The Best of London’s Quirky and Unusual Museums

London is famous for its wealth of museums, from the Natural History Museum to the V&A, but there are many more that offer something a little different from ancient relics and period exhibitions. Here are just a few of the more unusual museums that the city has to offer.

Photo by Stanley Chung
Photo by Stanley Chung

Greenwich – Fan Museum

The only one of its kind in the world and housed in a beautiful grade II listed building, the Fan Museum offers more than 3,500 exhibits. You will find fans of all shapes and sizes from those used during the 11th century through to stunning Chinese examples.

Holborn – Cartoon Museum

Close by the British Museum, this incredible museum is easily overlooked by passers-by. Here you will find the very best in British cartoons, from 18th century caricatures through to modern day comic strips. Revisit your childhood and give your own children a taste of your past. Whatever your age, this is one museum that is bound to leave you with a smile on your face.

London Bridge – Old Operating Theatre

With no anaesthetic and limited tools this was the site of many a grisly medical procedure. The theatre is brought to life by the animated talks provided by museum staff. You will also be able to explore the herb garret where herbs were grown for their medicinal properties and enjoy some period medical themed displays.

Notting Hill – Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising

Containing more than 12,000 branded items, all of which will spark a memory of times past, here you can see how our relationship with branding has developed and grown over the decades. You will also come face to face with many brands that you will remember that have long since fallen by the wayside.

Park Lane – The Vault at the Hard Rock Café

The Hard Rock Café attracts a constant stream of visitors every day who want to be surrounded by the memorabilia from their musical heroes. To really get a feel for these musicians, the Vault is the place to be. There are some incredible exhibits including instruments owned and used by the Beatles and Slash from Guns n’ Roses, as well as one of Madonna’s credit cards.

Marylebone – BDA Dental Museum

With 100 years history behind it, the BDA Dental Museum is still remarkably overlooked. You will find more than 20,000 antique dental tools here which are bound to make you appreciate the art of modern dentistry, and make you more inclined to visit your dentist.

Fitzrovia – Pollock’s Toy Museum

Some may find all of those blank dolls eyes staring out from the shelves a little creepy, but you have to admit that there is something compelling and intriguing about the place. This is more a place for adults to connect to their past than it is for stimulating and distracting the children though. It is a place for nostalgia and remembering times past.

New Scotland Yard – Crime Museum

The Crime Museum is often referred to as the Black Museum, and is filled with weapons which have been involved in some of the most serious crimes in the country. Here you will find tools of the trade belonging to Jack the Ripper and many other infamous criminals. It is little wonder that this museum is kept under lock and key, though there are sometimes lectures and other functions held here.

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