London’s interesting small museums:
London is full of interesting museums and galleries that cover almost every conceivable subject matter. The British Museum alone is said to hold 1.5 million objects in its collection and it would take a lifetime to see them all.
But London also has a range of small museums that rarely make the London itineraries of visitors and are often overlooked. Many of these local and specialist London museums are cheap or free to visit, offer special insider’s knowledge and are often located in areas of London teeming with history and atmosphere. Following are just a few examples of London’s small museums.
|Bank of England Museum||The Bank of England Museum traces the history of the bank from its foundation by Royal Charter in 1694 to its role today as the country’s central bank. There are gold bars, coins and banknotes, as well as many items you might not expect to find… |
The Museum is not only for adults. Kids can explore the Museum, discover treasures and find some surprising facts.
|Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms||Explore Britain’s secret underground World War II headquarters. Located behind Downing Street, this underground complex has been left as it was in 1945. The new Churchill Museum, attached to the Cabinet War Rooms, reveals more about the man behind the cigar. |
|Fan Museum||This unique museum is home to the world’s finest collection of fans, dating from the 11th century to the present day. Housed in a pair of beautifully restored 18th century houses, the Fan Museum also features a Japanese garden and spectacular orangery with a much-admired mural and fascinating gift shop. Read more about the Fan Museum.> |
|Geffyre Museum||One of London’s most friendly and charming museums, the Geffrye presents the history of the English domestic interior from 1600 to the present day. The museum is set in delightful 18th-century almshouse buildings with attractive gardens, including a walled herb garden and series of period gardens. Free Entry |
|Household Cavalry Museum||Most visitors to London make it their mission to see the Changing of the Guard. Now that you’ve seen the Changing of the Guard, now look behind the scenes at the work that goes into the ceremonial duties and operational roles of the Household Cavalry. Watch troopers working with their horses in the original 18th century stables and browse a collection representing over 300 years of military history. |
Address: Horse Guards, Whitehall, London SW1A 2AX
|Kew Bridge Steam Museum||The giant beam engines here (the earliest built in 1820) are the largest of their kind in the world. Housed in a Victorian waterworks, these engines pumped London’s water for over 100 years. There’s a steam railway, waterwheel and horse-gin. The massive steam-pumping engines are working at weekends and Bank Holidays. |
Address: Green Dragon Lane, Brentford TW8 0EN
|London Canal Museum||The London Canal Museum tells the colourful story of London’s canals, their people, the cargoes, the boats and their trade. Find out about the horses that pulled the boats and carts on the streets and discover the amazing Victorian trade in natural ice, brought from Norway to keep London cool. |
Canal cruising is gaining popularity as a holiday theme and this museum provides added historical background for that cruise down the canals.
See here for more about the London Canal Museum >
|Movieum of London||Explore the world of the movies at this museum on London’s south bank. Interactive exhibits offer the chance to look behind the scenes of famous films and to storyboard and shoot your own movie. There are also props and exhibits from films like Superman, Star Wars and Batman. |
Very popular with school kids.
|Museum of London||Historic objects and exhibitions tell the story of the London’s turbulent past. Discover prehistoric London, see how the city changed under Roman rule, and wonder at the grandeur of medieval London. Free entry |
|Museum of London in the Docklands||This excellent museum housed in a restored Georgian warehouse in London’s docklands area explores the story of London’s river, port and people from Roman times through to recent regeneration. |
Address: West India Quay, Canary Wharf, London E14 4AL
|Royal Institution||This grand building just off Piccadilly has been home to 14 Nobel prizewinners, and housed the laboratories of some of the world’s greatest scientific minds. The small but entertaining exhibition explores the illustrious history of the RI, and uses animations and comedy to explain some of the groundbreaking concepts and equipment on show. Free entry |
Address: The Royal Institution, 21 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BS
|Garden Museum||Located in a converted church next to Lambeth Palace, this small but charming museum explores British gardens and gardening through its collection, temporary exhibitions and events. The walled garden contains a 17th century-style knot garden. |
Address: Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7LB