Want to see a different side of London? We've picked some small-scale museums that might interest you differently as compared to other British museums ?
1. London Transport Museum
Located at Covent Garden, the London Transport Museum (LT) tops this list simply because we feel that it keeps London enthusiasts high on excitement. Did we also mention that it’s an interactive museum?
It's a great way to enjoy museums! Not only will you be able to enjoy horse-drawn carriages from the early days of London, you will also be able to enjoy climbing on these vehicles. It’s really nice to just play pretend as if we were in a Sherlock Holmes movie or looking for Mr. Darcy! ?
It's a great place to bring your kids too! The London Transport Museum has a play area specifically for children under the age of 7, where they can get hands on experience in trying to repair a little tube train. Totally lessons beyond the classroom for them!
Opening Hours: Museum Galleries are open daily from 10.00 – 18.00 (Monday – Thursday, Saturday and Sunday) 11.00 – 18.00 (Friday)
Admission Fees: £17; Concession £14.50. Children and young people under 18 go for FREE
Address: London Transport Museum, Covent Garden (South East Corner), London, WC2E 7BB
Contact Details: + 44 (0)20 7379 6344
Email: [email protected]
Nearest Underground Station: Holborn (Central or Piccadilly line) (500m), Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Embankment or Charing Cross
Nearest docking station for Santander Cycle Hire: Just behind the Museum at Tavistock Street.
A Moroccan restaurant that serves a modest range of Moroccan cuisines such as marinated or tagine chicken, deep fried breaded calamari or simply enjoy a light Moroccan salad.
Souk Medina promises an authentic experience as it is decorated with Moroccan inspired interior, with guests seated in private rooms.
Address: Souk Medina, 1A Shorts Gardens, London WC2H 9AT
Contact Details: 020 7240 1796
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday 12pm to midnight, Sunday 12pm – 11pm
Nearest Underground Station: Leicester Square, Tottenham Court Road or Covent Garden
2. The Guard’s Museum
You know how we’ve always associated Britain with the famous guards in red with long hairy hats? Well, here’s a chance to find out actual information about these Foot Guards that people have long stereotyped as very serious people!
Situated at the Wellington Barracks in Westminster near Buckingham Palace, The Guards Museum is home to five regiments of Foot Guards. Learn more about their multi-functional roles besides ceremonial duties.
The Guards Shop is where you can buy toy soldier figurines as souvenirs. The shops sells an extensive range of Britain’s Toy Soldiers, which include knights of different periods like during Napoleon times, the Zulu War or the American Civil War just to name a few. It’s like a toy museum in itself!
Opening Hours: Opens daily from 10.00AM – 16.000PM all days a week.
Admission Fees: Adults - £6, Concession- £3, Children and young people under 16 go for FREE
Address: The Guards Museum, Wellington Barracks, Birdcage Walk, Westminster, London, SW1E 6HQ
Contact Details: + 44 (0)20 7414 3271
Nearest Underground Station: Westminster (Circle, District and Jubilee line), Victoria (Circle, District and Victoria line)
3. Leighton House Museum
The former home to Victorian artist Lord Frederic Leighton back in the 1800s, it was built thoroughly to his preferences. This beauty was once his studio-house and like most artists, he started humbly but soon his home became a “private palace of art”. So expect a total sophisticated delicacy!
What grabbed our attention is the magnificent Arab Hall with a golden dome. This hall is completed with his collection of elaborate mosaics and the walls are lined with geometrical Islamic tiles.
I mean think about it, having Islamic influenced interiors since way back in the 1800s – now that’s mind-blowing! SubhanAllah ?
Opening Hours: Opens daily from 10.00AM – 17.30PM except Tuesday.
Admission Fees: Adults - £7; Concession £5Children and young people under 5 go for FREE
Address: Leighton House Museum, 12 Holland Park Rd, Kensington, London W14 8LZ
Contact Details: + 44 (0)20 7602 3316
Nearest Underground Station: High Street Kensington, (Circle and District lines)
Nearest Overground Station: Kensington Olympia
Nando’s, High Street Kensington
“Bom Dia!” is how you will be greeted once you step in into this South African chain restaurant that serves the best flame-grilled chicken with my favourite Extra-Hot Peri-Peri sauce! (I’m hungry already).
The outlet at High Street Kensington serves Halal chicken, so that’s A-okay for everybody! Let’s feast!
Address: Nando’s, 229-231, High Street Kensington, London, W8 6SA
Contact Details: 020 7937 4888
Opening Hours: Sunday – Thursday 11.00AM – 11.00PM, Friday – Saturday, 11.00AM – 12.00AM
Nearest Underground Station: High Street Kensington
4. Sherlocks Holmes Museum
Ever wonder what’s it like being a spy or curious to see how a spy lived? Pop in the Sherlock Holmes museum at 221B Baker Street to get a first hand insight on how the house of the famous detective and his sidekick, Dr. Watson looked like.
Getting to the famous 221B Baker Street address can be quite tricky, since it's actually located between 237 and 241. Perhaps some detective skills can be in handy!
Depicting Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s literary description on how the great detective’s home looked like, the Sherlock Holmes Museum is a definite go-to place for fans! Not only does the management of the museum give attention to detail, the actual initiative to preserve a terrace home in honour of famous literature is something not all authorities are willing to do!
End your Sherlock Holmes adventure by visiting Madame Tussauds, a 5-7 minutes walk away from the Sherlock Holmes Museum to take a picture with a life sized Robert Downey Jr. dressed fully like Sherlock Holmes – just like in the movies ?
Opening Hours: Opens every day from 9.30AM to 6PM except on Christmas day
Admission Fees:Adults pay a fee of £15, Children and young people under 16 pay £10
Address: 221b Baker Street, Marylebone, London NW1 6XE, United Kingdom
Contact Details: + 44 (0)20 7224 3688
Nearest Underground Station: Baker Street Station (Bakerloo, Circle, Hammersmith & City, Jubilee and Metropolitan line)
Zayna is a Halal restaurant that serves Pakistani and Northern Indian cuisines that will be sure to help you refuel for your next London adventure.
Priced between £5 – £25, you will be able to get kebab, mixed grill of lamb chops and chicken tikka. You can also try Zayna's specialities such as Baati Ghosht, a traditional Punjabi dish for a price of £17.
Address: Zayna Restaurant, 25 New Quebec Street, London, W1H 7SF
Contact Details: 020 7723 2229
Opening Hours: Saturday – Sunday, 12.30pm - 2.30pm for last order (Lunch), Monday – Thursday, Sunday, 5.00pm – 10.30pm, for the last order (Dinner), Friday & Saturday, 5.00pm – 10.30pm for the last order (Dinner)
Nearest Underground Station: Marble Arch (Central line), Bond Street (Central and Jubilee lines)
5. Freud Museum London
After experiencing how London preserves heritage just from a famous literary figure of the great detective, you should next witness how the heritage of an actual home to the famous psychologist Sigmund Freud is preserved!
During World War II, Freud relocated from Vienna to London to run from the Nazis and permanently settled in London. Freud’s consulting room in London was recreated exactly like the one in Vienna, which means you get to see the famous psychoanalytic couch (If you’re a Psychology nerd like I am)!
Not only has this sophisticated place been turned into a museum, they sometimes have special exhibitions and host educational workshops and talks. If you are lucky during your visit like I was, you might just be able to see people preparing for a garden dinner party, as this place is also open for rental!
Opening Hours: Wednesday – Sunday, 12.00PM – 17.00PM
Admission Fees: Adults pay a fee of £7, Senior Citizens £5, Concessions £4
Children under 12 enter for free
Address: 20 Maresfield Gardens, London NW3 5SX
Contact Details: + 44 (0)20 7435 2002
Nearest Underground Station: Finchley Road (Jubilee or Metropolitan line)
Mahdi Restaurant, Finchley Road
Since the Freud Museum is a little bit out of central London, your journey could take quite some time on the tube to get to Finchley Road. Which means, you may get hungry!
A lavish Persian restaurant that serves reasonably priced kebabs, rice and even king prawns!
Address: Mahdi Restaurant, 2 Canfield Gardens, West Hampstead, London NW6 3BS
Contact Details: 07951 073 372
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday, 12PM – 11.30PM
Nearest Underground Station: Finchley Road (Jubilee and Metropolitan line)
6. Pollock’s Toy Museum
Enough geeky stuff and let’s move on to a more light-hearted museum. At Pollock’s Toy Museum, you will be able to see toys made during the Victorian era. Towards half of the 1800s, this museum used to be a toy and printing shop.
Exhibited in six small rooms and two winding staircases are collections after collections of dolls, teddy bears, tin toys and many more! The toy theatre materials displayed at the museum were mostly hand painted and constructed by Benjamin Pollock himself way back in the 1850s.
Again, this is proof of how London town appreciates her heritage and history and we think it is a great way to know what’s it like for the people back in 1850s!
Opening Hours: Monday - Saturday 10.00AM – 5.00PM, Last admission 4.30PM
Admission Fees: Adults pay a fee of £6, Child £3, Senior Citizens / Students £5
Address: 1 Scala Street, London, W1T 2HL
Contact Details: + 44 (0)20 7636 3452
Nearest Underground Station: Goodge Street (Northern line)
Hiba Express is near the British Museum and quite a walking distance from Pollock’s Toy Museum but you can always opt to take the tube. Serving Lebanese and Palestinian delicacies, Hiba Express promises a unique flavour to your London experience.
Priced from as low as £4.95 for their hot Shawarma wraps or Falafel, they also offer other dishes that vary in price. If you are on-the-go, Meal Deals probably suits best and are priced from £8.50 - £12.50. I don’t know what’s with London and smoothies! So you guessed it right, Hiba certainly does offer smoothies that are priced at £3.45 for the cutely named smoothies – King’ Cross, Holborn, Paddington and many more.
Address: Hiba Express 113 High Holborn, Clerkenwell, London WC1V 6JQ
Contact Details: 020 7831 5171
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday, 11.00am – 12.00am, Sunday 12.00pm – 12.00am
Nearest Underground Station: Holborn (Central or Piccadilly line) (500m), Tottenham Court Road (Central and Northern line), Russell Square (Piccadilly line), Goodge Street (Northern line)
7. Cinema Museum, Kensington
A definite go-to place for movie buffs, filmmaking students or just a curious tourist/traveller! The Cinema Museum holds various collections of equipment, B-Sides and many others.
It's a great way to experience the difference between modern day cinemas, to the days where actual rolls of films were used to project onto the silver screen. You will also be able to see the chairs and fragrances used during the earlier days.
Avid fans will be able to appreciate the shop as they sell original movie posters, film memorabilia and the sorts!
Opening Hours: The museum is available for most days for visits ONLY with a guided tour. A guided tour should be booked in advanced by phone (as below) or email [email protected]
Admission fees: Adults pay a fee of £10, Child and Concession £7 (inclusive of guided tour)
Address: The Cinema Museum, 2 Dugard Way (off Renfrew Road), London SE11 4TH
Contact Details: + 44 (0)20 7840 2200
Nearest Underground Station: Goodge Street (Northern line)
It was hard to shortlist these small scale museums because there are plenty in London town! But fundamentally, you get an idea how London preserves her heritage and treasures history. After all, London’s heritage is what gives her character ? Do let us know if you find these helpful!