This post is a list of medical museums in London and will be updated in 2023.
Some of them are free while others have an entry cost. Several of the ticketed museums are included for free in tourist passes.
FREE MEDICAL MUSEUMS IN LONDON
If you’re curious about modern-day medicine and healthcare, you can visit these 16 London museums of health and medicine listed below.
These all focus on science and medical breakthroughs as well as honoring pioneers in the field.
The best thing about the museums in this section is that they're free! We have a post on free museums in London.
Also, read our post on free things to do in London for more budget-friendly ideas.
Discover the world around us from the solar system to how the human body works.
The Science Museum is one of the main three on Exhibition Road and one of the most popular free museums in London.
Hours: Daily 10.00am - 18.00pm (last entry 17.15pm).
Royal London Hospital Museum
Note: As per the information on website, museum is now closed
Anyone curious about the human body and how it works will enjoy a trip to the Royal London Hospital Museum.
They are located in a former church crypt and have exhibits dedicated to antique instruments and the Elephant Man Joseph Merrick.
Anaesthesia Heritage Centre
Learn about the history of Anaesthesia and surgery at the Anaesthesia Heritage Centre. The Centre has historical medical records and a rare book collection.
It provides a distinct resource for the history of anaesthesia, resuscitation and pain relief.
Note: Call ahead of your visit to double-check hours.
The Wellcome Collection is a unique museum that focuses on the scientific perspective on maintaining health and wellness.
You can explore the library and exhibits that combine medicine and art.
For Galleries and Reading Room
- Monday - Closed
- Tue - Wed -10:00 – 18:00
- Thu - 10:00 – 20:00
- Fri - Sun - 10:00 – 18:00
- Sunday - Closed
- Mon - Wed -10:00 – 18:00
- Thu - 10:00 – 20:00
- Fri - Sat - 10:00 – 18:00
British Dental Association Museum
Note: As per the official website, museum is currently closed until further notice.
The British Dental Association Museum has a large collection of dental artifacts ranging from fascinating to terrifying.
See how the dental profession has changed from the 17th century to now.
Bethlem Royal Hospital Museum of the Mind
From recorded experiences about living with mental illness to education about them, the Bethlem Royal Hospital Museum of the Mind is devoted to the improvement of mental health.
The museum is held within the first UK institution to exclusively care for mentally ill patients.
Hours: Wed - Sat from 9:30am – 17:00pm (last entry 16:30)
British Optical Association Museum
Take a look at artifacts from Optometrists throughout the ages at the world’s oldest optical museum.
The British Optical Association Museum holds old glasses, reading tests, and documentation of patient care.
Note: You must make a reservation to visit this museum.
Hours: Monday-Friday 10.00am - 5.00pm
Museum of the Order of St. John
Discover how the St. John Ambulance charity started with the medical care of sick pilgrims by a religious military order at the Museum of the Order of St John.
There is a children’s activity trail to follow for younger visitors that put the exhibits in chronological order.
Hours: Wed – Sat, 10am – 5pm
Royal Pharmaceutical Society Museum
Brand name medicines have documentation back to the 1700s.
You can learn about the pharmaceutical beginnings of today’s healthcare, including equipment, development, and politics at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.
Hours: Mon – Fri, from 9 am to 5 pm (closed on Bank Holidays).
St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Museum
Note: Museum is currently closed for construction work.
The St. Bartholomew's Hospital Museum holds the medical history of multiple London hospitals, including documentation of patient care, teaching methods, and how hospitals have been run throughout the years.
If you’re interested in the history of organized hospitals, check out St Bartholomew’s Hospital.
Barts Pathology Museum
Barts Pathology Museum is located in St. Bartholomew’s and is still occasionally used to teach medical residents in the hospital. This museum holds specimens of body parts and bacteria cultures.
Note: The Pathology Museum is only open during specific events.
How did the British Red Cross organization start? How did it expand during World War I?
In this museum, you can find records from war volunteers, historic Red Cross-themed toys, and other medical artifacts.
Hours: Monday to Friday, 9am – 6pm
Langdon Down Museum of Learning Disability
Note: As per the website, museum is currently closed due to Covid-19
This museum brings attention to how common learning disabilities are and displays the ways society has treated them.
The museum is in the former home of a Victorian physician, Dr. John Langdon Down, who took a compassionate and educated approach to care for patients with learning disabilities.
Royal College of Nursing Library & Heritage Centre
The Royal College of Nursing is home to Europe’s biggest collection of artifacts from the nursing occupation over the last 200 years.
Discover how the profession evolved and became regulated so that patients had better and safer experiences.
Note: You must make an appointment to see the collection.
Hours: Monday to Saturday 9am-5pm
Royal Society of Medicine
Get a look into specific eras and issues the medical world has dealt with at the Royal Society of Medicine.
The library hosts a constantly rotating selection of exhibits on people, organizations, and diseases.
Note: The exhibits are free but you must download a ticket from the website to enter.
- Monday - Thursday: 9.30am - 6.00pm
- Friday: 9.30am - 5.30pm
- Saturday - Sunday: Closed
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Museum
This museum is focused completely on the history and development of women’s healthcare.
From original Chamberlen forceps to rare books and paintings, you can learn a lot about how women’s health has evolved over the centuries.
Note: The Museum displays can be seen by pre-booking a guided tour.
Founded by Royal Charter of Henry VIII in 1518, the Royal College of Physicians Museum in London (RCP Museum) houses a remarkable collection of medical artifacts, manuscripts, and portraits, offering fascinating insight into the history of medicine.
It provides a chronological journey through medical advancements, showcasing centuries of progress and the evolution of medical practices.
Open to the public, the museum serves as an educational hub, enriching visitors' understanding of the medical profession's development.
Hours: Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm
Founded by 18th century surgeon anatomist John Hunter, the Hunterian Museum is a fascinating display of medical history and surgical advancements.
It houses a vast collection of specimens, artifacts, and instruments that chronicle the evolution of surgery and medical practice.
Visitors can get remarkable insights into the heritage of surgical techniques, learning about the pioneers and breakthroughs that have shaped modern healthcare.
It stands as a valuable educational resource, offering insights into the progress and dedication of the surgical profession.
- Tuesday to Saturday: 10am–5pm (last entry 4 pm)
- Sunday - Monday: Closed
MUSEUMS WITH AN ENTRY FEE
From laboratories to education, here is the list of medical museums throughout London that have an entry fee to enter.
Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum
Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928 in St Mary’s Hospital. Now, the hospital has restored his lab to that year in honor of the development of antibiotics since then.
- Adults £4
- Children, Students, and Seniors £2
- Opening Hours: Monday-Thursday, 10:00-13:00
- Other times by advance appointment only (Monday-Thursday 14:00-17:00 and Friday 10:00-17:00)
Chelsea Physic Garden
Hidden right in the middle of London is the city’s oldest botanic garden. The plants were originally grown to be edible or medicinal, and it still stands today as an oasis in the busy city.
- Adults £6.50 - £11 depending on the season
- Concessions £4.50 - £7.50 depending on the season
- Family Ticket £24.15 - £35.70 depending on the season
- Open Sunday - Friday, 11am - 5pm (last entry 4:30pm)
The Foundling Museum was the UK’s first children’s charity hospital. The art and displays pay homage to the charity work and hope to inspire visitors to also make contributions to their communities.
- Adults £10
- Students, Seniors, Concessions £7.50
- 21 and under enter FREE
- Tue - Sat: 10am - 5pm
- Sunday:11am - 5pm
- Monday: Closed
Florence Nightingale Museum
Florence Nightingale is the most famous nurse in the world and was responsible for changing the way nurses were trained and teaching healthcare professionals about the importance of hygiene. The museum celebrates her life and achievements.
- Adults £8
- Under 16s £4
- Concessions (Seniors, Military, Disabled) £6
- Students £5
- Wednesday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm (last entry 4:30pm)
Sigmund Freud's home is now the location of the Freud Museum. Here you can learn about Freud's life, the history of psychoanalysis, and how his youngest daughter also contributed to the field.
- Adults £9
- Concessions £7
- Children 12-16 £5
- Under 12s FREE
- Wednesday - Sunday, 10:30 – 17:00
The Thackray Medical Museum is an enlightening journey through the history of medicine.
It vividly portrays the evolution of healthcare and the human body through a rich collection of artifacts, interactive exhibits, and archival materials.
Visitors can delve into medical advancements, surgical instruments, and healthcare practices over centuries, gaining a deeper understanding of the role medicine plays in society.
- Adults £11.95
- Children 5-16 £8.95
- Under 5s FREE
- Daily: 10am–5pm (last admission 4.15pm)
Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret
Take a look at Europe's oldest surgical theatre, which was in use before anesthesia and hygiene protocols. It truly was like a theatre, with plenty of seating options available for onlookers.
- Adults £6.50
- Concessions £5
- Under 18s £3.50
- Thursday-Sunday from 10.30am until 5pm, with last admission at 4.15pm.
INCLUDED IN TOURIST PASSES
The museums listed here have an entry fee but are also included in tourist passes for free. Additionally, these passes also include other museums in London.
Check out our post on London city passes for more information and attractions.
- Florence Nightingale Museum
- Freud Museum
- Old Operating Theatre Museum
OTHER THINGS TO DO IN LONDON
If you’re looking for other London activities, take a look at our guide to exploring London on a budget.
We have suggested itineraries, places to look for discount shopping, and tips on getting discount theatre tips.
Our suggestions for other things to do in London: