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.
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.
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.
Wander through and you will spot some familiar faces.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Leaders past and present from around the world are on display. These include Nelson Mandela, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Search for Sherlock Holmes
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.
Spirit of London Ride
That’s right – there is a full ride similar to a theme park within Madame Tussauds.
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.
Walk in the World of Star Wars
Get up close and personal with all your favorite characters from the Star Wars saga.
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.
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.
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
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.