- Hobbies & Special Interests
- The Soane Museum, WC2A 3BP London
Sir John Soane’s Museum offers expert tours of its wonderful interiors. There is so much to see that it is easy to miss some of the highlights as you explore the Museum unescorted – not least because the atmospheric historic spaces are preserved as they were when Soane died in 1837 and so there are no labels and panels. Take one of our Saturday or mid-week tours to get the most from your visit and gain some fascinating insights into Soane’s life and collections.
Highlights of these wonderful tours include Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress and An Election, Canaletto’s Riva degli Schiavoni looking West, the alabaster sarcophagus of Seti I, and of course the story of Soane's life and the history of the collection. Soane gave tours of his collections, and so we continue his tradition for you to experience the house as he intended, without labels or interactive screens. To preserve the atmosphere of 1837, we ask that you turn off mobile phones, tablets and cameras.
Mid-week tours are held every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Tickets cost £10 per person (no concessions or refunds). Tuesday and Friday tours begin at 11.30am. Wednesday and Thursday tours begin at 3.30pm. Each tour lasts an hour. Tickets may be purchased in advance online. A limited number of tickets may be purchased on the door, 30 minutes before the tour begins.
Soane was born in 1753, the son of a bricklayer, and died after a long and distinguished career, in 1837. Soane worked in the offices of George Dance (from 1768 to 1772) and Henry Holland (from 1772 to 1778), before establishing his own architectural practice.
John Soane studied architecture at the Royal Academy of Arts, London and won the Academy's highest accolade, a three-year Travelling Scholarship. The Grand Tour changed his life forever.
Soane designed this house to live in, but also as a setting for his antiquities and his works of art. Here you will discover Egyptian antiquities, fragments of Greek and Roman architecture and friezes, cinerary urns, sarcophagus reliefs, and plaster casts, cork architectural models, classical bronzes, terracottas, vases and mosaics.
After the death of his wife (1815), he lived here alone, constantly adding to and rearranging his collections. Having been deeply disappointed by the conduct of his two sons, one of whom survived him, he determined to establish the house as a museum to which ‘amateurs and students’ should have access. Soane left his house and collections as a gift to the nation, through an act of parliament. When you enter, you will be transported back to 1837, the year Soane died.
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