London is a serious, business-focused city, with many men walking around in suits, looking very serious. However, with just a little bit of surface-scratching, you can find some amazing, colourful and weird places, where curiosity and difference are the most important commodities being exchanged. All of these smaller museums tend to be a little cheaper, which can often be a relief in this expensive city.
For the geeks out there, the Cartoon museum in Holborn is an incredible way to explore the art and history associated with British cartoon art. The collection includes pieces from almost 200 years back, up to the present day. There is even an exclusive library that you can make an appointment to go and visit. It is absolutely art, but using topics and themes that are more playful and light than in most galleries.
The oldest medical operating theatre in Europe still intact can be found in St Thomas' Hospital in London, and walking the terraced steps and looking down onto the central viewing stage is a walk through the past. The operating theatre was built in 1822, and was essentially a place for doctors and medical professionals to watch cutting edge procedures. There are daily talks, but don't eat beforehand, as the explanations of operations before anaesthesia was introduced are a little gruesome!
Also known as the Crime Museum, this dark and grim place is a showcase and collection of violent crime in London over the last few centuries. In general, only police officers and similarly professionally involved people are allowed entry, but there are fairly regular events that include the public, and the chance to see weapons used by Jack the Ripper and other historical murderers is darkly fascinating.
Located rightly enough on Baker Street, this is a museum for a fictional character. The famous detective created by Arthur Conan Doyle in the late 1880's is celebrated in this museum that features period settings that match with the time, as well as actors in costumes from the time reenacting famous scenes. It's great fun to interact with the actors and throw yourself into this murky but quirky time period.
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