Wednesday, 7 December 2016

#London Christmas Shopping No.8: Brunel Museum @BrunelMuseum

Daily Constitutional editor Adam Scott-Goulding writes…

It's back! The annual London Christmas Shopping Guide from The Daily Constitutional!

This year I'll be including museum gift shops and markets for gift ideas. 

As well as gifts I'll be pointing you toward local London shops for the best in Christmas food and drink. Where relevant, I'll list the London Walks tour that finishes near the shop in question.

As usual, you can drop me a line with your own tips by emailing the usual address, by leaving a comment below or via Twitter.

Robert writes…

Christmas Shopping At The Brunel Museum!

Brunel Museum Railway Avenue Rotherhithe
London SE16 4LF

Brunel’s Thames Tunnel opened in 1843 as the first ever underwater shopping arcade. The parade of sixty shops is still just visible from the train, despite the reflection in the glass, and your London Walks guide will point this out on Brunel’s London 10.40am Embankment tube every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday (not 24th, 25th, 31st December).

The shops once sold souvenirs in what the Victorians called the Eighth Wonder of the World.

TfL and engineers Balfour Beatty Carillion have created a dramatic underground amphitheatre in the original Brunel shaft above the railway lines. Over half the diameter of the dome of St Paul’s this spectacular subterranean chamber is accessible to the public for the first time in a hundred and fifty years. It is now a gallery, concert hall and performance space. Do your shopping 12th – 15th December and afterwards at 7.30pm - a perfect antidote to Christmas - you can watch Grimm Beginnings:  theatre with the magical (and very scary!) characters from Grimm’s fairy tales. Like Into the Woods with less music and more torture...

The underwater shops are empty now, but the shop in the Museum is still open for customers. Over a hundred and fifty years after the first opening, shoppers today will find Brunel stocking fillers and all the recently published Brunel books. There are bookmarks, Brunel prints, Brunel T shirts, CD’s and - exclusively! - genuine Victorian fridge magnets. This is a very early example of what is technically known as aggressive marketing of site specific merchandise. This the biggest selection of Brunel memorabilia in London, and the riverside pub across the road is brilliant.

Brunel Museum, Railway Avenue, London SE16 Tel: 020 7231 3840 
Open every day till Friday 23rd December 10am to 5pm, and after that open briefly every day including Boxing Day and New Year’s Day for London Walks (not 24th, 25th, 31st)
Jubilee Line to Canada Water then London Overground (one stop) to Rotherhithe

Happy Christmas!


Robert is allowed to drive sheep across London Bridge. An Oxford graduate, he's an actor, museum director, author and holder of the Freedom. Let alone the first person since Brunel to organise an underwater fair.

Watch Robert in action here…

Christmas 2016 With London Walks…

On Christmas Day there are TWO London Walks: 

Walk up an appetite with The Christmas Morning 1660 Walk – meet at 11:00a.m by the big tree in Trafalgar Square

Walk off the pudding with The Christmas Day Charles Dickens Walk – meet by the big tree in Trafalgar Square at 2:00pm

A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at

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