The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret.

A twisty turny wooden staircase will lead you into the roof of St Thomas’ Church, Southwark.
Here you will find the oldest operating theatre in Europe (built 1822) and the Herb Garret (built 1703), used by the hospital’s apothecary to store and cure herbs.

The operating theatre was in use up until 1862 until the hospital was relocated, and then it lay hidden, for nearly a hundred years .

Wonderfully atmospheric, beautiful Herb Garret, slightly eerie operating theatre (and tools). Interesting to imagine a time when anaesthetics and antibiotics had not yet been discovered.

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The Old Operating Theatre
9a St Thomas St, London SE1 9RY (One minute from London Bridge Underground)
Open:10:30 – 5pm Daily
Cost Adult: £6.50


Benjamin Franklin House

Step back in time to 1757…

Benjamin Franklin’s London lodgings, near Charing Cross,  have been lovingly restored to their former glory.  Take a “Museum as a Theatre” experience to be guided around the house by actors in costume.

Fascinating, so much condensed into a theatrical show with actors, audio and video. Scientist, Politician, Founding Father. I am left wanting to know more!

Tour takes 45-50 minutes.

Benjamin Franklin House
36 Craven Street, London WC2N 5NF
Cost Adult: £7 – Pre-book ticket online

The Monument

Monument is a 62m high column built circa 1671 to commemorate the Great Fire of London.
For the price of 4 English pounds you can climb up inside the column (311 steps), enjoy the view from the platform and get a certificate on your descent.

I can’t think of a better way to spend my lunch break.

Not for the frail, infirm, those who have vertigo, claustrophobia or climacophobia.


Fish St Hill, London EC3R 8AH
Website: The Monument
Cost Adult:£4

Florence Nightingale Museum

Although small, the museum is cleverly divided into threes sections.  
The first tells the early family life of Florence and her sister Parthenope, exploring their upbringing and how, against the odds, Florence pursued her “calling” to become a nurse.

The second sections explores Florence’s commission to head up a team of nurses going to Scutari, during the Crimean war  “The Lady with the Lamp . And the final section looks at Florence’s return to the UK and her unrelenting work as a social reformer and so much more.

Each section has six or more audio guides dotted around interesting artefacts as well as little “spy holes”  through hedging to see photographs and drawings (can’t really explain, you will just have to go see for yourself!)

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Do find time to see the other heroes of the Crimean War and First World War, including Edith Cavell, a nurse who managed to save 200 prisoners of war escape, with the aid of her trusty dog, Jack. This year marks the centenary of her death.

Also Mary Seacole, a Jamaican born nurse, who, after her offer of assistance was refused by the war office, set off independently to the front line to offer “succour for wounded servicemen on the battlefield.”

Did you know funds are being raised to create a memorial statue of Mary Seacole at St Thomas’s hospital?

Also, in 2015 a competition called Kings Cross 1-10,000, chose “Mary Seacole Street”  as one of 34 short listed out of 10,000 suggestions for their new road names!

Florence Nightingale Museum
2 Lambeth Palace Road, London, SE1 7EW
Cost Adult: £7

Other Sites of interest:

Kirkaldy Testing Museum

The museum is open the first Sunday of each month

In 1874 the Kirkaldy Test Works was set up by David Kirkaldy, a  Scottish engineer. Its purpose was to independently test construction materials. The first of its kind.

Kirkaldy’s machine and other machines have been restored and preserved in the same building that is now a museum. So if you know your tension from your torsion you have come to the right place.

“Facts not Opinions” was David Kirkaldy’s mantra, emblazoned  onto his building.

On a recent visit (3/10/2015) I had an excellent tour guide, a German engineer. As well as knowledgable we even had demos of the machines. All the guides are volunteers.

The museum was also taking part in Merge Arts Festival (Bankside) and the downstairs basement had been converted into an interactive art installation that was thoughtfully reflective of the museum.

Kirkaldy Testing Museum
99 Southwark St, London, SE1 0JF
Website: Testing Museum
Cost Adult: £5
The museum is open the first Sunday of each month

Garden Museum (closing from the end of October 2015 until 2017)

The Garden Museum is a small museum inside a beautiful church celebrating gardens and equipment through history. It also has a small ornate garden.  There are a few exhibits and a shop with great gardeney gifts.

The cafe has a range of “fresh vegetarian lunches from 12”.

But beware this museum is closing from the end of October 2015 until 2017 for a complete refit. So if you always planned to go, check it’s still open.

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Lambeth Palace Rd
London SE1 7LB
Website:Garden Museum
Cost: No cost to enter Cafe
Cost:£7.50 to view exhibit rooms.

Queen Elizabeth Roof Garden Bar and Cafe

(Open Daily 10 am to 10 pm until late September)

Although I have strolled along the South Bank for many years, I’ve failed to notice the sign to Queen Elizabeth Roof Garden. So, just to give you a gentle hint, look for the GIANT YELLOW CONCRETE STAIRCASE.

I enjoyed a coffee here from the café bar. The menu looked appetising.  I had a stroll around the wild flower meadow and mini allotment, not what you expect in London, a real secret garden, serendipitous.

There’s also a family craft centre, someone asked me if I wanted to join a clay workshop. Alas I would, but I had to get back to work.

Wonderful hideaway, useful to know to impress family and friends when taking them along the South Bank on a sunny day.

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Queen Elizabeth Roof Garden
South Bank Centre, Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX
Open Daily 10 am to 10 pm until late September
Cost : Free

Lower Marsh

You may recognise Lower Marsh from the 02 advert?  It’s regularly featured in TV adverts, films and  BBC interviews. People that work here tell me sometimes they don’t know who’s real and who’s an extra.

A great place to explore. Street food from around the world, book shops, trinket shops, 1940’s memorabilia shop, model railway shop, restaurants. Oh yes coffee, you will never be more than 10 paces from  a coffee shop.

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Lower Marsh
Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London SE1 7AB
Website: Lower Marsh Market/
Other sites:

(ALL SOLD! Exhibition now over) Star Wars, Doctor Who, Harry Potter and much more! Memorabilia at BFI IMax London


And so much more, Dalek (must go back and get selfie) Cyberman, Harry Potter letter from Hogwarts, Steven Hawking glasses from The Theory of Everything

Good to visit, and see price tags (or starting bids). Might be able to stretch to Ood mask.

Location: BFI IMax London
Cost: Free
Open: until 23rd September

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Banksy Tunnel – Leake Street

View some inspiring street art in Leake Street and enjoy some official anti-establishment graffiti.

Usually you will see some street artists at work, and quite often photo shoots of cyber punk looking models posing in front of transient art work.  Wiki states the tunnel was  “initially created during the “Cans Festival” organised by Banksy on 3-5 May 2008″ .

You always get some great clicks here.

Just round the corner on Lower Marsh is a plethora of trendy coffee shops, my favourite is Scooterworks.


Leake Street
Lambeth, London SE1 7NN
Cost: Free