Sikorski Museum

Sikorski Museum, London

Sikorski Museum
5
Tuesday
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Friday
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
About
Museum that houses a vast collection of documents, maps, paintings, uniforms, colours and insignia related to the Polish Armed Forces.
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5.0
14 reviews
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Domi
London, UK623 contributions
Great afternoon
Oct 2019
Great little museum in South Kensington - for anyone interested in Polish/European history, full of photographs, documents and many actual artefacts preserved from the war. The entrance is free, and there are volunteers working during opening hours (Tue-Fri 2-4 pm and first Saturday of the month), so you can count on Polish/English guide. The museum building is stunning - well taken care of.
I have had a wonderful afternoon - learnt an awful lot from Michal and will definitely be back!
Written October 16, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sak06
Brisbane, Australia66 contributions
Very interesting tour
Jun 2019
The guys running this museum were wonderful, they had so much knowledge which they shared during a guided tour. We wished we could have spent more time there. Anyone who had Polish family fighting in the wars and are looking for information should visit this museum.
Written June 22, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

andytea1
Loughborough, UK6 contributions
A privilege to visit
Apr 2019 • Family
Visited this Museum due to interest in my wife's Polish heritage. We expected to have a quick look around. Instead we were treated to a 2.5 hour tour from a guide, Sigmund who had lived through the 2nd world war as a child with the Polish free army. Fascinating museum and a real privilege to meet someone who had experienced so much.
Written April 6, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Roger Leo Aitken
London, UK34 contributions
A 'Museum Gem' In London’s South Ken Brings History Alive...
Jan 2018 • Friends
The Polish Institute & Sikorski Museum in London’s South Kensington at the top of Exhibition Road near the Albert Hall is something of a hidden gem and well worth a visit - for young and old alike. And, for school kids learning about C18th and C19th century history in western and central eastern Europe it has to be on their list for a trip.

It is located just a hundred or so yards along the same street where the Iranian embassy siege took place back in 1980. That was where the SAS, a British Army regiment carried out an assault (‘Operation Nimrod') to rescue hostages.

Katz Gasiorowski, our superb guide at the museum, showed us around the various floors of the building, which was acquired just after World War II to store artefacts from Polish armed forces in the West and preserve their memory. Bought for a sum of “£47,000 in cash”, we were informed, today it would be worth millions in this neck of the woods of SW7 - aka ‘Embassy Land’

It was acquired at a time when the communist takeover of Poland made it dangerous for many exiled Polish ex-servicemen and civilians to return home, and research and publication about those issues were banned or censored in the country.

On the ground floor before walking to a back room of collection of fine porcelain, medals, swords and other militaria, you cannot miss the crumpled remains airplane engine from a fighter pilot’s plane shot down by the Luftwaffe. Still it looks in pretty reasonable condition given the impact it must have had when it hit the ground.

And, there you’ll also see the desk of General Anders in the Polish Army, a politician in later life and prominent member of the Polish government-in-exile in London. He is buried at the Polish Cemetery at Monte Cassino, Italy, where a decisive battle in the war took place to wrest a stronghold from the Germans took place.

Katz led up the ornate stairs - adorned by a number of fine paintings - to a room where you can see the red and white cloth (i.e. signifying the Polish flag - see image) that was hastily sewn together and raised above ruins of Monte Cassino by the 2nd Polish Corps after victory in May 1944.

There is also the contribution of Polish pilots in the Battle of Britain; and, an impressive display of militaria - including Napoleonic-era medals and a 4-cornered blue hat from the period.

The green jacket of General Sikorski, who was killed when a plane he was on in July 1943 crashed into the sea off Gibraltar immediately after take-off, can also be seen in glass cabinet on display upstairs.

My father, who came along with me, thought it was brilliant and very educational. He particularly liked the artefacts and talk about General Stanisław Maczek, an allied tank commander in WWII, who was appointed by Churchill to protect the east coast of Scotland during the war.

It was Mazcek, who helped liberate France and The Netherlands, nevertheless ended his days serving pints in a hotel bar in Edinburgh because he was denied a pension from the British authorities and the Polish communist regime post WWII were less than favourably inclined to him.

Worth noting here that a month after our visit, it was announced that a statue to the General was to be erected on the Royal Mile in the heart of the Scottish capital.

Given that the museum is open from Tuesday to Friday (2pm-4pm) and the first Saturday of each month (10:30am-4.00pm), you will have plan the timing of your visit carefully to ensure you have enough time to soak up the experience and make it all worthwhile. Allow at least a good hour, although we stayed longer given the fascinating talk by our guide.

While the museum is free - not supported by any official body - the public can make donations. And, for some musical inspiration do check out - ‘Czerwone maki na Monte Cassino’ (Red Poppies On Monte Cassino) - one of the best-known Polish military songs of WWII, composed on the eve of the battle (17-18 May 1944).
Written March 11, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Richarddays
London83 contributions
Brilliant
Nov 2017 • Friends
I went with a friend on Saturday 4 November 2017 at 13.00 hours, a sprightly elderly gentleman called Waclaw showed us around and told us he was well into his 80's but looked much younger all the guides are volunteers.

Waclaw gives out out vibes of enthusiasm about the military history of Poland showing us all the artefacts through the centuries, from room-to-room, wall-to-wall and cabinet-to-cabinet, there is much to see and listen too, Waclaw explains about the tragedy to his family during the German invasion of WWII.

There are many interesting artefacts, for example a signed original document by Napoleon, a saddle sat on also by Napoleon in a glass display case. An original document signed by the King of Poland 15th/16th century carefully kept away from the bright lights.

Historical items stolen by the Germans, found by the Americans in a cave and returned to the Polish Government after the war now in the Museum.

The Museum and entire building is independent of financial support and receives monies by volunteer donors and legacies, no lottery money or Government support, one can make a voluntary donation as there is no entrance fee, the premises are on 4 floors, no lift, no coffee/tea available. We made a donation.

The guided tour lasted from 13.00-14.45 hours, on leaving Waclaw shook our hands and opened the large front door for us to exit with a big warm smile as to say 'thank you for coming'. I do not know of any places that will open the front door for you, a rarity today.

I cannot add anything further than the visitors with 5 star views. Well worth a visit.
Written November 28, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Andrzejku
Robin Hood County3 contributions
A Hidden Gem in the heart of London.
Aug 2016 • Solo
I first crossed the threshold of the Polish Institute and General Sikorski Museum back in the late 1970's.

It was like nothing I had ever seen before in a Museum, Exhibits and historical items are everywhere. They range from Armour worn by the Polish Hussars at the battle of Vienna in 1683 and even one of the tents that was captured by the Polish forces during the Battle of Vienna.

The ground floor has the study of General Wladyslaw Anders in which all of his awards both Polish and Foreign are on display. Within General Anders study there is also fine porcelain and awards including the Virtuti Militari dating from the C19th.

In the foyer there is a display for the Battle of Britain pilots of which 145 where Polish, there is a display for 303 Squadron and a display including a Bronze of Wojtek the soldier bear.

The staircase takes you up to the first floor to the right is a conference room in which there are also many displays from the Polish Navy and the Polish 2nd Corps and an Enigma Machine.

The room to the left is full of Military Awards, Regimental Badges both Army and Airforce from 1918-1939, 1939-1945.

The 2nd Floor houses the enquiry Office of the Archivist Dr Andrzej Suchcitz and his assistant. opposite to the front is a collection dedicated to Polish Cavalry from 1918-1945 including displays showing items belonging to the 2nd Armoured Brigade (later Division) of the 2nd Polish Corps and the 1st Armoured Division.

The 3rd and 4th floors are not open to the public to view, but I have been allowed in the past to view them with the kind permission of Dr Suchcitz.

On the walls of the staircase leading from the 2nd to the 3rd floor is full of displays of awards some of those are as follows:

The Orders and Awards of President in Exile August Zaleski, the Virtuti Militari, Cross of Valour and the British Distinguished Flying Cross awarded to Marian Belc.

Also awards to the Polish Navy from the British including Distinguished Service Cross and Distinguished Service Medal's.

The 3rd Floor contains the store rooms for Uniforms for all ranks.

The 4th floor again contains cabinets full of uniforms and items belonging to the Polish Artillery from 1918-1945.

If you visit the Museum, even if you are not Polish you will be amazed at what is on display and the history.

Since Poland regained her Independence in 1990 the Museum has been visited by thousands of Poles who have made the trip from their homeland.
Written July 12, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

big-blue-eyes
England, UK2,130 contributions
Hidden 'in plain sight' gem!
Apr 2017 • Couples
I learnt about this museum from a blog I subscribe to and knew it was a place my husband would enjoy as it has many military objects of interest to him.
Initially the Napoleonic objects were the draw although the main focus is World War II.
Not easy to spot but so worth seeking out. Opposite Hyde Park.
Limited hours of opening just 2 hours a day Tuesday to Friday afternoon; give them a call, they are very helpful.
The guide who took us round the museum stayed with us and gave us a very comprehensive tour that went long past the closing time with no hint of needing to hurry along. Our guide had incredible knowledge about WWII all told without notes and had his own personal experiences as a child at the time.
Exceptional.
Written April 19, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

JayneWoroch
Leicester, UK198 contributions
Excellent
Oct 2016 • Couples
My husband wanted to visit to research his father's Polish military record. Michael gave us a guided tour and took time to show us all of the interesting exhibits. He also provided us with a copy of documents showing father in law's name and regiment and gave us advice on how to obtain further information. A very moving and emotional visit. Massive thank you to Michael.
Written October 25, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

MichaelCoffey
Kincardine, UK149 contributions
Fascinating small museum. Splendid guided tour.
Oct 2016 • Solo
The museum addresses Polish military history mainly in WWII, but also from Napoleonic times and a little before. However the best reason for going there is to experience the splendid tours guided by members of staff. One gentleman was a veritable encyclopedia of knowledge on each item in each display case, though I preferred the lady who guided me and my companions, who professed less knowledge than her colleague because she delivered it with more heart! Especially memorable was the story of Krystyna Skarbek, OBE, GM, Croix de Guerre, a heroine of the Special Operations Executive in WWII who survived the war and the Gestapo, only to be stabbed to death in a Kensington hotel by a ship's steward whose amorous advances she had spurned.

It took me two years to get to this museum because it's opening hours are very limited (Tue.Fri, 14.00-16.00; first Sunday of the month 10.30.16.00), but it was well worth the wait.
Written October 14, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

CruiseInvestor
London, UK119 contributions
A Prince of a Museum in Princes Gate.
Jun 2016 • Friends
My friend and I often visit military museums in London and are, in fact, running out of those we haven't been to before. So finding the Sikorski Museum was a bonus and well worth the effort. A little hard to find maybe - even a chap in the embassy a few doors along we asked didn't know where it was. The elegant building has been home to the museum since the end of WWII when the building was purchased for around £13k - its market value now has got to be £20m plus!

You have to ring for entry as it is only open to the GP a couple of hours each day and once inside you are given a guided tour by a volunteer. In our case the gentleman involved was a former Polish Army Officer who must have been in the same age range as HM Queen. It was a thrill to listen to his stories and detailed explanations of the numinous pieces and artefacts dating from the 16th century to WW2. Each room contained a huge number of interesting pieces and underlined how much Poland had suffered over the centuries and yet bounced back to be what they are today.

The museum is spread over four floors and there is no lifts and the tour took a good two hours to complete. No entry fee but donations are welcome.
Written July 1, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Sikorski Museum

Sikorski Museum is open:
  • Tue - Fri 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM