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The Step Outside Blog

As anyone who looks at our books will be aware, we love London and are passionate about helping other people to enjoy our city, through cost-free family days out.


A good few people have suggested that we write a blog about London things that have caught our attention, captured our hearts or made us think - or all of the above - so here it is.

We hope you enjoy it!

Hidden Treasures of Egypt

By Francesca Fenn, Mar 4 2019 11:00AM

Winter hibernation is over, and I’m back to share some nice spots in London with you.

One of London’s special treasures is the multitude of small museums scattered throughout the city. There are hundreds, and they cover almost every conceivable subject, from gardens to sewing machines, from a sewage pumping station to a fan museum.

Some are in prominent locations, whilst others are hidden away in alleys or courtyards. Some are open every day, whilst others only open for a few hours each month. It is now my pleasure to share some of these wonderful treasure houses with you, today and in the coming weeks.

First up is the marvellous Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, hidden deep in University College, London. This gem is definitely hidden away, but well worth seeking out. From Euston Square Station, head south and turn left along Torrington Place. Then turn left up Malet Place. Look for the Museum entrance on the left, up some twisty stairs and bingo! You are there! The staff are friendly, welcoming and helpful and entrance is free.

The Petrie Museum isn’t filled with spectacular statues and rows of mummies, but you will find a treasure trove of domestic objects, beautiful fragments and much more.

For example, there is an exquisite bead net dancing dress from about 2400BC. It is so cleverly constructed and so detailed – beautiful, and a little saucy! Even more ancient is the oldest linen garment in the world. It is a linen shirt which was used and left behind by a workman over 5,000 years ago. I found this mind-boggling!

There are, toys, combs, models, beads, pots, hieroglyphs – a real treasure trove to wander round and enjoy.

When I visited there was a small exhibition about ancient Egyptian musical instruments. There were copies of percussion instruments and a 3D print of pan pipes which were found in a tomb – you can play them all!

My favourite exhibits are the portraits in encaustic wax from the tops of coffins. These life-sized paintings show vital and lively people staring at you across the millennia – they are spellbinding.

The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology is in Malet Place, UCL. It is open Tuesday – Saturday 13.00 – 17.00, Note that it is closed from April 17-22nd.


Opium measures. A not-so-new problem...
Opium measures. A not-so-new problem...
One of the haunting portrait from Hawara
One of the haunting portrait from Hawara
The oldest cloth garment in the world!
The oldest cloth garment in the world!
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