10 Best Unusual Museums in London

Feb 27, 2018

London boasts some of the best museums in the world. The likes of the British Museum and NHM attract millions of visitors a year.

Away from the busy crowds, boisterous school trips and iPad wielding tourists, the capital city is home to plenty of interesting attractions a little off the beaten track. Visit these weird and wacky spots for some of the best unusual museums in London:

Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising, Notting Hill

A post shared by Ale (@alenka1989) on

What is it?:

Go on a journey to the supermarkets of yesteryear at this eclectic museum. Over 12,000 products, showcasing 150 years of British consumer history, are all squeezed under one roof.

Though old crisp packets and bottles of laundry detergent might not seem like museum-worthy exhibits on their own, together they provide an interesting look into British culture and our longstanding love of spending money on consumer goods.

Where is it?:

Just round the corner from Portobello Market, next to the Ladbroke Grove tube station.

Magic Circle Museum, Euston

What is it?:

The Magic Circle is one of London’s most exclusive clubs and is strictly a member only hangout. You have to be a registered magician to gain access to the secretive headquarters, but mere muggles can take a look around the Circle’s Museum.

Booking by appointment only it may be, but the Museum has some really interesting tricks amongst its collection.

On display are handcuffs used by the legendary Harry Houdini, and a set of cups used by HRH Prince Charles from his days as a budding magician.

Where is it?:

Right next door to Euston station.

Fan Museum, Greenwich

A post shared by Irina (@i_irina_) on

What is it?:

Fan of fans? London is home to the world’s one and only Fan Museum, a fact we’re certainly a fan of.

Greenwich’s Fan Museum is a showcase of the history of the fashion item, with over 3500 designs amongst the collection.

There are often a series of temporary exhibitions on too, so there is always something new to see with each visit.

Where is it?:

Not too far from Greenwich station, at the north-west end of Greenwich Park.

Ragged School Museum, Mile End

Ragged School Museum, an unusual museum in London.

What is it?:

School life was tough way back in the 1800’s and Mile End’s Ragged School Museum aims to remind us all that it wasn’t just a case of trading Pokemon cards and who had the best fidget spinner.

Historically, Ragged Schools were set up to offer education to London’s poorer kids, and at this living museum, you can get an idea of how things were done in the 19th century.

Why not join a few classes in the recreated classroom for a real insight into life in a Victorian schoolhouse.

Where is it?:

On Copperfield Road round the back of the expansive Mile End Park heading down towards Limehouse.

Handel House Museum, Mayfair

What is it?:

The former home of celebrated composer George Frederic Handel. Born in Germany, Handel lived in Mayfair for the last 36 years of his life.

The museum is an ode to the great composer, and along with the many personal items and knick-knacks, the museum is still used as a concert hall and rehearsal room.

Where is it?:

Handel had his digs slap-bang in the middle of the super swanky Mayfair area. You can pop in for a nosey at his former home just down the road from the iconic Claridge’s building.

HMS Belfast, Tower Bridge

HMS Belfast offers a diverting day out at Tower Bridge.

What is it?:

Though its days as a feared warship may be behind it, HMS Belfast is still an impressive sight to behold.

Part of the Imperial War Museum group, the WWII vessel is now a floating insight into life in the Navy.

HMS Belfast is perhaps Britain’s most important surviving warship, having taken part in the D-Day offensive of WWII.

All nine decks are fully open for exploration, with plenty of info and interactive aspects providing an idea of what life was like for the 900-strong crew.

Where is it?:

The iconic vessel spends its time floating out on the Thames, permanently moored just south of London Bridge.

The Golden Hinde, South Bank

The Golden Hinde, the vessel of Sir Francis Drake.

What is it?:

Speaking of boats, why not step aboard the Golden Hinde and discover ship-life in a totally different era.

This mighty vessel is a reconstruction of the 16th century ship that circumnavigated the planet under the captaincy of Sir Francis Drake.

Formerly the notorious Pelican, the original traversed the globe from 1577 and 1580.

The boat is an exact recreation, offering an interesting insight into life on the seas during the reign of Elizabeth I.

Where is it?:

Only just up the river from the HMS Belfast, on the other side of the iconic London Bridge.

Clink Prison Museum, South Bank

What is it?:

The origins of getting “a night in the Clink”. This ancient prison is quite possibly the oldest surviving jail in England.

Dubbed “The Clink” due to its serving of the Liberty of the Clink area of what would eventually become Southwark, this prison first opened its doors in the 12th century.

The Prison Museum is an engrossing recreation of conditions in the original prison, from squalid cells to notorious torture tools.

Where is it?:

Just down the road from the previous entry, the Golden Hinde. The Prison Museum is tucked away on the titular Clink Street, between the Southwark and London bridges.

Royal London Museum, Whitechapel

Royal London Hospital, an unusual museum.

What is it?:

A window into the Royal London Hospital, the RLH’s Whitechapel Museum documents life in the hospital through the ages.

One of London’s oldest and most iconic, RLH is something of a London institution. The Museum is packed with knick-knacks and instruments of yesteryear and provides an eye-opening insight into just how lucky we are with modern medical advancements.

The Museum also contains original artefacts from some of the city’s most well-known cases, including an exhibition on notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper, and John Merrick, the famous “Elephant Man”.

Where is it?:

Unsurprisingly, the Royal London Hospital Museum can be found next to the hospital from which it gets its name, just across the road from Whitechapel tube station.

Grant Museum of Zoology, Euston

Grand Museum of Zoology

Photo by Debbie Ding.

What is it?:

A wonderful journey into the animal world. Grant Museum of Zoology is part of UCL’s city campus and is packed with all manner of skeletons, stuffed critters and expertly preserved extinct animals.

As well as providing plenty of insight into the amazing natural world around us, it also serves as a poignant reminder of what we must do to preserve it.

Where is it?:

Part of University College London’s campus just south of the Euston Square tube station.

Advertisement

Clink Prison Museum, South Bank

What is it?:

The origins of getting “a night in the Clink”. This ancient prison is quite possibly the oldest surviving jail in England.

Dubbed “The Clink” due to its serving of the Liberty of the Clink area of what would eventually become Southwark, this prison first opened its doors in the 12th century.

The Prison Museum is an engrossing recreation of conditions in the original prison, from squalid cells to notorious torture tools.

Where is it?:

Just down the road from the previous entry, the Golden Hinde. The Prison Museum is tucked away on the titular Clink Street, between the Southwark and London bridges.

Royal London Museum, Whitechapel

Royal London Hospital, an unusual museum.

What is it?:

A window into the Royal London Hospital, the RLH’s Whitechapel Museum documents life in the hospital through the ages.

One of London’s oldest and most iconic, RLH is something of a London institution. The Museum is packed with knick-knacks and instruments of yesteryear and provides an eye-opening insight into just how lucky we are with modern medical advancements.

The Museum also contains original artefacts from some of the city’s most well-known cases, including an exhibition on notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper, and John Merrick, the famous “Elephant Man”.

Where is it?:

Unsurprisingly, the Royal London Hospital Museum can be found next to the hospital from which it gets its name, just across the road from Whitechapel tube station.

Grant Museum of Zoology, Euston

Grand Museum of Zoology

Photo by Debbie Ding.

What is it?:

A wonderful journey into the animal world. Grant Museum of Zoology is part of UCL’s city campus and is packed with all manner of skeletons, stuffed critters and expertly preserved extinct animals.

As well as providing plenty of insight into the amazing natural world around us, it also serves as a poignant reminder of what we must do to preserve it.

Where is it?:

Part of University College London’s campus just south of the Euston Square tube station.

Also In The Area

Connect With Us

Related Posts

Also In The Area

Get the London guide app

Everything you need to plan your perfect trip to the City (find out more)

A Local's Eye View

Get the ‘local low-down’ on London with insight into great things to see and do, as well as recommended places to eat, drink and dance in the bustling capital.

Daily Highlights Roundup

A seamless week’s feed of content, providing daily choices of restaurants, attractions and events in London, as well as a comprehensive spotlight on the best upcoming high-profile concerts, productions and more.

Book Through The App

Discover and book tables, takeaways, tickets, hotels, taxis and more in the City, all in the same place without leaving the app, or create and share plans to help maximise your time with friends.

Download Citi-Wise from the Apple storeGet Citi-Wise on Google Play

Legal

Privacy Policy 
 

© 2018 CitiWise | Part of intechWiFi

Social

Visit Citi-Wise on Facebook

Download Citi-Wise from the Apple storeGet Citi-Wise on Google Play