London's Sport & Sporting History Museums
Football (soccer), rugby and cricket: three favourite British sports, each celebrated with one (or in football's case, three!) major museums in London.
Not to be outdone, the All England Lawn Tennis Club - home to the annual Wimbledon Championships - also has its own museum. All four are not just museums, but places where sporting history has been made, and places of pilgrimage for fans. Motorsport also has its hallowed ground at Brooklands, a museum on the site of the world's first purpose-built motor racing circuit. Several smaller museums also offer sporting exhibits.
Return to London's museums grouped by theme
The Museums (in alphabetical order)
A small but fascinating museum housed in the City of London Police Headquarters that chronicles the history of crime and policing in the City of London from the 1830s (when the force was founded) to the present day. Displays include grisly stories of the City's criminal past, developments and changes in policing and police equipment, and the lives of the men and women who have served in the force. Plus a display on the City of London Police team's successes in the 1908 Olympic Games!
The proud history of 'the Gunners', from Woolwich to Highbury and now at the Emirates Stadium, is explored at the interactive Arsenal Museum, which can be visited alone or in combination with a stadium tour. Exhibits include Michael Thomas' boots from Anfield '89, Charlie George's 1971 FA Cup final shirt and Alan Smith's shirt from 1994's European Cup Winners Cup Final. The Legends Theatre presents Arsenal highlights, and interactive displays focus on Championship winning managers, The Arsenal Spirit, Highbury Stadium and more.
Epsom's local history museum has exhibits relating to the Derby Stakes (usually known as the Epsom Derby), the most famous horse race in the world, which has taken place on Epsom Downs for over 200 years.
Brooklands is the birthplace of British motorsport - the world's first purpose-built race track was built here in 1907. The site also has strong links with cycle racing and aviation design and testing. Today, as well as displays and exhibits chronicling over a century of history, visitors will find racing cars, motorbikes, bicycles and a large collection of Hawker and Vickers/BAC-built aircraft, including a Concord (parts of which were made at the site). The exhibition on-board the Concord allows visitors to see inside one of the world's most famous aircraft.
An interactive exhibition tracing the successes, the emotions and the sights and sounds of one of the world's most famous football clubs. Touch screens and pioneering audio-visual shows take fans on a journey through more than 100 years of Chelsea history, while the Adidas Shooting Gallery allows them to test their reflexes and accuracy, and the Greatest Games exhibit lets them relive the excitement of key Chelsea moments. A visit to the museum can be combined with a tour of Stamford Bridge stadium.
This museum of police history incorporates a surprising display about Olympic victory
. The City of London Police team won gold for Great Britain in the 1908 Olympic Games (held in London) in both heavyweight boxing and the Tug-of-War, plus a bronze in heavyweight wrestling. Another gold in the Tug-of-War followed in the 1920 Games, and as the event was then - sadly - discontinued, the City of London Police remain reigning champions!
Known to cricket fans around the world as the home of 'The Ashes' and indeed the home of cricket, Lord's also boasts the oldest sporting museum in the world. Exhibits include kit, artworks and memorabilia associated with cricket from the earliest days of the game to the present day, plus displays about famous players such as WG Grace. Visitors can also watch footage of some of the greatest performances in cricket's long and illustrious history, and tour the iconic stadium.
Follow in the footsteps of legends as you go behind-the-scenes at the most famous stadium in the world and learn about England's World Cup victory in 1966, the extraordinary 1985 Live Aid concert and the ongoing tradition of the FA Cup Final. Get your hands on a replica FA Cup trophy, and see football treasures including the 1966 World Cup crossbar, the Jules Rimet Trophy commemorating England's World Cup glory, and the tablets that commemorated London's 1948 Olympic Games.
No tennis fan will want to miss Wimbledon's behind-the-scenes tours and stunning museum, which offers a tour of the traditions, triumphs, emotions, and sights and sounds that have made Wimbledon the most prestigious and coveted title in tennis. Explore the game's evolution via interactive displays and exhibits dating back to 1555, view the Championship Trophies, learn about the science of tennis and meet John McEnroe's 'ghost'.
Twickenham is the home of England rugby, and the stadium's museum charts the sport's history from its 19th century origins at the Rugby Public School to its international status today as 'the ultimate team game'. The collection of rugby equipment, artworks and memorabilia is the largest and finest in the world, and the museum has a 'Rugby Wall of Fame' and hosts regular temporary exhibitions. A visit to the museum can be combined with a stadium tour.