There’s more to London’s museum scene than the Natural History Museum and the V&A. The city is packed full of quirky, off the wall museums that cover everything from medicine to media. These are our favourites.
Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising
Yes, there’s a museum for everything nowadays, but the Museum of Brands is much more interesting than it sounds. Design buffs and nostalgia lovers will adore the range of items — there’s over 12,000 in total to recognise or remember. It’s a journey of how our shopping, eating and playing habits have changed.
111-117 Lancaster Rd, Notting Hill, London, +44 20 7243 9611
V&A Museum of Childhood
Over in Bethnal Green, the V&A’s delightful Museum of Childhood isn’t just for kids. There are photography exhibitions, artwork and workshops galore, as well as collaborative events with famous children’s artists.
Cambridge Heath Rd, London, +44 20 8983 5200
Old Operating Theatre
Don’t get too squeamish at this original 19th-century operating theatre museum. The galleys would originally have been filled with students observing the beginnings of modern surgery; the patients often went without anaesthetic and experienced fatal results. It has been closed for the last few months but reopens in July 2017.
Old Operating Theatre, 9a St Thomas St, London, +44 20 7188 2679
Museum of London
Telling the story of the UK’s capital is the Museum of London. Nine galleries span nearly 2,000 years of history with regularly changing exhibitions that focus on aspect of London’s past such as The Blitz or the plague. Modern and interactive rather than dusty and dull, it gives you a new perspective on one of the most multicultural cities in the world.
150 London Wall, London, +44 20 7001 9844
This little museum hidden away in cute alms houses along Kingsland Road tells the story of the household and interior design over the last 500 years. Walk through dining rooms of the Elizabethans or living rooms of the Victorians and discover what daily life was like across the centuries.
136 Kingsland Rd, London, +44 20 7739 9893
Imperial War Museum
Over at Lambeth North you’ll find the Imperial War Museum, dedicated to recounting the trauma and history of not just the two World Wars, but also other, less well known, wars from the last couple of centuries. Find tanks, planes and rockets alongside stirring photography exhibitions that change every few months.
Lambeth Rd, London, +44 20 7416 5000
Sherlock Holmes Museum
It’s only right that London’s most famous detective has his own museum. Find the Sherlock Holmes Museum on Baker Street itself. It’s a quirky homage to the clever detective and his sidekick Dr John Watson, filled with items the fictional men could have used, and you might even see a detective in costume. Sadly, it probably won’t be Benedict Cumberbatch.
221b Baker Street, London, +44 207 224 3688
Austrian psychoanalyst and the father of modern day daddy issues, Sigmund Freud set up his practice in London after his family escaped Austria just before World War II. The Freud Museum, his house for five decades, is just as it was when he died: there’s his famous couch, of course, but also his notes, library and a personal collection of antiques.
20 Maresfield Gardens, London, +44 20 7435 2002
Bank of England Museum
Money makes the world go round, so why not pay it a visit at the Bank of England? There’s been a bank here since 1694 and the Bank of England Museum charts the role that money and cash have played in the UK. There are lots of ancient specimens of coins and some of the first bank notes ever produced.
Bartholomew Ln, London, +44 20 7601 5545
London Film Museum
Cinema has a long relationship with London and you can trace it all the way back at the London Film Museum. It’s great for kids and families as there are plenty of interactive elements. The focus is mostly on British film, and at the moment there is a exhibition of all of James Bond‘s famous cars and vehicles.
45 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, London, +44 20 7836 4913