London is not short of museums, boasting some of the biggest and best in the world. With the Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum and British Museum in its ranks, it's easy to overlook some of the smaller ones. We've compiled a list of ten London museums that are perhaps less well known, but still definitely worth a visit.
Fifteen minutes' walk from North London's idyllic Hampstead Heath in North London is the home of John Keats – one of England's most revered Romantic poets. While living in the house between 1818–1820, Keats wrote one of his most famous poems, Ode to a Nightingale, in the garden of the Regency building. The museum aims to preserve the poet's legacy by running poetry performances as well as guided walks of the grounds, and workshops.
With a wide collection of 12,000 original items dating from the 1890s, the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising allows a comprehensive look at how every day products have evolved over the decades. Located in Notting Hill, the museum is as suitably quirky as its surroundings.
One of the fathers of medical surgery, John Hunter's collection of around 3,500 specimens can be found in London's Hunterian Museum. Featuring plenty of perfectly preserved human foetuses as well as a selection of skulls, the Hunterian is one of the city's gorier museums but a treasure trove of scientific oddities.
While most would associate Greenwich with the Maritime Museum, the borough is also home to the more humble Fan Museum, a celebration of the art of fan making. With a collection dating back to the 12th century, the museum is a comprehensive look at the history of fans. It's also home to an orangery that overlooks a secret garden.
Found in Westminster Abbey's vaulted undercroft that was built in 1605, the abbey's museum houses a vast collection of effigies to various members of the Royal Family, as well as sculptures dating back to the 12th century and reproductions of Mary II's Coronation regalia.
A short walk from Euston Square is Britain's 'Magic Circle', a society for magicians. The application process is fairly stringent with anyone wanting to join having to work as an Apprentice for two years, before they're even able to apply for membership. Luckily you don't have to go through all of that to go to the museum which houses the original Sooty puppet as well as props used by Harry Houdini and Tommy Cooper.
Dating back to 1144, The Clink is London's oldest prison and over the 600 years that it was open, gained a reputation for the notorious torture methods it inflicted on its prisoners. The museum allows you to handle the artefacts and aims to have recreated the original conditions of the prison. Located in the heart of Southwark, the museum provides a look back at the city's dark past.
Founded by Sir Henry Wellcome's Trust, The Wellcome Collection provides an insight into the overlapping of medicine, life and art. Right next to Euston Station, it's a great place to go if you've got some time to kill before your train. With a huge variety of exhibitions ranging from 'The Institute of Sexology' to Alice Anderson's immersive copper wire exhibition, 'Memory Movement Objects', Wellcome Collection is undoubtedly one of London's most interesting museums.
Displaying mostly toys from the Victorian era, Pollock's Toy Museum is a tiny time warp located in Fitzrovia. Boasting a large collection of porcelain dolls, for some people it might be the stuff of nightmares. Regardless, the museum is filled to the brim with a huge variety of toys from times long gone by – many of which are suitably weird.
221B Baker Street, the home of one of Britain's most loved fictional characters, Sherlock Holmes, has been lovingly recreated into an imagined imitation of his apartment. With outstanding amounts of detail, the museum hosts replicas to Holmes' sitting room, laboratory as well as Dr Watson's room.