Benjamin Franklin House

Museums, History Charing Cross
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Benjamin Franklin House
© Benjamin Franklin House
The house where Benjamin Franklin – scientist, diplomat, philosopher, inventor and Founding Father of the United States – lived for nearly 16 years between 1757 and 1775 has recently been restored. It's home to a centre for academic research concerning Benjamin Franklin and a science centre where school parties can replicate some of his famous experiments. The house is not a museum in the conventional sense, but it can be explored as part of a 'Historical Experience Show' during which an actress in character as the daughter of Franklin's landlady Margaret Stevenson conducts small groups around the Grade I-listed building, which is beautifully restored but unfurnished apart from the odd chair or desk. Projections and recorded sound conjure up Franklin's London years, recount his many achievements and flesh out his personal life. It's a short, intense experience (the tours last around 45 minutes); you'll come away with a strong sense of the man and the times in which he lived. As an alternative, tours on Mondays focus on the history of the building. Talks and family activities related to the house's history are often organised.


Venue name: Benjamin Franklin House
Address: 36 Craven St
Opening hours: Historical Experience Show noon-5pm Wed-Sun, shows begin at noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3.15pm and 4.15pm; historical tour noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3.15pm, 4.15pm Mon; booking essential
Transport: Tube: Charing Cross/Embankment
Price: Historical Experience Show £7, £5 concs, under-16s free; historical tour £3.50
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This place is pretty tiny and won’t take long to visit.  If you do go, I would recommend doing one of the guided tours, which are scheduled fairly regularly throughout the day.  Without the tour, you would miss out as you don’t get any of the context.  The house is fairly odd with uneven and slanting floors - don’t worry though, it is structurally sound as the guide kept reminding us!  Something different to do in London, which is relatively cheap.