Six specialist North London museums you have to visit
- Alex Johnston
- 20 June 2017
Tired of museums about everything? Explore the home, Jewish life, Arsenal FC and John Keats in these lesser-known gems
London is not exactly short on museums. Kensington alone has a single street, Exhibition Road, where the curious museum-goer can spend an entire day strolling between the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum and the V&A without having to do anything more strenuous than cross from one side of the road to the other. But the chances are, you've been to them before, and there's only so many times you can stare at the Elgin Marbles or the Apollo 10 capsule. For those willing to venture outside travelcard zone 1, London has much to offer. Here's a selection of interesting museums to the north of the central zone.
The Geffrye is the museum of the home, established in 1914 and showing recreations of middle-class London domestic interiors through the centuries from 1695 to the present. It's a soothing place to spend an afternoon, especially if you take a wander through the herb garden. The gift shop is stacked with books to spark the imagination of those with a knack for making a room look good. After your visit, pop across Geffrye Street and refresh yourself with one of Fabrique Bakery's celebrated cinnamon buns.
136 Kingsland Road, Shoreditch. Open Tue–Sun 10am–5pm; Bank Holiday Mondays 10am–5pm. Entry free.
The place in London to see aircraft, the RAF Museum has over 100 aeroplanes on site, from pre-WW1 marvels like the Blériot XI, the first plane ever to cross the channel, through iconic warplanes like a Boeing B-17G and an Avro Vulcan to a lifesize model of the Eurofighter Typhoon. The museum puts all this in a human context, with a series of exhibitions and displays including letters, personal testimonies and uniforms. On-site parking is limited at present, owing to ongoing landscaping of the site, so public transport is advised.
Grahame Park Way, Hendon. Open daily Mar–Oct 10am–6pm (last entry 5.30pm); Nov–Feb 10am–5pm (last entry 4.30pm). Entry free.
Jewish Museum London
North London is where most of London's Jewish community lives, and the museum records the history of Jewish people in the UK from their first arrival after 1066 to the present day. It has a full programme of exhibitions and events, and you can search its collections indexed under different themes: check out Malcolm Libling's austere but very cute modernist doll's house, made in the 1940s for his daughter Thelma. After your visit, you can fix any cravings for chicken soup with a stroll around the north end of Regent's Park to Harry Morgan's deli in St John's Wood High Street.
129–131 Albert Street, Camden Town. Open Mon–Thu, Sat & Sun 10am–5pm; Fri 10am–2pm. Booking essential. Adults £8.50; concessions £6.50; ages 5–16 £3.50; family (two adults + two children) £18; under 5s free but ticketed.
Emirates Stadium and Arsenal Museum
Arsenal FC's new-ish stadium has a recently opened museum to the club, where Gunners fans can pore over minutiae of previous seasons and argue about what Wenger should do next. Among the personal items on display are Michael Thomas's boots from 1989, Charlie George's FA Cup Final shirt from 1971 and Jens Lehmann's magic gloves from 2003/4. Stadium tours are also available, which include free entry to the museum.
Hornsey Road, Holloway. Booking essential. Mon–Sat 10am–6.30pm (last entry 6.15pm); Sun 10.30am–4.30pm (last entry 4.15pm). Adults £10, under 16s £7, OAPs and students £8.
Is there some reason why you wouldn't want to visit the Freud Museum? Why do you resist this idea? Let's talk about it. Sigmund Freud's house for the last year of his life is now a museum to him and to psychoanalysis in general, having been gifted by his brilliant daughter Anna, a pioneer of child analysis. It contains his extraordinary collection of antiquities from different cultures around the world and also his famous couch, brought over from Vienna. The museum hosts exhibitions of modern art and topics related to Freud, and there's a programme of talks and lectures.
Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead. Wed–Sun noon–5pm. Adults £8; seniors £6; concessions £4; under 12s free.
John Keats may have only lived in Wentworth Place for less than two years, but then, John Keats only lived on this planet for 25 years, so as doomed Romantic poets go, you take what you can get. This is the house where he met his great love Fanny Brawne, and it's now a museum and library in his memory. There are always events at Keats House, from talks and lectures to garden tours, and the collections include rare items such as letters from Keats, manuscripts and the ring he gave to Brawne when they got engaged. The house is at the southern tip of Hampstead Heath.
10 Keats Grove, Hampstead. Wed–Sun 11am–5pm. Adults £6.50; seniors £5.50; concessions (students and jobseekers) £4.50; under 17s free; National Trust members £3.25; National Art Pass holders free.