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Old Operating Theatre

#119 of 1,552 things to do in London
Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 9A St. Thomas Street, London SE1 9RY, England
Phone Number:
+44 20 7955 4791
10:30 - 17:00
Closed now
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Sun - Sat 10:30 - 17:00
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Fee: Yes

The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret is one of the most unusual...

The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret is one of the most unusual Museums in London. It is in quite an amazing location - in the attic of an English Baroque church which was used as a Herb Garret, and later on converted into an Operating Theatre in the 19th century.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 510 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 233
  • 186
    Very good
  • 37
  • 2
  • 1
Quirky, Interesting, Eerie

I visited the Old Operating Theatre in January 2017. And yes, the spiral staircase is very narrow and not ideal for those with a walking impairment, yes the exhibits are rarely... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 3 days ago
St. Gallen, Switzerland
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510 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 459: English reviews
St. Gallen, Switzerland
Level Contributor
104 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

I visited the Old Operating Theatre in January 2017. And yes, the spiral staircase is very narrow and not ideal for those with a walking impairment, yes the exhibits are rarely presented in an up-to-date manner but this is easily outweighed by the atmosphere of this place. Some exhibits are not for the faint-hearted and makes you grateful for today´s... More 

Thank Lord_Darlington
Level Contributor
13 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 days ago NEW via mobile

We had been meaning to visit this museum for many years and on a day off decided to kill some time. It was fascinating, so much to see and read even though the museum is made up of a modest gift shop/ticket desk a large room the operating theatre and a small hallway. We got talking to a very friendly... More 

Thank happy_shopper_0
Norwich, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
27 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

If you can get up a small staircase easily, don't go. If you don't like medical equipment and quirk, don't go. If you don't like lofts, don't go. Not easy to spot so look carefully at door plaques but when you do find it, it's a treasure.

Thank Darkgoblin74
Wirral, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
18 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

Entry is via a steep and narrow spiral stairway. The museum and old theatre in an attic above a church. It is amazing that the theatre has survived and is well presented. The museum has some good exhibits. The most interesting are of course those related to pre-anaesthetic surgery and there is a good selection of knives and saws. Also... More 

Thank Richard_W_Clements
Kaysville, Utah
Level Contributor
20 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

This small museum located in an out-of-the-way corner is a treat. The operating theater and the stories of medicine in Victorian England are fascinating. The collection of artifacts related to old medicines, instruments, herbs, etc. was amazing, and all the more so because they are not behind glass. Located in an attic-like space, you can touch most of them and... More 

Thank NicholasWells
Level Contributor
32 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Between the Guy's Hospital and Borough market is this hidden museum. Plenty of unusual and sometimes gruesome objects to be explored!

Thank Derek H
Level Contributor
23 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

Fascinating please to visit. You gain access by a single two-way narrow spiral staircase, so not very accessible for some, but that's where it was discovered - up in the attic of a church. If I returned I would try and go in an off-peak time -hint: check times on Facebook. Plenty to see and do for adults and kids... More 

Thank Pete M
Berkshire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
25 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 January 2017

Happened to be passing after a visit to the Skygarden and spent a very happy hour here. Interesting exhibits about 19th century surgery and medical techniques which make you very glad to live in the 21st century. Lots of information about the plants, herbs and poisons that the hospital druggist used. There are children's trails and the change to have... More 

Thank Balvine
Barnet, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 January 2017 via mobile

Went on a cold wet January weekend with my 11 year old. Staff friendly and helpful. They've got a few children's activities which are linked to the theme in an educational way, bit too young for mine but would be good for the under 10s. The pill making was rather good fun. The main problem was there wasn't a lot... More 

Thank MummyKnitter
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 January 2017

Super secret hidden gem. It's absolutely tiny but has a lot of interesting things! Make sure to visit the website and join when one of their fascinating talks.

Thank DorienLapin

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