For those visiting London, there are a number of first-class world-renown museums to visit. However, if you are interested in hidden treasures and experiences off the beaten tourist track, then London has you covered there, too! From little-known collections to oddities and curiosities, when you’re on the hunt for an exceptional experience, look no further than our guide to London’s most interesting and unsung museums. Here are tour guide Margaret's top-secret tips.
Greenwich Fan Museum
Tuesday – Saturday 11am-5pm (Sunday 12pm-5pm) £4.00 for adults £3 for 6’s to 17’s
Home to more than 4,000 fans from around the world, this is the United Kingdom’s only museum devoted entire to fans and fan making. The collection of fans on display here represent both modern fans and also centuries-old antiques. Contained entirely within a Grade II listed building dating from 1721, the museum is not only host to a beautiful array of hand painted and manufactured fans, it also provides an understanding of the making of fans. In addition, the Orangery attached to the house is a beautiful place to relax with a tea or coffee.
++Margaret’s Top Tip: Seniors go free from 2pm on Tuesdays! And anyone can book a table for afternoon tea, served in the Orangery on Sundays and Tuesdays.++
Monday – Saturday 10:30am-5:30pm (Sunday 12pm-7pm) £5.50 for adults, free for under 18’s
The Cartoon Museum is home to some of the finest examples of British cartoons, caricatures, and comic art from the 18th century through to today. Those with an interest in political history will be delighted at the large array of political cartoons on display here. And for those more interested in the world of comics there are original and rare artworks on display from some of the biggest comics in the UK including Beano and Dennis the Menace. The museum consists of two floors with over 250 original works on display. The gift shop is an absolute treasure trove of books, posters, comics and gifts. For those who visit the museum, you will find it a challenge to leave the shop without making at least one purchase..!
Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising
Tuesday – Saturday 10am-6pm (Sunday 11am-5pm) £6.50 for adults, £2.25 from 7’s to 16’s
Easily my favourite museum of the bunch, the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising is an underappreciated gem in the west of London. Containing original packaging and advertisements dating back to the 19th century straight through to today, it includes brands that are well known (OXO, Mars Bars) and those that no longer exist (Marathon bar, anyone?). The museum boasts over 12,000 objects to view that are arranged chronologically through time, with a variety of media represented. Your walk through finishes in a gift shop with a wide array of vintage items just asking to be taken home!
++Margaret’s Top Tip: Give yourself A LOT of time – there is loads to see!++
MCC Museum, Lord’s Cricket Ground
Non-Match days: 10am – 4:30pm. £7.50 for adults, £5 for under 16’s
For those cricket lovers (or just those who want to understand the game!), this is for you. Begun in 1864, the collection on display here tells the full story of cricket – from its’ beginnings in the 17th century through to today. Items on display range from artefacts relating to small, local cricket clubs, as well as items belonging to and relating to some of the biggest names in the history of the sport. The real highlight of the museum is the original Ashes urn, gifted to England in 1882/3, donated to the museum in the 1920’s, and symbolically fought over by England and Australia to this day. In terms of curiosities, however, the most unusual item in the collection is a stuffed bird killed by a cricket ball in play in 1936.
Margaret is leading tours for Free Tours by Foot. Come and meet her on the Westminster Tour, the City of London Tour, or the All-in-One Tour.