It’s hard to believe the world’s favourite cartoon family, The Simpsons, are celebrating a quarter of a century of television entertainment, but today marks 25 years (it was on 17th December 1989) since Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie’s first episode was broadcast on the Fox TV network.
To celebrate this momentous event, we think now’s the time to appreciate the power of cartoons. And where better than a visit to London’s excellent Cartoon Museum near to Strand Palace Hotel.
About the museum
Although you won’t actually find a Simpsons exhibit at London’s Cartoon Museum – it focuses on British talent – it is still a worthy visit for cartoon fans, or even just those travelling with the family. Opened in 2007, the museum takes visitors on a journey through the history and progression of British cartoon and comic art from the 18th century to present day. It also has an excellent gift shop, should you be in need of some last minute Christmas shopping for the kids – and big kids!
The museum focuses mostly on British animation through the centuries, from political newspaper cartoons to saucy seaside postcards. The permanent collection includes more than 1,700 original cartoons and prints, as well as a library of 5,000 books and 4,000 comics relating to the subject. Don’t skip the second floor, where smaller exhibits focus on sketches on various styles by lesser-known and up-and-coming talent – perhaps where the next Simpsons-style hit will come from.
Although the main collection skews British, the museum also has rotating exhibits of international artists. Visit before 24th December and you’ll be able to catch the Gekiga exhibition, which focuses on Japanese alternative manga art and its evolution over the last three decades. Another current exhibit, running until 18th January next year, is Hogarth’s London. This features the best-known works of William Hogarth, who was one of London’s great satirical chroniclers during the 1700s.
How to visit
The museum is located at 35 Little Russell Street, which at just a 15 minute walk is very near to the Strand Palace Hotel. It is open from Monday to Saturday, 10.30am to 5.30pm, and from 12pm to 5.30pm on Sunday. Please note the museum will be closed from Christmas Day until 2nd January this year. Admission to the museum is free for London Museum Pass holders. If you don’t have a pass, admission is £7 for adults and free to anyone under 18. Please note the museum is spread over multiple floors and has no lift, so you’ll need to be able to climb stairs to access all exhibits.
Looking for a hotel near to The Cartoon Museum? Strand Palace Hotel is just a short walk away, and close to many of London’s other great museums too. The perfect choice for culture vultures!
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