Days Out: The Geffrye Museum, Shoreditch, London

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The Independent Travel

The venue

Built around a pretty tree-lined quadrangle, the museum is a surprisingly peaceful haven in its urban surroundings. Screened from the busy Kingsland Road by a row of trees, the Geffrye is housed in the former almshouses of the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers. Dating back to 1715, they were built with funds bequeathed by Sir Robert Geffrye, former Lord Mayor of London and Master of the Company. The Geffrye, the UK's only museum to specialise in the domestic interiors of the urban middle classes, has displays spanning from 1600 to 2000 in a series of 11 rooms. Start in the early 17th century surrounded by oak furniture and panelling. Then make your way past the understated elegance of a parlour dating from later that century. Next is the refined splendour of the Georgian period, which is followed by the high style of the Victorians. A modern extension by the architect Nigel Coates houses rooms from the 20th century including a reading room with design magazines and industry journals, two large education spaces and a gallery for temporary exhibitions. At the rear is a herb garden, which leads to period gardens with features that reflect developments from the 17th to 20th centuries.

For children

Themed activities on the first Saturday of every month, and special ones for half-term. Forthcoming themes include a pumpkin party, autumn T-shirts and Christmas decorations.

For adults

Forthcoming events include tours of the restored almshouse and Christmas Past, covering the past 400 years. Exhibitions in 2007 include interiors in works of art by Hockney, Nash, Caulfield and others.

Refreshments

The restaurant by the period gardens serves contemporary and traditional fare.

Access

Fully accessible for wheelchairs. There is an accessible lavatory, baby-changing room and lift. There are limited parking bays for disabled drivers. There are sign-interpreted talks, and handling sessions for visually impaired visitors.

Admission

Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sundays and Bank Holidays 12-5pm. Closed Mondays (unless Bank Holiday), Good Friday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day. Entry free.

How to get there

Geffrye Museum, Kingsland Road, Shoreditch, London E2 8EA (020-7739 9893; geffrye-museum.org.uk). Nearest Tube: Liverpool Street, then bus 149 or 242; Old Street (exit 2), then bus 243.

By bus: 67, 149, 242, 243, 394. By car: there is limited meter parking in some neighbouring streets.

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