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Geffrye Museum

Things to do, Literary events Hoxton Free
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(14user reviews)
 (Geffrye Museum exterior)
Geffrye Museum exterior
 (1935 dining lounge © Christopher Ridley)
1935 dining lounge © Christopher RidleyThis is the current room display. A living room in 1935.
 (1965 dining lounge © Christopher Ridley)
1965 dining lounge © Christopher Ridley
 (1910 living room © Christopher Ridley)
1910 living room © Christopher Ridley
 (1998 loft conversion © Christopher Ridley)
1998 loft conversion © Christopher Ridley
 (1870 drawing room © Christopher Ridley)
1870 drawing room © Christopher Ridley
 (The gardens © The Geffrye Museum)
The gardens © The Geffrye Museum
 (The gardens © Mandy Williams)
The gardens © Mandy Williams
 (Animal mask activity day © Geffrye Museum)
Animal mask activity day © Geffrye Museum

Housed in a set of 18th-century almshouses, the Geffrye Museum offers a vivid physical history of the English interior. Displaying original furniture, paintings, textiles and decorative arts, the museum recreates a sequence of typical middle-class living rooms from 1600 to the present. It’s an oddly interesting way to take in domestic history, with any number of intriguing details to catch your eye- from a bell jar of stuffed birds to a particular decorative flourish on a chair. There’s an airy restaurant overlooking the lovely gardens, which include a walled plot for herbs and a chronological series in different historical styles.

NB: The Geffrye Museum is now closed until early 2020. 

Read about our favourite seven exhibits at the Geffrye Museum


Venue name: Geffrye Museum
Address: 136 Kingsland Rd
E2 8EA
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 10am-5pm (Closed Mondays except Bank Holidays)
Transport: Hoxton Overground
Price: Free (permanent collection); admission charge applies for some temporary exhibitions
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Average User Rating

4.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:11
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening

Considering the age and size of the Geffrye museum I am surprised it is not as well known as some of the other museums in London. I have wanted to take my children there for a while as I remember visiting it myself over 30 years ago and it was one of the few museums as a child that I liked. With it's lush outdoor space and interesting exhibitions there really is something for everyone. As well as rooms that are set up like a historical Ikea (unfortunately you cant try out the sofas) there are also cabinets of memorabilia, books to browse and interactive activities. The first part of the museum is a bit of a tight squeeze when busy and I found it strange that there is no exit at the end so you have to go back through to the beginning but still a great day out for all age groups.


A beautiful hidden gem in Hoxton, located in a not-so-touristy place not far from Hoxton's Overground station; the Geffrye Museum shows the evolution of British interior design in the years, starting from the Middle Ages up until the present. You can wander around a series of thematic rooms and perhaps, if you're an interior designer, an architect or an engineer, you might also be truly inspired by what you'll see, especially for what concerns the "recent" present interior design. This is the perfect place where to spend some time on a lazy Sunday, plus, it's free and located in a beautiful garden. Also, check out the official website, as sometimes they even host free temporary exhibitions. 


I find that the Geffrye Museum is very relaxing and quaint. It's not really located in an area that tourists would come to and it's housed in a beautiful old building with a huge lawn out front. It's free to visit and learn about how British home life has evolved over 400 years, by looking at how the average living room has changed over time. My favourite part of the museum is actually the garden in the back - a tranquil oasis tucked away behind Hoxton overground station. When I was last there in April, there was a beautiful wisteria in bloom and there are different styles of gardens to walk through. 


Although I was its neighbor for some time, I had always passed by this lovely building that used to be an almshouse back in the 18th century without stopping by merely for wandering - how interesting can this be? Without pyrotechnic, but with lots of knowledge, the rooms quietly reveal how people used to live in different eras since medieval times. The decorated rooms are nice, but I was really drawn for the explanatory graphics showing housing schemes from old days, that helps you wrap your head around society of a time long gone. I am just a sucker for history, and truly believe that the information they gathered here is special, and a must see for any anthropologist, architect, engineer or designer. 


A small but wonderful museum about the history of interior design. Various interiors from the Middle Ages to the 20th centure are showcased and put in the social and political context of their time. Perfect place to visit on a lazy Sunday. Oh and the museum cafe does amazing cakes!


If you’re stuck for something free to do on a weekend, then take a visit to the Geffrye Museum of the Home for a taste of culture and history. Based right next to Hoxton station on Kingsland road, it’s accessible and easy to find. The family-friendly museum is stunning from the outside and is set amongst wonderful gardens which you are free to explore for most of the year. A narrow and awkwardly shaped exhibition takes you on an interesting journey of middle-class British society reflecting on home interiors and explores the way textiles, decorative arts and furniture have changed over the last 400 years. Try out the audio tapes along the way too. A must see is the beautiful Almshouse chapel which is very peaceful! Make it to the end and there is a wonderful gift shop that is reasonably priced selling everything from postcards and stationary, to styling books and ornaments. A bright and airy café in the conservatory sells refreshments too.



One of London's hidden gems, this museum is a real heritage piece and a fantastic display of housing through the ages. 

The building from the outside is simply stunning and worth a visit for this alone! However I do truly recommended you step inside and walk through each of the rooms. I also highly recommended reading everything as you'll learn so much about how people lived (and often traded) in their homes through the centuries. I particularly love the 'sliced' house drawings, where you get to see the inside of a house in full operation as it would have been in it's time.

Travelling through the years and seeing each of the housing set ups also makes us realise just how much the way we live really has evolved. Compare a room in Victorian times to the 1990s studio for example and marvel at such dramatic change within just one century.

There is also a lovely garden room half way through, where you'll want to put your feet up and stay, but hop along a little further and you can enjoy your rest with a nice cup of tea and cake whilst still enjoying the view. Probably best in spring or summer. 

This is also a great place to bring children as there are lots of facts tailored to younger visitors and small items in each room for them to interact and play with so they won't get bored. The shop has cute items too, perfect for gifts and there is usually a temporary exhibition running in the basement. 

I would highly recommended coming here around Christmas as well if you can as they decorate all the rooms appropriate to their period. You can also arrange to visit one of the restored Almshouses (via the website - charged), though I've yet to do this myself.

A wonderful reminder of just how lucky we are in this city to have such amazing buildings preserved and available to us free of charge!

Oh and if you're not familiar with the area; you're close to Columbia Road flower market (Sunday mornings), Spitalfields Market, Brick Lane and the 'Vietnamese Mile' on Kingsland Road - probably the best Vietnamese food you'll eat outside of Hanoi! So make a day of it...... 


Step back in time and see how the average Joe has lived through the ages. Starting in the medieval times amble along the corridor of these knocked-through alms houses to see set ups of different living rooms through to the modern day. Sadly it still has the vibes of a classic museum in that you can only look, but not touch, it would be good if they could make it a but more interactive. However, it does not detract from the beauty of the museum and the setting. Asides from the permanent exhibition, the museum also plays host to various events and exhibitions, which do a great job of injecting some life into this beautiful building. Namely the current exhibition, Street Seen, which brings together talented artist Gabriela Schutz' pencil drawing of a street in Bounds Green together with photographer Andrew Burman's pictures of the residents who inhabit the houses. A perfect companion to the aim of the museum. I also happen to be part of the exhibition as a resident of the road!


One of my favourite museums to visit in East London, a walk-through timeline on British interiors dating back hundreds of years. Absolutely beautiful inside and out! And it's FREE! :)


The Geffrye museum looks absolutely beautiful from the outside! Huge trees cast most of the square between the buildings into shade. Inside, you follow a one way trail through rooms and objects found in the British home starting centuries back and ending right up at the millennium, which creates a steady narrative of how things have changed over the years... although differences from one room the the next are subtle, the contrast from the first room to the last is so huge its unrecognisable! The central area of the museum also houses lots of books on the home and interiors, which visitors are free to browse. And there is a large garden to wander around if the weather's good!


There´s not much to add to what other reviewers have said. A great journey through history and such an expected place to come across in middle of the hustle and bustle of Kingsland Road.

I went to the museum today to view the restored almshouse which only opens a few times a month. Apart from visiting all of the period rooms in the rest of the museum, it was great to see how the pensioners originally lived in the almshouse.

Great café and garden as well!


Nice museum showcasing domestic items across the history of English homes. It is a little narrow and it can be quite frustrating if there are groups of people as the exhibition is laid out linearly along the building. The garden is relaxing and probably the best bit.

Love this museum. It's a journey through English social history in the form of a series of rooms furnished in period style, from the 17th to the 20th centuries - a great insight into daily life as well as changing fashions and developing technology. Exhibitions are particularly inspired – like the one dedicated to the West Indian front room a few years back, or the one running at the time of writing, on Victorian homelessness, focusing on life in common lodging houses and workhouses. There are also lovely gardens, including a herb garden, and a light and airy café, plus a reading area with design magazines. 

This is a wonderful museum - it's pretty much the nearest you can get to walking through history. Each of the rooms have modern reproductions of the furniture and textiles of the time, so instead of seeing furniture from 100s of years ago as it looks now, you see it as it would have looked then (which is different from how I had imagined) and see rooms how people would have lived in them.

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