Small Museums in London That Will Charm and Delight

Posted by Caitlin Botsford on 2019-04-12

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It’s no secret that London is home to some of the best museums in the world. We’ve all heard of the likes of The National History Museum, or the British Museum, but with these big names dominating the itineraries of tourists it can be easy to overlook all that the London cultural scene has to offer.

There are over 200 museums to visit in the big city, catering to every imaginable interest. Here we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite small museums that are sure to charm and delight you, guaranteed to have something for everyone!

Freud Museum –

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Discover London’s captivating, historic house museum dedicated to Sigmund Freud and his work on psychoanalysis.

The museum is where Freud and his family lived in London after fleeing the Nazi regime in Austria in 1938, and where his daughter Anna continued to live and expand on her father’s work until her death in 1982. It was her wish that the house be turned into a museum to educate others about the history of this groundbreaking psychoanalytical theory.The study of psychoanalysis delves into the impact of the unconscious mind on the conscious, and seeks to treat mental health disorders by exploring the connection between the two.

A highlight of the museum is Freud’s world famous study which features the couch on which psychoanalysis was born. It also features wall-lining shelves showcasing Freud’s large personal library, and the desk at which he would sit and work for hours on end. A must visit for history buffs and the psychology crazed, The Freud Museum
highlights Sigmund and Anna’s psychoanalytic legacy in an educational and interesting way.

Sherlock Holmes Museum –

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Step into the world of the famed fictional detective Sherlock Holmes at 221b Baker Street! The Georgian town house features items from several adaptations of the Sherlock Holmes story, originally written by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Set up as if it really was his home shared with colleague Dr. Watson between 1881 – 1904, this small house museum is at times even more popular than the renowned Madame Tussauds museum down the road!

True Sherlockians will delight in making their way through the four-storey home, each floor offering hidden references to memorable stories. The highlight of the museum is said to be on the top floor, where a parade of wax figures also play out some key scenes from the books.

The Cinema Museum –

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For all the movie buffs out there – this is one not to be missed. Located nearby Elephant and Castle in Kennington, this lovely building conserves the history and magnificence of film from the 1890’s all the way through to present day cinema.

Established in 1986, the museum is home to an astonishing collection of cinematic memorabilia that co-founder Ronald Grant began collecting as a child. His collection
took off when a trip back to his home town led him to acquire some impressive artefacts from the James F. Donald cinemas, which are now at the heart of the Cinema Museum’s collected works today.

The Cartoon Museum –

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Showcasing the very best of British cartoon art, take a look inside The Cartoon Museum in Central London! The idea for this small museum was initially conjured up by The Cartoon Art Trust in 1988, and was officially open to the public in 2006 just around the corner from the British Museum where it resides today.

The museum features 3 main galleries that exhibit the best of past and present British cartoons and comics, as well as temporary exhibits from time to time. The permanent collections feature works from some of the founding fathers of British cartoons such as David Law (Dennis the Menace), Leo Baxendale (Minnie the Minx), and Frank Hampson (Dan Dare). The museum also features originals from American cartoonists such as Charles Schulz and Garry Trudeau.
There are workshops and events throughout the year for families, and the rooms can also be booked for children’s birthday parties or even to host special events for businesses and social groups. There is even a library of over 5,000 which is available to visit by appointment.

 Museum of Comedy –

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The Museum of Comedy is sure to be a barrel of laughs for the whole family! Founded and opened by the Leicester Square Theatre director in 2014 the museum is interactive, immersive and features iconic props and artefacts from the UK’s rich comedic history.See artefacts such as Tommy Cooper’s handmade magic props, Steptoe and Son’s stuffed bear and Leicester Square Theatre favourite Bill Bailey’s iconic 6 neck guitar. Accompanying the collection of over 6 thousand artefacts will be revolving exhibitions which change every couple of months.

There are a number of facilities at the museum including The Cooper Room, a state of the art traditional performance space hosting all kinds of comedy performance, from theatre and stand up to silent film. The Museum is also home to the Comedy Academy, an educational facility for comedy writing performance and production. A visit to the Museum of Comedy will be sure to have you in fits of laughter for hours on end!

Churchill War Rooms –

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Transport yourself back in time to where British history was made during the Second World War. The Churchill War Rooms are an underground bunker below Westminster where Winston Churchill himself, along with his war cabinet, plotted the allied route to victory and also found shelter from the German bombing raids.

There is also a museum which explores the story of Churchill’s life and legacy as British Prime Minister. Glimpse what life would have been like during these trying times and step back in time into the Map Room, which has remained exactly as it was the day the lights were switched off in 1945.

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