I love a museum shop. Let me introduce you to my best London Mususem Shops. Shopping in person will be tricky this year so all the shops mentioned here are online as well in the museums.
Best Online 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. Just as museums have gone online during lockdown, so have museum shops. Come with me and find the best cultural Christmas presents in online 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 beautiful Kimono print scarf caught my eye at £75. 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 at the moment you can get 10% off British Museum Membership, 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. On sale at the moment is this rather fabulous Abstract Face clutch bag at £19.
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.
Books, art materials, jewellery, mugs and the most tempting textiles the Royal Academy shop has me drooling just thinking about it. I love these blue paper earrings made by Joe Cool in Edinburgh and only £7.
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 … Mr CW are you reading this?
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. My step grandmother had a fish gluggle jug that amused the six year old me, I confess that I would love to have one of my own and have never seen on in a shop until now!
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.
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.