Wellcome Collection

Museums , Science and technology Bloomsbury Free
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(15 user reviews)
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 (© Oliver Knight / Time Out)
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© Oliver Knight / Time Out
 (From 'Death: A Self-Portrait' – © Wellcome Library, London)
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From 'Death: A Self-Portrait' – © Wellcome Library, London
 (© Wellcome Images)
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© Wellcome Images
 (© Wellcome Images)
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© Wellcome Images
 (© Wellcome Images)
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© Wellcome Images
 (© Wellcome Images)
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© Wellcome Images
 (Wandering Moon', shadow installation 2013 – © Wellcome Images, Courtesy B-Floor Theatre/Wandering Moon)
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Wandering Moon', shadow installation 2013 – © Wellcome Images, Courtesy B-Floor Theatre/Wandering Moon
 (Shoichi KOGA, "Seitenmodoki" – © Wellcome Images)
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Shoichi KOGA, "Seitenmodoki" – © Wellcome Images
 (© Wellcome Library, London)
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© Wellcome Library, London
 ('Monster Soup...' by William Heath – © Wellcome Library, London)
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'Monster Soup...' by William Heath – © Wellcome Library, London
 (Dana Salvo, From the series 'The Day, the Night and the Dead' – © Clark Gallery, courtesy Wellcome Collection)
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Dana Salvo, From the series 'The Day, the Night and the Dead' – © Clark Gallery, courtesy Wellcome Collection
 (© Wellcome Images)
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© Wellcome Images
 (Cafe – © Wellcome Images)
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Cafe – © Wellcome Images

Sir Henry Wellcome, a pioneering 19th-century pharmacist, amassed a vast and idiosyncratic collection of implements and curios relating to the medical trade, now displayed here. In addition to these fascinating and often grisly items-ivory carvings of pregnant women, used guillotine blades, Napoleon’s toothbrush- there are several serious works of modern art, most on display in a smaller room to one side of the main chamber of curiosities. The temporary exhibitions are often brilliant and come with all manner of associated events, from talks to walks. The Wellcome has recently undergone a £17.5 million development project, which has opened up even more areas of the building to the public including two new galleries and the beautiful Reading Room, which is a combination of library, gallery and event space.

Read more about The Wellcome Collection's weirdest exhibits

Venue name: Wellcome Collection
Contact:
Address: 183 Euston Rd
London
NW1 2BE
Opening hours: Galleries: Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat 10am-6pm; Thur 10am-8pm; Sun 11am-6pm Library: Mon-Wed, Fri 10am-6pm; Thur 10am-8pm; Sat 10am-4pm
Transport: Tube: Euston/Euston Square/Warren St Rail: Euston/St Pancras
Price: Free
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  • Tuesday September 27 2016 - Sunday October 16 2016 Free
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  • Exhibitions Wednesday September 28 2016 - Sunday January 15 2017 Free
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Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:8
  • 4 star:6
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|15
1 person listening
Kishma S
Tastemaker

Can't believe I've never been in here before despite walking past more times than I can count.

Despite the fact that it's in the middle of London and I visited during school holidays the museum wasn't horribly busy like most free London museums.

In addition to the permanent and temporary exhibitions there is an interesting gift shop and an expensive cafe but you can easily avoid both of these.

Well worth a visit.

Matilda Egere-Cooper

I don't come here nearly enough. It's wonderfully weird, especially if you're into things related to medicine, biology and the mind. But even if you're not, there's enough happening here to keep you intrigued, like the Medicine Man exhibition - a permanent collection which presents the story of the museum's founder Henry Wellcome. A late Saturday afternoon is a good time to go; it's not too busy so you'll have time to visit all galleries. Swing by the cafe too - it's a great meetup spot. 

Alanna S
Tastemaker

Wellcome Collection has my favourite slogan of any organisation: 'The free destination for the incurably curious'. I have always enjoyed my trips there, and always leave feeling smarter than when I arrived. I wouldn't say it's a place to bring young kids as the exhibitions can be quite text-heavy, and the topics more mature. Ranging recently from Forensics, Consciousness, Medicine and Sound - they pick broad subjects and curate the exhibitions in a coherent and multi-media way, combining interesting expert opinions, rare artefacts and bespoke installations. You will always need longer than you think to take it all in. The crowds really fluctuate, I've been on a weekend where I've had to queue for half an hour and a different weekend where I've had plenty of space to explore. The café is the best of all the London Museums, going way beyond your usual sandwich and crisps and offering healthy and delicious meals at good value.

MatureLinda

My first visit to the museum today and it's absolutely charming.  Everyone will be interested in the displays on offer - history of medicine and the human body.  So "visitor friendly" with audio and visual displays and loads of seating. I didn't have time to wend my way past the beanbags on the stairs to make my way up to the library but I'll be back to peruse further. The shop on the ground floor has interesting books and souvenirs. Cafe is expensive.

Emma S
Tastemaker

Hands down, my favourite museum in London. Free, endlessly interesting and never too crowded (when I've been anyway), it is an insightful journey through the history of medicine. The temporary exhibits are great fun too but I always leave myself lots of time for the cases on the third floor. There is just tons to see and consider. 

Victoria B

This is my favorite museum in London! Temporary and permanent exhibitions are very diverse and interesting (and free!). Watch out at the weekends as it can get very busy. The shop is also well worth a visit!

MooseInLondon
Tastemaker

Came here for the 'yellowbluepink' exhibition (which was interesting) but I was actually more intrigued with the rest of the Collection. The medicine room was chock full of history and rare pieces and the medicine now exhibition was also interesting to see (the slice of human especially so). 


The Reading Room is quiet solitude. I could definitely see myself reading for a few hours there (except no food or drink allowed). Forget a book? There are plenty there to grab off the shelf. Oh and they have bean bags >.<


Did I mention the whole thing is free?

Richard N
Tastemaker

I like their exhibitions a lot. It's got the right amount of quirky for me and I came away from the recent sexology exhibit feeling like I've been touched in all the right places. Weird and wonderful and has the best name out of all the other museums. 

AME
Tastemaker

This place just didn’t do it for me! Being a North Londoner, I had often passed the Wellcome Collection and thought ‘oh, I really must actually set aside some time to go there!’. I found that the hype was all in the marketing. I did not come away feeling like I had learnt anything, nor did it confirm anything I already knew. Everything seemed too cryptic and vague for me to feel engaged and stimulated. I found the Alice Anderson exhibition totally uninspiring and left very disappointed.

London Aficionado
Tastemaker

Want to see Florence Nightingale’s moccasins? What about a fragment of Jeremy Bentham’s skin? Or perhaps a 13th century Peruvian mummified male body? This museum houses a fascinating array of artefacts, focusing on the history of medicine. Since I last visited, redevelopment work has been completed and opened up more of the building. There is a new gallery space, which is currently home to their latest exhibition ‘The Institute of Sexology’. But perhaps my favourite addition to the museum is The Reading Room, a large, spacious area in which to kick back and relax with a book. Many of the people present looked pretty chilled, sprawled out as they were, reading, on beanbags which lined both sides of the staircase at one end of the room. Add to the aforementioned the permanent galleries, the schedule of free talks (reserve a place early to avoid disappointment), Wellcome Library, café, and largely medical themed bookshop, and there’s more than enough to ensure an educating, informative and enjoyable day out.

Kritt N
Tastemaker

I’m a little ashamed to say it but despite during all my time at UCL and despite being literally on each other’s doorstep, not once did I set foot inside the Wellcome Collection. This weekend, I did and I absolutely loved it.

The Wellcome Collection is a museum for the “incurably curious”. It houses an eclectic collection of unusual medical artefacts. It plays host to contemporary and historical exhibitions and anything that explores the connection between medicine, science and art. On my visit, I was able to explore an exhibition called ‘The Institute of Sexology” which candidly discusses themes of sex, erotica film and photography. At the end, visitors are welcome to share their views anonymously in a questionnaire on the subject, which are then used for research purposes. It feels great to share your views!

I recommend checking out the Medicine Room where you can pick up a free audio guide to make sense of the many unusual artefacts in the room. For me, the Reading Room was a real gem. You can sit on a giant beanbag on a staircase and peruse a book at your leisure in beautiful and serene surroundings. Visitors are welcome to share their personal stories too, anonymously on paper dotted around the room. Afterwards, relax in Wellcome kitchen for food and refreshments.

I definitely recommend a visit. It’s free, located right beside Euston Square station and on the first friday of every month, the museum is open late so you can ease your curious mind with a drink in hand.

Eleanor

An excellent collection full of interesting and informative exhibits. Especially the exhibitions that change, are always well done!

Olivia O'Sullivan

I always try to visit whenever I am in the area. I find the collections fascinating and accessible - you do not have to be a specialist of the subject to understand the exhibits. They have the perfect combination of interactive exhibits and visual displays, I particularly like the 'Life, Genes and You' exhibition. Phenomenal!