The Old Operating Theatre Museum & Herb Garret is delighted to take advanced bookings for school and group visits. Group visits can be booked Monday-Wednesday, according to availability. 

A visit to the Museum is an experience that gives individuals a profound insight into the past, stimulating interest in a whole range of issues about past and present health. The Old Operating Theatre Museum offers an exciting interactive talk that is proven to be an inspiring and engaging experience for students following a prescribed syllabus or anyone with an interest in the social history of medicine. Group visits can include a talk and exclusive access to the museum, or an educational walking tour of the local area. 

Talk: Victorian Surgery Brought to Life

This popular session is held in Europe’s oldest surviving surgical operating theatre, where groups will experience the uniquely evocative atmosphere and see a reconstruction of an operation before the arrival of anaesthesia and antiseptics. Groups booking this session will also have exclusive access to the Museum space to explore our displays relating to the history of medical practice and Old St Thomas’ Hospital. 

The content of this session can be adapted to suit different audiences and age groupings:

  • KS2/3: This session is ideal for year 5 and 6 primary school students who are following a local history or medical related topic.
  • KS4: This session covers topics from GCSE History of Medicine through Time modules, particularly the section 1700-1900, touching on anaesthesia, James Young Simpson, nursing, Florence Nightengale, antiseptics, Germ Theory, Louis Pasteur and Joseph Lister, and general medical practice in the 19th century.
  • KS5/ University/ Specialist groups: We welcome students and specialists in any medical field to book this session. All groups will receive the standard session, however, if there is a particular topic you would like to cover in more detail in your session, please let us know on your booking form and we will do our best to accommodate you.
  • General interest groups: The Museum welcomes group visits from people who are keen to discover more about the development of medicine and surgery in Britain. This session offers an insightful introduction into the Old St Thomas’ Hospital and 19th century healthcare as well as the Victorian Surgery demonstration.

Walk: Public Health in the 19th Century

Starting outside the museum, our Public Health History Walking Tour explores the local history of the Southwark area, focusing on the living and working conditions of those residing in Southwark in the 19th century. The walking tour visits sites relating to The Great Stink of 1858, epidemics, workhouses, debtors’ prisons, and social reform.

This walk is suitable for older students: 

Optional free self-guided local history walk

A free self-guided London Bridge local history walk is available to all groups. Many groups have supplemented their visit with our local history tour which begins at the museum and takes you across the London Bridge area. You can download the map in advance or pick up a copy in the museum.


For further information, or to book a visit, please visit our website.