It’s always a good idea to visit some local museums when travelling to a new place. And when you’ve had your fill of history, art, and science, you might also want to consider exploring some of the lesser-known historic collections. Whether devoted to two headed kittens or the history of medicine, London has plenty of great whimsical museums for visitors wanting to embrace their weird side. And, unlike major museums such as the British Museum or the Natural History Museum, these wacky museums rarely get crowded.
Read on for some delightfully quirky museums to explore in London.
1. The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History
Skulls, erotica, modern art, skeletons under glass domes, taxidermy specimens and assorted oddities. Also called the ‘Viktor Wynd’s Little Shop of Horrors’, this off the beaten path shop-come-gallery is a modern version of the classic cabinet of odd curiosities, and the only one of its kind in the UK. Creepy or delightful? We’ll let you be the judge of that.
Admission: £ 5 including a cup of tea and a guide book
Opening hours: Wed – Sun 12:00-22:30
Address: 11 Mare St, Dalston
Metro station: London Fields
2. Old Operating Theatre Museum
Walking into this little known gem of a museum, you can almost hear the screams of the patients that were once treated here. Hidden away in the attic space of the beautiful baroque church of St. Thomas, this female surgical ward was used to perform gruesome un-anesthetized operations on hundreds of women between 1822 and 1862. The museum itself is rather small but it offers plenty to see. In addition to the fascinating operating theatre, visitors can examine instruments of torture, medical animals, human organs and a large collection of herbal medicine.
Opening hours: Mon – Sun 10:30-17:00
Address: 9a St Thomas Street
Metro station: London Bridge
3. The Freud Museum
Regarded as one of London Museums’ best-kept secrets, here you can enjoy the extraordinary life and legacy of the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud. This was Freud’s final home after he had fled Nazi-occupied Vienna in 1938. Today, this charming museum holds Freud’s remarkable collection of antiques and artwork, as well as Freud’s famous psychoanalytic couch on which his patients would tell him about their dreams. In addition to interesting exhibition rooms, the museum also holds a video room where visitors can enjoy some of Freud’s ‘home movies’. Definitely worth a visit!
Opening hours: Wed – Sun 12:00-17:00
Address: 20 Maresfield Gardens
Metro station: Finchley Road
4. The Hunterian Museum
Housing the largest collection of anatomical specimens in Europe, this is a must-see to anyone who isn’t too queasy. Although sometimes also referred to as the ‘modern day chamber of horrors’, this grotesque yet fascinating museum serves as a testament to the beauty of human and animal anatomy. From a skeleton affected by syphilis, to preserved tumors, to the human reproductive organs, to a crocodile fetus, these painstakingly well preserved specimens are from real human beings and animals. Seriously horrific!
Opening hours: Tue – Sat 10:00-17:00
Address: Royal College of Surgeons, 35-43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields
Metro station: Holborn
This is a guest post sponsored by The Corinthia London and written by Steve Ewins. An avid Traveller who has visited more than 80 countries.