Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret

Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret, London: Hours, Address, Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret Reviews: 4.5/5

Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret

Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret
4.5
Historic Sites • Educational sites • History Museums
10:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:30 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Housed in the attic of the early eighteenth-century church of the old St Thomas’ Hospital, this atmospheric museum offers a unique insight into the history of medicine and surgery. The original timber framed Herb Garret was once used to dry and store herbs for patients’ medicines and in 1822 an operating theatre was included. Predating anaesthetics and antiseptics, it is the oldest surviving surgical theatre in Europe. Access to the attic is through a narrow 52-step spiral staircase.
Suggested duration
< 1 hour
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The area
Address
Neighborhood: Southwark
Even before the arrival of the instantly iconic Shard, the riverside scene in Southwark had moved well beyond any up-and-coming phase of development. For quite some time, locals and out-of-towners alike have loved browsing the boutiques of Bermondsey High Street, foraging through the bounteous stalls at centuries old foodie haven Borough Market, and flocking to the banks of the Thames to enjoy some of Britain's biggest attractions such as Tate Modern and Shakespeare's Globe. Despite Southwark's many popular draws, instant calm can be achieved easily by turning down almost any side street. For more urban buzz, a quick stroll across famed bridges like the pedestrianized Millennium Bridge or the ever photogenic Tower Bridge yields access to the very core of Central London. And with London Bridge Station as this neighborhood's main transportation hub, getting across town (or to anywhere in England for that matter) is a relative breeze.
How to get there
  • London Bridge • 3 min walk
  • Monument • 9 min walk
Popular mentions

4.5
772 reviews
Excellent
426
Very good
283
Average
52
Poor
8
Terrible
3

jnscotland2017
North Ayrshire, UK18 contributions
Little Treasure
Nov 2021
I came across this museum on Tripadvisor. We spent an hour in the museum and I found it very interesting especially as I work in the NHS. It is small and the stairs may not be for everybody but otherwise a little treasure in London.
Written November 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Yaara S
Tel Aviv, Israel60 contributions
Interesting small museum
Nov 2021 • Solo
Great little museum with fascinating exhibits on the progress of medicine in London in a way that’s accessible to all ages. I especially liked the diseased elves trail.
Written November 22, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Steviefull
Kidderminster, UK1,206 contributions
A real hidden gem
Oct 2021
When we were looking for something a little off the beaten track to do on our long weekend in London we scoured Tripadvisor and found this little museum, £15.00 later we booked two adult tickets and in all honesty went in not expecting a huge amount and was pleasantly surprised.

After winding our way up the spiral staircase we were met with a small shop and a warm welcome, we then made our way into the 'Herb Garret' area which I wasn't expecting to be as interesting and just, well, good. In a room full of character there are lots of small displays full of intrigue. There was also a member of staff more than willing to just talk about anything in the room that took your interest.

We then went through to the operating theatre room which was something straight out of a Jack The Ripper/Jekyl and Hyde type film, with a nice touch being a 'vr' type app which gives you a short guide of the room.

All in all we spent between 45-60mins in here and it was a pleasant surprise and one I'd recommend if you are looking for something a little bit different but interesting.
Written October 26, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Disgruntled1108
London, UK112 contributions
Amazing small museum
Sep 2021
An amazing slice of medical history seeing the training room with the operating table at the centre was fascinating as this scene has been replicated on movies. The herb garret was interesting and helpful in seeing the associated note cards the the herbs. This is a small museum and would take around 1 hour to see all it has to offer.
Written September 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

TheInformedTraveller
Warminster, UK352 contributions
Quite Wow
Sep 2021
WOW what a gem to find. Just by off chance we walked past the entrance and popped in. If you are a little unsteady watch the stairs, but the climb is worth it. The museum, although small, is a fascinating treasure trove that tells an illumination story of early medical operations. I totally recommend this to anyone who is in the lOndon Bridge area.
Written September 6, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

TeamWard
Nottingham, UK4,780 contributions
Small and very interesting
Jul 2021
A simple pleasure to visit this small but informative museum, some amazing potions to read about, good layout, an interesting last room and a free guide book which is worth a read.
Written July 25, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

florence
Westcliff-on-Sea, UK23 contributions
Small but educational
May 2021 • Couples
Really interesting museum. I would say you need less than an hour to look round as it’s only two rooms. It’s the sort of place you wouldn’t go back to as it’s small and you will feel as though you’ve learnt everything you can from one visit but it’s still very enjoyable and educational. COVID safe. Friendly staff and cute gift shop. A little bit overpriced but that’s London.
Written June 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Angiematey
30 contributions
Wonderful hidden Gem
Apr 2020 • Family
I didn’t visit in 2020 but have been several times over the last few years. It’s one of my favourite London museums especially for a quick visit if you’re a tourist on a tight schedule. It is excellent to take the kids to when they cover the victorians in primary school. There will be few of their peers who will be able to talk about Victorian life so graphically!
On the subject of victorians, tower bridge museum and the pump house at Crossness (thamesmead) are worth a visit for a view of Victorian engineering and Jack the Ripper tours are a fun way to spend a couple of hours (although may not be suitable for young children)
Written March 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Eileen026
Burton upon Trent, UK64 contributions
Very interesting place to visit
Oct 2020 • Couples
The place is so organised during these times ensuring safety of all visitors. You climb the 52 narrow steps and you enter a very fascinating area of rooms with so many artefacts and old medical stories, including an old operating theatre , you will not be disappointed . So many things to see and enjoy Take a tour whilst in London
Written October 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

KLPLeeds
Leeds104 contributions
Don’t waste your money
Sep 2020
When this place charges it’s normal rate at £6 - it ‘might just’ be worth it. Although at the moment they are charging £20 per ticket - for up to six people - guess it is worth it for 6, yet for 2 people it is not.

There is very little to see, what you do see is interesting, but it takes 20 mins max to look. I thought there would be a talk in the operating theater about how it used to be. Yet there is not! I did e-mail to ask about this prior to the visit, although they appear like they can’t be bothered to reply to your e-mails.

They also tell you to turn up a few minutes early, although when we did it was all locked up.

It is ok if you are passing, although to get a. Few tubes to it is a shame. We spent hours getting to it for a 20 min visit. Would not recommend it sadly.
Written September 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret

Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret is open:
  • Fri - Sat 10:30 AM - 5:00 PM
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