Guide to Best London Museum Shops

I love a museum shop. Let me introduce you to my best London Mususem Shops. Exiting via the gift shop is always a pleasure.

British Museum Bookshop
British Museum Bookshop

Best London Museum Shops

It is no secret that I love a museum. At the end of every museum or gallery visit I love to visit the shop. If you don’t have a cultural jaunt planned, don’t worry most museum stores are available online too. Come with me and find the best cultural Christmas presents in museum shops. Every museum shop has a great range of Christmas cards, always a great way to support your favourite charity.

Victoria and Albert Museum

Chocolate filled Fabergé style eggs V&A shop

The V&A is my favourite museum shop.  It is the place to come for independent designer jewellery, bags and ceramics. This year there are many tempting Fabergé inspired items. As well as more expensive items the V&A museum shop is stacked full of desirable stocking filler priced objects. Beautiful pots nestle next to fine jewellery. I confess that I find it very difficult to walk out the V&A shop without buying an item of jewellery, thankfully prices start at less than a tenner.

British Museum

The British Museum has a fine bookshop but it is the Grenville Room, just at the base of the main staircase, that I really love. It it is packed to the gunnels with the superior type of reproduction as well as many beautiful craftsman made objects inspired by the collection. Online at British Museum you will find Hokusai wave t shirts as well as a fine selection of Egyptian cats.

Historic Royal Palaces

Dash spaniel salt and pepper pots Kensington Palace shop
Dash Salt and Pepper Pots

I know there are four different Historic Royal Palaces in London but Kensington Palace, Kew Palace, Hampton Court and the Tower of the London can all be found on the Historic Royal Palaces online shop.  This is the place to come Dash salt and pepper pots, an Anne Boleyn B necklace or all manner of raven themed gifts.

British Library

Books, books and more books.  Did you know that the British Library has its own imprint of murder mystery books?  In addition to books also prints of book illustrations.  In real life I rarely walk out of the British Library shop without a newly purchased bookish object or map … they have a great selection of maps.

Dulwich Picture Gallery

Dulwich Picture Gallery shop has one of the best selection of greetings cards every time I visit I always stock up. In addition they always have a good range of craftsman made objects inspired by the latest exhibition.

London Transport Museum

Four vintage London Transport poster advertising the Epsom Derby from London Transport online shop
London Transport Museum posters

The walls of Cultural Wednesday Towers are adorned with vintage transport posters bought from the London Transport Museum online shop.  I also love the range inspired by the moquette found on London Underground trains, especially the socks … the socks are begging to find their way into Mr CW’s Christmas stocking.

Imperial War Museum

Watches and Churchill loom large in Imperial War Museum shops. Given that the Churchill War Rooms, one of London’s most popular attractions, is an IWM site the prominence of Churchill is understandable. In person I love the selection of books available at the IWM museum shop in Lambeth.

Royal Academy

Books, art materials, jewellery, mugs and the most tempting textiles the Royal Academy shop has me drooling just thinking about it.

Sir John Soane’s Museum

Sir John Soane’s Museum online museum shop is the place to come for objects inspired by architecture and Hogarth. I especially like the cup and saucer inspired by Hogarth’s depiction of an Orgy.

Wallace Collection

If I could live in one museum it would be the Wallace Collection. The Wallace Collection online shop is every bit as appealing as the collection itself. This is the place to come for items inspired by Boucher’s The Swing every time I visit in person I am tempted by silken London Map dressing gown which always seems too extravagant for a whim purchase at £70 but perfect for a present … last year Mr CW read this and it now hangs at home!

Cultural Museum Shops outside London

When shopping online geography is no barrier, here are some of my favourite online museum shops elsewhere.

Kettles Yard

If I was to build an art collection then it would be like the one at Kettles Yard with beautiful paintings cheek by jowl with hand thrown ceramics and found objects like pebbles and pine cones. Kettles Yard shop is a great source of prints and seriously covetable ceramics.

English Heritage

Over the years we have bought all manner of knightly play equipment from assorted English Heritage shops, somehow visiting a castle whets the appetite for a wooden sword. English Heritage is not just castles and the English Heritage online shop reflects that.

Remember that every purchase made in a museum shop goes toward helping to fund the museum, so much nicer that enriching Mr Bezos via Amazon. Have I included your favourite in my best London Museum Shops?

One of my favourite presents to give and receive is gift of museum membership. You get to both visit and support the museum for a whole year, take a look at my guide to London Museum Membership for inspiration.

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8 Comments

  1. November 17, 2020 / 2:56 pm

    I want that jug too !
    Great blogpost Catherine, very timely and useful.

    • November 17, 2020 / 3:54 pm

      Thank you, everybody needs a gurgling fish jug!

  2. November 17, 2020 / 6:30 pm

    Those earrings – I am going online right now, god knows when they’ll get here to NZ, but they’re worth waiting for! Great tips, sharing this one.

    • November 17, 2020 / 6:32 pm

      Thank you, they will suit you down to the ground

  3. November 21, 2020 / 9:01 pm

    Oh, this post took me back. The winter I lived in London, I did all of my Christmas shopping in the museum stores. I love them so much. The fact that I can shop online at these stores is very, very dangerous!!!

  4. November 23, 2020 / 1:14 pm

    I think I might need those Dash salt and pepper pots for Christmas! I hope our museums get all the support they need this Christmas.

  5. November 24, 2020 / 10:11 am

    Brilliant post Catherine. Have a few Christmas gifts ideas from here for sure #CulturedKids

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