There are many famous museums in London. Whether local or a visitor it is likely you have heard of the Tate, the Natural History Museum, The Royal Portrait Gallery, the British Museum and many more. While of course, these are worth the trip there are a few stranger, and far less-known, museums that are also worth exploring. These are perfect if you have niche interests or want to do something a little different. We can’t promise any crowds but there’s also a good chance to avoid as many tourists with these unique suggestions. Here are just a few of the quirkiest museums in London.
Sherlock Holmes Museum
If you have a passion or even an interest in London’s most famous fictional detective, look no further. Located at the character’s address, 221B Baker Street, this fun little museum takes you to a world of Sherlock. Explore Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories and the time they were written. The four-storey townhouse is straight out of the Victorian era and has been set up to mirror the dwellings of Holmes and Watson. It also houses possibly the best shop for anything Sherlock you’re likely to find anywhere else in the world.
Museum of Brands
Be amazed by some of the most iconic labels, designs and illustrations across the spectrum of consumer items. Nostalgia will hit hard and interests will peak as you step into this charming little museum in Notting Hill. With over 12,000 items spanning centuries, you can see London and the UK come to life through its history of products. There are vintage toys, magazines, foods and more from companies you’re sure to recognize and some you may not have heard of. There are regular specialised exhibitions focusing on anything from old cartoons to modern beers so be sure to see what’s on.
Old Operating Theatre
If you have an interest in the history of medicine and a thrill for the bizarre take a stop in the Old Operating Theatre. Located in SE1 on St Thomas Street this almost frightening relic is housed in the attic of the old St Thomas Hospital. It was once used in Victorian times as an operating room. It has raised seating so students could witness and study the newly discovered surgical practices. The old timber construct is the oldest surviving surgical theatre of its kind in Europe. Visitors can learn about its history, the medicine used and shop around its charming apothecary shop.
London Sewing Machine Museum
This museum is not in central London but rather Tooting. Coming across it you might even think you’ve been given the wrong directions. If you look on the outside it is a nondescript warehouse rather far out in Southwest London, inside you are transported back in time. It is more accurately the owner’s, Ray Rushton, personal collection of sewing machines. The earliest dates to 1865 and was a personal gift to the daughter of Queen Victoria. As you go through the collection there are small descriptions of the machines, which are all in working order. Visitors have come back positively simply by the amazing designs and layout of the collection. People are only allowed in once a month so be sure to plan accordingly.
The Cartoon Museum
For those who love the timeless art of drawing and animation, be sure to stop by The Cartoon Museum. Dive into the rich history of British cartoons and the nation’s rich history with comics. From wartime posters, newspapers, fashion, political satire all the way to modern films and comic books there is a lot to see. Exhibitions are regular and always offer something exciting for those who love the visual format. It’s on Wells Street so can easily be fit into a day out in central. Watch your wallets as you leave as they have an exceptional gift shop filled with illustrations to pick up.