Eurofighter. The latest strike aircraft for the RAF, this is the only replica Eurofighter to be seen at any Museum. Courtesy of the Royal Airforce Museum, Hendon
The ten Discover London Trails were developed by London’s Smaller Museums and Galleries Group with support from ALM London (Archives Libraries and Museums London). Covering different regions of the capital, they link smaller museums and galleries with other attractions of interest in half and full day trails.
This trail begins at Colindale Underground station on the Edgware branch of the Northern Line. Opposite the station is British Library Newspapers, the largest newspaper library in the world.
The British Library © British Library
A seven-minute walk up Grahame Park Way takes you to the Royal Air Force (RAF) Museum.
In 1910 flying pioneer, Claude Grahame-White, opened the London Aerodrome factory, training school and flying field in Colindale; four years later, the Royal Naval Air Services commandeered the aerodrome and it became the Royal Air Force Station, Hendon in 1918.
Today, the remarkable RAF Museum, Hendon is located on this site where visitors can learn about the history of the RAF, including the development of aircraft, armaments and equipment.
Aeronauts Interactive Centre - Children explore the science of flight in the Aeronauts Interactive Learning Centre. Courtesy of the Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon
Back at Colindale station, one stop southbound on the Northern Line takes you to Hendon Central. Hendon’s history dates back to a Benedictine settlement in the Middle Ages and its woods are said to have provided the oak for the construction of Westminster Abbey.
However the oldest house in the Hendon area today is Church Farmhouse Museum, which dates back to the mid-17th century, although it has some 16th century panelling inside.
Church Farmhouse Museum
Continuing southbound on the Northern Line from Hendon Central, stop off at Camden Town to discover the history and religious life of the Jewish community in Britain and beyond at the Jewish Museum.
A short walk to Camden Lock, the site of Camden Market, and you find yourself at the towpath for a walk of approximately 25 minutes, along Regent’s Canal, to the London Canal Museum to discover the history of canals. The trail ends at King’s Cross station very close to this museum.
Letter K created by designer Marksteen Adamson and writer Neil Taylor © British Library
The Trail in Detail
Begin the trail at British Library Newspapers opposite Colindale Underground station, on the Edgware branch of the Northern Line. This is the national archive collection of British and overseas newspapers. The only large integrated national newspaper service in the world, it combines facilities for the collection, preservation, and use of newspapers.
The collections, which also include popular magazines and periodicals, are available in hard copy, microform, and on CD-ROM in the Newspaper Reading Rooms.
Milestones of Flight is a permanent exhibition at the Royal Airforce Museum, Hendon
Walk up Grahame Park Way for about seven minutes to the Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon. The Museum has a collection of over 200 aircraft from all over the world. There are early aeroplane designs and war planes, like the legendary Battle of Britain Spitfire and World War II Lancaster Bomber, as well as modern jets and military aircraft.
The museum has a comprehensive library of pictures, photos and detailed information about all of the planes in its collection. There is also a simulator ride as well as a new interactive section, film shows and a new Milestones of Flight exhibition.
Rethatching the straw bed as part of restoration of roof, 1994 Church Farmhouse Museum
This walk takes about 15 minutes - although there are several buses that go there. The museum building, dating from the mid-17th century, is one of the oldest surviving dwelling houses in Hendon. It was the centre of a busy dairy and hay making farm until the first half of the 20th century. A local museum opened there in 1955.
1850s Dining Room decorated for a Victorian Christmas each year, Church Farmhouse Museum
There are three furnished period rooms. The 1820s kitchen has a huge open fireplace with a bread oven, a splendid refectory table and oak dresser with over 100 Victorian kitchen utensils.
The dining room, with oak panelling dating from the late 17th and 19th centuries, once formed a corridor between the stairs and the bedroom of the first floor. Furniture in the room, including an oval dining table and Windsor chairs, is as it would have been in the 1850s.
Exterior of Jewish Museum © Jewish Museum, London
Back at Hendon Central, continue southbound on the Northern Line to Camden Town. Walk up Parkway and take the third left into Albert Street where the Jewish Museum is located. Housed in an elegant listed building, the museum moved to Camden Town in 1995. It was founded in 1932 and tells the story of the Jewish community in Britain, from the Norman Conquest to recent times.
The superb collection of Jewish Ceremonial Art illustrates and explains Jewish religious practice with objects of rarity and beauty. A highlight of the collection is a carved and gilded 16th century Venetian synagogue ark made of walnut.
Now amalgamated with the former London Museum of Jewish Life, the Jewish Museum is located over two sites. The other, in Finchley, houses the museum’s social history collection.
Synagogue Ark - Torah Ark from Venice, 17th Century © Jewish Museum, London
Walk to Camden Lock, the site of the famous weekend market, along the Regent’s Canal towpath to your last stop, the London Canal Museum.
Regent’s Canal opened in 1820 and linked the Grand Junction Canal between little Venice in the west with the London docks at Limehouse in the east. The museum is a 25-minute walk along the towpath but if you’re not up for the walk you can always take the Northern Line a couple of stops to King’s Cross instead.
Situated at Battlebridge Basin, a visit to this museum allows you to nose inside a narrowboat cabin and discover the history of London’s canals, the cargoes carried, the people who lived and worked on the waterways and the horses that pulled their boats.
The Canal Museum at Battlebridge Basin. Courtesy of the Canal Museum
A short walk back to King’s Cross station takes you to the end of this trail.
The Discover London Trails were created by the Campaign for Museums and supported by ALM London.