Scroll down to discover 26 Unusual Museums To Visit in London.
You’ve probably heard a lot about the famous museums here in London like the Science Museum or Natural History Museum. They are some of my favourites weekend hangouts and I can’t recommend them enough. I’ve even got a blog on 10 London Museums you must visit where you can check them all out if you want to … BUT, did you know London has tons of unique and unusual museums that not a lot of people know about? When I say unusual I mean museums on sewing machines, on Sherlock Holmes and even on vagina’s! Yes, you read that correctly. Here are 26 Unusual Museums To Visit in London.
The Sherlock Holmes Museum is devoted to this most legendary of fictional literary characters. The museum is situated at one of the world’s most famous addresses, 221B Baker Street, London. It contains authentically maintained rooms including Sherlocks’ living room, study and bedroom. There are rooms memorializing the iconic Watson and Mrs. Hudson too, giving visitors an insight into the life and narratives of this most famous detective and his friend and assistant.
The V&A Museum of Childhood is part of the Victoria and Albert Museum and focuses on pieces of art and design, by and for children. Its aim is to inspire young people to produce collections of graphic arts, design and performance, whilst encouraging them to continually learn and be creative. The idea is to engage with young prospective inventors and designers, who are encouraged to lead the way forward in helping the museum becoming a convivial child-centred space.
Launched in 2019, the Vagina Museum in Camden Market gives you an idiosyncratic insight into all that’s gynaecological. From tampons to menstrual cups, to intricate pictures of female genitalia, this museum has everything you’d want to know about the female anatomy, both in people and animals, whilst highlighting all the social topics surrounding them.
The Brunel’s were the first people in the world to build a tunnel under a river, and the Grand Entrance Hall to the Brunel museum (where work on the real Thames Tunnel began) celebrates the engineering and implementation that went into this. The museum sits on the South Bank of the river Thames and through prints and models, memorializes the tragedies and triumphs that occurred during the construction of the Thames Tunnel.
If you want to learn all about the Grand Union Canal, its erection challenges engineering achievements, and how the canals advocated the industrial revolution, then the Canal Museum collaborates the stories of the people, who subsisted and laboured on the canals. The museum has over 12,000 objects and models of historic boats over the last 300 years.
London’s Cinema Museum is dedicated to preserving the heart of cinema. Set in historic backdrops, the Cinema Museum houses a distinctive collection of artefacts, mementos and paraphernalia that conserves the antiquity and splendour of the cinema, from old-fashioned black and white movies to modern blockbusters.
If you want to soak up the ambiance of a bygone age, then this 18th century house will stimulate your senses with scents and sounds from days gone by. It was Dennis Severs’ intention that as you enter his house it will feel as though you passed through the surface of a painting. The museum is an intimate portrait of the lives of a family of Huguenot silk-weavers from 1724 to the of the 20th Century. With food left on plates, and discarded items left around, the entire fantasy merged with your imagination will leave you in an entrancingly eerie disposition.
The Fan Museum celebrates the history and making of the hard fan. The museum owns over 4000 fans with the earliest dating back to the 10th century. Possibly the most unique museum on this list.
Freud is famous for creating and evolving the technique of psychoanalysis and enunciating the psychoanalytic theory of mental illness and the subconscious in human nature. The Freud Museum promotes the intelligent and social vestiges of Sigmund and his daughter Anna, who herself was a pioneering psychoanalyst. With around 2500 artifacts, as well as the real sofa he saw patients on, the tales of the Freud family comes alive for all to debate and enjoy.
A major Victorian attraction, the Water and Steam museum has some of the world’s rarest working steam engines. You can go deep underground to see all the pipework and tunnelling that went into giving London its water supplies, and experience a water-themed journey into the sewers. There’s also an outdoor splash zone for fun for all the family.
The Magic Circle museum is committed to preserving the art of magic. Cloaked in mystery, only a select few know the true secrets of historical magic. But through stories and artefacts from past and present magicians, you’ll get an insight of some of the most fascinating performers such as the great Houdini.
Initially created from a collection of everyday packaging and product advertisements, the Museum of Brands encompasses 200 years of all that is nostalgic to many. From sweets to toilet paper, memories will be triggered by the thousands of manufactured packaging’s and adverts on show, and how they’ve evolved over the years.
Interactive galleries, a real life underground rail ride, and over 60,000 historical items revealing 500 years of postal history, The Postal Museum presents a surprising and compelling journey through time. From five-wheeled cycles to an award winning Victorian stamp collection, you’ll find everything you want to know about Britain’s’ postal heritage over the centuries.
Exhibited in glass cabinets, you’ll find an extensive collection of sewing machines, both domestic and industrial in the Sewing Museum. A magnet for sewing machine fanatics, there’s over 700 in total dating from 1829-1950, including a rare treadle operated Thimonnier wooden sewing machine and the first Singer sewing machine.
Contained in masses of glass cases, you’ll find over 67,000 specimens of zoological artefacts, from skeletons of extinct species like the quagga (a species of zebra) to the 99-inch-wide antlers of a giant elk. Wherever you look you’ll come face to face with a mystifying display of skulls and skeletons, and little animals and sea creatures preserved in jars. Oddly enough you’ll find one crammed with moles. Ewww!!
Do you have a fear of dentists? You just may have after a visit to the Dental museum! On display you’ll find an array of scary-looking dental instruments, including pliers (ouch) with artwork showing the horrors of tooth extraction. There’s also toothbrushes made from pig bristle and horsehair (urgh) and dentures made from ivory, wood, porcelain, and hard rubber. And if that wasn’t enough to put you off getting your pearly whites seen to, you can always admire the display of rotten teeth from soldiers killed in battle.
With 16 acres of beautiful gardens displaying an abundant variety of plants, you can learn all about the spectacular floral displays whilst watching hoverflies and moths and the many insects bees at work in this beautiful habitat. There’s also an aquarium and butterfly house to explore. Then browse through over 350,000 of anthropology, natural history, musical instruments and a wide collection of taxidermized animals.
If you’re interested in garden design and want to see how concepts have changed over the years, then a visit to the Garden Museum is a must. Get inspiration from the archives of notable garden and landscape designers, and the stories behind them, from early garden planning to ornamental gnomes.
The museum was opened in 2001 by the Handel House Trust and is committed in its deliverance of the life and works of the German-born British baroque composer and the American Rock star Jimi Hendrix. In this very space 200 years apart and separated by just a wall discover where two of the worlds most famous musicians changed music forever.
The Foundling Museum tells the story of the first home for abandoned and orphaned children. With sound recordings, uniforms, crockery, illustrations and an art gallery, the Foundling Museum looks at how social care and the stigma that went with it has evolved over the years.
A fine Georgian building is home to the William Morris Gallery, celebrating the wonderful works of this instigator of the Arts and Crafts movement. Enjoy looking at the array of fabrics, tiles and many other works including the woven tapestries that made this man so renowned.
This wonderful Toy Museum set in two cute idiosyncratic Georgian townhouses contains over 2,000 unusual and evocative playthings from across the globe. Enjoy and appreciate board games, marbles, wax dolls, teddy bears and so many more nostalgic playthings from the past.
Step into the Arab Hall of the Leighton House Museum. Exhibiting richly ornate interiors with gilded ceilings, a golden mosaic mural, elaborate embellished paintwork, coloured marbles attiring the walls and a fountain centrepiece, and you’ll comprehend the magnificent impact Frederic Leighton had on the London Artworld and Victorian art and architecture.
If you’re interested in pharmacy and healthcare, then the Pharmaceutical Museum offers everything from conventional dispensing equipment to classic glassware. With Paintings and prints, collections of medical materials and printed reference books, there’s something of interest for everyone.
Containing a restored operating theatre you can delve into the history of medicine and surgery during the 19th century, where in the early 1800’s before anaesthetics were discovered, patients were operated on as swiftly as possible, often in front of an audience. The tales of increased risks of death and amputations only adds to this atmospheric museum.
This Bank of England Museum details the history of the Bank of England from its foundation in 1694 to the present day. Artefacts such as ledger books, documents and original banknotes are on display revealing daily financial dealings from its beginnings in the 17th century and the contribution it made to the UK economy.
I hope your enjoyed reading 26 Unusual Museums To Visit in London.