22 weird and unusual museums in London - updated for 2024

Uncover London's wonderfully quirky unusual museums and bizarre collections, guaranteed to leave you fascinated, flabbergasted... or even a little frightened!
Written by Visit London Editors Edited by Carole Rocton 01 March 2024

Seek out some of the most unique, weird and utterly intriguing museums dotted across the capital to discover lesser-known artefacts, learn more about the history of the stranger sides of London, and delve into some of the city's peculiar corners.

You sure wonder... Where in the world can you find a museum dedicated to a fictional character, as if he were real; ride an underground mail train; or visit a museum dedicated solely to fans? Read on to uncover these exceptionally interesting museums in London!

Here are the best fun and weird museums in London

1. Jack the Ripper Museum

Jack the Ripper Museum in London. Image courtesy of Jonny Payne / visitlondon.com
Discover the stories behind London’s most notorious killer at the world’s only dedicated Jack the Ripper Museum. Step back in time to 1888 to learn all about the suspects and the victims of the terrible murders that took place in Victorian London. With displays spanning across six floors, see realistic recreations of scenes connected to the murders along with artefacts never before shown to the public.
Prices from £12.00 Book now

2. Twist Museum

Art installation at Twist Museum. Photo credit: Dan Weill Photography. Source: Family PR.
Turn your world upside down at the Twist Museum in Oxford Street! Enjoy mind-bending optical illusions and fascinating sensory experiences. Explore more than 60 exhibits and interactive illusions designed by artists, psychologists, mathematicians and neuroscientists. Promising a truly memorable experience that will have your brain questioning reality.
Prices from £19.50 Book now

3. The Household Cavalry Museum

Enter one of London’s most unique living museums nestled within Horse Guards in Whitehall. The Household Cavalry Museum celebrates the history and accomplishments of The Household Cavalry since it was formed in 1661 under King Charles II. Get a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the work that goes into guarding the King on ceremonial occasions and Royal pageantry. Hear the stories of the troopers and see the working horses in the original 18th century stables.
Prices from £10.00 Book now

4. Clink Prison Museum

Pay a visit to The Clink Prison Museum to discover what it was like to be an inmate during medieval times. Copyright Visit London/Michael Barrow.
Experience one of England’s oldest and most notorious medieval prisons at the Click Prison Museum. See photos of the original building upon which the museum is built. Explore the themed rooms and discover replica artefacts at this wonderfully weird museum London, including gory torture devices that would have been used on the inmates.
Prices from £8.00 Book now

5. The Postal Museum

Find out all there is to know about the postal service in the absorbing The Postal Museum, as you explore an assortment of stamps, post boxes and post office vehicles on show. Don't miss out on venturing underground on the thrilling Mail Rail train, which was once used to transport mail.

Prices from £16.00 Book now

6. The Museum of Brands

Be inspired by The Museum of Brands in Notting Hill which features more than 12,000 original items from the Robert Opie Collection. Prepare for a nostalgic journey through childhood toys, fashions, magazines and more from Victorian times, through austerity Britain to the swinging '60s.

Prices from £9.00 Book now

7. Sherlock Holmes Museum

Visit the uncanny Sherlock Holmes Museum, a Grade II-listed lodging house on Baker Street turned into the apartment of Conan Doyle's famous fictional detective and his friend Doctor Watson. The museum features waxworks, Victorian ephemera and a gift shop selling Sherlock Holmes collectibles and fun novelty items.

Prices from £16.00

8. Dennis Severs' House

Enter a time capsule in Dennis Severs' House in east London as you wander silently through an 18th-century house lit by fires and candlelight, absorbing the sounds, sights and smells of a "recently abandoned" family home. Gasp at the house's 10 rooms which create 10 enchanting pictures created by the artist Dennis Severs.

Prices from £15.00

9. Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities

A cabinet dedicated to dead people at The Viktor Wynd Museum Of Curiosities © Oskar Proctor. Image courtesy of Oskar Proctor.
Ever shared a drink with a lion? No? Well now's your chance. Join Leonora, the full-sized taxidermy lioness, at her booth for a drink or two, and that's just the beginning of the weird and wonderful adventures of The Last Tuesday Society. Choose from the absinthe-inspired cocktail list (there are plenty of other choices too) before venturing downstairs to Viktor Wynd's Museum of Curiosities to discover the strange, exotic, shocking and sometimes macabre collections within.
Prices from £10.00

10. The Cartoon Museum

Lover of illustrations? Pencil in a date with The Cartoon Museum which explores and preserves British cartoons, comics and animation. Discover a treasure trove of more than 6,000 original artworks and 8,000 books during your visit.

Prices from £8.50

11. Anaesthesia Heritage Centre Free

Whether you're an anaesthetist or just curious, make your way to the unusual Anaesthesia Heritage Centre where you'll discover more than 2,000 objects dated from 1774 to the present day –  all of which played a part in historical advancements in medicine and pain relief.

12. Old Operating Theatre

Go back in time as this restored 19th-century operating theatre tells the story of surgery and herbal medicine from the 13th to 19th century. Housed on top of a church, The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret is home to fascinating (and slightly creepy!) furniture, surgical instruments and other pharmaceutical objects.

Prices from £7.50

13. Brunel Museum

On the site of the Thames Tunnel, The Brunel Museum showcases the work of famous engineers, Marc Isambard Brunel and his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Examine drawings, watercolours and engravings of the pioneering tunnelling project and even find artefacts from the Fancy Fairs which took place at that spot in the past.

Prices from £6.00

14. Freud Museum

Visit the Hampstead-based family home of Sigmund Freud and his family, who came to England in 1938 as refugees from Nazi-occupied Vienna. See Freud's authentic and untouched library and study, including his famous psychoanalytic couch. Then, watch screenings of Freud's home movies and marvel at his huge collection of antiquities.

Prices from £14.00

15. Royal Academy of Music Museum Free

Whether you have a musical ear or can't string a tune together, the Royal Academy of Music Museum is the place to go for all things melodic. View numerous instruments, documents, images and musical relics and explore the collection of rare Cremonese stringed instruments – you may even hear some in action! Reopening 2 Sep 2022

16. London Canal Museum

Swing by the Canal Museum to learn the story of London's canals, cargoes, boats and trade. Discover a Victorian ice well and learn about the lives of people who lived and worked on the canal, then have a go at the deliciously entertaining ice-cream-making workshop – all in a waterside former ice warehouse near King's Cross.

Prices from £7.00

17. The Cinema Museum

Take to the wonderful world of the big screen as it's brought to life through an awe-inspiring collection of posters, projects and memorabilia at The Cinema Museum. Find more than 17 million feet (five million metres) of film, cinema designs, seats and even samples of carpet at this must-see for cinema fans. By appointment only.

Prices from £10.00

18. Fan Museum

Undoubtedly one of London's most unusual museums, the Fan Museum is home to the world's finest collection of fans, dating from the 11th century to the present day. Housed in a pair of restored 18th-century houses, this surprising museum features a Japanese garden and spectacular orangery where you can delight in afternoon tea.

Prices from £5.00

19. Kirkaldy Testing Museum

This unusual spot is a must for anyone with a love of machines and engineering. Opened in 1874 as David Kirkaldy’s Testing and Experimenting Works, the museum showcases his 116-ton "universal testing machine" which still works, even after years of use testing materials’ strength for bridges, locomotives, ships, airliners and more.

Prices from £8.00

20. London Museum of Water and Steam

The giant beam engines at London Museum of Water and Steam (formerly Kew Bridge Steam Museum) are the largest of their kind in the world. Get pumped for a visit to the Victorian waterworks to learn about the engines which pumped London's water for more than 100 years – and see the steam-pumping engines in action.

Prices from £18.00

21. Magic Circle Museum at the Centre for Magic Arts

There's more than a rabbit in a hat and never-ending coloured handkerchiefs at the Magic Circle Museum. See some of the magic world's most important memorabilia, including handcuffs used by Harry Houdini and props used by the Prince of Wales during his induction into the mysterious Magic Circle. To visit the museum guests must book one of the public shows. 

22. London Sewing Machine Museum Free

Open on the first Saturday of every month, the London Sewing Machine Museum in Balham houses a fascinating collection of more than 600 antique sewing machines, dating from 1850 to 1950. Highlights include a unique machine bought by Queen Victoria for her daughter, one from the Great Exhibition and the first-ever Singer.

After exploring brilliantly bizarre and weird museums London, find even more unique and unusual places to explore in the capital with our guides to cool and quirky things to do in London including 101 secret spots and must-see hidden gems.

Explore by category