Cartoon Museum, Bloomsbury WC1. One of the most engrossing museums in London, full of unexpected pleasures from political cartoons, comic strips, caricatures and graphic novels. No politician or public figure is portrayed in anything like a flattering depiction and the wit and acidity is admirable. Not really suitable for children as much material is only comprehensible to adults.
http://www.cartoonmuseum.org/ 10 minutes both Holborn and Tottenham Court Road tubes
Faraday Museum at the Royal Institution , Mayfair SW1. In the basement of the Royal Institution’s Grand building are the contents of the chemist and physicist Michael Faraday’s laboratory. His discoveries changed the way we see the world, for example, the force of electricity and that heat is a form of motion. Amongst the apparatus and early scientific instruments is the first electrical battery. The visitor can see how science was first made.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Institution#Faraday_Museum 5 minutes Green Park tube
Film Museum, WC2. An essential place to visit for James Bond fans. On display are the sports cars from the James Bond films, the Ford Mustang, Lotus Esprit and even the Rolls-Royce Phantom driven by the bad guy. Also on show is a fascinating history of photography showing how the technology of still-photography was developed to cinematography.
http://londonfilmmuseum.com Covent Garden 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.
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 Jamses Park 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.
Islington History Museum, Finsbury Library, EC1. Islington has always been home to some exceptional people and theatres, from Thomas Paine to George Orwell and The Red Lion Theatre. The museum is equally exceptional, not only offering a glimpse into everyday life through the ages but adding a taste of what attracted so many great people to the area. They are also not shy about their darker history, from highwaymen to Holloway prison.
https://www.islington.gov.uk/libraries-arts-and-heritage/heritage/islington-museum 10 minutes Angel or Farringdon 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. In 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
Postal Museum, Clerkenwell WC1 . The British Postal Museum is not only a shrine for stamp collectors but a great place to bring the children. Especially exciting for children is the ride on the underground postal train that used to run underneath London along ‘secret’ tunnels, you can pretend you are a parcel! The museum is informative, interesting and fun.
https://www.postalmuseum.org 15 minutes each Kings Cross or Chancery Lane tubes or Farringdon tube and Thameslink
CLOWNS Gallery MUSEUM Dalston E8 Rooms full of artefacts and printed material to enlighten us all on the profession of clowning. The museum is run by real life clowns who will give the visitor an insight into an ancient art. There are clowns costumes dating back as far as 1880 and amongst the trophies and plaques, the world’s largest collection of clown eggs.Their eccentric website is somewhat frustrating but it’s nice to know Clowns are in touch with each other. Only open one Friday a month but there is a contact email.
http://clownsgallery.co.uk/ Dalston Junction Overground
HACKNEY MUSEUM E8 This is well worth a visit if you want to learn the incredible history of this part of London from the earliest Anglo-Saxon settlers through the ages right up to today. It’s a wonderful place filled with the stories and artefacts of the people who made Hackney their home. It also has an enormous archive and library and has frequent exhibitions.
https://hackney.gov.uk/museum 7 minutes Hackney Central Overground
HAVERING MUSEUMLocated on the ground floor of the old Romford Brewery. This relatively new museum, opening in 2010 with the help of a National Heritage grant and the incredible generosity and hard work of the local people. Two permanent galleries tell the remarkable story of this section of London from its earliest days to the present. A third gallery hosts special exhibitions and talks.
JACK THE RIPPER MUSEUM,Whitechapel, E1 Whoever he was he gave the world perhaps the most riveting and enduring crime stories ever. London in the 1880s was another world and this museum will time-shift the visitor into that world. The museum is a recreation of that harsh era and an insight into the tragic lives of the ripper’s victims. Some of the exhibits are very disturbing.
http://www.jacktherippermuseum.com Tower Hill tube
NEWHAM PHOTOGRAPHIC ARCHIVESThis absolutely incredible archive exists only online. And be warned, once you start looking through it it’s almost impossible to stop. The thousands of photographs cover every period and everything from everyday life to royal visits and life during both world wars. Every photograph is available to purchase in almost any format imaginable
VESTRY HOUSE Museum, Walthamstow E17
Offers a glimpse into life in Walthamstow Forest from the 1800’s to today. A large library and archive is available for deeper research. Their shop sells souvenirs ranging from household items to toys throughout the periods. The garden room is available to hire for events. Visit their website for prices.
https://vestryhousemuseum.org.uk/ 7 minutes Walthamstow Central
ARSENAL FOOTBAL STADIUM MUSEUM Holloway N5 A museum packed with memorabilia of the Arsenal legend. Including, Charlie George’s FA Final Cup shirt from 1971, Michael Thomas’ boots from Anfield ’89, medals, shirt and caps. So many famous players are celebrated, David O’Leary, Lee Dixon, Brian Marwood the list goes on. A trip that would make a great present for your kid’s birthday
https://www.arsenal.com/emirates-stadium/arsenal-museum Drayton Park NR
BARNET MUSEUM There is not a single corner of London that doesn’t have an amazing story to tell. Barnet is no exception. Visiting the museum will tell you why it was famous for its market and recuperative spring water, and how, The Battle of Barnet played a major role in winning the throne for Edward IV.. Especially, if you attend one of their many lectures.
http://www.barnetmuseum.co.uk/ 8 minutes High Barnet tube
BRENT MUSEUM During the museum’s 50 years it has built up an impressive collection of over 10,000 artefacts, many dating back over thousands of years. But Brent has many stories to tell. Ever wondered about the Eiffle Tower in Wembley, or why you might want to make a pilgrimage to Willesden? The museum will tell you.
https://www.brent.gov.uk/services-for-residents/brent-museum-and-archives/ 7 minutesWillesden Green tube
BRUCE CASTLE, Tottenham N17 The Manor got its name from the de Bruce family of Scotland who owned the land in 1306 until Robert the Bruce became king of Scotland and the English took it back. And few buildings have played a part in almost every period of history the way this one has. A guided tour is highly recommended for both the history their extremely impressive art collection.
https://www.haringey.gov.uk/libraries-sport-and-leisure/culture-and-entertainment/exploring-haringey/bruce-castle-museum 9 minutes Bruce Grove tube and Overground
BURGH HOUSE, Hampstead NW3 The history of this stunningly beautiful house is quite a story in itself. But now that it also includes the Hampstead Museum, the history becomes truly incredible. The ground floor is home to their permanent exhibition which goes back before the Doomsday, through every age to the present day. And their art collection, mostly donated by famous residents, is something they are rightfully very proud of.
http://www.burghhouse.org.uk/10 minutesHampstead tube
CANAL MUSEUM Throughout the Victorian era the canal systems were the highways for travel. Long before steam, rail and containerships, the canals transported the heavy freight. The visitor will learn about life on the canals and it is also possible to take a boat trip along a leafy canal on one of the narrow boats, from Camden market Little Venice.
http://www.canalmuseum.org.uk/ 10 minutes Kings Cross tube and NR
FORTY HALL, Enfield This magnificent building and its 273 acre estate was fully restored in 2012 with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Its permanent exhibition tells all the stories of the incredible families who have lived here. And a changing series of lectures and temporary exhibitions means there is always something for everyone going on.
FREUD MUSEUM, just off Finchley Road , Hampstead NW3 This was the house museum of Sigmund Freud where the great man came to live after fleeing from Europe in 1938. The preservation of the house with the books, paintings and small sculptures from ancient civilisations is largely due to Freud’s daughter Anna who like her father was a pioneer of psychoanalysis.
https://www.freud.org.uk/ 10 minutes Finchley Road and Swiss Cottage tubes
HARROW MUSEUM Housed in Headstone Manor this glorious museum takes you back in time to meet the amazing people of Harrow from Roman potters, Archbishops, the residents and farmers who worked the land. Their incredible collection of over 1,800 artefacts and regular Tuesday lectures make this an essential destination for lovers of architecture to lovers of history.
HEATH ROBINSON MUSEUM One of London’s most charming museums, dedicated to the artist William Heath Robinson whose humour and whimsical satire has made his name into the byword for any implausible contraption. His art is that of a cartoonist and illustrator with the imagination to create impossible machines that somehow ridiculed their inventors.
ISLINGTON HISTORY MUSEUM, Finsbury Library EC1Islington has always been home to some exceptional people and theatres, from Thomas Paine to George Orwell and The Red Lion Theatre. The museum is equally exceptional, not only offering a glimpse into everyday life through the ages but adding a taste of what attracted so many great people to the area. They are also not shy about their darker history, from highwaymen to Holloway prison.
CINEMA MUSEUM, Kennington SE11. This museum building used to be a workhouse where Charlie Chaplin and his brother stayed off and on when times were hard. Here the golden age of cinema is kept alive, a huge collection of memorabilia of early cinema and Hollywood fill the rooms of this building. Long before the days of the multiplex and broadband the cinema was perhaps the principal entertainment for the public where the magic of the flickering screen would transport them to a better world. An authentic recreation of the history of the cinema.
http://www.cinemamuseum.org.uk 10 minutes both Kennington or Elephant and Castle tubes
FAN MUSEUM, Greenwich SE10 London’s quaintest and most enchanting museum. The visitor might think fans are of no great interest but a trip two Greenwich where the museum is situated will be a revelation. An astonishing and beautiful array of handheld fans from around the world. Strongly recommended. https://www.thefanmuseum.org.uk/ DLR Greenwich
THE GARDEN MUSEUM , Lambeth SE1 Situated in the grounds of the church and churchyard of St Mary-at-Lambeth is the Garden Museum, it is the only museum in Britain to celebrate the art of garden design. For visitors with an interest in matters horticultural this museum is an excellent day out.
https://gardenmuseum.org.uk/ Lambeth North tube
HOUSE OF DREAMS , East Dulwich The House of Dreams, an ordinary house outside, is a personal art museum created by a textile designer, Stephen Wright. Inside the house is a temple dedicated to kitsch. Stephen Wright has covered all the flat spaces inside with a mosaic of everyday objects thus creating a far from an everyday experience. Outrageous ! Visitors please note the House of Dreams is only open to the public one day a month – you need to book. http://www.stephenwrightartist.com/houseofdreams.php
Close to East Dulwich NR Southern
MUSEUM OF THE MIND Beckenham, Bromley On display inside this museum are the works by artists who have suffered from a mental disorder and the visitor gains an insight into the hidden world of their inner disturbance. There are original accounts from patients, and art works using a variety of media to portray their experiences.
https://museumofthemind.org.uk West Wickham NR Southeast
OLD OPERATING THEATRE MUSEUM, Borough SE1. In the attic of a Baroque church is a truly unusual museum. Visitors can see a Victorian operating theatre and the visitor may well wonder how anyone survived an operation in this theatre. Long before the advent modern anaesthetics and antiseptics herbs were the medicines of their day. In the Herb Garrett, above the operating theatre, various herbs were dried and stored. http://oldoperatingtheatre.com 5 minutes London Bridge tube and NR
SEWING MACHINE MUSEUM ( the Crafty Sewer), Balham SW17. A specialist museum charting the history of the sewing machine. The visitor will be astounded at the variety of this humble domestic appliance with no less six hundred domestic and industrial sewing machines on display. Not a museum to be overlooked and well worth the trip to the south London premises.
https://www.craftysewer.com/acatalog/London_Sewing_Machine_Museum.html 2 minutes Tooting Bec tube
CHELSEA PHYSIC GARDEN , SW3 In 1673 the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries founded this botanical garden for the purpose of producing herbs of medicinal value. Today the visitor can enjoy a wonderful array of plants in the tranquil setting of this garden. There are lots of information relating to the plants themselves and the plant hunters who travelled the world to find new species with health giving properties.
https://www.chelseaphysicgarden.co.uk/ 15 minutes Sloane Square tube
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