Quick places to visit in London in under an hour!

21st February 2016

Picture the scene: it’s Monday morning. Dave from Accounts hasn’t done that report that you asked for, there’s no coffee in the machine *again* and you’ve got a lunchtime date with a Pret sandwich at 1pm. Sigh…

But fear not! Bob is here with some lunchtime inspiration for doing something different during your hour of freedom.

Let’s not waste a single minute of exploring time!

London Bridge: Old Operating Theatre Museum

old operating theatre museum london

Picture credit: A Peace of London

If you think your day has been a pain in the neck, then spare a thought for the patients who endured operations without anaesthetic or antiseptic in this (now abandoned) operating theatre in the roof of St Thomas’ Church, next to The Shard. The theatre was once part of St Thomas’ Hospital and was built so that operations didn’t have to be carried out on the ward. The space is now the oldest operating theatre in Europe, with a fascinating museum and herb garret attached in the adjoining 19th-century rooms.

Opening times: Daily, 10.30am to 5pm

More information: thegarret.org.uk

Fleet Street: Twinings Tea Museum

twinings tea museum

Picture credit: A Peace of London

This 300-year-old tea house opposite the law courts was originally Twining’s first store and is now a combination of small-but-perfectly-formed museum (about Twinings’ history) and beautiful tea shop, selling rows and rows of all types of tea and offering tastings too. Your author recommends the orange and cinnamon redbush blend.

Opening hours: Monday – Friday 9.30am – 7.30pm; Saturday 10am – 5pm; Sunday 10.30am – 4.30pm

More information: Visit the Twinings’ website

Barbican: Bunhill Fields

Bunhill Fields, London

Picture credit: Alex Donohue on Flickr

A graveyard might seem like a strange place to relax, but this 1.6 hectares of green space is an ‘oasis of calm’ just north of one of the busiest parts of the City.

Opening times: Weekdays (check the website for opening hours, as they differ by season)

More information: Visit the City of London website

St Paul’s / Farringdon: St Bart’s Hospital Museum

st bart's hospital museum london

Picture credit: A Peace of London

Give Henry VIII’s bloated figure a wave (the only public statue of him in London) on the way to this little museum at St Bart’s Hospital. It’s full of interesting little bits like the teaching head above (the markings suggest it was used as a football!) and is free to get in. While you’re there, make sure you go in the back to The Hogarth Staircase, which is just beautiful.

Opening hours: Tuesday – Friday, 10am-4pm

More information: bartshealth.nhs.uk/bartsmuseum

Euston / King’s Cross: The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology

Petrie Museum, London

Picture credit: A Peace of London

There are over 8,000 objects on display at this museum in the heart of University College London, and a staggering 72,000 in their collection, which makes it a brilliant (and quieter) alternative to the British Museum if ever we saw one. Look out for the 4,000-year-old dress and a human scalp that was preserved by a wig.

Opening times: Tuesday – Saturday 1pm-5pm

More information: www.ucl.ac.uk/museums/petrie

Holborn: The Hunterian Museum

Hunterian Museum, London

Picture credit: A Peace of London

Not for the squeamish, but if jarred animal and human specimens won’t help you forget about Dave from Accounts, what will? The Hunterian is based at the Royal College of Surgeons; on offer is the skeleton of the 7ft 7ins ‘Irish Giant’, human brains and a plaster cast of Isaac Newton’s death mask.

Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 5pm

More information: Visit the Hunterian website

Kensington: Kyoto Garden, Holland Park

Kyoto Garden Holland Park London

Picture credit: A Peace of London

This little corner of Holland Park is popular with lunch-timers, and it’s not hard to see why: just a few minutes watching the waterfall is enough to recharge your batteries ready for the afternoon ahead.

Opening times: Daily

More information: Visit the RBKC website

Liverpool Street: Bishopsgate Library

Bishopsgate institute libary

Picture credit: slocumjoseph on Flickr

We featured this library on our round-up of London’s unusual libraries, but it’s also good for just having a snoop about as although the collections on London history, freethought and humanism, LGBT history and many more subjects are behind closed doors, you can still have fun nosing at all the titles, and request access if you’re really keen.

Opening hours: Monday – Friday 10am-5.30pm (until 8pm on Wednesdays)

More information: Visit the Bishopsgate Institute website

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Written by:

Charlotte Gunnell

London blogger at APeaceOfLondon.com on a mission to find chilled-out, cultured and unusual corners of the city. Lover of Lego, loyal bobber and watcher of the odd historical drama.

Follow me on Twitter @apeaceoflondon

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