By Kingfisher Visitor Guides
If you love soaking up the local culture, Middlesex doesn’t disappoint. Visit an art exhibition, hit the town for a night of theatre or comedy and get the lowdown on the county’s past at one of its many museums.
Must-visit museums in Middlesex
Travel back in time through Harrow’s history and discover the amazing stories of its people at Headstone Manor and Museum. The Grade 1-listed manor house tells the many tales of the people who once lived there, as well as the history of the whole Harrow area. You can also explore the Small Barn and discover what Harrow was like before Headstone Manor was built in 1310.
Hit the picturesque, cobbled streets of Hampstead Village, just minutes from Hampstead Heath, and you’ll find the small and quirky Burgh House Museum. Set in a Grade 1-listed Queen Anne house, it puts on a variety of art exhibitions highlighting both contemporary and classic painting, and often hosts family-friendly events. There’s also a gorgeous garden café should you get thirsty.
The Heath Robinson Museum has a permanent exhibition where adults and children of all ages can learn about Robinson’s life and art, including his illustrations for children’s stories and classic Kipling artwork
Celebrated illustrator William Heath Robinson lived in Middlesex for some time, and it was in Pinner that he created his finest book illustrations, as well as much of the work that established him as a humourist. The Heath Robinson Museum has a permanent exhibition where adults and children of all ages can learn about Robinson’s life and art, including his illustrations for children’s stories and classic Kipling artwork.
Bentley Priory in Stanmore played a pivotal role in World War II. This beautiful Grade 2-listed country house is now a museum detailing its role as Headquarters of Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain. You can learn all about the heroes who took to the air to defend British skies as well as the unsung heroes whose tireless work on the ground helped lead to victory.
For more insight into Britain’s military might, head to the Royal Air Force Museum, set inside a former aerodrome in Collingdale. It’s the only national museum in the UK dedicated to aviation and has over 100 aircraft on display, as well as exhibitions charting the history of aircraft and a Battle of Britain Hall outlining more about this critical episode in World War II.
Not had enough vehicle action? The London Transport Museum’s Acton Depot holds collections that aren’t on display in the main museum in Covent Garden. As well as vehicles, there are more than 300,000 pieces of transport-related memorabilia including original posters, signs, models, photographs, engineering drawings and uniforms. It opens to the public for special events and themed open weekends – check the London Transport Museum website for details.
Other transport-themed museums in Middlesex include the British Airways Heritage Centre in Harmondsworth, which contains more than 130 uniforms from the 1930s to the present day, as well as a large collection of aircraft models and pictures. Visits can be arranged via the British Airways website.
For more insight into Britain’s military might, head to the Royal Air Force Museum, set inside a former aerodrome in Collingdale
If you love your music, check out The Musical Museum at Kew Bridge in Brentford, which charts the history of automated music. From tiny music boxes to the mighty Wurlitzer theatre organ, it’s home to a wonderful collection of self-playing musical instruments and plays host to a variety of musical concerts, films and dances throughout the year. General admission is open Thursday to Sunday.
If theatre and live performance is your bag, Middlesex has more than enough to choose from. You can catch hit musicals such as Hamilton, Matilda and Dear Evan Hansen in London’s West End, or head to Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House or the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington for classical music, opera and ballet.
A fantastic venue for an offbeat night of live performance is Soho Theatre in Dean Street. It’s one of the most vibrant venues in London for new and experimental theatre, comedy and cabaret.
Cultural life is equally vibrant outside Central London. The Hillingdon Theatres, which encompass the Compass Theatre in Ickenham and both the Winston Churchill Theatre and Manor Farm in Ruislip, put on a varied programme of events throughout the year, including musical theatre, daytime discos, panto and comedy.
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