While it is possible to visit London and stick to the main attractions, sometimes it’s worth looking around and seeing the city from a different perspective. Whether you’re there for a day or longer, check out these quirky museums for an alternative London experience.
Benjamin Franklin House
As the only surviving former residence of Benjamin Franklin, The Benjamin Franklin House is unusual and well worth a mention due to its “Historical Experience” tours, which occur roughly every hour and have to be booked. These tours are exceptional, as they incorporate live acting as well as sound and lighting effects to give the museum a distinct experience from others in London. Great for those who don’t enjoy reading thousands of plaques containing information.
Cost: Adult £7, Concessions £5.
Nearby Attractions: Trafalgar Square, National Galleries, Victoria Embankment Gardens, London Eye & Jubilee Gardens.
Nearby Underground: Charing Cross (Bakerloo/Northern), Embankment (Bakerloo/Northern/Circle/District).
Benjamin Franklin House, 36 Craven Street, London, UK
Sherlock Holmes Museum
Although not actually at Number 221b, this museum is indeed on Baker Street. Its combination of fiction and fact makes this museum unique. Both a step back in time and into the imagination, the museum creates what the house would have looked like if the real Holmes and Watson had resided there (between 1881-1904). It is quite small and due to the huge increase in Sherlock’s popularity over the past few years it can unsurprisingly become crowded with long queues. It’s best to get there early in order to avoid the crowds, but this quaint little place is a must for any excitable Sherlock fan.
Cost: Adult £10.
Nearby Attractions: Regents Park, Madame Tussauds.
Nearby Underground: Baker Street (Bakerloo/Circle/Hammersmith & City/Jubilee/Metropolitan), Marylebone (Bakerloo).
The Sherlock Holmes Museum, 221b Baker Street, London, UK
Old Operating Theatre
The fact that this museum has an online virtual tour is great, but if ever you get the chance to go to this museum, do. Its a great chance to peruse an unusual building full of peculiar artefacts and see for yourself one of the oldest surviving operating theatres in Europe. The smells from the Herb Garret just add to the experience of this museum and the possibility of seeing demonstrations on how they performed some of the early surgeries is a fascinating addition to the entire experience.
Cost: Adult £6.50, Concessions £5.
Nearby Attractions: London Bridge, London Bridge Experience, Tower of London.
Nearest Underground Station: London Bridge (Jubilee/Northern).
Old Operating Theatre Museum & Herb Garret, 9a St. Thomas Street, London, UK
Leighton House Museum
Leighton House Museum
Situated near Holland Park; which is enough to make anyone fall in love with London, this house may seem plain but it actually houses some of the best surviving orientalist interiors and aesthetics. Built during the nineteenth century for Lord Leighton, the studio-house now displays some of his works along with the stunning collections gathered by a range of Victorian treasures acquired from around the world. The interiors, which must been seen in person, are so lavish in colour and distinct in style that they easily manage to create a captivating house. Designed solely for the purpose of displaying the art of the era; this collection at Leighton typifies the Victorians eclectic taste and fascination with the orient.
Cost:Adult £7, Concessions £5.
Nearby Attractions: Holland Park, Kensington Palace.
Nearby Underground: High Street Kensington (Circle/District), Kensington (District), Holland Park Avenue (Central).
Leighton House Museum, 12 Holland Park Road, Kensington, London, UK
Only recently founded, the Wellcome Collection is an unusual collection right in the centre of London. Predominantly a medical museum, its tag line, ‘destination for the incurably curious’ is truly well deserved. A great place for those with an interest in medicine and those who are just painfully curious, the collection manages to incorporate medicine and life with connections in art, making it appeal to a wider audience than just science enthusiasts. The addition of a library, regular lively public events, and a café, all within the building make it a positive destination to spend hours; especially on rainy days.
Nearby attractions: British Library, UCL, St Pancras, Kings Cross.
Nearby Underground stations: Euston Square (Circle/Hammersmith & City/Metropolitain), Euston (Northern/Victoria).
Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, Kings Cross, London, UK
Bonus: Freud Museum
Bonus: Freud Museum
Located toward the outer edges of London on Maresfield Gardens, it was the home of the Freud family after the annexing of Austria by the Nazis until the death of his daughter Anna Freud in 1982. Including such treasures as Freud’s psychoanalytical couch and antiquities from his own collection, it is well worth a wander out to for any Psychology enthusiasts.
Cost: Adults £7. Concessions £4.
“Nearby” Attractions: Primrose Hill, Hampstead Heath, Hampstead Theatre.
Nearby Underground: Finchley Road (jubilee/Metropolitan), Swiss Cottage (Jubilee).
Freud Museum, 20 Maresfield Gardens, London, UK