How to get here

The staff of the College of Optometrists want you to enjoy your visit to the British Optical Association Museum and to make things as easy as possible for you during the time you spend with us.

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As of 1 November 2020, still no date has been set for the re-opening of the museum to visitors and researchers.  PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT TO COME TO THE MUSEUM. We advise that we are not currently taking any bookings for dates prior to April 2021. All other museum services (enquiries, acquistions, sales, image-licensing etc.) are now operating and the curator is on-site most days. Deliveries may be accepted at the door but no non-staff may enter the premises.

Finding the Museum

Remember: Don't set off unless you have already made an appointment to visit!

We occupy the northernmost terraced house in Craven Street, just south of the Strand, accessed down a pedestrian ramp passing between 'Boots' and 'Next'. The side of Charing Cross Railway Station is literally adjacent to our building. The nearest tube stations are Charing Cross (Northern/Bakerloo lines) or Embankment (District/Circle, Northern and Bakerloo lines). The building is identified by a [temporary] plaque [in the window] naming the College of Optometrists.

To plan your travel, visit the TfL Journey Planner

On arrival

Please ring the bell. You will be asked to sign in at Reception where you should ask for the Museum Curator. You may use our toilet, water machine and coat stand. We may ask you to leave bulky luggage at Reception.

Disabled access

There are two steps up to the front door. The Museum floor can be accessed by either stairs or lift and is all on one level. The text of temporary exhibitions is available in large print format on request. We can offer touch tours to the visually impaired. Please contact us in advance if you have any special needs and we will try our best to help.

We have a collapsible wheelchair ramp to negotiate the front steps. If you require its use, but are unaccompanied, you will need to phone on arrival so that the ramp may be deployed, since it is not possible to reach the doorbell without first ascending the steps!

Please note, however, that we do not have a disabled toilet. Such facilities may be found close by at Charing Cross Station or at the National Gallery.

Where to eat

There are no refreshment facilities at the museum but Craven Street is parallel to Villiers Street (on the other side of Charing Cross station) where you can find a wide range of establishments including traditional pubs, English and Italian restaurants, sandwich shops, bagel bakery, sushi and salad bars. Nearby, on the Strand, are two well known pizza chains and a burger chain. Good value, wholesome meals may be obtained at the 'Cafe in the Crypt' beneath St Martin in the Fields Church which is sometimes busy but large enough even to accommodate groups.

Where to go next

Since we are small, why not combine your visit to us with another heritage attraction? Our nearest neighbours are the Benjamin Franklin House (pre-booking usually required) lower down the same street, plus the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery to be found off Trafalgar Square. (Try looking for paintings of people wearing spectacles!). We are just south of Covent Garden where you will find the London Transport Museum within easy walking distance and members of the RSA in John Adam Street would find it convenient to combine a visit there with us. Craven Street leads down to the architecturally impressive Hungerford Foot Bridge by which you may cross to County Hall attractions and the London Eye. Our nearest partner in the London Museums of Health and Medicine group is the Florence Nightingale Museum on the St Thomas's Hospital site to the south of Westminster Bridge (an interesting fifteen minute riverside walk).


The Museum welcomes all potential users. Please refer to our Standards of Service.

See also our