50 weird museums in London!

  • 20 September, 2013

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It’s not hyperbole to say that London is home to many of the world’s best museums. Venues such as the British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Science Museum and Design Museum can justly lay claim to being the best in their field (and most of them are free too). But with so many world-famous museums dominating the itineraries of tourists and being a first port of call for locals with visitors in tow, it can be easy to overlook London’s cornucopia of lesser-known and smaller-scale museums. With that in mind I’ve rounded up 50 of the best unusual London museums for people looking for alternatives to the big hitters. I’ve termed them ‘unusual’ not because their subject matter is quirky or weird – although, sometimes, that’s definitely the case – but because they’re not typically the usual choice for newer visitors to the city. They’re listed in no particular order below. If you have any further recommendations add them in the comments selection below!

 
1. Fan Museum, Greenwich
Greenwich’s Fan Museum is the only museum in the world dedicated entirely to fans, a fact that may or may not surprise you. Housed in a Grade II listed building that dates from the 18th century, the museum holds a collection of over 3,500 fans. Predominantly antique rather than modern, some of those on display date from 11th century. First-time visitors find the permanent display beguiling but lovers of fashion and design have good reason to return – temporary exhibitions change approximately every four months and the museum also offers an affordable afternoon tea on select days.
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2. Cartoon Museum, Holborn
Just a few streets away from the looming British Museum, the diminutiveCartoon Museum is easily missed but worth seeking out. Its mission is to preserve and promote British cartoon art, comic art and caricature and with a collection that dates from the 18th century to the present, visitors of all ages will discover cartoons that tickle their fancy or spark a childhood memory. Playful and popular cartoon strips featuring The Bash Street Kids, Billy the Whizz and Dennis the Menace are shown alongside rarer and more politically minded works; if you feel the subject matter warrants further exploration you can also make an appointment to access the museum’s library, where comic book connoisseurs can study the medium further.

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3. Old Operating Theatre, London Bridge
In the 1800s, the Old Operating Theatre was used as an operating space for the deathly sick interned at St. Thomas’s Hospital. In those times medical equipment was primitive and effective anaesthesia unavailable so invasive surgeries such as amputations were terrifying ordeals for patients – although a skilled surgeon could perform the procedure in under a minute, novices would sometimes hack and chisel at mangled limbs for much longer. Staff talks on the theatre bring the innocuous wood-panelled space to gruesome life so it’s worth timing your visit to coincide with one; the adjacent herb garret exhibition space has complementary medical displays.

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4. Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising; Notting Hill
Those same household products that we retrieve from supermarket shelves week-in, week-out are so familiar that we may not consciously consider our relationships with them, but the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising seeks to do just that. Started by consumer historian Robert Opie, the museum’s collection includes over 12,000 original items that should be familiar to all of us, be they packets of cereal, tins of baked beans or sachets of custard powder. Consider an amble through the space a rummage through a particularly well-stocked larder and prepare to encounter plenty of decommissioned products that once held pride of place on your family’s kitchen table.

 

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5. The Vault at Hard Rock Café, Park Lane
With so many unique restaurants in London I despair when I see tourists queuing for a table at the Hard Rock Café but fans of music memorabilia will appreciate The Vault. So named because the space was once part of a Coutts bank and now holds valuable music mementos, the display area houses some impressive exhibits. Items in the collection include the guitar used by Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash in the November Rain video, a harpsichord frequently used by The Beatles and, strangely, one of Madonna’s old credit cards. Open seven days a week, The Vault’s opening hours are different from the main dining space (typically it’s open from midday to 9pm) and admission is free.

 

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6. British Dental Association Dental Museum, Marylebone
Its origins may date back almost 100 years but there are still plenty of lifelong Londoners oblivious to the existence of the BDA Dental Museum. Its foundations date back to 1919 when Lilian Lindsay, the first female to qualify as a dentist in the country, donated a number of old dental instruments to the association. Today the museum’s collection includes some 20,000 items with dental instruments, furniture, photographs and art all on display. With few people enthusiastic about a trip to the dentist, going to the museum might be another way to pay your respects to this field of medicine.

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7. Pollock’s Toy Museum, Fitzrovia
The space is cluttered and the collection of old, beady-eyed dolls could be considered somewhat creepy, but Pollock’s Toy Museum is an intriguing place. The museum itself occupies two conjoined houses near Goodge Street and when wandering from one small room to another prepare to encounter toys from your own childhood. Despite the ostensibly juvenile subject matter this museum is possibly better suited to adults who want to wallow in nostalgia than parents who want to provide their kids with distraction.

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8. The Crime Museum, New Scotland Yard
London has plenty of macabre museums, but perhaps the most morbid is The Crime Museum, better known as The Black Museum, at New Scotland Yard. Housing an extensive number of weapons which have been used to commit murders or serious assaults in London, its collection includes items used by Jack the Ripper and Charlie Peace. The cases the displays are connected to remain shocking and emotive and it’s perhaps for that reason the museum isn’t open to the general public; however, members of the police forces or associated bodies sometimes access the space to attend lectures on forensic science, pathology, law and investigative techniques.

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9. Geffrye Museum, Hackney
Anyone with an interest in interiors or design will be charmed by the Geffrye Museum in Hoxton. Based in a series of connected 18th century almshouses, the museum shows typical middle-class living quarters in a succession of period rooms. Visitors start their journey in a traditional 17th century living space and gradually work their way up to the present day. Period gardens in the grounds repeat the process so there’s even more to discover outdoors when weather permits.

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10. Household Cavalry Museum
The imposing, Grade I listed Horse Guards in Whitehall makes an impressive setting for the Household Cavalry Museum. The Household Cavalry guards the Queen on ceremonial occasions and also forms an operational regiment that serves around the world; visitors to the museum can learn about its role in detail through interactive displays and can often see members of the cavalry tending to their duties and caring for their horses in the Horse Guards’ 18th century stables.

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11. Magic Circle Museum, Euston
By Euston Station, The Magic Circle is a private club where magicians converge; the Magic Circle Museum is a connected space that gives the rest of us insight into how the world’s greatest illusionists operate. Accompanied by guides, visitors can view props used by the likes of Harry Houdini and Chung Ling Soo, the rifles used for Maurice Fogel’s ‘bullet catch’ and hundreds of rare posters.

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12. Freud Museum, Hampstead
A short stroll from Finchley Road Underground station, the Freud Museum is housed in what was once the home of Sigmund Freud and his family. They moved here after escaping the Nazi annexation of Austria in 1938 and it was occupied by the family until the death of Freud’s youngest daughter Anna Freud in 1982. It was her wish that the home become a museum that paid tribute to her father’s efforts, and the space remains crammed with his and her accoutrements. Most popular is Freud’s psychoanalytic couch, but visitors will also discover his collection of antiquities, Freud’s writing desk and items from his library.

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13. London Sewing Machine Museum, Balham
Part of the Wimbledon Sewing Machine Company, the London Sewing Machine Museum charts the history and evolution of sewing machines both domestic and industrial and contains some 700 different types. Those especially interested in these tools might be excited by an example of the first Singer machine and a machine originally owned by Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter, but this idiosyncratic space is also enjoyed by all manner of designer. It’s usually open only on the first Saturday of each month.

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14. London Fire Brigade Museum, Southwark
The London Fire Brigade Museum in Southwark is a must-visit for any adult who aspired to work in the fire brigade as a child, and an interesting attraction for everyone else too. Housed in what was once part of the original Southwark fire station, the museum’s most impressive exhibits are its historical fire engines and Victorian-era gear room but there’s plenty to explore. Visits must be arranged by prior appointment and guests are accompanied by an expert guide.

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15. Sherlock Holmes Museum, Baker Street
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote that his fictional characters Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson lived at 221b Baker Street and that is the location of the real-life Sherlock Holmes Museum. Despite the men never existing, the museum does a good job of creating a setting that seems authentic, with the multi-storey space crammed with antique artefacts that could have been used by the sleuth and his associate. An added attraction is the man in period costume usually stationed outside the door, providing a popular photo opportunity for visiting tourists.

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16. The Royal London Museum, Whitechapel
Within the Royal London Hospital, the Royal London Museum documents the history of the hospital and the most notable cases treated there. Surgical instruments, old uniforms and assorted trinkets make for atmospheric displays but the venue is perhaps most known for its showcase on forensic medicine – which includes original material related to the Jack the Ripper murders – and its association with Joseph Merrick, the ‘Elephant Man’. He spent the last four years of his life in a specially adapted room within the hospital, and some of his personal effects (including his hat, veil and a cardboard church he made as a gift) remain on show.

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17. Bank of England Museum, City of London
Global financial markets are more confusing than ever, so this could be considered a good time to visit the Bank of England Museum for some contextualisation and education. Tracing the history of the Bank of England from its 1694 foundation to the present day, the museum includes displays of old banknotes and coins, antique furniture, historic pictures and glistening gold bars. Entry to the museum is free which, given how much financial pain everyone’s already in, is just as well.

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18. Garden Museum, Lambeth
Beautiful and tranquil, the Garden Museum lays in the church of St Mary’s in Lambeth, with the Thames surging past its door. Within the tastefully adapted church, changing exhibitions consider issues related to British gardens and are supplemented by a series of talks; permanent displays of paintings, tools and garden equipment provide further interest. Outside, the grounds contain a well-tended knot garden and the tombs of the celebrated gardeners John the Elder and Younger.

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19. World Rugby Museum, Twickenham
Within Twickenham Stadium, the World Rugby Museum is home to one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of rugby memorabilia. Many of its 10,000 objects are kept in storage but trophies, historical photographs and early match programmes and tickets are typically on display. If visiting the museum, consider timing your visit to coincide with one of the tours of Twickenham Stadium (for which there’s an additional charge). When running, they allow fans to take a walk around the pitch itself, the players’ tunnel and the England dressing room.

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20. New London Architecture, Holborn
New London Architecture concerns itself with all issues related to London-based architecture, planning, development and construction, and its publicly accessible galleries seek to inform Londoners about the capital’s rapidly changing cityscape. An ongoing programme of debates and discussions consider pertinent issues in depth, but if you only have time for a quick visit, be sure to check out the giant scale model of central London. Measuring 12 metres, the 1:1500 scale model also includes proposed London buildings that have secured planning permission and are in development.

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21. The Cinema Museum, Kennington
The Cinema Museum celebrates all aspects of cinema, with a particular appreciation for the pre-digital days when ‘going to the pictures’ was a ticket to escapism and fantasy. The extensive collection deserves detailed exploration, including as it does countless photographic images, old cinema posters, cinema staff uniforms and antique cinema fixtures. Guided tours of the museum are available most days but must be booked in advance as they’re lead by volunteers; a varied complementary programme of talks and screenings attract all manner of cinema enthusiasts and film industry insiders.

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22. Leighton House Museum, Holland Park
Its exterior may be unprepossessing, but Leighton House Museum’s beautifully opulent interiors must rival the most lavish private houses in surrounding Kensington. The building was once the home and studio of the Victorian artist Lord Frederic Leighton and it remains a showcase for his spectacular artefacts. The central Arab Hall displays Leighton’s dazzling collection of shimmering Islamic tiles, but other ornate rooms impress with antique furniture and tasteful contemporary art displays. If possible it’s worth timing your visit to coincide with the free tours given at certain times on Wednesdays and Sundays; otherwise it’s possible to download an MP3 tour of the house from the museum website in advance of your visit.

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23. V&A Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green
The V&A Museum in South Kensington is known internationally as one of the world’s greatest museums of art and design; less recognised is its Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. This is where the V&A houses its collection of childhood-related objects and with displayed objects often dating back decades (and in some cases centuries), it’s worth a visit whatever your age. The curators deserve further kudos for providing a complementary programme of free daily drop-in activities for children, all designed to entertain and educate young minds.

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24. Petrie Museum, Euston
Found within UCL, the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology may be small but its collection of some 80,000 objects makes it one of the greatest museums of its type anywhere. Among its artefacts are sculptures of lions from the temple of Min at Koptos, dating from around 3000BC and the oldest wills on papyrus paper, as well as various ancient costumes and a series of Roman-period mummy portraits. Admission is free but opening hours are limited so check in advance of your visit.

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25. Whitechapel Bell Foundry, Whitechapel
The Whitechapel Bell Foundry is best known for two things: being the oldest manufacturing company in Britain, having been founded in 1570 and operating continually since; and for creating the Big Ben bell at the Palace of Westminster. The foundry includes a small exhibition space in its foyer but is best explored on a pre-booked tour. Detailing the efforts undertaken to cast bells and showing the workspaces in which they’re made, the tour provides detailed insight into the company’s operations and the limited numbers accommodated in the small space means places get snapped up quickly.

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26. British Optical Association Museum, Charing Cross
Also known as the MusEYEum, the British Optical Association Museum in Charing Cross is managed by the College of Optometrists, who promise visitors will find its collection “eye-catching”. That collection includes over 3,000 pairs of spectacles (with a pair recently rejected by Johnny Depp providing a celebrity link), porcelain eyebaths, oil paintings with optical themes, optometry equipment and a contact lens collection. It’s a curious spot just a few minutes from Trafalgar Square and the main areas are free to visit; a small fee is payable when participating in a pre-arranged tour of the college’s meeting rooms.

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27. Ragged School Museum, Mile End
Ragged schools were schools that sought to educate impoverished children in 1800s Britain; Mile End’s Ragged School Museum considers what conditions were like for ragged schools’ pupils. On display are numerous educational items, such as desks, ink bottles and slate boards, as well as objects relating to contemporary leisure and work life, but the museum’s crowning glory is its Victorian classroom. Laid out in the same way as it would have been in an original ragged school, the space is best experienced during the monthly open house sessions, when actors in period costume teach a lesson to visitors of all ages.

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28. Florence Nightinggale Museum, Lambeth
The legacy of the Lady with the Lamp is displayed in detail at Lambeth’sFlorence Nightingale Museum (above). Tracing every stage of her life, from her privileged youth to her exertions during the Crimean War, the museum brings her story into focus with engaging displays and some of her possessions, including a series of letters she wrote.

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29. Firepower, the Royal Artillery Museum, Woolwich 
The Royal Artillery Museum has been at its current location since 2001, but it has existed since 1820 and is considered the world’s oldest military museum. In its current incarnation the museum tells the story of artillery and considers the human stories that are often forgotten in tales of warfare. The ‘Field of Fire’ audio-visual show is an installation that does its best to give non-military personnel some insight into how it must feel in a war zone as bullets shoot overhead. The museum also showcases munitions made at the Royal Arsenal and its general display includes uniforms, diaries and medals in addition to weaponry.

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30. John Keats House, Hampstead
Keats’s story is imbued with sadness and romance and those qualities are brought to life at Keats House in Hampstead (below). The poet lived here shortly before he died of tuberculosis, aged just 25, and it was here he wrote some of his most memorable works and fell in love with his neighbour Fanny Brawne. The museum includes various Keats books, paintings and keepsakes but its most famous object is the engagement ring he gave to Brawne. The design of the pretty, free-to-enter house garden is inspired by Keats’s poems and is a popular spot with picnicking couples on dates.

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31. The Olympic Museum, Royal Opera House Covent Garden
Although the other attractions listed here are open permanently, the Olympic Museum is only in London fleetingly. For much of the Games period, objects from the Olympic Museum in Lausanne are being displayed in a temporary museum within the Royal Opera House, in what is being touted by London 2012 Festival director Ruth Mackenzie as “a once-in-a-lifetime display of extraordinary artefacts in the heart of London.” It’s a convincing claim as the exhibition will include a display of all the Olympic medals dating from the first modern Games in Athens in 1896 and all of the Olympic torches since the Berlin Games in 1936 – that was the first year they were used.

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32. Sir John Soane’s Museum, Holborn
The architect Sir John Soane left his mark all over London – he designed the Bank of England and the Dulwich Picture Gallery, among other buildings – but it’s a visit to his own home that impresses architecture fans the most. Soane arranged for the house to become a museum for architecture ‘amateurs and students’ after his death (in 1837) and the Lincoln’s Inn Fields property has stood largely unaltered since that time. Wandering the interior, you’ll discover countless antiquities and curiosities including ancient artefacts from Egypt and the Orient, old timepieces and period furniture. The museum holds candelit evening opens on the first Tuesday of each month, which are beautifully atmospheric but extremely popular and often oversubscribed.

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33. Anaesthesia Heritage Centre Museum, Portland Place
Managed by the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland, and housed in its headquarters, the Anaesthesia Museum is a niche proposition – as you’ve deduced its collection relates solely to anaesthesia. Still, its collection of anaesthesia-related objects chart an impressive evolution in medical development and should be of interest to anyone in the medical field.

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34. Museum of Freemasonry, Covent Garden
Anyone intrigued or confounded by freemasonry is welcome to visit the library and museum within the Freemasons’ Hall for edification. Giving some insight into the freemason existence, the museum’s collection includes numerous prints and photographs, artefacts from famous freemasons such as Winston Churchill and displays detailing freemason hierarchy and everyday practices. It’s worth timing your tour to coincide with one of the many free tours of the Freemasons’ Hall Grand Temple and ceremonial areas.

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35. Fashion and Textile Museum, Bermondsey
Founded by Zandra Rhodes and operated by Newham College, the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey concerns itself with all things relating to fashion, textile and jewellery. The main draw here is the museum’s programme of temporary exhibitions rather than an extensive permanent display, and the curators here regularly develop shows that consider the influence of past fashion innovators or promote emerging design talents. The gift shop is worth a browse too, stocking a carefully selected range of products from talented designers just now making a name for themselves.

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36. Handel House Museum, Mayfair
The composer George Frideric Handel was born in Germany but spent the last 36 years of his life living at 25 Brook Street in London. The museum now based in his former home brims with artefacts and portraits relating to Handel and his contemporaries but its most charming facet is its infusion of music. Concerts are regularly performed within the museum and specially selected musicians are also allowed to rehearse a Baroque-period repertoire in the museum’s rehearsal room at other times. Time your visit right and you’ll be able to hear Handel’s classic works performed by a modern master.

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37. HMS Belfast, Tower Bridge
Part of the Imperial War Museums body of cultural institutions, the HMS Belfast is a one-time warship that now serves as a permanent tourist attraction. Spread over nine decks, the museum space catalogues both the immense challenges of life on the sea and the mundane daily realities faced by a confined crew that could top over 900 people.

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38. Cuming Museum, Southwark
A museum for over 100 years, the Cuming Museum in Southwark houses the eclectic collection of curios and antiquities accumulated by father and son Richard and Henry Cuming between 1788 and 1902. Upon its 1906 opening the space was described as “the British Museum in miniature” and its varied range of costumes, textiles, medals, weapons and trinkets come from at least 50 different countries. The museum also contains display areas dedicated to the history of the local area.

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39. Horniman Museum, Lewisham
The Horniman Museum would be one of London’s ‘must-visit’ museums if it was located in the city centre, but its suburban location in south London means the site isn’t entrenched on the tourist circuit. Which is a good thing as you don’t have to battle intense crowds to survey the museum’s eclectic and eccentric collection. Its core objects were curios collected by Frederick John Horniman in Victorian times and the continually evolving and expanding displays include all manner of objects relating to anthropology, music and natural history. Most famous is the museum’s massive stuffed walrus but a bizarre merman sculpture fashioned from paper-maché and fish remains and assorted tribal masks are also worth looking out for. The free museum is also flanked by 16-acre gardens which are also open to the public.

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40. MCC Museum, Lord’s Cricket Ground
Housed within the Lord’s Cricket Ground by Regent’s Park, the MCC Museumis rammed on match days but is open throughout the year and a worthy stop-off point for anyone with an interest in cricket. As well as the expected collection of photography, clothing and regalia, the museum includes its share of oddities – not least a stuffed sparrow that was ‘bowled out’ during a 1936 match.

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41. Westminster Abbey Museum, Westminster
An ancient and spectacular place of worship still in everyday use, it’s only right that Westminster Abbey should have a museum dedicated to it. Housed within an 11th-century vaulted undercroft of the abbey, the museum reinforces the sense of history that permeates this space with centuries-old exhibits. Weaponry carried at the 1422 funeral of Henry V is displayed alongside 12th-century sculptures and effigies of assorted past royals.

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42. The Clockmakers’ Museum, Moorgate

The Clockmakers’ Museum in the City of London can trace its origins to the 1813 foundation of the Clockmakers’ Company Library. A collection of clocks grew in tandem with the library and now numbers some 600 English and European watches, 30 clocks and 15 marine timekeepers. Horologists and jewellers will find the assortment of timepieces (mostly dating from 1600-1850) dazzling and fascinating but the free museum welcomes anyone with an appreciation for design and tradition. Prepare to leave coveting a timepiece of your own and lamenting how mobile phones have usurped the sturdy wristwatch.

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43. Hunterian Museum, Holborn
Within the Royal College of Surgeons, the Hunterian Museum in Holborn draws from the collection of 18th-century surgeon and anatomist John Hunter and forms one of the most thorough anatomical and pathological displays in the country. An excellent learning resource for medical students, the slick exhibition space should prove just as appealing to casual visitors. On show are various medical oddities, sometimes macabre and often fascinating. One of the most famous artefacts is the skeleton of the 7’ 7” giant Charles Byrne, while other bizarre additions include Winston Churchill’s dentures and the tooth of an extinct giant sloth. The museum is free and it’s worth timing your visit to coincide with the curator-led guided tours that take place most Wednesdays at 1pm. They’re also free but places are limited so it’s worth calling to book your space in advance.

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44. Foundling Museum, Brunswick Square
The Foundling Hospital was founded in 1739 to care for abandoned children, the Foundling Museum tells its story. The artist William Hogarth and composer Handel were major benefactors of the hospital and art and music are, perhaps unexpectedly, a strongpoint of the museum; paintings by Francis Hayman, Joseph Highmore and various others stand alongside Hogarth’s works, the Gerald Coke Handel Collection of manuscripts, printed books and music and ephemera is one of the most comprehensive collections of Handel-related items publicly accessible.

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45. National Army Museum, Chelsea
The National Army Museum documents and celebrates Britain’s armed forces past and present with a series of considered permanent galleries and permanent exhibitions. The World Wars remain an area of focus, but other displays examine life in the British Army from 1784 to directly before the First World War. The Conflicts of Interest section considers wars from 1969 to the present day, including the conflicts in Northern Ireland and the Falkland Islands, but often it’s the smaller personal effects on display that bring the everyday realities of war faced by British army personnel into sharpest focus.

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46. Grant Museum of Zoology, Euston
The Grant Museum of Zoology is a labyrinth of animal oddities, jammed with skeletons, species preserved in vials and extinct specimens. Housed within UCL, the museum is well known to students but it also does a commendable job of attracting external visitors. Admission is free, iPads positioned by displays invite spectators to log their comments and contribute to discussions, and innovative temporary exhibitions – such as one showcasing animal-made artworks – make complex scientific and academic debate accessible and engaging.

The Grant Museum Of Zoology Houses A Collection Of Weird And Wonderful Artefacts

 

47. The Guards Museum, Victoria
A short stroll from Buckingham Palace, the Guards Museum is dedicated to the five regiments of Foot Guards (the Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards) who, along with the Household Cavelry, make up the Queen’s Household Division and guard the Sovereign and the Royal Palaces. Many of their members were shown in fine fettle during the spectacular Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the museum goes some way in explaining their history and clarifying the reasons behind the pomp and ceremony they formed such an integral part of.

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48. 2 Willow Road, Hampstead
The home at 2 Willow Road in Hampstead was designed by Ernö Goldfinger in 1939 as his family home. Finished with features that were pioneering in their time, and which still look current today, the property is an exceptional example of Modernist design and is now a National Trust site that can be enjoyed by the public. Given its original purpose the space is unsurprisingly small but there’s plenty to see, with artworks by Max Ernst, Henry Moor and Bridget Riley complementing the beguiling original interior. Be sure to time your visit so you can join one of the guided tours of the property.

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49. Museum of the Order of St John, Clerkenwell
Most people are familiar with St John Ambulance, but fewer know that its origins stretch back to 11th-century Jerusalem. The Museum of the Order of St John examines the order’s original role as a hospital to care for sick pilgrims in Jerusalem and includes exhibits that steer its story to the modern day. Also of interest to visitors is the museum’s setting – spread over two sites, it occupies the 1504 St John’s Gate, which was the entrance to the former Priory of the Knights of St John, and the Priory Church of St John, which houses an impressive 12th-century crypt.

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50. Churchill War Rooms and Churchill Museum, Westminster
The Churchill War Rooms is located on the site of the maintained and protected Cabinet War Rooms, where those who oversaw Britain’s wartime government sheltered during the Blitz. It’s a fascinating subterranean space that allows modern-day visitors to see this crucial military epicentre as it was at the end of Britain’s war effort in 1945. An intriguing addition to the space, the Churchill Museum is the only major museum anywhere dedicated entirely to Sir Winston Churchill. Examining his life in detail it considers the massive contribution he made to the war effort, and to life in the nation generally, with his skills as an orator and leader brought to rousing life through recordings of his ‘We shall fight them on the beaches’ speech and other key public addresses.

Churchill's Transatlantic telephone

 
 
 

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