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GO Museums in London

Museums in Greater 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 Museum [map], 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 ravens.

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 House [map], 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 Museum [map], 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 canal walks.

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 Museum [map], 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 main productions.

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 Archives [map], 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 [map], 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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