5 kooky London museums to visit this summer


Five inspiring things even the most seasoned Londoner may not have tried, yet…

Sadly London, if you are staying put and not venturing off to more hospitable shores this weekend, it looks like you’re going to be rained on.

Even if you escape the dreaded drops, you definitely won’t be enjoying the clear-skied scorching hot summer vibes we have become used to of late. There are unlikely to be any topless, or even bikini-clad girls sunbathing in our parks, and yes, the Telegraph will almost certainly have a real issue continuing its original, award-winning coverage of the heat wave.

But cheer up! It’s not all bad news. The summer sun has made us all slow and overly obsessed with barbecues and beer gardens. It has caused most of us to forget all the culture and heritage that surrounds the local sunning spots, which is why we thought we would give you some tips on how to break away from the August rut and do something different this weekend.

Here are our five favourite museums and outings to be found off the beat and track:

1) Chocolate Museum, Brixton

Chocolate Museum

Discover the history of the global chocolate trade with artefacts dating back to the 18th century, and lots of memorabilia acquired from old manufacturers and traders.

Also, there is a chocolate café so for once you will be able to not only touch, but taste the displays.

2) The Freud Museum, Hampstead

Tour the London home of the famed German psychiatrist where he lived for almost 20 years after fleeing the Nazis. Not only is the house spectacular and pretty much preserved as Freud had left it, it is filled with his rather spectacular collection of Egyptian; Greek; Roman and Oriental antiques. Some 2,000 line the grounds, alongside Freud’s books and many of his writings.

Sigmund Freuds couch

Ever fancied sitting on Sigmund Freud’s couch? Well you can and it is much more colourful than one would expect…

(WARNING: Not kid friendly. My mother, a clinical psychologist by trade, took my 6-year-old nephew recently. She loved it, but needless to say some metaphysical toys were thrown out of the pram.)

3) Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green

Museum of Childhood

If you are being accompanied by little ones and are scared of their chocolate-induced sugar rush, try making your way down to the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood. It is the little brother, literally, of the big South Ken V&A museum and is filled with antique toys, clothes, books and anything else childhood-related.

There are also lots of kid-friendly events like treasure hunts and arts & crafts sessions.

4) Bank of England Museum, the City (obviously)

Mark Carney is the man of the moment and it’s not just his Hollywood good looks that have planted him in our brains. (I mean, let’s face it, in a movie about his life, he could/ almost certainly should play himself.) There has been the forward-planning frenzy, the more women on the Monetary Policy Committee remarks and the furore over rising house prices buoyed by Help to Buy.

The Garden Court at the Bank of England

The Garden Court at the Bank of England

But if you still have not had enough of the main BoE man, you should probably head down to check out the almost 320-years-worth of history that has shaped our society.

Only snag is that the museum in true British banking fashion does not work weekends. Just you wait till Metro takes over the world.

5) The Museum of Everything, Southbank

Ok this one isn’t so random and we have all likely popped down to the Hayward Gallery at least once but at the moment it is hosting the wonderful Museum of Everything.

It rolls into town usually once a year and the world’s only travelling museum for undiscovered, unintentional and untrained artists from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Now on until the end of August is a show by the environmental and architectural autodidact, Sri Nek Chand Saini.

Right London that should be just enough inspiration to at least get you researching something fun, and get your minds and hopefully behinds moving!