The Geffrye Museum takes all the bits and pieces you’ve seen in museums and antique shops, and puts them back together to create drawing rooms, sitting rooms and living rooms – as they really were. This peaceful museum in Shoreditch, East London is also free.

Once inside you’ll see British life as it really was, over the last 400 years. Every detail is taken care of, from period magazines left on coffee tables, to the right plants placed carefully on the other side of front doors.

Some of the rooms look as if the inhabitants had just left to go out for a pint of milk (or mead). There is plenty of space to relax and read (the Geffrye has plenty of mini-libraries about interior design and collectable objects).

The wall paintings near the garden are particularly beautiful, showing eccentric rabbits trotting over the hills. Through the window you’ll see a garden like no other – yours to explore later. The Geffrye Museum has an excellent laidback restaurant, no matter if you feel like a pot of Darjeeling, a glass of wine or a bagel.

This special place also happens to be on Kingsland Road, though, which has some of London’s best and cheapest Vietnamese restaurants. So if you want to spend the morning here, good noodles are minutes away.

Visit  The Geffrye Museum from Tuesday to Saturday (10am to 5pm) or on Sundays from 12 noon to 5pm. It’s closed on Mondays (unless Bank Holiday) and shut on the usual public holidays.

The address is 136 Kingsland Road, and the Geffrye Museum is directly in front of Hoxton Station, on the East London line. It’s easily reached by changing from London Underground (tube). Step off the train and you’re here.

The Geffrye has something for everyone. It might be a chunky 1970s television set that captivates you, or delicate wallpaper and textiles that would have made Jane Austen swoon. Or do you just want to wander around the garden and admire the clever things the Museum has done with geraniums?

If you come out of the museum gates and turn left, and start walking, you’ll soon be in hipster Shoreditch, where everyone has a band, an iPad, a bicycle and a pair of nerd glasses. There are some fabulous, tiny boutiques here, and some lovely pubs.
Keep walking along the main road, through Shoreditch, and you’ll hit buses taking you back to central London, or Liverpool Street Station, which connects you to all tube stations.

(Story – Jessica Adams)

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