Our Guide to London Museums

It can be extremely time-consuming researching your activities when you visit London. Here at the Highbury Centre, we like to add value to your stay wherever we can by doing all the legwork for you. Here, then, to save you the time and trouble, is our invaluable guide to London museums.

The V&A, the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum are all in South Kensington. If you start early and keep yourself hydrated, you can probably manage two in a day. However, three may tip you over the edge!

In the shadow of St Paul’s, you’ll find the Museum of London. This can easily take up a day with its constantly changing travelling exhibitions, history of the capital from prehistoric times to the present day and plenty of interactive activities for younger visitors. A few minutes’ walk up the road is Postman’s Park, not a museum as such but a wonderful place to spend some time reading through the inspiring plaques about brave Londoners who gave their lives for others.

The British Museum is centrally located in Bloomsbury. You can easily spend a day here looking at both the permanent and temporary exhibitions and when you’re tired, there are plenty of cafes and rest stops nearby.

Staying in Central London, the Charles Dickens Museum is a short walk from the British Museum in Doughty Street. The London Transport Museum in Covent Garden is full of fascinating exhibits and has plenty of fun planned for February half term. The Foundling Museum in Brunswick Street works to help disadvantaged children and has lots of intriguing exhibits for all ages.

South of the river, the Royal Museums Greenwich comprise the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Observatory, the Queen’s House art gallery and the Cutty Sark. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage site, so well worth a visit. The Fan Museum (yes, there really is such a place) is a short stroll from the NMM and the Observatory.

If you’re feeling like a longer trip and the weather forecast is good, the Horniman Museum and Gardens in Forest Hill SE23 offers an aquarium, an animal walk, butterfly house, storytelling and singing sessions on Tuesdays for the under-5s (you’ll need to book).

Heading into the East End, the Ragged School Museum in Mile End offers a glimpse into a Victorian “poor school”, complete with a Victorian classroom, kitchen and lots of exhibits relating to Dr Thomas Barnado. The Museum of Childhood stands on Cambridge Heath Road in Bethnal Green (adjacent to Mile End) and is a branch of the V&A.

There are plenty of quirky smaller museums in the capital which can be enjoyed in a morning or afternoon. The Old Operating Theatre has to be in the most unusual location in London. You’ll have to climb up a 52-step spiral staircase into the attic of the 18th century church, part of St Thomas’s Hospital where you’ll be rewarded with your long climb by a unique insight into the history of surgery and medicine. At the other end of the spectrum, the Museum of Brands in West London’s trendy Notting Hill offers its visitors a wealth of information about the history of branding and a chance to walk through its Time Tunnel. Finally, the Cartoon Museum in Central London has a packed programme of workshops for half term and will keep the whole family entertained.

Whichever museum you choose, the staff will be happy to help with directions and local tips.


11th February 2020

Local attractions


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