Free London: the museum you haven’t visited yet

Originally posted on Vivere Londra, 16th February 2015.


bankBank of England Museum

For all the little Scrooge McDucks who want to see where the British Pound comes from and where it’s headed. Among the random exhibited things, there are the original muskets that were actually used to defend the Bank of England. Also interesting the collection of all the English bank notes and a 13 kg gold bar you will be allowed to touch (under strict supervision).

When: Monday-Friday 10.00-17.00
Where: Bartholomew Lane, EC2R 8AH
Tube: Bank [Central, Northern,Waterloo and City line / DLR]


geffryeGeffrye Museum

The house museum explores how our homes have changed in the last 400 years. Thanks to 11 rooms, the family life is retraced through different eras, from the furniture style to necessities like electric lighting and air-conditioning. Bonus: open from April to October only, the period gardens portray the botanic taste through the centuries.

When: Tuesday-Sunday 10.00-17.00
Where:136 Kingsland Road, E2 8EA
Tube: Hoxton [Overground]


Untitled-2Grant Museum of Zoology

Less confusing, gigantic and crowded than the Natural History Museum, this museum offers everything, from extinct animals to microscopic insects. There are several interactive games and curiosities from a collection that is very well curated both from a scientific and aesthetic perspective. It was founded at the beginning of the 19th century for teaching at UCL, but it has become much more.

When: Monday-Saturday 13.00-17.00
Where: Rockefeller Building – University College London – 21 University Street, WC1E 6DE
Tube: Euston Square [Circle, Hammersmith & City, Tubepolitan line]




hornimanHorniman Museum

The anthropological museum has both a natural history gallery and an art collection with objects from all over the world. From a giant walrus to 1600 different music instruments, the Horniman truly has something for everyone; there is also an immense garden with various itineraries. The Aquarium is the only part of the museum which requires you to pay for a ticket.

When: every day 10.30-17.30
Where: 100 London Road, SE23 3PQ
Tube: Forest Hill [Overground]


hunterianHunterian Museum

Consider yourselves warned, all you squeamish people: this is a scientific collection of comparative anatomy, so you will not be able to avoid ugly diseases and vile things. Part of the museum, for instance, is the Odontological Collection – teeth, jaws, dentist’s tools. If you are afraid of the dentist or you are an hypocondriac: NO. Don’t say you haven’t been properly warned. For everyone else: it’s a little repulsive, but really cool.

When: Tuesday-Saturday 10.00-17.00
Where: Royal College of Surgeons – 35-43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A 3PE
Tube: Holborn [Central, Piccadilly line]


saatchiSaatchi Gallery

Since it’s one of the best-known contemporary art galleries in the world, you probably knew it already – but perhaps you didn’t know that entrance is free. Shows always feature young, up-and-coming artists, or at least not widely exhibited in the UK. This is a gem (and kind of a preppy place, to be honest).

When: every day 10.00-18.00
Where: Duke of York’s HQ – King’s Road, SW3 4RY
Tube: Sloane Square [Circle, District line]


soaneSir John Soane’s Museum

The private home of 1800s architect John Soane has been transformed into a museum under the orders of the man himself. His endless collection of art is showcased, as well as his huge library. All the objects are exactly in the same spot they were when Soane passed away (creepy!). Attention: the museum has a ton of rules, so no big bags and no phones or tablets.

When: Tuesday-Saturday 10.00-17.00
Where: 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A 3BP
Tube: Holborn [Central, Piccadilly line]


freemasonsThe Library and Museum of Freemasonry

The only time I went inside the Freemasons’ Hall it wasn’t to become an illuminati: I was attending the premiere of a Nickelodeon show. Underwhelming, I know. The building is sort of ugly on the outside, but gorgeous on the inside, and the collection holds lots of Masonic symbols – including those owned by Winston Churchill and several Royals. This is a truly odd and fascinating place: who knows what mysteries you could unveil by accidentally nudging a candelabra!

When: Monday-Friday 10.00-17.00
Where: Freemasons’ Hall – 60 Great Queen Street, WC2B 5AZ
Tube: Holborn [Central, Piccadilly line]


mocV&A Museum of Childhood

Do I even need to tell you? If you have children, this museum is it. It’s full of activities, special events, and obviously toys. If you don’t have children but you love playing and the history of childhood, this is the place for you. You will be able to admire dollhouses from the 1800s and knick-knacks you had never even heard of.

When: every day 10.00-17.45
Where: Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9PA
Tube: Bethnal Green [Central line]


wallaceWallace Collection

Let’s put it this way: this is yet another museum that you can only visit with a plan in mind, because it’s huge and has all sorts of things in it. The private collection of Sir Richard Wallace was donated to the Country by his wife, and includes legendary masterpieces by Rembrandt, Tiziano, Canaletto, Velázquez. An absolute delight for art history aficionados.

When: every day 10.00-17.00
Where: Hertford House – Manchester Square, W1U 3BN
Tube: Bond Street [Central, Jubilee line]


wellWellcome Collection

As the website says, this gallery “explores the connections between medicine, life and art in the past, present and future”. To me, this is one of the most interesting locations in London, thanks to the concept that inspires it and the amazing exhibitions that it produces.

When: Tuesday-Sunday 10.00-18.00
Where: 183 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BE
Tube: Euston Square [Circle, Hammersmith & City, Tubepolitan line]

Precedente January 2015 round-up Successivo February 2015 round-up