One of the most fun things to do in London is to visit museums. It may sound like it would be a stale activity, but because of London’s long history and diverse people it is a truly fascinating pasttime. While all the big standard museums that everyone knows are wonderful to visit, the best thing to do is find the tiny curiosities. Tucked around corners all over London are miniscule little museums devoted to specific topics that are a true treasure trove of knowledge and learning. It is infinitely worth your time to explore and find them, so here are a few tips to get you going.
Smythson of Bond Street
Smythson of Bond Street is a luxury retailer selling leather goods and stationary. Tucked in the back of the store is a cute little museum dedicated to this more than a century old store.In amongst the luxurious and expensive leather goods you can find wartime Christmas cards, notebooks used by such celebrated figures as Sigmund Freud and John F Kennedy, and even Frank Smython’s original trade card. It is an interesting slice of London’s entrepreneurial history; all a short walk from Lancaster Gate hotels Hyde Park .
Grant Museum of Zoology
A great option with Halloween coming up is the Grant Museum of Zoology. A creepy laboratory filled with specimen jars, glass cabinets and, of course, skeletons. It is quite a small museum, but filled with fascinating and spooky relics of the stranger side of science. If seeing a dugong skeleton or a mammoth tusk, or an elephant bird egg sounds interesting to you, be sure to check out the Grant Museum of Zoology.
Bank of England Museum
A history of banking may sound like a pretty niche interest, but don’t writeit off too quickly. Included in the Bank of England’s thoroughly enjoyable museum is a brick of gold you can try lifting, a large collection of silver, prints, paintings, coins, and other historic documents, and perhaps most interestingly, an entire arsenal of weapons that have been used over the years to protect the Bank of England against villains after its vast wealth.
Rock ‘n Roll fans will thoroughly enjoy The Vault, an interestingly little museum located in the basement of the Hard Rock Café in London.The Vault is stocked with plenty of rare rock memorabilia from over the generations. You will see Beatles memorabilia like John Lennon’s glasses, Jeff Beck’s guitar (which was also played by Jimmy Page), The Who memorabilia, David Bowie’s guitar, and many more relics of rock ‘n roll’s past.
Sir John Soane’s Museum
The home of renowned architect and avid collector of antiques and art Sir John Soane has been transformed into a superb museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. There are many exotic exhibits, with everything from a sarcophagus belonging to Seti I in the crypt, to Hogarth paintings in the picture gallery. This museum housing this treasure trove is itself quite interesting, built into three London town houses that were merged by Sir John Soane himself.
Twinnings Tea Shop and Museum
What museum would be more appropriately British to visit than the Twinnings Tea Shop and Museum? At their store on the Strand, which they have had since 1717, likes a small museum dedicated to the long history of the Twinings family. There are examples of tea from all over the world and plenty of unusual items from the world of tea; plus you can always stock up on some delicious brew while there.