I love a museum shop. Let me introduce you to my best London Mususem Shops. Exiting via the gift shop is always a pleasure.
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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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Prints and books are what I go to the National Gallery shop for. They have all manner of fridge magnets, scarves, baubles and the like but it is the prints and books that lure me in time after time.
Disclosure: If you click on the National Gallery shop link and buy something I will get a small amount of money
National Portrait Gallery
The reopened National Portrait Gallery shop has a very beautiful shop that has become by present buying destination of choice. They have the most gorgeous scarves including some designed by Celia Birtwell alongside tempting jewellery and delightful ceramics.
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.
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.
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.
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.