Alternative Day Out: 10 Museums You Never Knew Were in London

After taking a stroll down Exhibition Row, why not drop by these lesser-known museums

By Google Arts & Culture

Port Of London (1939-11) by Carl MydansLIFE Photo Collection

London is a global capital of culture and art, with some of the world's largest and most illustrious museums. But there's just as much to be discovered off the beaten track. Step away from Exhibition Row and scroll on for some hidden gems...

Benjamin Franklin House

What was Benjamin Franklin, a signatory of the US Declaration of Independence, doing in London? Between 1757 and 1775 Franklin lived in England as an agent of the Pennsylvania Assembly, representing the views of the colony to the government.

36 Craven Street was his address throughout those years. The house itself dates to 1730 and retains many of its original features, including the staircase, floorboards, wall panelling, and fireplaces. Click and drag to explore.

Black Cultural Archives

The Black Cultural Archive is found off Windrush Square in Brixton, south of the River Thames. This national institution is dedicated to collecting, preserving and celebrating the histories of diverse people of African and Caribbean descent in Britain.

Through a permanent collection and temporary exhibitions, the archive seeks to uplift and inspire, uncover hidden histories, and promote the teaching, learning and understanding of the African people's contribution to Britain.

MCC Museum

Cricket as we know it wouldn't exist without the Marylebone Cricket Club. Their scarlet and gold colours are recognised across the world as a sign of excellence. The Club's museum, sited within Lord's Cricket Ground, documents the history of the club and the sport.

Handel & Hendrix in London

Handel & Hendrix in London tells the story of two musical geniuses separated by three centuries and one brick wall. From 1723 until his death in 1759, composer George Frideric Handel lived at 25 Brook Street. Between 1968-69, Jimi Hendrix rented the house next door.

This unique museum recreates the houses as their occupants would have known them. This room, in Handel's house, is now used as a rehearsal and performance space. The harpsichord is a reproduction, but Handel would undoubtedly be right at home.

Dr Johnson's House

The home of the 18th century writer and wit, and the only one of his 18 residences still standing. It was here that Dr Samuel Johnson made his greatest work, A Dictionary of the English Language. After years of neglect, the house has been lovingly restored to its former glory.

Bethlem Museum of the Mind

Bethlem Museum of the Mind is a museum focusing on the history of Bethlem Royal Hospital, otherwise known as Bedlam. The exhibits document the history of mental healthcare in England, and display the work of artists who have suffered from mental health issues.

All Hallows-by-the-Tower

Down in the crypt of this church, found just across the road from the Tower of London, are parts of one of the oldest churches in London, having survived both the Great Fire of London in 1666, and the Blitz bombing campaign in World War II.

Florence Nightingale Museum

Tucked away, near St Thomas' hospital, is the Florence Nightingale Museum, which tells the inspiring life story of this pioneering healthcare reformer, from her childhood to her days working a nurse during the Crimean War.

Kelmscott House

Kelmscott House was the London home of English textile designer, artist, writer and socialist William Morris from October 1878 until his death in October 1896. The cellar and coachhouse is open to the public, and also the headquarters of the William Morris Society.

Inside you'll find furniture, wallpaper, and publications designed by the medieval-inspired craftsman. As Morris said, "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

The Comedy Museum

Since 2014 the crypt of St George's, Bloomsbury has housed the Museum of Comedy. You could say this is where jokes come to die…or maybe a place for visitors to almost die of laughter?

L. Manze Eel, Pie and Mash ShopMayor of London

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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