London Museum of Water and Steam

Things to do Brentford
5 out of 5 stars
(4user reviews)
 (© Miles Willis)
© Miles Willis
 (© Miles Willis)
© Miles Willis
 (© Miles Willis)
© Miles Willis
 (© Miles Willis)
© Miles Willis
 (© Miles Willis)
© Miles Willis
 (© Miles Willis)
© Miles Willis

The Grade I-listed pumping station in which this museum housed was built in 1838 and it was the first to drive clean water into people’s homes, 24 hours a day – at an affordable price. The revamped museum now combines remarkable working remains of our Victorian industrial heyday – nine machines (five still in their original locations), including the 90-inch steam-powered Cornish Engine – with the story of how London’s water has been cleaned up since the seventeenth century.

You can follow a timeline of pipes right up to modern sewerage, stopping off on the way to ponder Hugh Myddleton’s New River (an ambitious engineering project realised with financial help from King James I that was designed to bring clean water from the River Lea, near Ware, in Hertfordshire to New River Head in London). There are tunnels and sewers to walk and crawl through, the 1902 Hindley Waterwheel, plus lots of interactivities: labs where the nippers can compare clean and polluted water, and in the new Splash Zone a variety of water-pumping experiments, using sluices, pulleys and pumps.

The new museum hasn’t pulled the plug on its prime attractions though: every weekend (and at bank holidays) the ancient engines are fired up and whir into action, along with a puttering narrow-gauge railway and steam-powered fire engine. There’s action on weekdays too, but the waterwheel and the James Kay rotative engine use that new-fangled electricity stuff.

Exhausted? The Stokers Café is open daily and is accessible without having to enter the museum.

Note: annual passes cost just £3 on top of your day ticket.


Venue name: London Museum of Water and Steam
Address: Green Dragon Lane
Opening hours: Wed-Sun 11am-4pm
Transport: Rail: Kew Bridge rail
Price: £5.50-£12.50
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Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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I've been told of this hidden gem quite a few times over the years but only took the plunge when a cheap groupon deal popped up. The building juts out of the otherwise flat landscape but despite this, and it's location a mere stones throw form the south circular, you probably would just think it was a big tower; a remnant of London's past. And it is. An important one at that. 

Inside it houses a cafe and the ubiquitous gift shop. The museum may be small but it feels like there is plenty to hold your attention. The water/sewage works display is both interesting and interactive so children will have time to play while the adults learn. The steam engines on display are magnificent. The two really large ones are a sight to behold and you can't help but appreciate the quality of manufacture on such behemoths. The building itself doesn't disappoint either and carries its history well.

It's not as jam packed as the larger museums in London but the ticket price is low and the experience unlike others. 4.5 stars.


This museum was very interesting, and had a very extensive collection of steam engines. The part I enjoyed the most though was learning about the history of how London was able to be supplied with clean water. Also, the Victorian pumping station that the museum is housed in is very impressive and there's a nice garden and cafe to enjoy as well. 

Really great!

I took my boyfriend when he came to visit, as he's big into old engineering stuff (we're 20/21) and we really had a great day. The displays are very well paced and let you ingest a fairly significant amount of information easily and entertained; the interactive exhibits for kids are well designed; the old engines are genuinely beautiful, and for anyone over 1.2 meters I recommend going to the top of the 90 and 100-inch cylinder engines. We were lucky there was beautiful weather, and there are outdoors water-edu-toys

I walked past here on the off chance last weekend when the museum and cafe were having their "friends and family weekend" and I am so glad I did! The kids had a wonderful time going round the museum playing on all the interactive games and were positively worn out by the end. The cafe, which you can go to without paying for the museum had such smiley staff. The food was devine..the children shared a brownie whilst I had a chicken and quinoa salad..the coffee was very good too. I will sure be coming back here with my husband to sit in the cafe garden with a cider and a glass of wine!

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