London as a whole is a city of culture. From the west to the north, London’s many institutions allow for an incredible array of day trips that span British, European and ancient art as well as the natural history of the world, the military and the performing arts. Guests of the Park Grand Heathrow will be inundated with free and cheap to visit institutions that will float the boat of every age. But with so much to see, where do you start?
One handy tip for breaking down your London trip into manageable chunks is to focus on different regions of the city. With more than 1500 square kilometres and 32 boroughs to explore, it’s unsurprising that guests of accommodation near London airports might feel overwhelmed with the sheer scale of the city. But that’s part of the joy of London – the world is your oyster, and if you have an Oyster Card, it’s even more freeing.
This blog will explore some of the best museums and cultural experiences in East London. Even if you’re in the city for a visit to restaurants in Heathrow or nature reserves in Richmond, East London shouldn’t be overlooked. Whilst many of the most well known museums are located in the centre or the west of the city, there are a great deal more than you might think scattered elsewhere. From serial killers to the history of toys, these are the best museums of East London.
Jack The Ripper Museum
Located on the historic Cable Street, the Jack The Ripper Museum is dedicated to exploring the identity and crimes of London’s most notorious serial killer – the elusive Jack The Ripper. With his identity still argued about by amateur detectives to this day, this museum explores the world in which the killer lived, providing exhibits that include original Victorian dress and archive statements and police evidence from his crimes. Anyone with an interest in true crime and what the East End of Victorian London was like will find something to peak their interest in this colourful, often spooky museum.
Museum Of The Home
Recently renamed, the Museum Of The Home in the Hoxton area of East London is a paean to everything domestic – both modern and historic. The museum explores the evolution of home life through the ages, spanning 400 years worth of interior design, home technology and art. Whether you want to find out more about the middle classes of Regency London or what it was like to live in the East End during the Great War, this museum’s trendy locale doesn’t betray its anchored, homely and comforting foray into the past.
Museum Of Childhood
Part of the Victoria & Albert Museum and in fact built from leftover material from that expansive gem in South Kensington, the Museum of Childhood does what it says on the tin – which there’s a lot of as well. From toy soldiers to primitive playthings, the Museum Of Childhood is a free to visit museum that explores the history – and the future – of playtime. Kitted out with a soft play area for children and a high tech foyer cafe for adults, the Bethnal Green stalwart will soon be reopening after refurbishment in East London’s Olympic Park.
Museum Of London
The Museum of London is located near the Barbican Centre in the City of London and explores the long history of the city. Starting in the primordial ooze of prehistoric South England, this free to visit exhibition will whisk customers through the Roman era of Londinium, the early Norman city and beyond through the Great Fire of 1666 into the Victorian era. It’s safe to say that if you’re a guest of conference hotels near Heathrow and other accommodation of London, this museum is the ideal introduction to the city, its culture and its long, tumultuous development.
Another wing of the Museum of London, the Docklands Museum is situated in West India Quay which as you might suspect, is an integral part of the rapidly regenerating Docklands area. Amidst the high rise apartments and high tech skyscrapers, visitors to the docklands can see a different side to this one of a kind area of East London at the Docklands Museum. Exploring the long history of London’s seafaring tradition and river trade, the museum charts how the city, over hundreds of years, expanded and developed thanks to the River Thames running through it. Without a river, we wouldn’t have the city you see today, and the Docklands Museum explains in an accessible and exciting way, how this came to be the case.
Viktor Wynd’s Cabinet Of Curiosities
Probably the smallest museum of this list, Viktor Wynd’s Cabinet of Curiosities is located on Mare Street and incorporates a small gallery and cocktail bar into its atmospheric interior, redeveloped from an old call centre. The museum itself explores the world of the weird, showcasing hairballs, shrunken heads, alleged mermaid skeletons and even a two headed lamb. The museum is also home to quirky and often disgusting celebrity memorabilia, making for a true foray into the extreme. Designed to resemble old Victorian travelling galleries, this is not one for the faint of heart, but for those interested in a museum that does things a little differently, The Cabinet Of Curiosities is sure to drop your jaw – just make sure you have a stiff drink at the bar afterwards!
Ragged School Museum
Situated in Mile End, this museum is dedicated to showcasing and highlighting the education system of Victorian London. The museum resembles buildings that were used to educate the poor and is set up in a canalside warehouse on Copperfield Road. The museum is completely volunteer run, and was set up in the 1980s and inspired by the work of Dr Barnardo, who helped educate the poor of London in the 19th century.