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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 10, 2019
Headline for Best Places to Visit in London - Hidden Museums and Libraries
Joanna James Joanna James
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Best Places to Visit in London - Hidden Museums and Libraries

The Natural History Museum may be London's most visited cultural attraction but did you know that the city is home to a range of lesser-known museums that offer an equally mind-blowing experience.


The Horniman Museum

Anthropological and natural history is chronicled within this fascinating museum. Piquing your interests right away is the 25-foot Alaskan Totem Pole right at the entrance while an overstuffed walrus from 1880 is sure to amuse. The grade 2 listed museum is rather old fashioned and refreshing in the sense it is not inundated with lots of touch screen displays. Instead, you are left to wander around and explore the fascinating artefacts by reading and observing. Within are galleries dedicated to Brazilian, Afro-Caribbean and African art. There is also a 1,600-piece assortment of musical instruments dating back to 1550 - with an option for you to play some of them. Families are catered to with kiddie's workshops, nature explorations and hands-on programmes where curious little hands are allowed to touch some of the displays.


Hunterian Museum

The Hunterian Museum has a fascinating collection of medical specimens and surgical equipment; far from gruesome the chic interiors of this museum are inlaid with carefully labelled glass jars housing various specimens; that are neatly lined up along glass shelves. If you are into quirky displays this is the best place, for inside these glass jars are peculiar objects such as pickled body parts of soldiers who fought at Waterloo, the skeleton of Irish giant Charles Byrne and even the dentures of Winston Churchill.

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The Fan Museum

The world's only 'Fan' museum is also located in fascinating London. It is a small enclave of two rooms inlaid with displays of over 3,500 vintage fans. Quite interestingly some of the fans are from far back as the 11th century. Of course, a major plus point at this museum is the Orangery; there the foodie in you is satisfied as typical English teas are served every Tuesday and Sunday.


Marianna North Gallery at Kew

Botanical paintings from around the world are displayed at this museum. Dedicated to the works of Marianna North; there are over 800 paintings done by her in locations such as Japan, Singapore, Tenerife, America, Brazil, Jamaica, Sarawak, Sri Lanka, India, Seychelles, Australia, New Zealand and Chile. Enjoy the paintings of birds, flowers, animals and landscapes that line the walls of this gallery.


Dennis Severs House

This is a well preserved Spitalfields merchant's house. It is the essence of vintage London and quite an exotic tour, as the place remains as though an 18th-century family was still living there. The house was constructed in the 1970s by Severs and is unique in the sense that it is tucked away into a veiled area around Liverpool Station and is open only at erratic times of the day – which makes it a very unique 'chance encounter'.