The Londoness


Born in Paris.

Made in London.

Teller of London Tales.

The best museum shops in London

How much fun is it to browse and buy in a museum shop? It’s my guilty pleasure, and I must admit, I could get lost for hours snooping around London’s fabulous museum and gallery gift shops. And with “are we aren’t we” lockdown and social distancing, the best way to support our museums is to shop online. From books, to arty must-haves for the home, clothing, Christmas cards and stationery, museum shops can easily satisfy the shopaholic in you. And spending your pounds in them is a wonderful way to lend our support this Christmas. Here are some of the best museum shops in London – from which you can buy online, and hopefully, soon in person.

15 Favourite Online Museum Shops

Best museum shops in London

Best Museum shops in London – chosen by 3 of London’s top bloggers

Little London Whispers: The Victoria and Albert Museum

Best museum shops in London

The Victoria and Albert Museum Shop is Emma Bevan’s favourite.

Normally my Christmas shopping list wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington. I love it for their wonderful reference books. Pre-Covid, they had a dedicated shop of exhibition and reference books – an Aladdin’s cave of inspiration. If you want to find beautiful and original jewellery at an affordable price, this is definitely the place to shop. Finally, my list is never complete without a ceramic or two. My best purchase last year was my Brexit egg cups, and we are still waiting for that one to crack!

Visit the online shop here.

Emma from Little London Whispers always has her finger on the London pulse with the latest in theatre, art, food and shopping. She was featured as one of 2019’s top London Instagrammers in ‘The Evening Standard.’ Emma features her favourites in a monthly Super Seven cultural round-up.

Museum Mum: The London Transport Museum

Best online museum shops in London

Museum Boy shows off his Christmas jumper from the London Transport Museum shop.

You don’t have to be a transport buff to enjoy London Transport Museum’s shop. There’s everything from London souvenirs to thousands of vintage posters for sale, all paying homage to London’s iconic transport networks. My favourite items are:

Children’s Christmas jumpers: The Museum Kids always get compliments on their London Transport Museum Christmas jumpers. They’re bright, cheerful and playful without being tacky – surely the holy grail of festive knitwear! Made in the UK, and great quality to boot.

Topple Tower game: This version gives the well-known wood block game a cheerful makeover with London Underground line colours.

Moquette socks: You may not know the word, but you’ll recognise the distinctive moquette patterns from seats of London’s buses, trams and trains. This boxed socks set makes a gorgeous gift, or there’s a modern and vintage selection too.

Vyki is a museum curator and writes her award-winning blog with hands-on help from her very cultured Museum Kids.

Visit the online shop here.

It’s Your London: The British Museum

British Museum online shop

The British Museum shop is Sue’s favourite. Here is a glimpse of some of the items from the Arctic exhibition, including the gorgeous baby polar bear toys.

The British Museum is one of the great museums of the world, spanning the history of all humans, so you would expect its shops to be pretty special.  Placed right in the centre of the glass covered courtyard, the main shop offers everything from learned books, to children’s masks of historical figures, to Rosetta stone phone covers and fun histories of the world. A separate posh shop stocks jewellery, silk scarves and replica artefacts to tempt you.   When they have special exhibitions, a pop-up shop brings us wonderful, tailored gifts.

Visit the online shop here.

No one knows London quite as well as Sue. After 30 years of living here, she is still just as much in love with the capital, and you’ll often find her in a museum, a gallery, at a concert or at the theatre. Sue also organises bespoke tailored tours.

London museum shops  – chosen by Londoness

Royal Academy of Arts: best for art

Royal Academy online shop

The Royal Academy of Arts shops are deliciously curated, and it’s practically impossible to leave without absolutely needing to buy something – or everything. Stock up your artist’s studio with a stunning range of papers, pens and crayons. Indulge your inner art collector and shop from the RA’s collection of prints, canvases and framed reproductions. Or buy some art-inspired (and affordable) jewellery for someone this Christmas. The online shop offers a 10% discount off your first order and a 15% discount for students. Come on, you know you want to take a peek!

Visit the online shop here.

Kew Gardens: best for gardeners and nature lovers

Best museum shops in London

It’s not a museum, I hear you say, but it is home to one of the best botanical galleries in the world (the Marianne North) and it holds some superb annual exhibitions (who could ever forget the Dale Chihuly?) The Kew Gardens online shop, I think, takes top prize for best online “museum” shop in London. There’s a fantastic range of garden-inspired gifts, homeware, books, Christmas cards, stocking fillers and decorations. This little baby is going on my Christmas tree this year.

Visit the online shop here.

Historic Royal Palaces: best for royal gifts (and tea towels)

Best online museum shops in London

The Historic Royal Palaces is the charity which includes Kensington Palace, the Tower of London, and Hampton Court, amongst others. The online shop is one of the best in town for Christmas decorations and tea towels. Where else are you going to find Henry VIII and his six wives for the tree? Or a Field of the Cloth of Gold tea towel? And if you wish you could shop like Princess Diana from The Crown, there are plenty of royally-inspired trinkets you could buy.

Visit the online shop here.

Design Museum: best for cutting-edge merch

It’s the world’s leading museum dedicated to contemporary design, and the shop showcases over 1200 craft and design goodies. I’m a fan of their London Brick soap for my girls’ Christmas stockings as well as the Designs of our Time book for the hubbie.

Visit the online shop here.

Soane Museum: best for Hogarth and architectural lovers

Best museum shops in London

The Soane is one of my favourite museum shops in London. It’s a real treasure trove of architectural-inspired gems and if you love William Hogarth, they have an extensive collection of gifts and objects inspired by the Georgian painter. Some of my favourite pieces include the Soane Breakfast Set, the Soane Museum Picture Room Pop Up Card and a Rake’s Progress folding umbrella.

Visit the online shop here.

William Morris Society: best for arts and crafts

William Morris Society, Hammersmith

There is so much to love in the pretty shop at No 26 Upper Mall in Hammersmith, once home to William Morris. The gallery also has a fantastic online shop where arts and crafts fans can stock up on bags, embroidery kits, fashion accessories, cushions and stationery.  I fancy wrapping up in this Morris scarf and I wouldn’t say no to this for my next cuppa.

Dulwich Picture Gallery: best for quirky gifts

The Dulwich Picture Gallery museum shop sells a broad range of gifts inspired by the gallery’s exhibitions and collections. My favourites include a dressing table necklace and a hands-on mirror.

Visit the online shop here.

Wallace Collection: best for rococo

Wallace collection museum shop

I can never leave the Wallace Collection without buying something. I expect Marie Antoinette or Madame de Pompadour would feel right at home in this exquisitely curated museum shop. Expect the unique with an eclectic range of rococo trinkets, books and homeware.

Visit the online shop here.

Royal Museums Greenwich: best for nautical and astronomical souvenirs

Anyone with an interest in the seas and the skies will be over the moon with the Royal Museums Greenwich online shop. Buy Cutty Sark-inspired gear, astronomy gifts and everything from ships models, to stargazing guides, watches and toys for budding astronauts.

Visit the online shop here.

Museum of London: best for London lovers

The Museum of London has two locations: one in Barbican and one in Docklands. The online museum shop sells items relating to its major exhibitions, books about London as well as jewellery and children’s gifts. As you could expect, there is plenty of London-inspired stuff including a famous Londoners tea towel and a Pleasure Gardens mug.

Visit the online shop here.

Dickens Museum

Dickens Museum online shop

The Curiosity Shop is full of Dickens-mad paraphernalia including homeware, books and stationery. Check out the Please Sir Oliver Twist mug and the Charles Dickens bath duck, two Christmas stocking filler favourites.

National Gallery: best for kids

The National Gallery’s superb online shop includes pieces inspired by Renoir, Degas, Van Gogh, Monet and Seurat, to name a few. With publications, stationery, clothing, prints and a brilliant kids’ section, you’ll be spoilt for choice. A Claude Monet Christmas decoration is a must for my tree this year, and I’m going to buy this Seurat-inspired book for my niece.

Visit the online shop here.

#ShopMuseums

Fifteen museums are working together in the hope of inspiring shoppers to use their purchasing power and buy gifts, books, Christmas decorations, homewares, artwork, jewellery and clothing from online museum shops to support their favourite cultural attractions.

Participating institutions include Imperial War Museums, Natural History Museum, The British Museum, Science Museum, Tate Britain, The Wallace Collection, British Library, Royal Museums Greenwich, National Army Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Whitechapel Gallery, Museum of London, Norfolk Museums Service, Tyne & Wear Archive & Museums and Beamish, and the Living Museum of the North. Each of these cultural sites boasts an online retail presence which could be a vital lifeline during the latest nationwide lockdown.

Use the #ShopMuseums hashtag on Twitter to find some fantastic ways to support your museum shops online this Christmas.

       

A London arts and culture blog featuring articles about art, theatre, opera, dance, music and design.

4 Comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.