Madame Tussauds – A Must Visit Museum in London for Families

Madame Tussaud is famous world wide for her life like wax figures that are displayed in nine countries today. The original museum, opened in 1884, is still in the Marylebone area in London, and definitely worth a visit.

Marie Tussaud and her Wax Models

Marie Tussaud was born in France in 1761. Her mother, widowed before Marie was born, moved the family to Switzerland and lived with a local doctor, Phillippe Curtius.

A wax figure of Madame Tussaud displayed in Madame Tussauds in London

Marie’s mother acted as a housekeeper, and Dr. Curtius, skilled in wax modeling, taught Marie the craft. Originally, Dr. Curtius created wax models of anatomy, but later he shifted focus to create wax portraits. These portraits became very popular. Curtius and the Tussauds moved to Paris and the wax figures were displayed for the first time in 1770.

In 1777, Marie Tussaud created her first wax figure of Voltaire. She went on to create many more wax likenesses of Benjamin Franklin, among others. She was also employed to create wax heads from bodies that were decapitated by the guillotine. Madame Tussaud went on to create death masks for the famous victims of the French revolution including Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

A wax figure of Marie Antoinette displayed in Madame Tussauds in London

Following the French Revolution, in 1802, Marie and her four year old son, Joseph, went to London to present her wax portraits. The Napoleonic Wars prevented her from returning to France, so Marie traveled around the British Isles.

In 1835, Marie opened her first permanent exhibit on Baker Street in London. She died in 1850 and her family passed down the art of wax modeling.

Madame Tussauds original museum opened in 1884 near her first exhibit. The museums have since expanded throughout the world, but the original museum in London is the largest.

Start with a Party

There is no better way to start a journey into the world of Madame Tussauds’ than to attend a party with the stars.

Walking into the star studded party room in Madame Tussauds in London

Wander through and you will spot some familiar faces.

A wax figure of Tom Cruise displayed in Madame Tussauds in London

Favorite Film Stars

After you leave the party, there is a walk through from the movie Alien. It is very realistic including the horrible smells.

Signs to the Alien escape rooms in  Madame Tussauds in London

Some of the characters you see are gruesome like in the movie. The museum labels this area for ages 15 and above. I walked through with my 14 year old son, but I’m glad that my 9 year old daughter skipped the experience.

Meet Sports Heros

The next area is a celebration of sport. See your favorite Olympic heroes, soccer stars, and even Lewis Hamilton, the current F1 world champion.

Celebrating with Olympic stars in Madame Tussauds in London.

Appearances by the Royal Family

Take photos with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip along with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. These popular royals did have a line to stand in but it moved quickly.

Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Madame Tussauds in London.

Prince Charles and Camilla stand on a balcony across from the Queen and were easy to photograph.

You can also see historical royals including Queen Victoria, King Henry VIII, as well as Queen Elizabeth the first and Mary, Queen of Scots.

Princess Diana is also on display dressed for an evening on the town.

Princess Diana displayed in Madame Tussauds in London

Sing with your Favorite Musicians

From the Beatles, to Michael Jackson, to Ariana Grande and One Direction, you can see them life sized and take photos with them.

Posing with Ariana Grande at Madame Tussauds in London.

World Leaders

Leaders past and present from around the world are on display. These include Nelson Mandela, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Martin Luther King, Jr.

A wax figure of Nelson Mandela displayed in Madame Tussauds in London

The Search for Sherlock Holmes

A wax figure of Robert Downy, Jr. as Sherlock Holmes displayed in Madame Tussauds in London

This interactive experience is an additional five pounds per person. Join the famous detective and solve a mystery. You get to be part of the action, finding clues along with characters from the stories.

The adventure takes about 15 minutes. We enjoyed the experience but if you are not interested in the additional cost or don’t have time you can easily skip this section.

Behind the Scenes

Have you ever wondered how the realistic wax figures are created? This room goes into detail explaining the process.

Wax figures partially completed at Madame Tussauds in London.

Spirit of London Ride

The rules for the Spirit of London ride in Madame Tussauds in London.

That’s right – there is a full ride similar to a theme park within Madame Tussauds.

A black cab carriage from the Spirit of London ride.

Climb aboard a classic black cab and travel through the history of London and see many of the figures that contributed through the years to make the city what it is today.

Marvels 4D Movie Experience

See the Hulk, Captain Marvel, and the other Marvel superheros before watching them save London from evil in a 4D experience. This fun short film is shown in 3D plus there are smells and movement to bring the experience to life.

Hulk is the largest wax figure ever created.

A wax figure of he Hulk displayed in Madame Tussauds in London

Walk in the World of Star Wars

Get up close and personal with all your favorite characters from the Star Wars saga.

A wax figure of R2D2 and C3PO displayed in Madame Tussauds in London

From Han Solo and Chewy to Rey and BB8; you can take pictures of all of them.

Tips and Tricks

Tickets and Touring

Madame Tussauds is one of the most popular attractions in London so be prepared for lines. Tickets are cheaper to buy in advance online.

When you purchase your ticket, be prepared to pick the date and time of entry. If you plan to visit during a high tourist season (summer, school holidays) I highly recommend spending the extra money to get a fast track ticket. It could save you an hour or more of waiting in line to enter the Museum.

Make sure to bring your camera. Madame Tussauds was made for Instagram.

A wax figure of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex displayed in Madame Tussauds in London

My family spent over three hours on our visit. If you go, plan on at least two hours and potentially half a day depending on how many figures you want to check out.

How to Get to Madame Tussauds

The Museum is located just south of Regent’s Park. The closest tube station is Baker Street and there are signs in the station pointing to the closest exit to Madame Tussauds.

Baker Street Tube station.

There are five tube lines that stop at Baker Street (Bakerloo, Circle, Hammersmith & City, Jubilee, and Metropolitan) so it is easy to get there.

Alternatively, you can take the bus. The 18, 27, 30, 74, 205, 453, N18, N27, N74, and N205 all stop on Baker Street near the entrance of the museum.

After you mingle with the stars at Madame Tussauds, make time to see London from the sky on the London Eye.

Madame Tussauds London

Address: Marylebone Rd, Marylebone, London NW1 5LR, UK

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Lauren is a transplant from Texas and has become a local tourist exploring the area with her two children. She loves to discover new places in Nashville to share with others.

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