It’s easy enough to step off a plane from Gatwick and head straight to the world-famous tourist hotspots of London, but sometimes it can be fun to get off the beaten track for a while and enjoy the museums and art galleries that other tourists can’t track down.
And, there’s a multitude of cultural beauties secreted all over England’s capital, so drop off your car with Gatwick valet parking and hit the streets for some esoteric museums and galleries that you might never have thought existed.
Housed under St. Pancras Church, the atmospheric Crypt Gallery was first designed for coffin burials in 1822, but now its aging frame is a gallery curated by the church, featuring both well-established and up-and-coming artists from across the country.
And, if you think that an old crypt could be haunted, you might be right – the gallery still houses its 557 buried occupants.
Held within the Royal College of Surgeons, The Hunterian Museum is a place for the more macabre among you, featuring a range of artifacts from the surgical past.
But, this is no grim sideshow. Including tools, sketches, pickled organs, case studies and much more, The Hunterian Museum provides a genuinely fascinating look at surgical procedures, helping you appreciate just how important the field is.
And, surreally, the collection even includes Winston Churchill’s dentures, for those of you who always wanted to see a great man’s false teeth up close.
Charles Dickens Museum
Everyone knows Charles Dickens – the author of weighty Victorian tomes such as Bleak House, The Pickwick Papers and Oliver Twist – but not many would notice the Charles Dickens Museum if they walked past it, it being a simple Victorian house with only a plaque to differentiate it from the buildings surrounding it.
But, if you can track it down, you’ll be treated to an exact recreation of how the house would have looked when the venerated author and moral crusader first lived there, making for fascinating viewing for any fans of his work.
The Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art
The only museum in the United Kingdom devoted exclusively to Italian art, The Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art is a Grade II listed Georgian building that is home to famed works from the likes of Amedeo Modigliani and Giorgio Morandi, as well as many more in this impressive collection of esteemed painters and sculptors.
The gallery also features a cafe with a relaxing outdoor seating area, making it the perfect place to spend the day and relax.
While not necessarily a museum or gallery, Secret Cinema is a venture that will allow you to trawl through the finest of cinema history while taking in some iconic landmarks of this great city.
The concept is that you sign up to Secret Cinema’s website, where you will then be notified of a location to travel to, and not told what film you’re shown until you get there, leading to an air of mystery and surprise as you make your way to this secret location.
Previous screenings have taken place in the Hackney Empire, a disused railway tunnel and an old abandoned school. With immersive stage performances taking place around the screening, Secret Cinema is a true event for any avid filmgoer.