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Can anyone recommend a fun small museum in London?

(40 Posts)
Dancergirl Sun 15-Jan-17 10:08:42

It's my birthday today and we're going to Fortnum and Mason for tea later smile

I want to do something for an hour or so beforehand but don't know what. I know the Royal Academy is very close but I'm not that keen on art and it's too big and busy.

Does anyone know of a nice smaller museum that's nearby? A few tube stops away would be fine. Dc are 15, 13 and 9.

Dancergirl Sun 15-Jan-17 11:28:10


UnGoogleable Sun 15-Jan-17 11:31:40

Not sure about small - but remember all of the big museums are free, so you can just dip in and do a bit without feeling like you have to do the whole thing to justify your entrance fee.

I'm not good with locations, so no idea if it's convenient to you, but I would highly recommend the British Museum. You can see ancient artefacts like Saxon gold, or Mummies, or the Elgin marbles, or the Rosetta stone, or ancient mummified pet bog bodies. If you're short on time, you could just pick one thing that you'd really like to see, and go straight to it. And the inside of the museum is absolutely beautiful.

UnGoogleable Sun 15-Jan-17 11:32:47

Likewise the Science museum or Nat Hist museums are fab - just nip in, see something cool, then go.

ISaySteadyOn Sun 15-Jan-17 11:35:08

Ditto the V and A. Always something neat to look at.

Enidblyton1 Sun 15-Jan-17 11:37:21

What about the Egyptian Mummies at the British Museum. You can whizz around that in under an hour, despite the museum being large. The door staff can direct to you the right bit - easy to find.

UnGoogleable Sun 15-Jan-17 11:38:08

*ancient mummified peAt bog bodies. Peat bogs, not pets. Although there are some ancient eqyptian mummified cats there too!

The V & A is next on my list the next time I visit London smile

AnsweringTheTelephone Sun 15-Jan-17 11:39:07

The Sir John Soanes museum is small but v v quirky, it's an old Victorian collectir's house that has stayed the same for 180 years. I love it.

MrsMeeseeks Sun 15-Jan-17 11:40:11

Museum of London! It's so easy to get to and has loads of interesting stuff.

MrsMeeseeks Sun 15-Jan-17 11:40:35

Oh, and Happy Birthday! cakeflowers

80sWaistcoat Sun 15-Jan-17 11:40:48

I came on to say sir John soames too. Quirky!

MalmseyWhine Sun 15-Jan-17 11:40:56

How about the National Portrait Gallery?

everygalaxy Sun 15-Jan-17 11:41:02

I like the welcome instute- it's small, free and has a beautiful cafe plus full of fascinating stuff. It's near Euston

everygalaxy Sun 15-Jan-17 11:41:29

Happy birthday too cake

ICJump Sun 15-Jan-17 11:41:40

The Wallace collection behind oxford street?

80sWaistcoat Sun 15-Jan-17 11:41:57

Oh and the operating theatre, near London Bridge station, bit gruesome. Andre rTher welcome foundation museum.

LauraPalmersBodybag Sun 15-Jan-17 11:43:30

The National Portrait Gallery? Or you get to the Tate Modern quite quickly and visit the new bit , the Switch House which has amazing views. Otherwise you could take a walk around Green Park or hop on the bus toward Kensington and Chelsea.

Happy birthday OP! cake

SomedayMyPrinceWillCome Sun 15-Jan-17 11:44:11

London Transport museum in Covent Garden is fab!

highlandcoo Sun 15-Jan-17 11:45:10

Do you watch Sherlock? The Sherlock Holmes museum on Baker Street is fun and not too huge. And Baker Street tube station is only three stops from Piccadilly (for Fortnum and Masons) on the Bakerloo line.

We went with a ten-year-old and a teenager and they loved it. You feel as if you're on the TV set and you can sit in SH's chair, have a photo taken wearing a deerstalker etc .. really fun. And a nice gift shop. Highly recommended.

Second option would be the Wildlife Photographer of the year exhibition at the Natural History Museum .. again, not too far away. Stunning beautiful photos and well worth a visit. The museum is free entry but you have to pay for the exhibition.

RachelRagged Sun 15-Jan-17 11:48:49

The Army Museum in Chelsea

Its free (or was when I took one of my DSs). Very enjoyable and informative.

However I just checked and not reopening till Spring .. Ill link it though in case anyone is interested.

Starman16 Sun 15-Jan-17 11:53:14

If you literally only have an hour then the National Portrait gallery is very close, free and would likely suit everyone - head to the contemporary portraits section for lots of famous faces and a great mix of painting and photography

I also love the Wallace Collection but might not appeal to teens so much

GriefLeavesItsMark Sun 15-Jan-17 12:06:38

Another vote for the Operating Teatre (although upstairs, so no good if you have mobility problems). Also sell excellent t-shirts. My favourite museum ever.

SquirmOfEels Sun 15-Jan-17 12:12:26

I'd try the Wellcome and the British Library (within walking distance of each other, by Euston and Kings Cross)

My favourite small, quirky, the Petrie egyptological collection is unfortunately not open on Sundays.

SquirmOfEels Sun 15-Jan-17 12:15:02

By the way, there's a shiny new topic for London

Dancergirl Sun 15-Jan-17 12:15:56

Thank you, great suggestions. The John Soanes museum looks good but closed on Sundays!

Wellcome is a good suggestion, I've actually wanted to go there.

Might try the National Portrait Gallery, is it walkable to Fortnum and Mason?

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