Bank of England Museum

Museums , History Bank Free
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(6 user reviews)
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 (© Ralph Hodgson )
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© Ralph Hodgson

The museum tells the story of the Bank of England, from its origins in 1694, as a national bank to fund the war with France, to the present. As well as ancient coins and original artwork for British banknotes, the museum offers a rare chance to manhandle a real 13kg gold bar (closely monitored, more's the pity, by CCTV). 'Kenneth Grahame and the Bank of England' is a permanent display commemorating the non-literary career of ‘The Wind of Willows’ author, who worked at the Bank of England for 30 years, and there's a small exhibit exploring Handel's financial dealings with the bank, as well as a reconstruction of Sir John Soane's 1793 Bank Stock Office – Soane was the bank's original architect.

 

Venue name: Bank of England Museum
Contact:
Address: Threadneedle St (entrance in Bartholomew Lane)
London
EC2R 8AH
Opening hours: 10am-5pm Mon-Fri (closed public and bank holidays).
Transport: Tube: Bank
Price: Free
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Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

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LiveReviews|6
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Kritt N
Tastemaker

If you’ve done all the museum in Central London and looking for an alternative museum to explore, then the bank of England is a great museum to start.


Whilst an afternoon at a bank may not sound particularly attractive, the Bank of England has done the impossible and made economics, dare I say it, fun. Free, medium-sized, and easy to travel to via Bank tube station, the museum is located right in the middle of London’s mega powerful financial district.


Needless to say, you’ll learn everything there is to know about this famous institution all under one grand roof. Find out the bank’s importance in today’s society, what it does, its relationship with the government, the history and the people who helped shaped what the museum is today.



Dull as it may seem, the Bank is surprisingly child-friendly too. In simple terms, it explains how the economy works in plain English (take note university textbooks) and interactive games help engage kids. There also a video to help explain things even further. You'll be able to read the Financial Times without scratching your head over those financial jargons ever again.


Perhaps my favourite section is the banknotes gallery where you get to look at every banknote produced in the last 100 years, even as far as when shillings was the currency of the day. You can also explore the security features in the bank notes, hold a real gold bar in your hand and look in amazement at a £1 million banknote. Yes, really!


Make sure this often overlooked museum in London is seen on your visit. The City of London is more than just offices and people in suits. Make a day out of it by visiting the Monument, Leadenhall Market or even the Sky Garden in the Walkie-Talkie too.

MatureLinda

Best way to see the museum is to get a group of 15+ people and organise a presentation talk and video before visiting the museum.  The talk is incredibly interesting, takes 1 - 1.5 hours and makes the exhibits in the already absorbing museum, mean so much more.  A museum that should be of enormous interest to everyone.  When I went it was half term and even tots of 3-4 years old were having enormous fun.

GeorgeX
Tastemaker

Free entrance museum for money and monetary systems. Nice, compact, comprehensive and informative. Most enjoyable though for smaller ages interested to learn how bank system works and how money are issued - diddn't feel that extra that I was expecting. Fun part; have your first  (I suppose soo) closeup to a real gold bar - put your hands on it and have your fisrt (and last I suppose again) feeling on how a gold bar is. Unlike to most London's museums, it is open only weekdays up to 17.00, so if you are working full time seems a bit difficult to be able to pay a visit.

Izzy K
Tastemaker

If you are into banking, monetary systems, or coins, you will probably love this place more than an average visitor. I’m from the latter lot, but I think the museum can satisfy anyone interested in British history, architecture and even literature (the double live of Kenneth Grahame, one of my favourite childhood authors and the man behind ‘The Wind of Willows,’ was a revelation to me). Obviously you will find here collections of old coins and old banknotes, information on the banking mechanisms and some terminology explained. You will, for example, find out that pound sterling is the oldest currency in the world and have all symbols on the British notes explained (many of which I've never paid attention to).

You can also fiddle with the new polymer banknotes before their official release, see the 18th century 1 million pound note and try your strength on a 13kg bar of gold.