The Foundling Museum
The Foundling Museum
4.5
Art Museums • History Museums
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10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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About
The Foundling Museum explores the history of the Foundling Hospital, the UK’s first children’s charity and first public art gallery. Established in 1739 by philanthropist Thomas Coram, and continuing today as the children’s charity Coram, the Hospital was set up as an institution ‘for the maintenance and education of exposed and deserted young children’. Instrumental in helping Coram realise his vision were the artist William Hogarth, who encouraged leading artists of the day to donate work, and the composer George Frideric Handel, who gave annual benefit concerts of his Messiah. Discover thought-provoking exhibitions, contemporary art commissions, collection displays and historic archives, plus a lively programme of concerts, workshops, talks and special events, all enjoyed within beautiful 18th-century interiors. Explore the intriguing story behind this important London institution and the ways in which artists and children have inspired each other for over 275 years.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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The area
Address
Neighborhood: Bloomsbury
Snuggly nestled within Central London is academic and leafy Bloomsbury, an area that boasts walking distance access to many of London's most popular attractions. It is also home to some of Britain's most celebrated museums, including the must-see British Museum. Despite an understandable popularity with students, tourists and day trippers, vast sections of Bloomsbury retain a quiet, residential feel year round and throughout the week.
How to get there
  • Russell Square • 4 min walk
  • King's Cross St. Pancras • 10 min walk
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
528 reviews
Excellent
260
Very good
184
Average
60
Poor
19
Terrible
5

Ferenc M
United Kingdom968 contributions
Apr 2022
Although lived in London all my life, never been here before. What an absolute delight. So informative and so interesting. Not just about foundlings but a fascinating history, so perfectly explained and great art too which they got as donations and a lovely Handel section. The Court Room is just amazing and thank you to the volunteer Sue who found us to make us aware of it as we almost bypassed it.

The day we went was a small comic exhibition too which was really interesting.

Have a go on the music machine by the entrance and you'll need a 20p piece. We had to have two go's!!

Its not the cheapest at £9 but if you want something a little different, worth every penny.

And you get 10% off with your ticket at The Lamb pub nearby, a glorious listed pub.

Lovely little park right there too
Written April 7, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

jeanniedDover_Kent
Barfrestone, UK114 contributions
Jul 2022
This museum was quite an eye opener. I found it both interesting and informative as well as being very poignant. The building which houses the museum was not the site of the original Foundling Hospital but nevertheless gives a fascinating insight in to what life was like for those who were left there. The buiding itself is beautiful inside - the Commitee Room in particular is superb as is the main staircase. There are a lot of photographs and the children appeared to be well cared for in a basic way. There is a display of the tokens left by mothers in case they were able to reclain their children at a later date - the token gave a method of proof that the child was theirs and that seems very sad to me in this day and age. I was surprised at the number of well known patrons and benefactors such as Handel and Hogarth. Incidentally, the paintings on display are not to be missed. The Handel Gallery on the top floor is well worth spending a bit of time there and Handel's will is on view. All in all, there is an air of sadness but there was also hope for the children - it is a little known part of history.
Written August 9, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Stefan Lang
Oxford, UK74 contributions
Jun 2021
Tucked away by the picturesque Brunswick Square Gardens is the Foundling Museum, a fascinating museum dedicated to the history of the eponymous hospital, its patrons and the thousands of children that passed through its doors from its opening in the 18th century.

Mixed in with historical information are tokens from mothers that had to leave their children in the most desperate circumstances, trinkets relating to the strict regime at the hospital and an electic mix of artistic objects donated by patrons like Handel and Hogarth.

For a modest entry fee, and if you want to escape the bustle of the 'headline' museums, this is definitely worth a visit.
Written June 22, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

BartyLawrence
London, UK66 contributions
Jun 2021
We really enjoyed our visit to The Foundling Museum, the exhibits and artwork were absolutely incredible - especially the Covid letters exhibition.

The staff and volunteers were all very friendly and would recommend this museum to anyone with an interest in artist Hogarth and composer Handel. The children's 'tokens' display was moving - Well worth a visit if you are in London.
Written June 14, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Caroline P
Harringay, UK19 contributions
Feb 2020
I had heard good things about this museum, particularly about the workshops for children. We visited during half-term, as we saw a great session for kids, so I suspect it was busier than usual, but from the moment we stepped in, I felt the staff were quite dismissive.

To be fair, I did not realise that it was a paid entry museum and, at first, this threw us. We had a few moments discussing it, and we decided to stay anyway, but the staff behind the counter were rather rude, no smiles or explanations just sighing and mumbled asides. It was clear we had come for the workshop, yet we were not offered places on arrival. It was full by the time we had eaten lunch, which again we had to ask where the facilities were. There is no cafe on site, although this is flagged on the website.

It is a basic exhibition, but it contains some very moving objects, notably the momentoes from the mothers. However, there is one floor of the main display; then it turns into an art gallery. I was disappointed that the building isn't used more, it could have been in any building, anywhere. Given it was more than £10 to enter, there should have been a lot more content and with less dense text as interpretation.

As part of the story of London's development, it is an interesting aside. Still, you can get all the same historical facts from a book called The Foundling by Stacey Halls, which is considerably cheaper than the entry price.
Written March 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

kbearne
North Yorkshire, UK670 contributions
Aug 2020 • Solo
Firstly, the covid measures were great - hand sanitiser, a one way system and social distancing throughout.

The staff were friendly - one lady in particular explained a lot to me about the history of the museum.

The temporary pregnancy exhibition was well worth a visit (I think it’s running for another month). The main exhibits were really interesting, in particular the ‘tokens’ mothers left with their babies when leaving them really touched me.

Definitely recommend visiting, especially to support them with the covid situation.
Written August 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Rebecca
Colchester, UK30 contributions
Feb 2022
A brilliant museum, I wish I'd visited it years ago, and I'll certainly be visiting again. Fascinating, moving exhibits on the ground floor, and a very reasonably priced gift shop with some truly lovely items. Staff were all really helpful and enthusiastic. NHS discount was much appreciated, & my teenage daughter didn't have to pay anything to visit. Don't do what we did, and just leave a few minutes at the end to explore the upper floors - they have wonderful Georgian interiors, furniture & artwork. I'll definitely allow more time for those upper floors on my next visit.
Written March 16, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Kuff T
1 contribution
Feb 2022
Dear Foundling Museum,



It was so much fun and very insightful visiting your Museum today, especially as we had the pleasure of being shown around by your volunteer Robin. 

He really engaged us with his storytelling and enthusiasm for the history of the museum - rightly so!

Thank you, you made our day.

Kathryn and Janice
Written February 1, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mark_and_Ann_Reilly
Guildford, UK331 contributions
Feb 2022
We are deeply interested in the Foundling Museum having been enthralled by Stacey Halls' book "The Foundling". We were therefore keen to visit the museum and learn more. Though the individual exhibits, and the collections, were interesting, the dim lighting and use of reflective plastic made it difficult to see and read many of the items. It was also sad to consider that ideas that were revolutionary and humane in the time of Thomas Coram were cruelly outdated 200 years later.
Written February 10, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

KShep
14 contributions
Sep 2021
A small museum, and I enjoyed what was there, however felt that there could be more thought put in to the layout and content, and perhaps some more interactive exhibits.

All of the Foundling information and artefacts were crammed in to the downstairs area. There is a 30 minute video to watch of previous inhabitants of the foundling hospital talking about their daily lives as a child of the hospital, their feelings and memories, good and bad. It was an interesting watch, and really helped to evoke the feeling of the what it must have been like, but the screen was oddly placed between two cabinets, with no where to sit, meaning that it was difficult to look at the items in the cabinets if there were people watching the film, and if you were watching them film you needed to be aware of people trying to see in the cabinets. It's also a lot of standing still in a very small space, which seems unnecessary given the size of the building!

The 'tokens' were interesting to see, and probably my favourite part. I also enjoyed reading the kitchen diaries and other documents but would have liked to have seen more artefacts and recreated areas. We also enjoyed the mural at the beginning of the exhibition which listed lots of fictional characters who were orphaned, fostered or adopted.
Written September 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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The Foundling Museum (London) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about The Foundling Museum

The Foundling Museum is open:
  • Sun - Sun 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Tue - Sat 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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