London is a culturally diverse and vibrant city. The most visited city in the world has world-class everything – restaurants, hotels, boutique stores and of course museums. From antiquities and fossils to art and high-tech, London is home to numerous outstanding museums and galleries. Listing all the worthy-visiting museums of this astonishing city would be perpetual, so in this post, we have listed the cool and unusual tourist attractions in London, for those looking to do something other than the ordinary.
7 Cool Museums in London
Although not an unusual tourist attraction in London, but instead a MUST visit museum in the UK’s capital city, is the Tate Modern, the jewel in the crown of modern art galleries in London and the world’s most iconic art gallery. Tate Modern is one of the four Tate venues in the United Kingdom and it houses the most exceptional pieces of works of international modern and contemporary art dating from 1900 until today. The permanent collections are exhibited in eight different areas which are arranged according to themes and not chronologically. Expect to see art pieces by Picasso, Dali, Rothko, Parreno, Andy Warhol among other awarded and world-recognized artists. Climb to the top floor terrace of the museum and catch spectacular views of the London skyline.
Admission to the Tate Modern museum is free! Another of the hundreds of reasons to visit this amazing museum.
2. Science Museum
One of the world’s most important Science institutions in the world and one of London’s most visited museums is The Science Museum. The museum houses over 350,000 items related to four main subjects: Science, Medicine, Information Technology, and Engineering. Expect to see famous items as the Apollo 10 command module, Stephenson’s rocket, the oldest surviving steam locomotive Puffing Billy, the first prototype of the 10,000-year Clock of the Long Now among many other impressive items. This museum is great for families with children as well, as the interactive exhibitions allow visitors to learn about science through activities and additionally there is a IMAX 3D Cinema which screens various educational documentaries.
Admission to the museum is free, however there is an admission fee to temporary exhibitions and the Cinema.
3. Vagina Museum in Camden
If you find yourself in Camden once in London, every list of what to do in Camden will include a visit to the world’s first museum about gynecological anatomy. The museum was first founded in response to the need for a museum in the world which represented the culture and the heritage of the woman’s reproductive system. The museum’s mission is to raise awareness of gynecological anatomy and health and to erase the stigma and taboos around the body of a woman and the word “vagina”, to promote feminism and trans-inclusive values and act as a forum for feminism, women’s rights, the LGBT community. There are always changing temporary exhibitions hosted in the museum, concerning related topics and there are also workshops and paid evening events.
Admission to the museum is free.
4. Sherlock Holmes Museum
No visit to London is complete without a visit to 221B Baker Street, the former residence of super-sleuth Sherlock Holmes. Wander around the rooms where Sherlock inhabited during 1881 to 1904 which are furnished with authentic Victorian furniture and personal belongings and the private office where London’s iconic detective with his partner Watson solve their cases and mysteries! The museum also hosts an exhibition featuring life-size waxworks from Sherlock Holmes’s most famous adventures. If you are interested in more than just strolling around the world’s first detective and want to learn more about his story, there are also guided tours of the museum.
For Sherlock Holmes museum London tickets you can access the museum’s site pre-booking to avoid queues.
Admission is £15 for adults and £10 for children.
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5. The museum of Brands
This Notting Hill museum showcases the history of British consumer culture from the Victorian era to the present. The exhibits of the museum of Brands are arranged in chronological order and house over 12,000 original items including domestic everyday products, motorcars, packaging, posters, toys to sweets and milk cartons. Expect an incredible journey in the form of a “Time Tunnel” to examine the evolution of brands in 200 years and how this has affected the British consumer culture, the shopping habits, and the gradual emancipation of women.
Admission is £9 for adults £5 for children. Family and concession tickets are also available.
6. The cartoon museum
The advantage of smaller museums in London, is that you can squeeze in your busy itinerary a short visit to some cool, less-popular attractions. The cartoon museum is located just a few steps away from the British museum and is dedicated to British cartoons, caricatures, comic strips and animation history. The museum houses a collection of over 4,000 original cartoons and prints and a library of over 5,000 books and 4,000 comics relating to the subject! Every British legendary character is represented, from Rupert the Bear to Princess Tina. The museum’s aim is to conserve and provide access to Britain’s cartoon and comic art heritage and support new artists. In addition to the permanent exhibition, there are also interactive exhibits and workshops and temporary ones.
Admission is £8.50 and free for under-18s. Student and concession tickets are also available.
7. Cutty Sark Greenwich
The Cutty Sark is the last surviving tea clipper ship and the fastest of her time. Built in 1869, the Cutty Sark carried tea back from China and had visited nearly every major port in the world and had gained fame for its record-breaking passages. This is one of the only three remaining original composite construction ships – wooden planking over a wrought iron frame. The Cutty Sark did not spend all its years trading tea, later it navigated to Australia to trade wool, then was purchased by a Portuguese cargo company and was finally retired in 1922 by a sea captain who used her as a training ship. Today Cutty Sark is berthed in Greenwich and operates as a museum. Visitors can stroll inside the ship which houses various permanent exhibitions which unravel the story of Cutty Sark, the story of Teas, of clipper ships, and wool trade with Australia. Visitors can also enjoy afternoon tea at the ship’s cafe which requires pre-booking, as a lot of people are interested in attending afternoon tea at a ship that once brought tea to Britain.
Bonus Fact: Cutty Sark whiskey derives its name from the ship. An image of the ship appears on the label of the spirit and the brand ormerly sponsored the Cutty Sark Tall Ships’ Race.
Admission is £15 and £7 for children.