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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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