London is home to some of the world’s great museums – The British Museum, The National Gallery, and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A).
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 or most unique museums, you can find those in London.
Check out these wild and wonderful museums, and let us know what you think!
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1. Handle Hendrix House Museum
The name alone tells you who is celebrated at this museum: musicians George Frederic Handle and Jimi Hendrix.
They both lived in London, 200 years apart, in buildings next to each other.
You'll find spaces where these two significant musicians created their music, along with instruments, clothing, bedrooms and living rooms, and much more.
The House also hosts talks, music rehearsals, guitar sessions, and more.
Website: Handel Hendrix House
Location: 25 Brook St, London W1K 4HB | Mayfair
Admission: £14 Adult | £10 Student | Free under age 16
Hours: Monday-Tuesday: closed | Wednesday-Sunday 10:00 am-5:00 pm.
2. Leighton House Museum
The recently refurbished and spectacular Leighton House museum sits in the former home of Victorian-era artist, Frederic, Lord Leighton.
The house is "crammed to the rafters" with art from Leighton's contemporaries, and his own, of course, as well as sculptures and furniture.
Particularly stunning is Arab Hall, which is topped with a dome with a metal spire, lined with antique tiles from Syria, and featuring a fountain.
Website: Leighton House Museum
Location: 12 Holland Park Road, London W14 8LZ | Holland Park
Admission: £11 Adult | £5 Children (age 6-18) | Free under age 6
Hours: Wednesdays to Mondays: 10:00 am-5:30 pm | Tuesday: closed
3. Freud Museum
This museum is in the home where Sigmund Freud spent his final years, after escaping the Nazis, along with his daughter, Anna Freud, who lived there until her own death.
Sigmund was the founder of psychoanalysis, and Anna became a pioneering child psychoanalyst.
Inside, visitors will find Freud senior's study along with his famous psychoanalytic couch.
There are also pieces of art, nicknacks, paintings, furniture, photographs, mementos, films, a gift shop, a garden, and much more.
Location: 20 Maresfield Gardens, London NW3 5SX, UK | Hampstead
Admission: £14 Adult | £9 Children (ages 12-16) | Free under age 12
Hours: Wednesday to Sunday: 10:30am-5:00pm | Tuesday: closed
Note: nearby is the home of poet John Keats.
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.
Today, this warehouse shows off both neon salvage and art pieces. There's also a cafe and bar, The Rolling Scones, with food and drink.
Website: God's Own Junkyard
Location: Unit 12, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall St, London E17 9HQ | Walthamstow
Hours: Friday and Saturday: 11 am-10 pm | Sunday: 11 am-6 pm
5. Foundling Museum
In the 18th Century, the Foundling Hospital was opened by Captain Thomas Coram, the UK's first children's charity.
It was created with the purpose of caring for vulnerable children, with a focus on healing them of diseases and housing them.
The Foundling Hospital Museum was created to house items from the hospital, including small items mothers left with the children they handed over, as a way of perhaps connecting the two in the future.
Interiors have been recreated, and one can now find the works of several artists on the walls, including Gainsborough and Hogarth.
Note that the composer Handle held concerts of the Messiah in the hospital to raise money for it.
Website: Foundling Hospital Museum
Location: 40 Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AZ | Bloomsbury
Admission: £10.50 Adult | £8.25 Concessions
Hours: Monday: closed | Tuesday to Saturday: 10 am - 5 pm | Sunday: 11 am - 5 pm
6. Pollock's Toy Museum
This quirky 70-year-old museum is home to toys of the past and was named after a printer of Victorian toy theatres.
They have a "much-loved collection of puppets, optical toys, teddy bears, tin toys, dolls and dolls’ houses, games, folk, and traditional toys from around the world."
How far back does their collection go? They have over 4,000 toys, including the world's oldest Teddy bears.
Website: Pollock's Toy Museum
Location: 1 Scala St, London W1T 2HL, United Kingdom | Camden (see below)
Admission: £9.00 Adult | £4.50 Children
Hours: The museum is temporarily closed as they look for a new home for their collection. Check their website for pop-up locations until they reopen.
7. Sherlock Holmes Museum
Where else would you find the Sherlock Holmes Museum than at 221B Baker Street?
This museum, in a four-story Georgian townhouse, was created to give visitors a sense of where Sherlock Holmes would have put his mind palace to work.
In addition to fully created Victorian living spaces, there are all sorts of memorabilia related to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's greatest creation, as well as a gift shop full of items Holmes might find interesting.
Website: Sherlock Holmes Museum
Location: 221b Baker St, London NW1 6XE | Westminster
Admission: £16.00 Adult | £11.00 under age 16 | free under age 6 | £14.00 Concessions
Hours: Monday-Sunday: 9:30 am - 6 pm
Note: After you visit the museum, you might like to visit the nearby Regent's Park.
8. Museum of Brands
Some call this museum a hidden gem.
There are 150 years of branding, packing, and advertising in this museum, the only one of its kind in the world.
For many, it's a tour down memory lane as they come across items in their collection that bring back memories of childhood.
Website: Museum of Brands
Location: 111-117 Lancaster Rd, London W11 1QT | Notting Hill
Admission: £9.00 Adult | £7.00 Senior | £5.00 Children
Hours: Monday to Saturday: 10 am - 6 pm | Sunday and Bank Holidays: 11 am - 5 pm
Note: You might find our post on the nearby Portobello Road Market of interest if you visit the area.
9. Sir John Soane's Museum
Odds are, you won't have visited a museum like that created in memory and honor of neo-classical architect Sir. John Soane.
In fact, this small museum opened on his death in 1837, is described as unique, eclectic, chaotic, and magnificent.
Soane was a collector of all things interesting. You might come across part of a Roman fountain or the sarcophagus of Seti I.
There's so much to see in this small space, including paintings, artifacts, sculptures, and antiques, that people suggest you book a guided tour to walk you through it all.
Website: Sir John Soane's Museum
Location: 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3BP | Holborn
Hours: Monday - Tuesday: Closed | Wednesday to Sunday: 10 am to 5 pm
10. 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.
Depending on the day, you can see the machines in action, and maybe even try your hand at testing the strength of a parachute cord.
Website: Kirkaldy Testing Works
Location: 99 Southwark St, London SE1 0JF | Southwark
Admission: £8.83 - £25.63 depending on the tour chosen.
Hours: Hours vary; check the website (click on the top of the page) for upcoming open days.
11. 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 on this site in 1930.
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: Bethlem Museum of the Mind
Location: Bethlem Royal Hospital, Monks Orchard Rd, Beckenham BR3 3BX | Bromley
Hours: Wednesday-Saturday: 9:30 am-5 pm
12. 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 a Tasmanian Tiger.
Also, don’t miss the Micrarium (a museum within the museum) and the beloved Jar of Moles.
Website: Grant Museum of Zoology
Location: Rockefeller Building, 21 University St, London WC1E 6DE | University College London
Hours: Temporarily closed for an improvement program. Reopening in January 2024.
Note: For a slightly less weird look at the natural wonders, you might enjoy the free-to-enter Horniman Museum in Forest Hill. This garden museum covers natural history, anthropology, and much more.
13. 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!
In addition to the fantastic free museum, they also offer regular free guided tours throughout the stunning Art Deco building.
Website: Museum of Freemasonry
Location: 60 Great Queen St, London WC2B 5AZ | Between Holborn and Covent Garden
Hours: Monday-Saturday: 10 am-5 pm | First Thursday of the Month: 10:00 am-8:00 pm
14. The Magic Circle Museum
From one secretive society to another!
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.
This museum is visited when one purchases a ticket for an event, which always has at least one magic show and often a tour of the building.
Website: The Magic Circle Museum
Location: Centre for the Magic Arts, 12 Stephenson Way, London NW1 2HD | Euston
Hours: Hours vary; check the website for upcoming events.
15. House of Dreams
This East Dulwich museum/art project was started in 1998 by Stephen Wright, an artist and designer.
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.
This is part home, part art gallery, and part personal record.
Website: Stephen Wright House of Dreams
Location: 45 Melbourne Grove, London SE22 8RG | East Dulwich
Admission: £12 per adult
Hours: Hours vary; check the website under "book now" for open days and times.
16. 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.
Check out the interactive divorce machine, the “My Nuke Personal Nuclear Reactor," and the Housing Ladder slot machine.
Website: Novelty Automation
Location: 1a Princeton St, London, WC1R 4AX | Holborn
Admission: Free, but to play the machines it's: £5 for 5 tokens| £9 for 10 tokens | £27 for 34 tokens
Hours: Tuesday-Wednesday: 11 am-6 pm | Thursday: 12 pm-8 pm | Friday and Saturday: closed | Sunday: 12 pm-6 pm
17. The Cartoon Museum
This small museum "is dedicated to preserving the best of British cartoons, caricatures, comics, and animation.
You'll find thousands of these, some dating back to the mid-1700s, many with a focus on political history.
Website: The Cartoon Museum
Location: 63 Wells St, London W1A 3AE | Fitzrovia
Admission: £9.50 Adult | £6.00 Senior | £4.00 Student
Hours: Monday: closed | Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 10:30 am - 5:30 pm | Thursday: 10:30 am - 8 pm
18. Old Operating Theatre & Herb Garret
This little museum is housed in the attic of the early eighteenth-century church of the old St Thomas’ Hospital.
The set-up of the predates the use of anesthetics and antiseptics - it is the oldest surviving surgical theatre in Europe.
Make sure to poke around the herb garret at the Old Operating Theatre , where herbs would be stored for making medicines.
Location: 9a St Thomas St, London SE1 9RY | Southwark
Admission: £7.50 per adult
Hours: Thursday-Sunday: 10.30 am-5.00 pm
19. Dennis Severs' House
Dennis Severs was an American who purchased a dilapidated property from the Spitalfields Trust.
In 1979, he opened this museum in the house, one meant to display the life as it would have been lived by Huguenot silk weavers.
In each room, you encounter crackling fires, lit candles, half-eaten meals, and echoing laughter just out of earshot.
There are mysteries to be solved, and strange instances to witness. Trust me – you need to look, listen, and pay attention.
Website: Dennis Severs' House
Location: 18 Folgate St, London E1 6BX | Spitalfields
Admission: £15 over age 12 | £15 Over age 65/students/disabled/children under 12
Hours: Thursday 6:00-10:00 pm | Friday 5:00-11:00 pm | Saturday & Sunday noon-midnight. You may also find some special events taking place on Wednesdays.
20. 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 Russell Brand’s pubic hair, The Rolling Stones used condoms, and even Kylie Minogue’s poo.
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.
Note: There is an online gift shop should you want to purchase something to remember your trip.
Website: Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art, & UnNatural History | Hackney
Location: 11 Mare St, Cambridge Health Road, London E8 4RP
Admission: £10 Adult | £6 for concessions
Hours: Tuesday to Friday: 3 pm-11 pm | Saturday: 12 pm-11 pm | Sunday: 12 pm-10 pm
21. 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!
Website: The Fan Museum
Location: 12 Crooms Hill, London SE10 8ER | Greenwich
Admission: £5 Adult | £3 Child
Hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 11 am-5 pm
Note: If you have an interest in design and textiles, you may find the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey interesting.
22. 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 this museum.
It’s home to a collection of more than 600 antique sewing machines, dating from 1850 to 1950.
Website: London Sewing Machine Museum
Location: Balham High Rd, Tooting Bec, London SW17 7AA | Tooting Bec
Hours: The first Saturday of every month, 2 pm-5 pm
23. 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.
Website: Vagina Museum
Location: 18 Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green, London E2 9PF
Hours: They have just moved to a new location, so check their website for re-opening hours.
24. Anaesthesia Heritage Centre
Following a recent refurbishment, the Anaesthesia Heritage Centre is visitor-friendly and is often frequented by traveling anesthesiologists and medical students.
The displays, which can get quite grisly, include the history of chloroform, pain relief in childbirth, information on Queen Victoria’s births, and more.
Website: Anaesthesia Heritage Centre
Location: 21 Portland Pl, London W1B 1PY | Marylebone
Hours: Monday-Friday: 10 am-4 pm