10 unusual museums in London

Icons of London at St. Katherine's Dock: a red letter box and a telephone booth

Visiting London without going into a museum? Not working for me. I enjoy museums a lot which might be linked to my interest into archaeology. Excavation finds and museums showing the history of a city/country I prefer most. But I also love unusual museums that are unique to the place. London offers a lot of unusual museums and even after 20 years I still find spots and exhibitions which are new and exciting to me. Some of the most unusual museums I will introduce to you with this post. Most of them will ask for an entrance fee but in my opinion they are all worth the money.

London – city of unusual museums

There are so many museums in London and some of them are crazy and extraordinary for sure! When searching for the exact number of museums I only found rough indications between 150 and 200 but no final statement.

In this post I will introduce some of these unusual museums to you. The list is arranged in alphabetical order.

Canal Museum

  • Museum about the history of the narrow boats, life on board and the development of London’s waterways. It’s located in an old ice storage, therefore ice is the second focus on the museum
  • More info about my visit and some pics to give you an impression can be found here.
  • Could be combined with a visit to the Charles Dickens Museum
Entrance to the London Canal Museum

Entrance to the London Canal Museum

Charles Dickens Museum

  • Home of the author and his family in London
  • Cool if you are interested in Victorian London including how the furniture of that time looked like. Obviously super interesting if you are a fan of Charles Dickens as there are many personal items on display.
  • Have a first look into the museum here.
  • Close to the Canal Museum and you could visit both museums on the same day
Charles Dickens Museum in London

Charles Dickens Museum in London

Dennis Severs’ House

  • Museum close to “Liverpool Street”- Station that looks exactly as it would have been in the 18th century. There is no electricity and no central heating and all rooms are furnished as in the time. The experience is special as smells and sounds give you the impression of being at a real Huguenots’ home and that the residents have just left the room.
  • Learn more about my visit here.
  • You need to make an advance booking!
A trip into the past: the Dennis Severs' house at 18 Folgate Street

A trip into the past: the Dennis Severs’ house at 18 Folgate Street

Handel & Hendrix Museum

  • Museum that shows the living spaces of the two musicians including their furniture.
  • All you need to know about the museum can be found here.

Jack the Ripper Museum

  • A small and young museum that takes you back to the time of Jack the Ripper and that honours his victims.
  • The museum offers free Jack the Ripper Walking Tours for the visitors. Advance booking recommended though.
  • Impressions of my visit here.
  • Why not include a lunch break after your visit at St. Katherine’s Dock?
Entrance to the Jack the Ripper Museum

Entrance to the Jack the Ripper Museum

 

Museum of Curiosities

  • Museum in the East of London that is more of a Wunderkabinett. Founder Viktor Wynd has collected a lot of curiosities and displays them in the basement of the museum. Some artefacts are scary so I wouldn’t recommend to bring small kids.
  • More info here.
Entrance to the Museum of Curiosities

Entrance to the Museum of Curiosities

Old Operating Theatre & Herb Garret

  • Climb some small and steep stairs and enter an old, formerly lost operating theatre. Attached is an old garret which was used as a pharmacy.
  • Find out more about the place and see some pics here.
  • The museum is located close to “The Shard”
The "Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret" is located next to "The Shard"

The “Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret” is located next to “The Shard”

Sherlock Holmes Museum

  • The museum at 221b Baker Street is a must-see for every Sherlock Holmes fan. Where else can you enter the living space of the detective and his friend Dr. Watson? All rooms are furnished according to the stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, on third floor wax figures show famous scenes from the books. The shop sells lots of souvenirs.
  • All you need to know about the museum can be found here.
Baker Street 221b, home to the Sherlock Holmes Museum

Baker Street 221b, home to the Sherlock Holmes Museum

Sir John Soane’s Museum

  • For me, the museum is like a small British Museum. You can fully explore the museums in a few hours and you might have less visitors around you (as only a limited number of people is allowed inside at a time).
  • Sir Soane was a collector, scholar and architect and he transformed his home into a museum so that his students could have access to artefacts anytime. Every corner, every shell, every space was used to display objects. In the basement you will find an Egyptian sarcophagus from Seti I, the tomb for favourite dog Fanny, porcelain, paintings on moveable walls, sculptures in every size, books – in short an unusual mix. I love this museum! I feel like an explorer myself when I walk the narrow corridors and I strongly recommend to look up to the ceiling in every room and even to walk through the rooms several times. Often you will discover things you hadn’t noticed before.
  • Find more info about the museum here.
On the way to the Sir Soanes Museum

On the way to the Sir Soanes Museum

Transport Museum

  • I have ignored the Transport Museum for many years as I thought that cars and vehicles are just for boys. But when I finally visited I enjoyed it a lot! The history of London is so tightly connected to the history of (public) transport and it’s just fantastic to see how things developed from the first horse-driven vehicles to the modern tube wagons. Most of the cars and busses you can even board yourself. The museum is located in Covent Garden, in one of the old market buildings.
  • My experiences at the museum and everything else you might need to know can be found here.
The entrance to the London Transport Museum

The entrance to the London Transport Museum

Two big routemaster busses can be seen at the London Transport Museum

Two big Routemaster busses can be seen at the London Transport Museum

For more inspiration also check out Phoebe’s post. She found the 5 quirkiest museums in London.

Which museum is still missing? Any recommendations? Please share!

 

 

 

This post is also available in: deDeutsch

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