BENJAMIN FRANKLINS’S HOUSE, Westminster The last remaining house in the world where this Founding Father of America is known to have lived. Also famous for his many inventions he came to London in 1757 for the Pennsylvania Assembly. Human and animal bones were found in his garden when the house was renovated. Fantastic historical and architectural tours are available
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Franklin_House 5 minutes Westminster or Charing cross tubes
CHARLES DICKENS HOUSE Discover the private world of Dickens’ family. He moved to the house in 1837 with his wife Catherine and raised 3 of their 10 children there. He wrote Oliver Twist, The Pickwick Papers and Nicholas Nickleby achieving international acclaim while living there. Wonderful tours and events are held regularly, it has a great café. And, of course, a curiosity shop
https://dickensmuseum.com/ 15 minutes Holborn tube
CLINK PRISON, Southwark SE1 The museum prides itself for telling the scandalous truth about one of England’s oldest and most notorious prisons. Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the old prison and even handle the torture devices often used for the entertainment of visiting Londoners. The name comes from the sound of the irons being attached to the wrists or ankles of the inmates.
https://www.clink.co.uk/ 7 minutes London Bridge tube
FOUNDLING MUSEUM, Holborn After trying for 17 years Thomas Coram got a Royal Charter from George II to establish this hospital for babies in danger of being abandoned. The museum holds exhibitions and tours telling how the children came to be there, were cared for and how it was supported by London’s artists of the time.
https://foundlingmuseum.org.uk/ 5 minutes Russell Square tube
GOLDEN HINDE, historic ship, Southwark SE1 This is a perfect re-construction of the ship in which Sir Francis Drake made his famous circumnavigation of the globe. If you want a real taste of the life of a sailor on board then sign up for either their daytime living history tour or spend the night as a crew member. Other related events are also regularly scheduled.
https://www.goldenhinde.co.uk/ 5 minutes London Bridge tube + NR
THE GUARDS MUSEUM, SW1 Covering 360 years of military history the Guards Museum is one of the best Regimental museums in the country. They offer tours of their history from the English Civil War to Afghanistan. It is also possible to find information about any relative who served with them, but you must try to bring as must information as possible. And schools are always welcome
http://www.theguardsmuseum.com / 7 minutes St James’ Park tube
JIMMY HENDRIX MUSEUM. W1 On the top floor of the house next to Handel’s is the flat where Hendrix lived with his girlfriend. He decorated it and used it as his base, giving interviews and writing new songs. It was also handy for getting to the clubs of Soho like the Marquee
https://handelhendrix.org/ 7 minutes Bond Street tube
DR JOHNSON’S HOUSE , EC4 Nestled in a maze of courts and alleys in the City of London is 17 Gough Square where Johnson lived in the mis 18th century compiling his, Great Dictionary of the English Language. The house is open to the public and holds an impressive collection of items, furniture and paintings which are all relevant to Dr. Johnson.There are also many exhibitions and events
http://www.drjohnsonshouse.org/ 10 minutes St Pauls and Chancery Lane tubes
HANDEL MUSEUM. W1 If you want to get a handle on Handel you will want to take the tour that takes you back in time to the rooms where Handel composed and performed with some of the great musicians of the time and allegedly threw some singers from the window. There are frequent performances and a wonderful collection of scores and paintings (+ Jimmy Hendrix lived next door!)
https://handelhendrix.org/ 7 minutes Bond Street tube
HMS BELFAST , Thames SE1 Explore this famous survivor of the Second World War, discover what life was like for the men who lived and fought in this ship. See the enormous guns that fired some of the first shots of D-Day. She was launched on St Patrick’s day in 1938, and if you happen to get a little hungry there is a café on board
https://www.iwm.org.uk/visits/hms-belfast 10 minutes London Bridge tube
HOUSEHOLD CAVALRY MUSEUM, Whitehall The Household Cavalry are made up of the two most senior Regiments in the British Army; The Life Guards and The Blues and Royals and date back to 1650. They have been through so many incarnations and wars it is impossible to list them all, which is why you must visit their magnificent museum. Their gift shop is also quite extraordinary.
http://www.householdcavalrymuseum.co.uk/ 6 minutes Charing Cross, 7 minutes Embankment tubes
LONDONS’s ROMAN AMPHITHEATRE, EC2 he remains of Roman amphitheatre in London were discovered while the Guildhall Art Gallery was being redeveloped and remain underneath the gallery. Largely made of wood, little remains of this 7,000 seat theatre, except the foundations. But the clever use of lighting and the amazing artefacts that were found to combine bring the brutality of Roman entertainment to life.
https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/visit-the-city/attractions/guildhall-galleries/Pages/londons-roman-amphitheatre.aspx 10 minutes both Bank and St Pauls tubes
MUSEUM of ST JOHN, Clerkenwell EC1 When you see a St John Ambulance it’s hard to imagine you are looking at nearly 1,000 years of extraordinary history. 1n 1080 a hospital was started in Jerusalem by monks to tend for the pilgrims. During the crusades they also took on a military role. Their history is long and sometimes very violent. The Priory in Clerkenwell which became their headquarters is definitely worth visiting
http://museumstjohn.org.uk/ 8 minutes Barbican tube
THE HOUSE MILL, Lea Valley Built in 1776 on an island called The Three Mills. This is the world’s largest surviving tidal mill, and a hidden gem of the industrial revolution. Originally providing flour for the local bakers it was put to many uses until bombed in the Second World War. It was saved from demolition by the Passmore Edwards Museum Trust. http://www.housemill.org.uk/ Buses 488, D8 and 108 stop at Three Mill Lane and the 25 and 8 stop at Bow Road all a short walk. Train Bromley by Bow
THE RAGGED SCHOOL MUSEUM, Mile End E3 Dr Thomas Barnado came to London in 1866 to study medicine but discovered a city plagued with problems, especially the number of orphaned and uneducated children. In 1867 he opened the first of many, Ragged Schools and by 1908 tens of thousands of children had received a free education. If you want a real taste of a Victorian schoolchild’s education you really cannot do any better than this.
https://www.raggedschoolmuseum.org.uk/ 11 minutes Mile End tube
KEATS HOUSE , Hampstead NW3 Visit this beautiful Regency villa and explore the life and work of Keats through exhibitions of original manuscripts and artefacts which tell the story of how and where he found his inspiration. Or attend any of their readings by some of Britain’s best poets. Keats house was commended as “The Best Hidden Gem” by The Hudson Heritage Awards 2018.
https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/keats-house/Pages/Exhibitions.aspx 15 minutes each from Belsize Park and Hampstead tubes
JEWISH MUSEUM NW1 Discover the history and heritage of Jews in Britain from 1066 to today. This extraordinary museum holds vast collections of ceremonial art, drawings and objects of everyday life. There are four permanent galleries and two halls for temporary exhibitions. As well as their own archives they joined with the Jewish Military Museum and also holds its entire collection and archives.
http://www.jewishmuseum.org.uk/ 10 minutes Camden Town, 8 minutes Mornington Crescent tubes
RAF MUSEUM, Stanmore, Harrow
This museum is vast and impossible to see everything in one visit. Spread over six hangars and other buildings are huge collections of every type of aircraft from the earliest to the most modern. Galleries of photographs, fine art and personal items tell the story of the thousands of men and women who have served in the RAF.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Bentley_Priory#Bentley_Priory_Museum 13 minutes Collingdale tube
CROFTON ROMAN VILLA , Orpington The world’s only surviving extreme Clipper. On her maiden voyage to Shanghai laden with wine and spirits she returned with 1.3 million tons of tea. Learn about her extraordinary history, including wars, mutiny and murder, or attend one of her events, including Classical music, theatre and discos. No visit to the famous Tea Clipper would be complete without having tea at her luxury café.
http://cka.moon-demon.co.uk/crofton-villa.htm 3 minutes Greenwich DLR to Orpington
CUTTY SARK, historic ship, Greenwich, SE10 The world’s only surviving extreme Clipper. On her maiden voyage to Shanghai laden with wine and spirits she returned with 1.3 million tons of tea. Learn about her extraordinary history, including wars, mutiny and murder, or attend one of her events, including Classical music, theatre and discos. No visit to the famous Tea Clipper would be complete without having tea at her luxury café.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cutty_Sark 3 minutes DLR Greenwich
DARWIN’S HOME, Downe Orpington Darwin lived at Down House for 40 years until his death in 1882. He remodelled the house to create an outdoor laboratory where he not only developed his theory of evolution and wrote his famous book, but also proved that plants move. The house is much as Darwin left it, with an enormous collection of scientific and personal artefacts, including his notebooks from his voyage on the Beagle.
http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/home-of-charles-darwin-down-house/ Opington from Charing Cross then a, 3 minute walk
FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE MUSEUM, Lambeth SE1 Located on London’s famous South Bank the museum tells the real story behind the legend, and the world in which she lived. Three pavilions filled with marvellous collections take you through her childhood to the Crimean War and finally to her later work campaigning furiously for medical and health reforms.
http://www.florence-nightingale.co.uk/?v=79cba1185463 3 minutes Lambeth North tube , 7 minutes Waterloo tube and NR
NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM, Greenwich SE10 As the song says, Britannia rules the waves, and this magnificent museum will show and explain exactly how this was done. Four galleries take you from the Tudor’s and Stuart’s battles and piracy through to exploring the North and South Poles. Then discover the hidden secrets of the Pacific and finally see the treasures from the deep and the stories of the men who found them.
https://www.rmg.co.uk/National-maritime-museum 3 minutes Greenwich DLR
QUEENS HOUSE, Greenwich Designed by Inigo Jones, for James 1, and completed in 1629. Seized by the state during the Civil War. The royal family finally returned until George III gave it to a charity for the orphans of seamen. Today it is most famous for its incredible art collection and its ghost. Tours and speakers take you through the artistic history and the royal connection with Greenwich.
https://www.rmg.co.uk/queens-house 3 minutes Greenwich DLR
ROYAL ARSENAL MUSEUM This extraordinary and very secret part of Britain’s history was originally created by Henry VIII to build the navy upon which Britain depended. As new wars were fought, and new technologies developed, the Arsenal grew. It eventually became a secret city inside London with its own railway, hospital, school and everything else the thousands of workers and their families might need. Taking a guided tour is a must
https://www.armymuseums.org.uk/museum/firepower-royal-artillery-museum/ 3 minutes Woolwich Arsenal DLR+ look at http://www.royal-arsenal-history.com / for added interest
ROYAL OBSERVATORY, Greenwich The history of the Observatory competes with the history it created. Learn why the discovery of longitude was so important, especially at sea, and why such huge rewards were offered for its discovery. And how this made the invention of clocks possible. Learn the difference between time and space or whether they are really the same thing? Of course, no visit would be complete without standing on the GMT line.
https://www.rmg.co.uk/royal-Observatory 3 minutes Greenwich DLR
Fulham Palace, SW6 Home to the Bishop of London since about 700 AD. Changing tastes have turned it into a mixture of Tudor, Georgian and Victorian styles. Inside is magnificent and the permanent displays are fascinating. But to truly appreciate the history, the superb guided tours are essential. The botanical garden, created in the 16th Century, is equally important and where the first Magnolia in Europe was grown.
http://www.fulhampalace.org/ Nearest station, Putney Bridge, 10 mins
POPE’s Grotto, Twickenham
Pope built the grotto to reach his garden from his villa without having to cross the road separating them. He wanted it to appear completely natural and was delighted when it was completed in 1725. He later developed an interest in mining and in 1739 transformed it with crystals, marble and different types of stones. The grotto is open to the public during the Twickenham Festival and certain other dates.
https://popesgrotto.org.uk/history 10 minutes Strawberry Hill, NR 10
TURNER’s HOUSE Twickenham
Turner designed Sandycombe Lodge, which was built in 1813, to have a quiet retreat away from the pressures and stress of London’s art world. Interestingly, it was always believed to have been marvellously grand and elaborate. However, it was found instead, to be marvellously simple and elegant. Visitors are welcome to come and enjoy the wonderful collection of paintings, walks and talks
https://turnershouse.org/ . 3 minutes St Margarets SWR
HOGARTHS HOUSE , Chiswick William Hogarth bought the house in 1749 as a weekend retreat to escape the noise of Leicester Fields and spent most of his time painting in the garden. In 1757 he was made Serjeant Painter to the King with an annual income of £10 per year. This position elevated him in society, proving to be very profitable. The house is undergoing restoration and is periodically closed to the public.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hogarth%27s_House 20 minutesTurnham Green
THOMAS CARLYLE’S HOUSE , Chelsea SW3 Carlyle and his wife came to London to seek their fortune and rented their house in 1834. Although, not hugely known now he was greatly admired by every great author of the time, including Dickens, Shaw and Virginia Woolf. In 1741 his dream of creating a great Library for London came to pass with the creation of The London Library.
https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/carlyles-house 20 minutes Sloane Square tube
WILLIAM MORRIS KELMSCOTT HOUSE, Hammersmith W6 Morris was not the first distinguished gentleman to live her nor the last But he did give the house its name when he took the lease in 1878. Now privately owned the museum occupies the basement and coach house and contains an impressive collection of his famous wallpaper, designs, woven wall hangings and the last know printing press to be used by him
https://williammorrissociety.org/arts-and-crafts-hammersmith / 7 minutes Ravenscourt Park