Explore London's smaller museums and galleries with the Discover London Trails

| 29 March 2008
photo of an art exhibition

Camden Arts Centre, part of the Hampstead and Islington Trail. © Camden Arts Centre

The Discover London Trails are 'Insider Guides' that take Londoners and visitors to new places all over the capital. Pursue a special interest or explore one of London’s villages. It’s all there for you to enjoy.

At the heart of each trail are London’s smaller museums and galleries – there are over 100 in all, and these trails take you to more than half of those.

Look out for podcasts for the Sports Trail, Exploring Chinese culture and World City trail.

Make the most of these trails by walking or using public transport; for accurate transport information use the Transport for London website and facilities for disabled visitors should be checked with each venue’s website.

The Discover London Trails were developed by The Campaign for Museums with support from the Mayor's Office, Renaissance London and Culture24 in support of London’s Smaller Museums and Galleries.

Please note the trails were last updated in 2008 so check with museums and galleries first for opening times etc...

The Discover London Trails

shows a photograph of the interior staircase at the Geffrye Museum

Trail 1: Historic Gardens Museum Trail London is rich in historic gardens and this trail takes in the most stunning historic museum gardens in the capital - from Chelsea Physic Garden to the natural herb garden at the Geffrye Museum. Picture © Geffrye Museum.

shows an interior photograph of a drawing room at Carlyle's House

Trail 2: London's Literary Houses Trail
Starting at the British Library this trail introduces many of London's literary heroes and includes the Charles Dickens Museum and Dr Johnson’s House with optional excursions to Carlyle House and many other literary locations. Picture © Thomas Carlyle's House/National Trust.

shows an interior cabinet shot of the West Ham Museum

Trail 3: The London Sports Trails
Two trails taking in the major sports venues and museums currently open to the public. The multi-sport trail includes, the home of English Rugby Union - the Museum of Rugby, Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum and Marylebone Cricket Club Museum within Lord's Cricket Ground. The football trail begins at Wembley Stadium, and includes the Arsenal Museum, Chelsea’s Football Club Museum and the West Ham United Museum.
Listen to the sports trail podcast

shows an exterior photograph of Red House and gardens

Trail 4: The Arts and Crafts Trail
Walk in the footsteps of William Morris on a journey that crosses the capital from east to west, south east to south to discover Morris' work, his houses and the arts and crafts treasures at the V&A. Picture © National Trust.

shows an exterior photograph of the Horniman Museum

Trail 5: The Hilltops of South London
Parks, pictures and prehistoric houses are the theme of this trail exploring South London's open spaces, museums and historic buildings - not to mention 150 year old dinosaurs! Picture © The Horniman Museum.

shows an exterior photograph of docklands museum with a statue stood in front of it

Trail 6: London - a World City
Explore the history of immigration and find out how to discover your own London roots in this trail that starts at the Museum of London and takes in the Museum in Docklands, the Museum of Immigration and Diversity and London's two Jewish Museums. Picture © Museum in Docklands.
Listen to the World City podcast

exterior shot of Brunel Engine House with its chimney and red warehouse doors

Trail 7: The River, Docklands and Brunel
This trail combines old and new technology and architecture in a wonderful day of walking, travelling by DLR and Underground, and exploring some riverside pubs. Starting at Tower Bridge, City Hall and the Design Museum we lead you along the south side of the Thames to the Brunel Museum at Rotherhithe before heading to the Museum of Docklands at Canary Wharf and the National Maritime Musuem. Picture © The Brunel Museum.

photograph of Hampstead Burgh House

Trail 8: Hampstead and Islington
This trail takes you to charming Hampstead with its village atmosphere - a place that has attracted writers and artists for hundreds of years, and also bustling Islington Picture © London Canal Museum.

photograph of Kew Gardens at night

Trail 9: Exploring the Upper Thames
This trail explores the areas of Kew and Richmond around the Upper Thames and takes in several museums, from the stunning Kew Gardens to the beautifully appointed Museum of Richmond and Orleans House Gallery. Picture © Kew Gardens.

photograph of Cannizaro Park

Trail 10: Wimbledon – The Great outdoors
From Wimbledon Station to the Museum of Wimbledon and on to Southside House, a real hidden treasure. Nearby is Cannizaro House (now a hotel) and the picturesque Cannizaro Park. Across the Common stands Wimbledon Windmill – now a museum; from here it’s a short walk to the amazing Buddhapadipa Temple and then on to the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum – relaunched in 2006 with an award-winning new exhibition. Picture © Cannizaro Park.

photograph of Somerset House lit at night

Trail 11: Bright Lights and Music
This trail explores musical connections right across London with Handel at its heart. Picture © Royal Academy of Music

photo of a yoghurt pot with feet

Trail 12: Notting Hill
This trail takes you to the fashionable areas of Notting Hill and Holland Park with its boutiques galleries, cafes and bars. The area, most famous for the Notting Hill carnival, is the location of the popular Portobello Road market open on Saturdays for antiques, second-hand clothes and bric-a-brac with the shops – and there are many of them – open every day.

photo of a vintage scientific apparatus

Trail 13: Medicine Uncovered
From the Science Museum to the Old Operating Theatre, discover more about medical innovations in this trail. Picture © Old Operating Theatre

photo of a pagoda

Trail 14: Chinese Connections This is the year of China and this trail takes to you to some exquisite Chinese art and craft exhibitions as well as London’s Chinatown. Picture © Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Listen to the exploring Chinese culture podcast

photo of a 1940s war operations office

Trail 15: War & Peace This trails takes you from museums on the subject of war to a peace garden and a peace pagoda.
Picture © Cabinet War Rooms

The Discover London Trails were developed by The Campaign for Museums, with support from the Mayor's Office, Renaissance London and MLA London.

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shows the MLA London logo
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