Museum of London

Museums, History Smithfield Free
 (Heatherwick Cauldron © Heatherwick Studio)
1/5
Heatherwick Cauldron © Heatherwick Studio
Museum of London exterior
2/5
Museum of London interior
3/5
Museum of London entrance
4/5
Museum of London view
5/5

The history of London, from prehistoric times to the present is told in the Museum of London through reconstructed interiors and street scenes, alongside displays of original artefacts found during the museum's archaeological digs.

Check the website before your visit as a packed programme of temporary exhibitions, talks, walks and children's events is central to the life of the Museum of London.

See inside the Museum of London's Bone Archive in the video below

Posted:

Venue name: Museum of London
Contact:
Address: 150 London Wall
London
EC2Y 5HN
Opening hours: Daily 10am-6pm
Transport: Tube: St Paul's/Barbican
Price: Free (permanent collection); admission charge applies for some temporary exhibitions
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Exhibitions Until Sunday July 1 2018 Free
  • Exhibitions Until Sunday November 11 2018
  • Exhibitions Until Sunday January 6 2019 Free

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Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:15
  • 4 star:10
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|26
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tastemaker

The Museum of London chronologically walks visitors through the history of the city. With a range of interactive, multimedia exhibitions it is a wonderful place to take children to introduce them to London. For the adults the artifacts and trivia are sure to teach even the most experienced Londoner something new. A worthwhile visit, particularly on a rainy day.  

tastemaker

I'm so happy I finally went here. Surprisingly large and jam packed with London history and random trivia, this museum is a London lovers dream. This museums probably covered any period of London history you can think of. Expect to find information on the iconic telephone box, a giant map of our beloved city and trivial possessions like a very old Time Out! A trip to this free museum makes a great day out or you could even go for a lecture in the evening. Take the kids, go on a date or go alone and enjoy this wonderful hub of London culture.

tastemaker

If London is one of your favourite cities and you're also interested in history, why not combine the two by visiting the Museum of London. This museum, only a few minutes walking from Barbican tube station, tells the story of the city of London from the beginning of time (when historical events started to be collected in written form) until the present. The Museum of London is a collection of artifacts, clothes, exhibit's objects and multimedia material, so to get a varied and engaging musum experience which will be suitable for adults and kids alike. MoL is free to visit and even hosts temporary exhibitions, so make sure to check their website before visiting, you may be pleasantly surprised and discover something about the city you're living in which you may have not discovered otherwise, be it a peculiar period of time or a quirky historical event.

Top tip: If you are interested in fashion, don't miss the section on London's fashion trends and subcultures!

Tastemaker

What an amazing place to understand the history of London, from ancient to modern times, all very well documented. I strongly recommend this place for tourists but also for Londoners - I found a lot haven't been, and it gives so much insight about the building of this thrilling city. Highlight to the section on the Big Fire, as well as Victorian ages. Good library at the end, with materials to go further.

tastemaker

A confession - I've lived in London a large part of my life and it wasn't until recently that I visited the Museum of London - now that I've been, I cannot believe I haven't visited before and would recommend it wholeheartedly to tourists and locals alike (especially as it is free entry - although donations are appreciated). Set over two floors and sprawling across many rooms, you embark on your journey in chronological order, beginning with the Birth of London through to the current day. My favourite sections were the ones representing modern history, including the Pleasure Gardens, the recreation of Victorian London, plus the room that housed parts of the actual 'cauldron' from the 2012 London Olympic Games. Also, there was something rather neat about the ornate customer-lift on display from Selfridges, made out of bronze and cast-iron. There is also another branch of the Museum in Dockland, which has Cross-Rail exhibition on until later this year.

tastemakerTastemaker

My housemate suggested we check out the Museum of London during the Easter holidays, and since I have wanted to go take a peek for some time, I was happy to go. Call me naïve, but I had no idea about the storied history of 'Londinium' and the Roman occupation! I found it really interesting to her about how my favourite city came to be. I also really enjoyed the look into old housing setups and shops that had been set up as a bit of a walkthrough; that kind of thing is what I love about museums. Sure, there were tons of artefacts available to gaze at, but I am more interested in seeing how people really lived, what they wore, etc. That tells me about history more than any clay painting.


My favourite bits were the modern London sections from about the 20s onward. The majority of the museum before that, despite their best efforts, left me bit cold. But learning about the pride Londoners from all walks of life - including immigrants, of course - took, and continue to take, in this city bowled me over. Very cool to watch how things changed through the 40s, 50s and 60s socially and politically and economically, and I left with a better understanding of how London evolved into the city it is now.


I was also pleased to see the torches form the Olympic and Paralympic games of 2012 - learned a lot about the pieces of those as well. Very cool and, dare I say, awe-inspiring.

Tastemaker

Ever since I spotted the Museum of London in one of 'those' touristy guide books, this place has been on my list. I've kinda half tried to get there a couple of times but never quite managed to figure out where the hell it was! Well it's near St Paul's/Barbican way and it's off a round about people - don't give up! It makes me sad to say this is a hidden gem - but it IS mentioned so much less than it's competitors. It's a cracker, it takes you on a fabulous walk through history to present day London picking out key moments - e.g. The Plague, The Great Fire of London and restoration of the monarchy to make it a fantastic and FREE half a day soaking up all that has shaped the capital city. I loved the Victorian Street with old world pub and sweet shop, and also the beautiful 1908 vintage petrol-driven taxi which marked a revolutionary change in our history. It is family friendly with lots of helpful quizzes plus there's a replica of The Globe and stacks of memorabilia from the 60s and 70s. You're also encouraged to use their free wifi to share your experience (always handy) but when I tweeted I didn't get a reply. Overall, it's super good but my expectations were sky high given this was The Museum of London.

Tastemaker

Another great museum for school age children but away from the intense crowds of central London. There are two age ranges of treasure hunt (4-7, 8-11) that you can buy from reception to keep children engaged.


There's plenty of very different exhibitions to keep you occupied for the best part of an afternoon. Exhibits range from prehistoric to modern day and everything in between to provide a synopsis of London through the ages.


The recreationof a Victoria Street in the lower ground floor is particularly interesting. My favourite piece is the time line that starts around the 18th centuryand ends in the earlier part of this century (unsurprisingly). As well as highlighting key events in London and aroundthe world on the main display, there is a handrail running underneath for each year which has been, and can still be, personalised by individuals and groups to commemorate key life events such as births and marriages.

tastemaker

Went to the Museum of Last parties night event here and had a brilliant time. I haven't been to the museum proper for a long time, but the entertainment was so good I decided to leave the exhibits for another trip.

There were 3 main areas set up: a Victorian cockney sing along, 20's style speakeasy and 70s (I think) disco. All of them were just excellent and it was difficult deciding to move between them. There were some amazing outfits worn by guests, ranging from flapper girls to punks and dandies. Drinks were a bit pricey, as were the snacks on offer, but the truly unique and fun experience more than made up for it.

Museum night events can be a bit hit and miss but this felt like one big party and was free to get in!! Hope they plan some more soon!

Tastemaker

This is a hidden gem in the heart of the financial district. Really varied exhibits including the Lord Mayor's golden carriage. Do not miss the 1 hour free guided tours that take place regularly during the day. The Punk exhibition on currently is particularly interesting. 


Brilliant place to take the kids. Lots of tactile stuff for them to play with and particularly interesting war-time exhibits for older children. When we went the museum had also put on a free arts & crafts class in which the children made war-time style posters.


Highly recommended although slightly awkward to get to with a pram. Once there no problem at all.

Staff Writer

Great place to introduce your kids to the history of London, very visual interactive for little eyes.

Tastemaker

A wonderful and often overlooked museum. The Museum of London is split up onto two floors - the ground floor covering from Roman times to the great fire of London, the basement carrying on all the way to the 2012 Olympics. I think that this museum is of more interest to people who call London home more than for tourists. All of the permanent exhibitions are free and well worth spending a day going through. There is also a Benugo cafe at the museum entrance which makes for an excellent pit stop. 

Tastemaker

A great (free) museum with tonnes of interesting info on the history of the city of London.
Their exhibitions (which normally cost £10-15) are normally pretty good. The old cheapside jewellery exhibition was amazing and their most recent exhib "Crime Undiscovered" is well worth the visit however bewarned it is quite small and therefore gets really busy so it is hard to read all the interesting facts around the murders and read all the objects on show.

Tastemaker

It really surprises me that the Museum of London isn't more talked about, in fact, I've hardly heard anyone mention it in all my time living here! However having taken my third visit there last week, it's safe to say that it's constantly evolving. My personal favourite part of the museum is the replica Victorian shopping village, however as the museum takes you on a journey from before London was even a settlement all the way until the 2012 olympics, it's safe to say there is something for everybody. Very interactive for children and very informative for adults! There is a variety of exhibition mediums, which creates a changing pace as you go through the museum - making it less monotonous and more engaging. The museum also has a lovely cafe and shop!


So under-rated. Some of the best designed exhibitions in London on a huge variety of topics from fossils to fashion. Great way to fall in love with the city we live in.


While on the outside it might look like something of a tourist trap, there is much to be enjoyed at the Museum of London, which does pretty much what it says on the tin. A comprehensive history of London from its earliest settlement through to the modern era is genuinely interesting, and there are a number of more standalone exhibitions including one on the cauldron from the 2012 Olympics. However be warned - as some of the other reviews on this page indicate, everything is quite child-friendly, which means weekends and holidays might not be the ideal time to visit if, like me, you prefer your museums library-quiet.


This is one of our favorite London museums, although we haven't been there in quite some time now.  We plan on returning in June (2014) when we will have a few days in London.  We especially enjoy the exhibits dealing with Roman times and the Great Fire.


A long time since I was last at the MofL and have to say I was pleasantly surprised.  The flow round the history of London is quite amazing - though to be honest the Pre-Roman time did go on a bit too long to my mind. Various highlights for me were the Georgian period with the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens and the Victorian Street which I could have spent in - especially if we had been able to go into the shops more.


I went on a Saturday and there were plenty of children around, which is always a chore, but there was a lot to catch their eye, though not that much was interactive.  Movement round the museum was easy and there were places to drop out of the chronological story had I wanted to.  All in all a really great place with stories to tell about the city that surprised even this grizzled old veteran.


A great place to go in the half term holidays with or without the kids! Not been here since I was one & forgot just how spectacular the museum is! Kids & I loved it! It's a must see!:)


Despite living in London for most of my life I am ashamed to say this was my first visit to the Museum of London. What an absolutely amazing place! Despite its somewhat daunting exterior (it looks like it could be a prison!) the second I walked through the gate into the garden I was nothing but pleasantly surprised. The museum is well laid out, easy to navigate and much larger than I expected. It just seems to go on forever and takes you through an array of all things London in a year by year journey. I will most certainly be back. Absolutely fascinating and a fantastic way to spend a Sunday afternoon.


I have been to the Museum of London on numerous occasions with friends and other members of my family and am continously struck by how skillfully it combines archaic london with contempory themes.The archeology of our great country is incredibly diverse and prehistoric.when you come face to face with evidence of the ancestral presence of the country combining their creative resorcefulness and strategies they used to not just survive but thrive carving a beautiful world. In an often hostile enviroment is a humblng experience.Modern topical issues are covered with numerous displays sometimes remindng us that our ethnically diverse city can be a source of strength enriching all our lives if we take an honest look ot ourselves and challenge our preconceptions about each other.


I took my son here a few years ago and we both loved it. Being born in London myself but now living in the West Country, it gave me a chance to show him where I grew up and it's history. He loved the dressing but the highlight of our day was the Roman Gladiator show where you were actually involved as a Roman crowd. If they do it again and you get the chance to go, I highly recommend it.