitions provide an in-depth look into the history of music and the Royal College of Music, making it a fascinating and educational experience.

Look out for…

  • Clavicytherium (an upright harpsichord) dated c 1480, believed to be the earliest surviving stringed keyboard instrument
  • The earliest dated guitar (Belchior Dias, 1581)
  • The earliest baryton (1647), and one of the most important collections of English viols on public display

Museum Video

Museum Facilities


Audio Guide

Wheelchair Access


Tour Guide




Venue Hire

All information is drawn from or provided by the museums 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.