Museums in London
Whatever you’re interested in you’ll find
a wealth of excellent award-winning museums in London.
With a rich history, it’s no surprise that Central
London has some of the most amazing museums in the world.
Your first port of call should be the imposing British
Great Russell Street, WC1. The British Museum homes a
wealth of British collections and also an extensive range
of worldwide artefacts and collections. Uncover some of
the earliest treasures in the world here.
Stay local with a visit to The Museum of London [map],
London Wall, EC2. This museum represents a quarter of
a million years of London and as you’d expect, is
a huge building with a wide range of interesting and exclusive
collections. A collection of thousands of photos and personal
testimonies from Londoners through the ages brings a very
unique feel to this museum.
A visit to London wouldn’t be complete without a
visit to the Tower of London [map].
The gruesome history of the tower, notably its use as
a royal prison, makes a fascinating story of scandal,
deceit, betrayal and execution. During your visit look
out for the Beefeaters guarding the tower and the famous
If you’re a literary buff and know your Nicholas
Nickleby from your Oliver Twist, a visit to the Dickens
House Museum [map] is a must. Based in the house that Dickens occupied for
several years in the late 1800s and when he was at the
height of his fame this museum at Doughty Street, Camden,
has a large collection of objects from Dickens every day
life as well as manuscripts of his early work.
Continuing on the literary trail Doctor Johnson’s
Gough Square, EC4, is where the legendary Doc dreamt up
the idea for a dictionary in the early 18th century. See
how he lived before being made bankrupt and giving up
this wonderful and lavish 17th century house.
With something interesting around every corner, there’s
plenty to engage young minds in West London and if you’re
a history buff you’ll be fascinated by the extensive
range of great venues.
Your first port of call should be Gunnersbury Park
Gunnersbury Park, Popes Lane, W3. This splendid 19th century
neo-classical mansion, one home to the Rothschild family,
is now a large museum featuring art and artefacts from
the 19th century. Changing exhibitions include toys, domestic
life, costumes and local history information.
Undoubtedly the most visited museum with an NW postcode
is Madame Tussauds [map] as hundreds of people flock there every year to see life-like
impressions of world favourites and British personalities.
Another man to make his mark on the world from North West
London was the poet John Keats. Keats lived in Wentworth
Place close to Hampstead Heath from 1818-1820 and
in that time wrote some of his best work including the
famous poem Ode to a Nightingale. Today the Regency residence
is known as Keats House [map],
a museum honouring the life and work of this great poet.
The Sherlock Holmes Museum [map] is another hotspot you can explore while in the area.
Although creator Arthur Conan Doyle tried to kill Holmes
off in his books he was always brought back due to popular
demand and this museum gives us an insight into why. Fans
of the stories will love this museum.
Two of the museums you’ll find on the east side
of London are to do with the joys of childhood: the Ragged
School Museum [map] and the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood [map].
Set in three canalside warehouses on Copperfield Road
is the Ragged School Museum [map].
Opened in 1990 this museum focuses on what it was like
to be at school in the Victorian East End. There are activities
for young people of all ages including history talks and
The Childhood Museum [map] in Bethnal Green covers more than 400 years of childhood
from the 16th century to the present day. With more than
6,000 items on display including some of the first jigsaws
and puzzles, there’s bound to be something here
to inspire the young and reawaken happy childhood memories.
Step back to where time literally began with a visit to The Greenwich Borough Museum [map],
Plumstead High Street, Greenwich, SE18. See a fine collection
of archaeology, coins, medals and as you’d expect
from Greenwich a range of time pieces, in this large museum
in the interesting borough of Greenwich.
Southwark is definitely the place to be for history lovers
and those who are searching for a more unusual slice of
London life. See how fire fighting has evolved over more
than 300 years with a visit to The London Fire Brigade
Winchester House, Southwark Bridge Road, Southwark, SE10.
Take the family to the high seas with a trip aboard the Golden Hinde Educational Museum [map],
St. Mary Overie Dock, Cathedral Street, Southwark, SE1.
This is an amazingly accurate reconstruction of Sir Francis
Drake’s Tudor Galleon, berthed on the Thames in
Bankside. Take a journey across the five decks of The
Golden Hinde to see the harsh realities of sailing the
seas in this period. Children have the opportunity to
listen to salty tales from old sea dogs and participate
in activities such as swilling the decks and learning
how to tie those all-important knots.
Theatre-goers should definitely pay a visit to Shakespeare’s
Globe Theatre [map],
New Globe Walk, Bankside Southwark, SE1. This theatre
was founded by the late actor/director Sam Wannamaker
and is a monument to the bette -understanding of Shakespeare
in the modern world. Inside The Globe you’ll discover
the world’s largest exhibition dedicated to Shakespeare
that showcases a range of artefacts from the Elizabethan
era as well as lively sword battles and rehearsals of
Find out about the history of the British solider through
war-torn continents and times of peace at The National
Army Museum [map],
Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, SW3. Here you’ll find
extensive displays on Britain’s most prominent wars
and an unrivalled collection of Victorian artefacts relating
to the Battle of Waterloo. See the impressive collection
of Victoria Crosses or the skeleton of Napoleon’s
horse. This is a great day out for all the family and
particularly educational for youngsters who may gain a
greater understanding about the part Britain has played
in many wars.
Not too far away is the British Red Cross Museum and
at Grosvenor Crescent, SW1, which charts the humanitarian
work of this fascinating organisation. From its humble
beginnings in 1863 The Red Cross has come to be a powerful
symbol in both war and peacetime and you’ll find
an enormous collection of documents, artefacts, and historical
reference files here.
Young and old are sure to enjoy the collections on show
at the Science Museum [map],
Exhibition Road, South Kensington, SW7. Home to a dazzling
array of science artefacts as well as exhibitions on themes
including technology and medicine this is undoubtedly
one of the best hands-on museums in London. This is also
the place to go for the stunning IMAX cinema, which provides
a programme of visual epics including 3-D films.
Also head to the Welcome Wing where you’ll have
the chance to morph your face and see what you’ll
look like in 20 years time.
Kids will love a visit to The Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road, SW7. With dinosaurs, creepy crawlies and
a range of bugs, children will be in their element. This
is also a great venue for an educational visit. See a
range of exhibitions including ecology and mammals and
don’t miss the popular “Earthquake Experience”.
The kids will love the new hands-on science centre called
Rhythm of Life, which gives children the chance to put
all they’ve learnt from their visit into action.
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