The British Film Institute, on the south bank of the Thames, houses a staggering cache of archive footage – it’s hard to imagine a resource offering a more diverse and accessible sweep of British life.

Whatever you’re interested in – sport, music, politics – you’ll find reams of footage to sate your curiosity and reveal not only untold pearls of wisdom about Britain, but Britain’s view of itself.

Proud City, made in 1946, documents the rebuilding of London after World War II, highlighting that “the greatest city the world has ever known” exists in a permanent state of flux. Or Anarchy In The UK, a collection of films cataloguing the ’70s punk movement.

It’s an incredible collection of films that artfully charts this nation’s ever-shifting zeitgeist.

You could spend hours here.

» BFI Southbank, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XT  Waterloo. Free

Great for: Media junkies

Words: Tom Sturrock