Nowadays, perhaps more than anything else, Britain (and London, in particular) is revered for its ongoing cultural contribution to the world – it’s often said that the country’s biggest and most successful export over the last few decades has been its culture. And that means culture in all its forms – music, movies, TV, literature, language, fashion, humour, print art, street art, digital art and, yes, even cartoons, comics and graphic novels. If you’re an enthusiast of Britain’s output in the latter category and you’re giving London a visit sometime soon, then top of your list of exciting venues to check out has to be The Cartoon Museum,
Equal-parts entertaining, engaging and educational, this attraction tells the story of British cartoons through their history from their early origins and development in the eighteenth century – the time of the Punch satirical magazine – right up to the present day – when once cherished children’s comic creations are as at home online as they are on the newsstands. It contains a truly exhaustive collection of all types of cartoon and prints, which together number a staggering 1,700 individual examples; plus, its reference library is teeming with more than 5,000 books and 4,000 comics.
To say that the London Cartoon Museum is a delightful place for children of all ages and fascinating for any casual or serious cartoon enthusiast is putting it mildly (in fact, lectures and courses of study are available for adults who are so inclined).Fittingly too, it’s located in the Bloomsbury area of the city, once the very heart of its literary, artistic and satirical movements, which means that should you be staying in one of the budget hotels Central London, it’s a very easy place to get to.
While the museum is admirably committed to providing resources for primary and secondary school education, it’s a haven for kids during the holidays too, often holding workshops for young ones at the times of the year they and their parents are most likely to visit. Maybe your little tyke would be captivated to learn about Dennis the Menace and Dan Dare or you’d be enthralled by the frequent exhibitions dedicated to the likes of The Beano, The Dandy, Viz and even the Spitting Image TV show?
If so, The Cartoon Museum could be right up your street; how better to spend a day of your time in London immersing yourself in the larger-than-life – and life affirming – world of cartoons, comics and graphic novels?
Opening hours: 10.30am-5.30pm Monday-Saturday; 12noon-5.30pm Sunday
Address: 35 Little Russell Street, London WC1A 2HH
Telephone: 020 7580 8155