A visitor’s guide to the Florence Nightingale Museum


Address: 2 Lambeth Palace Rd, Lambeth, London SE1 7EW

Florence Nightingale is arguably one of the most famous figures in the field of medicine and is accredited with being the founder of modern nursing. Professionalising the field of nursing was no mean feat, but it is exactly this that has been the legacy of this incredible woman.

First rising to prominence through her efforts in treating wounded servicemen during the Crimean War, Nightingale went on to found the first school of nursing at St Thomas’ Hospital in London in 1860.

Born in Florence, Italy in 1820 to an upper class British family, her early years saw Nightingale develop a love for helping others and it was in 1837 at the age of just 17 that she first announced her desire to enter nursing.

Frowned upon by her family, it was a decision that she would not fulfil until 1844, although her desire to learn meant she had educated herself in the arts of medicine and nursing by this time.

It was during her time serving as a nurse in the Crimean War that her altruistic ideals and compassion truly shone, with the British press highlighting the many examples of outstanding care that she provided to both the wounded and dying in this bloody campaign.

Known as ‘the lady with the lamp’, the images of Nightingale tending to the wounded were soon to become iconic.

However, upon her return, the true legacy of Nightingale was secured, as she campaigned not only for a more professional approach to nursing across the field of medicine, but also played an integral role in the training and education of future nursing professionals.

Her efforts have helped to save countless lives in the years hence, bringing an air of professionalism and standards to nursing both during wartime and at home that had not existed before.

Located in the heart of London, the Florence Nightingale Museum serves to both commemorate the achievements of this staunch supporter of altruism and to act as a repository for the many records and achievements during her inspirational life.

Exhibitions and activities

There are a wealth of attractions for anyone planning a visit to the Florence Nightingale Museum, with exhibitions running throughout the year for all those keen to find out more about this iconic figure and her lasting legacy.

Exhibitions and events that are currently taking place at the museum include:

The Kiss of Light: An exhibition running until the end of October covering the development of light therapies and the hidden work of nurses.

Please, Matron!: A dramatic reconstruction of a 1900 lecture from the Nightingale School of Nursing that would have been given to nursing students of the time. It is followed by drinks for attendees.

Art and Medicine: A series of talks by artist Bill Edwards covering the important influences of medicine and surgery on the realms of art. Examples of many famous pieces can be seen, including works by William Hogarth, James Gilray, Rembrandt, Noel Dorville and more.

Death and the Maiden: An examination of the relationship between women and death throughout history, exploring the female role in art and culture. The talk comes from Dame Meriel Lucy Talbot.

How to Die Like a Victorian: An evening discussion exploring the Victorian preoccupation with death and dying. It aims to ask the question of whether this morbid fascination has now gone too far in the other direction?

In addition to the wide variety of one-off events and exhibitions, the museum also houses one of the most extensive collections of Nightingale memorabilia in the world.

Exhibits include the Turkish lantern used by Nightingale during the Crimean War, as well as the slate she used as a child and her stuffed pet owl.

For anyone wishing to find out more about the life and exploits of this luminary figure, a visit to the Florence Nightingale Museum should be high on the list of things to do when visiting the English capital.

Opening hours and admission

The museum is open to all visitors between the hours of 10 am and 5 pm daily. Last entry is at 4.30 pm.

Admission will cost £7.50 for adult entry and £3.80 for children under the age of 16. Concessions can get in for £4.80 and family tickets (both for one adult with up to three children and two adults with up to three children) can be bought for £13 or £18. All children under the age of five can get in for free.

Other nearby attractions

The Place of WestminsterIt is not just the Florence Nightingale Museum that draws millions of visitors to this busy part of the English capital every year though and there are a wealth of other great attractions and activities on offer in the local area. Here are some of the top choices that visitors might like to explore:

  • London Eye (0.3 miles, seven minutes’ travel time via public transport/on foot)

  • Buckingham Palace (1.2 miles, 17 minutes)

  • Palace of Westminster (0.5 miles, seven minutes)

  • Trafalgar Square (0.9 miles, 13 minutes)

  • The National Gallery (one mile, 12 minutes)

  • IWM (0.5 miles, eight minutes)

  • National Portrait Gallery (1.1 miles, 13 minutes)

  • Tate Britain (one mile, 15 minutes)

  • Ripley’s Believe It or Not! (1.3 miles, 12 minutes)

Parking options for visitors

London visitors with access to a vehicle can make use of several nearby parking options when planning a trip to the Florence Nightingale Museum, including:

  • Hungerford Bridge Car Park (0.4 miles, eight minutes’ travel time on foot)

  • Waterloo C Car Park (0.4 miles, nine minutes)

  • Cornwall Road Car Park (0.6 miles, 13 minutes)

  • Newington Causeway Car Park (1.1 miles, 23 minutes)

Anyone planning to drive into this busy part of London are reminded that traffic volumes are likely to be high at most times of day (especially during the busy morning and evening rush hours). Spaces can therefore be limited and drivers should plan ahead.

Underground options for Travellers

For individuals wishing to forego the stresses of driving during their time in the English capital, the famous London Underground offers a wealth of nearby stations that make getting around the city both swift and simple:

  • Westminster (Circle, District and Jubilee lines)

  • Embankment (Bakerloo, Circle, District and Northern lines)

  • Waterloo (Bakerloo, Jubilee, Northern and Waterloo & City lines)

  • Southwark (Jubilee line)

  • Lambeth North (Bakerloo line)

Meanwhile, visitors can also make use of several overground rail services to reach the Florence Nightingale Museum, with nearby stations including London Charing Cross and London Waterloo East.

Full and up-to-date details of all train and Underground timetables can be found by visiting the Transport for London website.