Top 10 best science museums in London

Whether you're a science buff, a budding surgeon or just have a curious mind, London is full of fascinating science and medical museums.

From the world famous, ultra-modern Science Museum to the tiny, 19th century Old Operating Theatre, the capital has science and medical museums to suit all tastes and budgets; many offer free admission, too. 

1. Science Museum Free

Want to discover and interact with the major scientific advances of the last 300 years? Then head to the Science Museum. Kids and big kids alike love the Launchpad gallery; those with a strong stomach can visit the Glimpses of Medical History gallery; plus there's spaceships, steam engines and much more.

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2. Anaesthesia Heritage Centre Free

Whether you're an anaesthetist or just curious, the collection at London's unusual Anaesthesia Heritage Centre - which counts more than 2,000 objects, dated from 1774 to the present day - provides an absorbing story and historical account of advancements in medicine and pain relief. 

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3. British Dental Association Museum Free

For a day out that'll make you glad anaesthetic was invented, take a trip to the British Dental Association Museum. From barber surgeons to toothdrawers, rotten teeth to the first painful root canals, and 19th century dental floss to clockwork drills, you can relive the history of dentistry in all its gory glory.

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4. Nightingale Museum

Journey through the life and times of the "Lady with the Lamp" and discover what made Florence Nightingale so legendary. See the Turkish lantern she used in the Crimean War, her medicine chest – complete with a powdered rhubarb herbal remedy – and learn the astonishing story of this remarkable woman's life. Read More
Prices from £7.50

5. Hunterian Museum Free

The Hunterian Museum displays the collection of pioneering surgeon John Hunter (1728-93), with plenty of pickled creatures in jars, including the organs of soldiers who fought in the Battle of Waterloo. Other exhibits explore contemporary and future surgery – not for the squeamish!

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6. Kirkaldy Testing Museum

A must for anyone with a love of machines and engineering. Opened in 1874 as David Kirkaldy’s Testing & Experimenting Works, his 116-ton ‘universal testing machine’ still works and was used to test materials’ strength for bridges, locomotives, ships, airliners and more. 

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Prices from £5.00

7. The Museum at the Royal Institution Free

This grand old building has been home to some of the world's greatest scientific minds and now houses artefacts used in history's most famous experiments. Discover how scientists built the first transformer or try your hand at the chemical elements game at The Museum at the Royal Institution.

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8. Museum at St Bartholomew's Hospital

This museum brings the history of St Bartholomew's Hospital (or Barts) to life using interactive displays. At the click of a button, visitors are transported back into the world of a 13th century sister or a 15th century apprentice surgeon. Original drawings illustrate interesting cases.

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9. Old Operating Theatre

This restored 19th century operating theatre tells the story of surgery and herbal medicine. The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret is housed on top of a church, and the building provides the central point for a display and collection which tells the story of medicine from the 13th to 19th century.

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Prices from £6.50

10. Wellcome Collection Free

A museum for curious minds, the Wellcome Collection gives visitors a unique insight into what it means to be human. Many collections are nothing short of bizarre, from a Peruvian mummified man to a robot used in the human genome project. Free guided tours take place most days.

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