London Museums Not to Be Missed
London is home to many national museums and art galleries. For example, London hosts the Natural History Museum, the National Gallery, the Science Museum and Tate Modern. All of these are worth a visit but what happens if you want to experience something just a little different? We’ve got you covered.
Sir John Soane’s Museum: Sir John Soane was the architect of the Bank of England. This (his former residence) includes a range of his architectural drawings. It also includes his art and antiquities he surrounded himself with, including the Egyptian Sarcophagus of Seti.
Geffrye Museum: This museum is a fascinating insight into how we have all lived through the centuries. Taking us from 1600 through to the present day it explores the English home. Focusing on the living room, the place where we all spend the majority of our time.
Museums that offer something a bit different
The Savoy Hotel’s Museum: Naturally you can enjoy a cocktail at the Savoy Hotel’s American Bar before heading next door to take a look around the museum. This features photos of many of the famous guests of the hotel and even a little vintage alcohol makes an appearance.
The Grant Museum of Zoology: A wide range of specimens are on offer here and you can even take part in a ‘Dead Life Drawing’ class. Although a glass of wine is on offer to lighten the mood.
The Viktor Wyne Museum of Curiosities: This museum really does offer an eclectic mix of exhibits. Live petting evenings when you can meet millipedes is a highlight.
The Pollock Toy Museum: If you find old dolls frightening this one might be worth a miss. However, if instead they fascinate you, make sure you don’t miss out on this museum.
The Museum of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society: If medicine through the ages is one of your interests this museum doesn’t disappoint. Find out what patients experienced as they went through surgery before anaesthetics and pain relief were discovered. Find out when and why leeches were used.
Dennis Severs’ House: For an insight into life in the 18th Century for a wealthy family head to Dennis Severs’ House. This has been recreated with food on the table and unmade beds, just as though the family have gone out for the day.
It’s time to experience a little more culture around London, but all of these are relaxing as well as fun.
Wilton’s Music Hall: Located in Tower Hamlets this music hall harks back to the good old days of variety. It is the oldest surviving grand music hall in the world. Offering a range of theatre productions it’s worth a visit to see the interior of the building alone.
Temple: This is an area of London known for its connections to the practice of law over the centuries. The name came about because it was established by the Knights Templar in the 12th Century. Due to this it also played a central role in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. It’s definitely worth a visit for any lovers of the book or film.
Fulham Palace: Surprisingly this is a National Trust property right in the centre of the capital. It is well known for the variety of events it runs throughout the year. These usually coincide with seasonal events such as Apple Day in October and Bones, Bumps and Bats close to Halloween.
Guildhall Art Gallery: If you want to find out what life was like in Roman London then head to the Guildhall Art Gallery. During restoration in the late 1980s they discovered the circular walls of an amphitheatre. These can now be viewed together with a fascinating insight into the history of the area.
There’s Always Time to Shop
London is packed full of world-renowned department stores such as Harrods, Liberty, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Hamleys. If you are visiting close to the Christmas season the window displays are not to be missed.
However, where should you head if you enjoy smaller boutique shopping?
Camden Passage: This is probably one of the most well known and loved centres of independent stores and it hosts a selection of shops and cafes. Many of the shops are catered towards vintage so this is definitely the place to head in London if you want to pick up something unique.
Little Venice: Little Venice is on the Thames and is a collection of waterside shops and cafes. What’s makes it even more fun is you can even hop on a canal boat and head off to your next destination, almost like being in Italy.
Let’s Get Outside
It’s not just the urban buzz that attracts people to London. What makes it so special is there is so much opportunity to get outside and experience green spaces in the fresh air.
The Thames Path: This stretches all the way from the Thames Barrier across the country to Cirencester. There are many shorter routes you can take within London to see the sights and if you head out by bike you could even make it to Windsor to visit the Castle. Stop off at any of the many pubs along the way for a hearty lunch to keep you going.
Japanese Roof Garden at the School of Oriental and African Studies: If you want the perfect place to relax then head to this garden which was built during the 2001 Japan Celebrations at the college. The theme here is Forgiveness, and this is summed up by the Kanji character engraved on the granite water basin in the garden.
Postman’s Park: This park is home to The Watts Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice. It was built in 1900 by George Frederick Watts and celebrates the heroism of individuals who gave their lives to save others. The park acquired its name because it used to be the place where workers from the old General Post Office ate their lunch.
Have you enjoyed the tour?
I hope you enjoy your tour of the culture side of London. There definitely is so much to see and do, there’s no way to fit it into one day let alone one weekend. Undoubtedly you’ll be hungry by this time. So next we’re going to give you the rundown of some great london eateries
Written by Joe Thomas