Many people visiting London will often overlook a visit to this repository in favor of more well publicized attractions but you really should consider a visit to the Museum of London. It contains artifacts that go back thousands of years and will give the visitor a unique perspective on the growth and evolution of the city from 450,000 B.C. to the present day.
Getting there from Safestay Hostel will be relatively easy. By car it is depending on the route between 2.7 and 3.5 miles. (4.3 and 5.6 kilometers). Taking the subway will involve a total travel time of 24 minutes. You will need to walk to Elephant and Castle. Take the Northern Line towards Edgware.
This will take 7 minutes and 4 stops. Disembark at Moorgate. From there you have a 10 minute walk to the museum. Keep in mind that at present due to demolition works the St. Alphage Highwalk is closed so you might be better off leaving the subway at St.Paul's or Barbican rather than Moorgate. It will make the walk just a bit longer to the museum.
The Museum of London first opened its doors in 1976. Admission to the museum is free. Hours of operation are from 10:00 A.M to 6 P.M. ( 10:00 – 18:00 ) Monday through Sunday.
As stated previously the museum thoroughly covers the long history of human activity in the London area. The permanent galleries are as follows: London Before London, Roman London, Medieval London, War, Plague and Fire, Expanding City: 1666-1850's. People's City: 1850s- 1940's, World City 1950's – today the City Gallery and the Sackler Hall.
There are around 1 million items in the core collections plus 6 million additional items found in archaeological excavations. Included in this vast collection are 50,000 objects from prehistoric and Roman London. From Saxon and medieval London 15,000 objects and 55,000 objects from Tudor and Stuart London. Europe's largest archaeological archive exists here with 17,000 skeletons. In addition, half a million historic documents are part of the depository.
One can also see over 25,000 items of fashion and textiles including a Roman “bikini” worn by a female athlete. There are over 150,000 paintings, prints and photographs of the city of London throughout history as well as 18,000 life stories from individuals that have lived in the city.
In addition to the permanent galleries there are special exhibitions that might interest you as well. These include: The Cheapside Hoard: London's Lost Jewels, Opening the Olympics, A Royal Arrival, Sherlock Holmes, Tomfoolery, Made in London and the U.K. Picture Editors' Guild Awards.
This writer personally recommends the first one in the list which will be on display until April 27, 2014. The jewels and gems found in this hoard were discovered in 1912, buried in a cellar on Cheapside in the City of London. The items found are all from the late 16th and early 17th century. A number of the special exhibits close on December 01, so if you would like to see them time is of the essence.
There are a number of cafes at the museum that provide a variety of fare that should suit most visitors and there is a lunch space provided for those who would like to bring their own food. The gift shop has a wide assortment of items for sale that include educational materials for teachers and students alike.
Special events, talks, tours and workshops are scheduled throughout the year so if you are interested in participating you sometimes have to book in advance. Most of them are offered free of charge but a few do have costs associated with them. The website for these activities is provided for your convenience.