John Soane's MuseumView map
A lifetime's obsession
f you think you’ve got a lot of stuff, you should see this place.
When he wasn’t busy designing some of London’s most prolific buildings (including the Bank of England and the dining rooms at 10 and 11 Downing Street), John Soanes spent his time collecting artworks and historical treasures – most of which are housed here, in his former home.
There are priceless Chinese tiles, marine chronometers, Roman marbles, the odd Canaletto and even a sarcophagus or two –all testament to the 18th-century architect’s acute (yet discerning) collect-o-mania.
Thankfully he didn’t keep it all to himself, and you can pop along to his former home, at Lincoln’s Inn Fields in London, for a nose around whenever you like. The best time to come, though, is on the first Tuesday of the month – for one of the late-night candlelit openings.
With only 60 people allowed in at one time, it’s a lot more relaxed (and intimate) than your typical museum – and afterwards you could nip to the nearby Ship Inn to chat about what you’ve seen over a pint of real ale.
This pub is a bit of a historical treasure, too. In the 1500s it used to help quench the thirst of labourers working nearby – when it was all just fields…