Bank of England Museum

A photo of the new King Charles coins and bank notes at the Bank of England Museum in London

The first place we went to on our trip to London last weekend was the Bank of England Museum. Which is pretty much what you would expect it to be – a museum based at the Bank of England headquarters in the City of London. Access is via a side entrance, and, as you would expect, you have to go through a security scanner to get in.

This is only the second time that I have been to the Bank of England Museum. The first time was a long time ago. I can’t remember exactly when, but I was definitely still living at home, so probably 25-ish years ago. Part of the reason for this is that the museum is only open on weekdays, and we normally visit London at weekends. As we had the benefit of an extra day, we were able to visit last Friday.

It’s not a big museum – a typical visit will take 1-2 hours – but it’s free to get in. And the exhibits are regularly updated. As shown in the photo above, there are samples of the new coins and banknotes featuring King Charles III which are not yet in general circulation. I was also amused by the satirical FTX t-shirt in an exhibit about cryptocurrencies. These are in a new exhibition called The Future of Money, which opened a couple of days before we travelled and runs until next September.

Like many museums, the Bank of England Museum has also acknowledged the darker sides of its past. Recent new exhibits include copies of ledgers listing the names of slaves that came into the bank’s possession, and there’s a display about the Windrush generation. On arrival in the UK, many of those who travelled on the Empire Windrush to start new lives were denied access to traditional banks, and the museum has a series of panels on Pardner Hand to allow people to borrow or save money.

Other permanent exhibits include some examples of forged bank notes (including some introduced by the Nazis in the Second World War to de-stabilise the economy), and of course there’s plenty on the history of the bank.

If you haven’t been to the Bank of England Museum before, I’d recommend going. It’s not a full day out, but it’s free and there are some interactive elements for children.


Predictably, the nearest tube station is Bank, which has step-free access from the Northern and Waterloo & City Lines, and the DLR. There are steps in the museum, including at the entrance, however, security staff can escort those with mobility issues from the bank’s main entrance and ramps can be provided once inside. There isn’t a quiet room, but ear defenders are available to borrow.