View of the Geffrye Museum from the Herb Garden - photographed by M Williams
The Geffrye is one of London's most friendly and enjoyable museums. Its setting is in the former almshouses of the Ironmongers Company, beautiful early 18th-century buildings. It is surrounded by delightful gardens, which include an award-winning herb garden and a series of period garden rooms showing the changing styles of town gardens over the past 400 years. These outdoor spaces offer a tranquil sanctuary, less than a mile from the City of London.
The Geffrye explores the home over the past 400 years, from around 1600 to the present day. Our focus is on the living rooms of the urban middle classes in England, particularly in London. We aim to show how homes have been used and furnished over this period, reflecting changes in society and patterns of behaviour as well as style, fashion and taste.
An exciting programme of special exhibitions on a range of topics relating to the Geffrye's main themes runs throughout the year. We also have a restored 18th-century almshouse, which has been taken back to its original condition and offers a rare glimpse into the lives of London's poor and elderly in the 1780s and 1880s. Groups can pre-book tours of the almshouses on the first and third Wednesday of the month (maximum of 10 people per tour).
We provide a brief history of the Geffrye from its beginnings as almshouses erected in 1714 through its transformation in the 20th century to a museum showing the decorative styles and tastes of the English middle classes. After your introduction, you will be free to explore the rest of the museum on your own. Time: 20 minutes.
For groups up to 52, cost per person £3. Minimum group size: 10 people
Talks and Slide Lectures
If you would like more than an introductory welcome, we can offer a choice of talks outlined below, given by museum staff with specialist knowledge, on themes and subjects relating to the Geffrye’s collection, buildings, gardens and special exhibitions. Time: Approximately 45 minutes.
For groups up to 52, cost £6 per person. Minimum group size: 15 people
The Geffrye Museum: A General Lecture
A general lecture on the museum, including the history of the almshouses, how the collections were formed in the early years of the century and how the museum has recently developed its displays and gardens. A popular lecture which provides a full overview suitable for most groups.
A slightly more specialist talk than the general lecture, this provides a social context for the decorative arts and explores the changing values of the urban middle-classes as expressed in their homes. It gives a broad view of the changing decorative trends in urban middle-class homes in London from 1600 to the present day.
Special talks can be arranged on themes relating to the current exhibitions or particular aspects of the museum, gardens or its collections. The Bookings Officer will be pleased to discuss this with you.
This talk provides a fascinating background to the museum's annual Christmas Past exhibition, in which the period rooms are decorated in authentic historic style, and the meanings behind our seasonal traditions and customs are explored and explained.
All the above are subject to the availability of staff, and are not offered at weekends or Bank Holidays. You are advised to book well in advance.
Groups can book to visit our restored historic almshouse on the first and third Wednesday of each month. The almshouse has been restored to its original condition, offering a rare glimpse into the lives of London’s poor and elderly in the 1780s and 1880s. Timed entries at 11am, 12 noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and (4pm April - October). £4 per person, disabled visitors (and their companion) and 16s and unders are free. A maximum of 10 places can be pre-booked per tour.
Planning your visit
All groups must book in advance. Space is limited in the museum and we can help you avoid the busiest days. You should allow at least 2 hours to see everything and have time to visit the gardens, shop and café; if you are attending a lecture, you may wish to allow more time.
Booking the café
The Geffrye’s café is located in the museum’s contemporary wing overlooking the period gardens, and provides a delightful space for lunch or light snacks. Although quite spacious it is still necessary for all groups wishing to use the café to book in advance. This will enable us to ensure that your visit is a relaxed and enjoyable one. View the group menu and contact Netto to make a café booking.
Please ring the Information and Bookings Officer on 020 7739 9893 to discuss details of your proposed visit and any catering requirements you may have (please see separate group menu for details).
Once the basic arrangements have been agreed, we will send a booking form for you to complete and return.
Please note that your booking is not confirmed until we have received written acknowledgement from you (e.g. the completed booking form) and a deposit of £25. The deposit is required at the time of confirmation and will be deducted from your bill on the day. The deposit can be made by cheque or credit card. Please contact the Information and Bookings Officer for assistance.
Please make all cheques payable to 'Geffrye Museum Trust Ltd'.
Payments and terms
General admission to the museum and gardens is free.
Payment for lecture and introductory talk should be made on the day. Payment for all food and drink should be settled with the café during your visit.
Cancellation policy *
More than three weeks' notice in writing: No charge (the deposit will be refunded).
Less than three weeks notice in writing: 50% fee.
Less than 48 hours notice in writing: 100% fees.
* Please note that this applies to talks, lectures and catering.
Open Tuesday - Sunday 10am - 5pm
Bank Holiday Mondays 10am - 5pm
Herb garden and period garden rooms open 25 March - 31 October during museum hours
Closed Mondays (unless Bank Holiday), Good Friday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day.