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15 Strange Museums in London

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London is home to some of the world’s great museums – The British Museum, The National Gallery, and the Victoria and Albert.

But what if you’re craving something a little stranger? We have you covered.

If you want to get off the beaten track and explore some of the weirdest museums in the world, London should be the next city on your list. Check out these wild and wonderful museums, and let us know what you think!

If you’re traveling to London, join our London Travel Tips Facebook Group for helpful hacks and advice.

If you want even more weird London, join the London Urban Oddities group.


1. The Vagina Museum

The world’s only museum dedicated solely to the vulva and vagina, this informative and cheeky museum will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about ‘down there.’

Expect to learn a lot, even if you’re lucky enough to have your own.

The Vagina Museum
By Matt Brown - https://www.flickr.com/photos/londonmatt/52100070988/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=121014929

Website: https://www.vaginamuseum.co.uk

Location: 18 Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green, London E2 9PF

Admission: Free

Hours: Wednesday 10 am - 8 pm
Thursday – Sunday 10 am - 6 pm


2. The Fan Museum

Surprisingly, this is not the only fan museum in Europe!

There is an abundance of strange and unusual fans found in the historical record – after all, every gentlewoman used to carry a hand fan to keep herself nice and cool!

This museum also does a lovely afternoon tea!

The Fan Museum
By Visit Greenwich from Greenwich, United Kingdom - The Fan Museum, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60478610

Website: https://www.thefanmuseum.org.uk/

Location: 12 Crooms Hill, London SE10 8ER

Admission: £5 per adult/£3 per child

Hours: Wednesday to Saturday 11 am – 5 pm


3. The London Sewing Machine Museum

Do you want a niche museum? We have one!

If you’re an avid sewer or just interested in the history of technology, you’ll enjoy the London Sewing Machine Museum, located in Balham.

It’s home to a collection of more than 600 antique sewing machines, dating from 1850 to 1950.

Website: https://www.craftysewer.com/acatalog/London_Sewing_Machine_Museum.html

Location: Balham High Rd, Tooting Bec, London SW17 7AA

Admission: Free

Hours: The first Saturday of every month, 2 pm – 5 pm


4. God’s Own Junkyard

This psychedelic neon paradise is housed in a warehouse in Walthamstow, Northeast London.

Founded by late owner Chris Bracey, he got his start selling his neon creations to Hollywood directors such as Stanley Kubrick and Tim Burton.

God’s Own Junkyard
God’s Own Junkyard

Today, this warehouse shows off both neon salvage and art pieces.

Website: godsownjunkyard.co.uk

Location: Unit 12, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall St, London E17 9HQ

Admission: Free

Hours: Friday and Saturday 11 am–10 pm

Sunday 11 am – 6 pm


5. Anaesthesia Heritage Centre

Following a recent refurbishment, the Anaesthesia Heritage Centre is very visitor friendly and is frequented by travelling anaesthesiologists and medical students.

Anaesthesia Heritage Centre
Anaesthesia Heritage Centre

The displays, which can get quite grisly, include the history of chloroform, pain relief in childbirth, including Queen Victoria’s own births.

Website: https://anaesthetists.org/Home/Heritage-centre

Location: 21 Portland Pl, London W1B 1PY

Admission: Free

Hours: Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm


6. Kirkaldy’s Testing Works

This purpose-built building was designed to house 'The Kirkaldy Machine,’ the original hydraulic testing machine designed by David Kirkaldy in 1874.

It was used to test new industrial materials during the 19th century to keep people safe.

Kirkaldy’s Testing Works
Kirkaldy’s Testing Works

Depending on the day, you can see the machines in action, and maybe even try your own hand at testing the strength of a parachute cord.

Website: www.testingworks.org.uk

Location: 99 Southwark St, London SE1 0JF

Admission: £8 - £15 depending on the length of the tour

Hours: Hours vary; check the website for upcoming open days.


7. Bethlem Museum of the Mind

Bethlem hospital was originally founded in 1247, where Liverpool Street Station is today.

It moved to a few other places in the City before settling in at this site in 1930.

Bethlem Museum of the Mind
Bethlem Museum of the Mind

Known as the origin of the word “bedlam,” this was a grim and exploitative place.

The museum chronicles this dark history and showcases artwork and writing by former patients.

Website: https://museumofthemind.org.uk/

Location: Bethlem Royal Hospital, Monks Orchard Rd, Beckenham BR3 3BX

Admission: Free

Hours: Wednesday – Saturday 9 am – 5 pm


8. Grant Museum of Zoology

Home to more than 67,000 specimens, this is London’s last university zoological museum.

Here, you can see remarkable examples of extinct animals, such as the bones of a Dodo and the bones and skins of a Quagga and Tasmanian Tiger.

Grant Museum of Zoology
Grant Museum of Zoology

Also, don’t miss the Micrarium (a museum within the museum) and the beloved jar of moles.

Website: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/culture/grant-museum-zoology

Location: Rockefeller Building, 21 University St, London WC1E 6DE

Admission: Free

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 1 pm – 5 pm


9. Museum of Freemasonry

For an ancient secret society shrouded in mystery and conspiracy theories, the Freemason’s Hall in London is remarkably open about their rituals, artifacts, and memorabilia – or at least, they want us to think they are!

Museum of Freemasonry
Museum of Freemasonry

In addition to the fantastic free museum, they also offer regular free guided tours throughout the stunning art deco building.

Website: https://museumfreemasonry.org.uk/

Location: 60 Great Queen St, London WC2B 5AZ

Admission: Free

Hours: Monday – Saturday 10 am – 5 pm


10. The Magic Circle Museum

From one secretive society to another!

This museum isn’t open to the public – you must visit for a scheduled event that includes at least one magic show.

The Magic Circle Museum
The Magic Circle Museum

In addition to the basement museum filled with magical pop culture memorabilia, there are also a lot of incredible artifacts displayed throughout the entire building.

Website: https://themagiccircle.co.uk/

Location: Centre for the Magic Arts, 12 Stephenson Way, London NW1 2HD

Admission: Free

Hours: Hours vary; check the website for upcoming events.


11. House of Dreams

This East Dulwich museum/art project was started back in 1998 by Stephen Wright, who continues the magic today – this is part home, art gallery, and personal record.

Every inch of the space is decorated with dolls, false teeth, used wigs, old toys, and old wills, letters, and photographs collected from European junk markets.

House of Dreams
House of Dreams

Website: http://www.stephenwrightartist.com/houseofdreams.php

Location: 45 Melbourne Grove, London SE22 8RG

Admission: £12 per adult

Hours: Hours vary; check the website for upcoming open days.


12. Novelty Automation

Pushing the limits on the definition of museum, Novelty Automation is part art gallery, part museum, part arcade - and 100% fun and bizarre.

It’s filled with satirical game machines, all constructed by hand by cartoonist and engineer Tim Hunkin.

Novelty Automation
Novelty Automation

Check out the interactive divorce machine, the “My Nuke Personal Nuclear Reactor," and the Housing Ladder slot machine.

Website: https://www.novelty-automation.com/

Location: 1a Princeton St, London, WC1R 4AX

Admission: Free, but each machine costs £1 - £3 to play. You can play all games for £26.

Hours: Tuesday - Wednesday 11 am - 6 pm
Thursday 12 - 8 pm
Friday – Saturday 11 am – 6 pm
Sundays – 12 pm - 6 pm


13. Old Operating Theatre

This little museum is housed in the attic of the early eighteenth-century church of the old St Thomas’ Hospital.

This set-up predates the use of anaesthetics and antiseptics - it is the oldest surviving surgical theatre in Europe.

Old Operating Theatre
Old Operating Theatre

Make sure to poke around the herb garret, where herbs would be stored for making medicines.

Website: https://oldoperatingtheatre.com/

Location: 9a St Thomas St, London SE1 9RY

Admission: £7.50 per adult

Hours: Thursday - Sunday 10.30 am – 5.00 pm 

*Note – The museum is regrettably not accessible and is undergoing refurbishment. It will reopen 1st April 2023


14. Dennis Severs House

This museum was started by Dennis Severs in 1979 – he was an American who bought a derelict house saved by the Spitalfields Trust.

In each room, you encounter crackling fires, lit candles, half-eaten meals, and echoing laughter just out of earshot.

Dennis Severs House
Dennis Severs House

There are mysteries to be solved, and strange instances to witness. Trust me – you need to look, listen, and pay attention.  

Website: https://dennissevershouse.co.uk/

Location: 18 Folgate St, London E1 6BX

Admission: £15 (£20 on Friday evenings)

Hours: Friday 5 pm – 9 pm
Saturday and Sunday 12 pm – 4 pm


15. Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art, & UnNatural History

In almost any city in the world, Dennis Severs would undoubtedly win the moniker of the strangest museum.

However, we’re in London, and we must visit the wild and wonderful Viktor Wynd.

This museum isn’t for the faint of heart – it’s loaded with occult objects, taxidermy, and bizarre celebrity memorabilia, including Russel Brand’s pubic hair, The Rolling Stones used condoms and even Kylie Minogue’s poo.

Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art, & UnNatural History
Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art, & UnNatural History

Tucked amongst shrunken heads, old Happy Meal toys, pulp erotica, Feejee Mermaids, and two-headed kittens, you’ll find objects to horrify and delight you.

Even better, you can swig a strong cocktail before and after at The Absinthe Parlour & Cocktail Bar upstairs on the ground level.

Website: 11 Mare St, London E8 4RP

Location: https://www.thelasttuesdaysociety.org/museum/

Admission: £10 per adult/ £6 for concessions

Hours: Tuesday – Friday 3 pm – 11 pm
Saturday 12 pm – 11 pm
Sunday 12 pm – 10 pm


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About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo, Washington.org, and more.
Updated: January 25th, 2023
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