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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 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!

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. 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.

Website: Freud Museum London | Tickets

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

Admission: Free

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

Admission: Free

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.

Bethlem Museum of the Mind
Bethlem Museum of the Mind

Website: Bethlem Museum of the Mind

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

Admission: Free

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.

Grant Museum of Zoology
Grant Museum of Zoology

Website: Grant Museum of Zoology

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

Admission: Free

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.

Museum of Freemasonry
Museum of Freemasonry

Website: Museum of Freemasonry

Location: 60 Great Queen St, London WC2B 5AZ | Between Holborn and Covent Garden

Admission: Free

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

Admission: Free

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.

House of Dreams
House of Dreams

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.

Novelty Automation
Novelty Automation

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.

Old Operating Theatre
Old Operating Theatre

Website: Old Operating Theatre and Herb Garret

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.  

Dennis Severs House
Dennis Severs House

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.

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

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

Admission: Free

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.

WebsiteVagina Museum

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

Admission: Free

Hours: They have just moved to a new location, so check their website for re-opening hours.

Note: you might also enjoy the Wellcome Collection in Euston, a free museum that has permanent and temporary exhibits having to do with medicine and the human body, including the Being Human exhibit.

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

Admission: Free

Hours: Monday-Friday: 10 am-4 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,, and more.
Updated: September 11th, 2023
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