Bloomsbury Museums, Part 1, London (Self Guided)

There are over 240 museums in London and they welcome about 42 million annual visitors nationwide. This wonderful tour will lead you to the most famous and significant museums of London Bloomsbury area, such as British Museum, Charles Dickens Museum, London Canal Museum and others.
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Bloomsbury Museums, Part 1 Map

Guide Name: Bloomsbury Museums, Part 1
Guide Location: England » London (See other walking tours in London)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 km
Author: Xena
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British Museum

1) British Museum (must see)

The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture in London. Its collections, which number more than seven million objects, are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its beginning to the present. The British Museum was established in 1753, largely based on the collections of the physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane. The museum was first opened to the public on 15 January 1759 in Montagu House in Bloomsbury, on the site of the current museum building. Its expansion over the following two and a half centuries has resulted in the creation of several branch institutions, the first being the British Museum (Natural History) in South Kensington in 1887. Some objects in the collection, most notably the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon, are the objects of intense controversy and calls for restitution to their countries of origin.

Why You Should Visit:
Home of the Rosetta Stone, ancient Egyptian artifacts, Roman statuary and much, much more.

Tip:
Go early to avoid the crowds at the key famous items.
There are two entrances: the main front one and there other at the back which is often less busy.
Exhibits are paid-for, while admission to the museum is free.

Opening Hours:
Fri: 10am-8:20pm; Sat-Thu: 10am-5:20pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
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The Cartoon Museum

2) The Cartoon Museum

The Cartoon Museum is a London museum for British cartoons, caricatures, comic strips and animation. It has a library of over 5,000 books and 4,000 comics relating to the subject. The museum issues catalogues and features a changing display of over 250 exhibits from its collection of over 1,700 original cartoons and prints. Curator Anita O'Brien noted, "There has never been a cartoon museum [in Britain]... In spite of the very strong historical tradition here, there has always been a very strong ambivalence towards comic art." It was opened February 23, 2006 by the Duke of Edinburgh. In its mission statement, the museum declares that it is "dedicated to preserving the best of British cartoons, caricatures, comics and animation, and to establishing a museum with a gallery, archives and innovative exhibitions to make the creativity of cartoon art past and present, accessible to all for the purposes of education, research and enjoyment." The museum runs a Learning Programme for primary and secondary schools in a range of subjects, including art, media, history, English and animation. With workshops for children during half-term and holidays, it also features adult courses in cartooning and graphic novels in collaboration with London's Birkbeck College. In addition to its Young Cartoonist of the Year Awards, each year the trustees of the Cartoon Art Trust give a Lifetime Achievement Award to an artist who has made a significant contribution to British Cartooning.

Opening times: Monday to Saturday 10.30 am – 5.30 pm, Sunday noon – 5.30 pm. Admission charges: £5.50 – adults, £3 - students with valid student ID, free to under-18s.
Sight description based on wikipedia
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Charles Dickens Museum

3) Charles Dickens Museum

The Charles Dickens Museum is at 48 Doughty Street in Holborn, London Borough of Camden, England. It occupies a typical Georgian terraced house which was Charles Dickens' home from March 25, 1837 (a year after his marriage) to December 1839. Charles Dickens and his wife Catherine lived here with the eldest three of their ten children, with the older two of Dicken's daughters, Mary Dickens and Kate Macready Dickens, being born in the house. A new addition to the household was Dickens' younger brother Frederick. Also, Catherine's 17 year old sister Mary moved in with them from Furnival's Inn to offer support to her newly married sister and brother-in-law. It was not unusual for a woman's unwed sister to live with and help a newly married couple. Dickens became very attached to Mary, and she died in his arms after a brief illness in 1837. She inspired characters in many of his books, and her death is fictionalized as the death of Little Nell. Dickens had a three year lease (at £80 a year) on the property. He would remain here until 1839 after which he moved on to grander homes as his wealth increased and his family grew. However, this is his only surviving London house. The two years that Dickens had lived in this house were extremely productive, for here he completed The Pickwick Papers (1836), wrote the whole of Oliver Twist (1838) and Nicholas Nickleby (1838–39), and worked on Barnaby Rudge (1840–41).

The building at 48 Doughty Street was threatened with demolition in 1923, but was saved by the Dickens Fellowship, founded in 1902, who raised the mortgage and bought the property's freehold. The house was renovated and the Dickens House Museum was opened in 1925, under the direction of an independent trust. The museum has since been renamed the Charles Dickens Museum. Spread over four floors, the Charles Dickens Museum holds the world's most important collection of paintings, rare editions, manuscripts, original furniture and other items relating to the life and work of Dickens. Perhaps the best-known exhibit is the portrait of Dickens, known as Dickens' Dream by R.W. Buss, an original illustrator of The Pickwick Papers. This unfinished portrait shows Dickens in his study at Gads Hill Place surrounded by many of the characters he created.

Admission prices from December 2012: adults - £8.00; children 6-16 years - £4.00; children under 6 years – free.

Operation hours: Monday - Sunday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
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Foundling Museum

4) Foundling Museum

The Foundling Museum in London tells the story of the Foundling Hospital, Britain's first home for abandoned children. The museum houses the nationally important Foundling Hospital Art Collection as well as the Gerald Coke Handel Collection, the world's greatest privately amassed collection of Handel memorabilia. The museum examines the work of the Foundling Hospital's founder Thomas Coram, as well as the artist William Hogarth and the composer George Frideric Handel, both major benefactors of the institution. It also illustrates how the Foundling Hospital's charity work for children still carries on today through the child care organisation Coram. The Foundling Museum was set up as a separate charitable organisation in 1998. After a major building refurbishment, it opened to the public as a state-of-the-art museum in June 2004.

The Foundling Hospital Collection includes works of art by Britain's most prominent eighteenth century artists: William Hogarth, Thomas Gainsborough, Joshua Reynolds, Louis-Francois Roubiliac and many others. These paintings and sculptures, often donated by the artists themselves, were given in order to support this Britain's first home for abandoned children. These works effectively made the Foundling Hospital the nation's first art gallery available to the public. The museum also lets the visitor see furniture, photographs and other items from the days when the Foundling Hospital still accepted abandoned children to be reared and educated within its walls. Foundling tokens (coins, a button, jewellery, a poem) were given by mothers leaving their babies, allowing the Foundling Hospital to match a mother with her child should she ever come back to claim it. Sadly, the overwhelming majority of the children never saw their mothers again and their tokens are still in the care of the museum.

The Committee Room, one of the original eighteenth century interiors, is the room where mothers intending to leave their babies would be interviewed for suitability. It now houses several pictures and furniture, including Hogarth’s satirical and political March of the Guards to Finchley and a series of paintings by Emma King, depicting scenes from the lives of the children in the Foundling Hospital. The Picture Gallery is another original interior room. On the walls are paintings of governors and hospital officials through the ages. These portraits include Allan Ramsay’s portrait of Dr Richard Mead, Reynolds’s portrait of the Earl of Dartmouth, and Thomas Hudson’s portrait of the hospital’s architect, Theodore Jacobsen. The Court Room is where the Foundling Hospital’s Court of Governors used to meet. The room is a rococo ensemble of paintings, furniture and interior architecture, designed to make the best possible impression on all future potential governors and donors. The ceiling is a plaster work by William Wilton and paintings include Hogarth’s Moses before Pharao’s Daughter and Gainsborough’s picture of London’s Charter House. The uppermost floor of the Foundling Museum houses the Gerald Coke Handel Collection. An exhibition room presents Handel’s life and here visitors can learn about his connection to the Foundling Hospital and see the testament he left behind. A fair copy of the Messiah, left to the Hospital at his death, is also displayed. Four armchairs with built-in speakers play Handel’s music.

Opening Hours: Mondays – closed, Tuesday to Saturday 10 am – 5 pm, Sunday 11 am - 5 pm. Admission charge includes entrance to all temporary exhibitions and displays: adult - £7.50 (£8.25 including Gift Aid), free admission for children up to 16 years.
Sight description based on wikipedia
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All Visual Arts

5) All Visual Arts

Established in 2007, All Visual Arts (AVA) is well known for promoting contemporary art in the most unusual places of London, such as “The Age of the Marvellous” in 2009 at the Holy Trinity Church in Marylebone and “Vanitas: The Transience of Earthly Pleasure” at 33 Great Portland Place in 2010. In September 2010, All Visual Arts gallery finally acquired its own exhibition space at 2 Omega Place, King's Cross. The gallery is famous for supporting works of young artists as well as providing space for original themed exhibitions and group shows. All Visual Arts has gained fame as the venue which is highly pro-active in its stance towards contemporary art.

Operation hours: Tuesday - Saturday: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
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London Canal Museum

6) London Canal Museum

London Canal Museum is situated in the King's Cross area of London, on the Regent's Canal, and is a regional museum that displays information about the history of London's canals. It was opened in 1992 and is housed in a Victorian ice warehouse that was used by Carlo Gatti. The building was constructed around 1860 to house ice imported from Norway by ship and canal barge. There are two preserved ice wells under the building, one of which may be viewed from the public area of the museum. Battlebridge Basin is accessible from the rear of the building. The exhibitions cover the following topics: introduction to UK waterways; canal life (social history); canal art; lifting and handling cargo; the ice trade; canal craft; working horses on the canals and the streets; the Regent's Canal; large scale historical map of London's canals; water and locks; the museum's Bantam Tug; Water and Locks, an exhibition about canal engineering and water supply, opened by H.R.H. The Princess Royal in October 2010. The museum has regular temporary exhibitions that change about twice a year. Oral history from the museum's own collection is used to complement the exhibitions with "listening posts" covering several topics being situated around the building.

Operation hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 10:00 am - 4:30 pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in London, England

Create Your Own Walk in London

Create Your Own Walk in London

Creating your own self-guided walk in London is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
East London Walk

East London Walk

The City is a notable part of central London. This neighborhood is colloquially known as the Square Mile, as it is 1.12 square miles (2.90 square km) in area. The City of London is able to offer great number of things to see. This tour will guide you from the Tower Bridge to the “30 St Mary Axe”, great achievements of architecture and engineering.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 km
Souvenir Shopping

Souvenir Shopping

Most visitors to London consider shopping as part of the must-do London experience. From street markets to Victorian arcades and from snobbish Sloane Square to busy Oxford Street there are a host of shops selling items which typically depict this vibrant city. Whether you are shopping for souvenirs for yourself or gift for friends, here are a few ideas to give you some great inspiration.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 km
Charles Dickens London Walking Tour

Charles Dickens London Walking Tour

Born in Portsmouth in 1812, Charles John Huffam Dickens was the second child to arrive in a big family of his father, a Naval clerk. At the age of three, Dickens traveled to London along with his family, upon which two years later they moved to Chatham in Kent. Starting circa 1840 until his death in 1870, Dickens remained the most famous and popular writer in the world. He authored some of...  view more

Tour Duration: 4 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 8.0 km
Walk around Buckingham Palace

Walk around Buckingham Palace

London is deservedly recognized as one of the cultural centres of the world. Among many cultural treasures found here are perfectly reserved ancients buildings, grandiose monuments and beautiful statues, as well as museums with wide collections of various objects, featuring traditions of different nations and epochs. This self guided walking tour around Buckingham Palace will reveal some of the...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 km
City of London Churches

City of London Churches

London can proudly boast of having an awe-inspiring collection of churches. Here, you will find every style and type. The religious buildings have been a magnet for people ever since the Vikings started striking terror into the city in the 790s. Take this tour to discover most significant religious sites in the City of London.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 km
West End Nightlife

West End Nightlife

Be prepared for the exciting, throbbing sensation of London's nightlife, one of the best in the world. You will find everything you are looking for: trendy clubs, hot atmosphere and exclusive drinks. Follow this London West End nightlife tour to get the party started!

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


London Souvenirs: 20 Distinctively British Products for Travelers

London Souvenirs: 20 Distinctively British Products for Travelers

Most visitors to London consider shopping as part of their must-do London experience. From street markets to Victorian arcades to snobbish Sloane Square to busy Oxford Street, there are a host of shops selling items which typically represent this vibrant city. Whether you are shopping for souvenirs...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in London for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best London has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes


To save yourself time and money visiting London's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the London Pass, London Explorer Pass, or iVenture Card.

A city pass combines all or multiple London's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip the lines at major attractions, thus saving you precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels


Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of London hotels conveniently located for a comfortable stroll: The Trafalgar St. James London Curio collection by Hilton, Corinthia Hotel London, The Grand at Trafalgar Square.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as London, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours


We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of London typically costs somewhere between US$30 and US$130 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker to enjoy sightseeing of London from the open top of the bus listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get on and off at any of the stops along the six interconnecting routes, plus get on board the Thames River Sightseeing Cruise. The tickets are valid for 24, 48, or 72 hours.

- Spend half a day pedaling your way around London Royal Parks on a guided bike tour to see the city's most spectacular highlights stopping at some for a bit of rest, watching the surroundings, and learning interesting facts about the attractions from a knowledgeable group leader.

- Commit yourself to a full-day of sightseeing to appreciate the English capital in its full splendor complete with its top (UNESCO-listed and other) attractions, plus to enjoy a sightseeing cruise down the River Thames, and more.

- Dive into Britain’s royal and political history on the Westminster Abbey & Houses of Parliament tour for an up-close view of the country's two most prominent landmarks that have been in place and duly served their purpose for almost a millennium.

- Explore the WWII chapter of the British history on a guided 2-hour walking tour of Churchill War Rooms & Westminster to see how they operated back in those days. Hear some little-known war tales and tidbits about London and the country's most celebrated leader, Winston Churchill.

- Satisfy your penchant for English tradition, glamour and food culture in style with an afternoon tea experience at the 5-star Grosvenor House Hotel in London complete with a full set of lovely cakes, sandwiches and tea!

- If you're into music, give yourself a treat, whilst in London, to the Musical Theater Show at Apollo Victoria Theatre presenting the alternate side of the famous Wizard of Oz story previously untold.

Day Trips


If you have a day to spare whilst in London, why not use it to explore some out-of-town destinations like the Warner Bros. Studio London, Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, and Bath, Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick Castle, Cotswolds, or Leeds Castle, Cliffs of Dover and Canterbury. For as little as circa US$100+ to US$120+ per person you will get a chance to explore the postcard-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage sights, get behind-the-scenes of the mystical world of Harry Potter, see what has been the home of the British Royals for the past 900 years, explore the ancient rock formations, Roman Baths and medieval castles, walk the streets of the charming hometown of William Shakespeare, check out one of the world’s most prestigious universities, get to see the picture-perfect region officially designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, otherwise known as “forever England,” renowned for its quaint villages and rolling hills, admire the symbolic White Cliffs of Dover, and more. For any of these tours you will be picked up straight from your hotel in London and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned coach or train (whichever is applicable) to the destination of your choice and back again.