Bank of England Museum

Bartholomew Lane off Threadneedle Street London EC2R 8AH

Telling the story of the Bank from its foundation in 1694 to its role today as the UK’s central bank, the Bank of England Museum is about the only chance you’ll get to break into Sir John Soane’s magnificent 1788 building, and it’s free. Security is tight, but once in you can play an addictive game in which you try to control inflation, view a reconstruction of the bank’s 1793 Stock Office on its original site, see the country’s oldest paper money, and tour highlights from the Bank’s collection of paintings, coins, photographs and historic documents. You can even listen to extracts from The Wind in the Willows, the work of one of the Bank’s more creative employees, Kenneth Grahame, though the highlight for most people is the chance to lift a gold bar – much heavier than you think. Very good for kids, especially in school holidays when there are many free events and costumed storytellers.

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