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Old Operating Theatre

#119 of 1,616 things to do in London
Certificate of Excellence
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Address: St. Thomas's Church 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 519 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 239
  • 187
    Very good
  • 38
  • 2
  • 1
Hidden gem-my favorite museum in London!

I don't usually get so excited about museums, but this was a complete exception! I purchased the London Pass, which offered free entrance to this museum, and it officially became... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
Shreveport, Louisiana
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519 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 467: English reviews
Shreveport, Louisiana
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

I don't usually get so excited about museums, but this was a complete exception! I purchased the London Pass, which offered free entrance to this museum, and it officially became my favorite site in London. We went here on a side thought because we were walking along the river bank and discovered it was close. The museum is located down... More 

Thank cbruce422
Level Contributor
42 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 April 2017 via mobile

Decided to visit this museum as I'm a theatre nurse by trade! Very fascinating and even if you're not in the medical field I would still recommend visiting this museum. Lots of old instruments to see and medicines. Quite hard to find off the street and a very tight staircase up to the actual museum but definitely worth it.

Thank Amanda R
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 March 2017

We've had a few friends recommend visiting here so decided to pop along for a couple of hours the last time we were in London. Firstly, as the title says, this literally is a hidden treasure! We must have walked past the entrance two or three times before working out where it was (although it was covered in scaffolding, which... More 

Thank OllyIB
Dayton, Ohio
Level Contributor
31 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 March 2017

This was the second time that we have visited this museum. It has interesting exhibits on medical history. It is also fascinating to see where surgeries took place in the past. It definitely makes me appreciate modern medicine.

Thank Sabrina K
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
123 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 March 2017

Very cool! An old operating theater that was forgotten, boarded up, and found again. I really felt like I was about to watch a grizzly anesthesia-free surgery. And they have tons of cool old medical stuff on display. I'm a nurse and such a nerd for this kind of stuff so I absolutely loved it.

Thank SaraK987
Norwich, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
26 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 March 2017 via mobile

I'm a nurse by trade and a history buff, and these two together were fascinating for me. But you don't have to be of the trade or a history buff, it's a fascinating story of the theatre and medicine and the grisly past of operations. You will certainly be glad to live in the 21st century when you look at... More 

Thank Rob B
Level Contributor
27 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 March 2017

I was so keen to visit this museum as the subject interests me a great deal. The exhibition itself is indeed very interesting with lots of medical implements, specimens and other fascinating artifacts displayed however the curation of these is a little chaotic and a lot of the signage a little worse for wear. I can't help but think these... More 

Thank Becksybooo
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
23 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 February 2017

This museum really is a hidden gem. Located right next to busy London bridge station it is very easy to get to, though the entrance itself is a bit hidden. The operating theatre used to be part of old St. Thomas' hospital that moved to another location and the theatre lay forgotten for a long time in the attic of... More 

Thank Vivien E
St. Gallen, Switzerland
Level Contributor
114 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 February 2017

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 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 February 2017 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 

1 Thank happy_shopper_0

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