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London has an extraordinarily rich and diverse range of museums, galleries and other heritage attractions. This includes over 200 museums and galleries with permanent collections and numerous temporary exhibition venues, heritage and science centres.
The city is famous for its great national institutions, like the British Museum and the National Gallery, but there are also many other fascinating museums and galleries that are well worth investigating. There are local community museums, university and military collections, museums based in houses where famous people once lived, and wide range of museums focusing on various specialist interests.
This website listing will give you a taster of what London has to offer. It includes a short description of many of these attractions and links to websites where you can find out more.
|Cabinet War Rooms||In 1940, as the bombs rained down on London, Winston Churchill, his Cabinet, his War Cabinet, his Intelligence organisation and his staff met below ground in a fortified basement in Whitehall known as The Cabinet War Rooms. They offered a shelter from air raids, a place to work, sleep and live for as long as necessary. Today visitors can see it just as it looked during the war years.|
|Carlyle's House, NT||In a quiet and beautiful residential area of London, this Queen Anne house was the home of Thomas Carlyle, the �Sage of Chelsea�, for some 47 years until his death in 1881. The skilful Scottish home-making of his wife Jane is much in evidence: the Victorian period decor, the furniture, pictures, portraits and books are all still in place.|
|Cartoon Art Trust||The Cartoon Art Trust is dedicated to preserving the best of British cartoons, caricatures, comics and animation. Its museum includes a gallery which hosts a rolling programme of exhibitions which aim to make the creativity of cartoon art past and present, accessible to all for the purposes of enjoyment, education and research. There is also a shop, an archive and a reference library.|
|Chartered Insurance Institute Museum||In the 17th century the only effective fire-fighting service was that provided by insurance companies to their clients. To prove that owners of buildings had taken out insurance policies that entitled them to assistance, they had to display the insurance company�s official firemark outside the building. A unique collection of these firemarks and fireplates is on display at the museum, together with other artefacts relating to the history of fire-fighting and fire insurance. Generally open Mon-Fri 9.00 to 17.00 but advisable to ring in advance (020 7417 4417)|
|Chelsea Physic Garden||The Chelsea Physic Garden was founded by the Society of Apothecaries in 1673 in order to promote the study of botany in relation to medicine, then known as the "physic" or healing arts. As the second oldest botanic garden in England it still fulfills the traditional functions of scientific research and plant conservation and undertakes to educate and inform as well as to provide the amenity of a walled "secret" garden in the heart of London.|
|Children's Discovery Centre||Discover is a magical place for children aged 2 to 7 to visit with their families and friends or in class groups with their teachers. It is in the centre of Stratford, East London.|
|Chiswick House||Arguably one of the most glorious examples of eighteenth-century British architecture, Chiswick House was designed by the third Earl of Burlington, 1694-1753. A promoter of the Palladian style, first pioneered in England by Inigo Jones, Lord Burlington sought to create the kind of house and garden found in the suburbs of ancient Rome. To do this, he employed William Kent to design sumptuous interiors to contrast with the pure white exterior. Enjoy the house�s lavish rooms before stepping outside into the classical gardens � a perfect complement to the house itself.|
|Church Farmhouse Museum||Church Farmhouse Museum in Hendon is one of the oldest surviving dwelling houses in the borough of Barnet. It was built in about 1660 and was the centre of a busy dairy and hay making farm until the first half of this century. The house was opened as a local museum in 1955. The museum has a furnished 1820s kitchen with adjoining laundry room, a bake oven, a huge fireplace and a stone flagged floor. The 1850s dining room has panelling from an earlier period and the rest of the house is full of interest, from the distinctive chimney to the unusual layout.|
|City of London Police Museum||This museum traces the history of the City of London Police with artefacts dating back to 1832 when the original force was founded. Open by appointment only (tel 020 7601 2705/2455).|
|Clink Prison||Located on the site of the original Clink prison, the museum contains reconstructions of cell interiors and hands-on display of original and reproduction restraining and torture devices.|
|Courtauld Institute Art||The Courtauld Institute Gallery has one of the most important collections in Britain, including world-famous Old Master and Impressionist and Post Impressionist paintings, together with sculpture and applied arts. Its special atmosphere reflects it origins in a series of remarkable gifts and bequests, by some of the leading collectors of the twentieth century, including especially Samuel Courtauld, Roger Fry, Lord Lee and Count Seilern. The Collections are displayed in chronological order over three floors of the strand block of Somerset House|
|Craft Council Gallery||The Crafts Council Gallery, Britain's largest crafts gallery, hosts a continuous programme of major craft exhibitions, some of which tour nationally and internationally.|
|Crofton Roman Villa||Crofton Roman Villa is the only villa open to the public in Greater London. It was inhabited from about AD 140 to 400 and was the centre of a farming estate of about 500 acres (200 hectares). Today you can see the remains of 10 rooms protected inside a public viewing building. Remains include tessellated (tiled) floors and the hypocaust (under-floor central heating system).|
|Crossness Engines Trust||The Crossness Pumping Station was built by Sir Joseph Bazalgette as part of Victorian London's urgently needed main drainage scheme. It was officially opened by the Prince of Wales in April 1865. The Beam Engine House is a Grade 1 Listed building in a Victorian Romanesque style, which features some spectacular ornamental ironwork. It still contains the four original pumping engines.|
|Croydon Clocktower (Croydon Museum & Heritage Service)||Croydon Clocktower houses a museum, arts and library complex. The museum features the Lifetimes, a unique interactive exhibition about Croydon�s local communities. The Riesco Gallery displays a fine collection of Chinese ceramics from 4500BC to the 19th century. Croydon Clocktower also runs a programme of other unusual and interactive exhibitions.|
|Crystal Palace Museum||The Crystal Palace was built in Hyde Park in 1851 to house the Great Exhibition and proved so popular that when the exhibition ended it was taken down and re-erected on Sydenham Heights. In 1936 it was destroyed by fire. The Crystal Palace Museum is located in the only part of the building that survived and tells the fascinating story of this �Palace of the People�.|
|Cuming Museum||The museum of Southwark�s history. The worldwide collections of the Cuming family joined with the history of Southwark from Roman times to the present day.|
|Cutty Sark Trust||The last surviving tea clipper was famous in her day for making the fastest voyage from China to England, completed in 107 days. The Cutty Sark is now moored in dry dock at Greenwich and has been painstakingly restored to her condition in the 1870s. Visitors can explore the ship from the elegant officers� saloon to the confined living quarters of the crew. There is also a colourful collection of ship figureheads on display.|
|Czech Memorial Scrolls Centre||A permanent exhibition telling the unique story of the rescue from Prague, in 1964, of 1,564 Torah scrolls confiscated by the Nazis during World war II and their restoration and redistribution to communities throughout the world.|