One of London’s most popular and well-known visitor attractions is Madame Tussauds. This wax museum, named for its founder, has been welcoming visitors since 1835.
Today, there are more than twenty Madame Tussauds wax museums found all around the world, a few of which we have visited over the years. However, the museum in London was the first to open and is definitely our favorite of all the ones we have visited!
We have visited Madame Tussauds in London many times over the years. My first visit was as a child in the 1980s, but I have since returned as an adult a couple of times as well.
In today’s guide, we’re going to share with you everything you need to know to plan your own visit to London’s Madame Tussauds based on our experiences.
From tips on how to get here, what to expect, and how to skip the lines, this guide will help you plan the perfect visit. Also, if you are not sure if you want to visit here, this guide should help you decide if it is worth visiting or not.
Let’s get started by answering some questions about Madame Tussauds.
The Madame Tussauds wax museum is actually named after a real person. Marie Tussaud was born in Strasbourg, France in 1761, with the maiden name Marie Grosholtz.
She started to learn how to create wax sculptures at a very young age under the direction of the renowned wax sculptor Philippe Curtius. With Philippe she moved to Paris, France, where she was during the French Revolution. In fact, many of her early works were wax models of the victims of the French Revolution.
When Philippe died, his large collection of wax models was bequeathed to Marie. It was also around this time that she met and married Francois Tussaud, thus becoming Madame Tussauds.
For 30 years in the early 19th century, Marie took her collection of wax figurines on tour around Europe. She finally settled in London in 1831, where she died in 1850.
At this point you might be wondering when and why wax museums became popular, and if Madame Tussauds was the first wax museum in London.
Well, life-size accurate wax figures of people have been around for quite a long while. For example, life-like wax figures were created as part of the funeral process for European Royalty in the Middle Ages. This was to present a figure of the deceased to the masses to pay their respects to.
It was in the 17th century that wax figures became popular as a form of entertainment. Versions of the French Royal Court and English Royal Court were created and exhibited, and these became popular as both travelling and permanent exhibits.
In a time before photography, TV, magazines, or the Internet, most people would not really know what famous people looked liked outside of printed sketches or coins. Wax figures were the most life-like representations that most people would ever see and were very popular. Some also depicted gruesome or shocking scenes such as murders and decapitations.
The first known wax museum in London was opened in 1711 on Fleet Street by a woman named Mrs. Salmon. This was over 100 years before Madame Tussauds opened her London museum!
Madame Tussauds is a wax museum which is known for its lifelike wax depictions of historical and celebrity figures from around the world.
The original Madame Tussauds in London was founded by Marie Tussaud who gave it her name. The original collection consisted of around 400 figures, including the figures Marie had inherited from Philipe Curtius.
Today there are several Madame Tussauds museums around the world, but the original was founded in London on Baker Street in 1835. In 1884 the museum was moved to its present location on Marylebone Road.
Today, Madame Tussauds contains a wide variety of exhibits. These include rotating themed exhibits, often based on recent movies or other cultural events.
There are also notable wax figures spanning history, from recent celebrities to past political figures, sporting heroes, and even fictional characters.
The London Madame Tussauds is also home to some of the oldest wax models in the Madame Tussauds collection, some of which were created by Marie herself. So for those of you interested in the history of the museum and the life of Marie, this is definitely the Madame Tussauds to visit.
Now that you know a bit about the history of Madame Tussauds, both the museum and the person behind it, let’s look at planning your visit to this popular attraction.
Madame Tussauds is found on Marylebone Road in the Marylebone area of London. This is just to the north west of central London attractions, by Regent’s Park.
The full address is:
From the outside you will notice that the building is in two parts, a large white building and then a dome. This was previously the London Planetarium; however it closed as a planetarium in 2010 and is now the area of Madame Tussauds where 4D films are shown.
Madame Tussauds is easy to get to, with multiple transport options available.
We nearly always travel to Madame Tussauds on the London Underground, or Tube. The nearest tube station is Baker Street, just a couple of minutes’ walk away.
Baker Street is served by five tube lines, the Bakerloo line, Circle line, Jubilee line, Hammersmith & City line and Metropolitan line. So you should be able to easily reach it by tube wherever you are staying in London.
There are also public bus stops near to Madame Tussauds offering connections across the city.
Ride-sharing apps and taxis are of course also available in London.
Finally, if you are exploring London on a hop on hop off bus, such as the one included on the London Pass, the majority of these services have a route which includes a stop at Madame Tussauds.
If you want more information about public transport in London, see our guide to getting around London.
Madame Tussauds is usually open year-round with the exception of Christmas Day.
Opening times vary from 9am to 10am, and the closing time also varies between 3pm and 5pm.
These times depend on the day of the week and the time of the year, with less popular days normally having shorter opening hours.
Be sure to check the latest opening dates and times before your visit. You can see the full calendar of opening times and hours on the official website here.
In our experience, you should expect to spend a minimum of 90 minutes visiting, but we would recommend spending two to three hours visiting Madame Tussauds to get the most out of your experience.
The museum is laid out in a structured fashion so you naturally flow from one exhibit to the next. The majority of exhibits have a lot of photo opportunities, so you will likely find the time flying by as you pose with your favorite personalities.
In addition, when the museum is busier it can take a little longer as you wait to take your photos. So we would recommend giving yourself plenty of time so you don’t feel rushed or that you are missing out on anything.
With over 150 wax figures on display, spread out across 11 different themed zones, you can definitely see a lot at Madame Tussauds!
The main zones are as follows. However, do be aware that the figures and zones do change from time to time.
As well as the above, there are themed zones which usually reflect recent popular films or other cultural events. For example, when we have visited we have seen a Star Wars themed zone, and a Marvel themed zone.
As well as the themed zones, there are a number of other experiences within Madame Tussauds. These are as follows.
The actual wax figures on display change fairly regularly. You can see a list of the current wax figures and themed areas on the official website here.
Yes, all visitors to Madame Tussauds need a ticket. This includes children under three who qualify for free entry.
You have two options for purchasing Madame Tussauds tickets. You can purchase them in person on the day of your visit, or you can buy them online in advance from the official website.
We strongly recommend booking tickets in advance as it will both save you money and guarantee your entry. Tickets are timed, with the time indicating when you can join the queue to enter the attraction.
Pricing for Madame Tussauds varies depending on a number of factors. Same day tickets and tickets for popular days such as holidays and weekends are usually more expensive compared to tickets booked further in advance and for less popular days such as weekends.
There are also different ticket options available at different prices. These are the standard ticket, fast-track ticket, and family ticket.
There are also ticket options which include additional experiences, which also increase the price.
In our experience, the best value tickets are those bought in advance for less popular days. Buying tickets in person nearly always costs more, and on busy days you are not guaranteed entry.
The prices below are correct as of March 2023, but do check the official website for the latest pricing information and ticket options.
The standard Madame Tussauds ticket grants you entry to Madame Tussauds on a day and time of your choosing.
Note that you do still have to join line with all the other people at your timeslot and go through security, so you will have to queue for a period of time.
Standard entry for Madame Tussauds costs:
For the best prices you need to book online at least three days in advance on a non-peak day.
Peak days vary, so you will need to check prices on the website to see if your chosen day is a peak day. We’d recommend booking online on peak days as well to avoid disappointment on the day.
At busier times of the year such as during school holidays, it can take a little while to enter the attraction, with queue times between 20 and 40 minutes in our experience.
If you’d rather not queue, you can pay a premium for a fast-track ticket option. Fast-track ticket holders get access to a dedicated line and entry door, so can be inside quicker. However, the fast-track ticket only helps with entry, once you are inside the attraction there is no extra benefit.
Fast-track entry for Madame Tussauds costs:
Generally, fast-track ticket prices cost around £8 – £18 more than standard entry ticket prices. Again, booking for off-peak days will get you the best price.
It’s also worth noting that you can upgrade a standard ticket to fast-track as part of the booking process, which sometimes works out cheaper than just booking a fast-track ticket depending on availability.
If you are visiting Madame Tussauds as a family, you can save by purchasing a family ticket.
These are available for groups consisting of one or two adults, and two to three children, for a maximum of five guests total.
A family ticket currently costs:
As you can see, you can save quite a bit on standard entry prices with a family ticket. Note that fast-track entry is not possible with a family ticket.
There are additional experiences you can pay for to enhance your visit. Some of these can be booked when you book your Madame Tussauds ticket, others are payable on site. These are as follows:
If you purchase tickets from the official site, these are sold on a non-refundable and non-transferable basis. However, you are able to change the date of your booking for free, which you can do on the official website here or via the Booking Portal which you will receive a link to upon ticket purchase.
If you purchase tickets via a third-party ticket site such as GetYourGuide, these may have a different cancellation policy. So if the option to cancel your tickets is important, this can be a good option.
The last time we checked, these Madame Tussauds tickets on GetYourGuide offered free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance of your visit.
You can upgrade a ticket after purchase to include a cinema ticket. However, at the time of writing, we are not aware of a way to upgrade tickets from a standard ticket to a fast-track ticket. So it is important you book the right kind of ticket in advance of your visit.
Queue times vary depending on the time of day and whether or not it is a school or public holiday. At quieter times the queue will normally be 15 minutes or less, but during peak visiting times such as school holidays it can be as long as an hour.
There are two ticket options for Madame Tussauds, a standard-entry line and a fast-track ticket line. Fast-track ticket holders can skip the slower standard-entry line and take advantage of a dedicated entrance.
However, both entrances have security checks, and so there will normally be a short wait even with a fast-track ticket. That said, at busier times the fast-track tickets should get you inside Madame Tussauds a lot quicker than the standard tickets.
There are a few different options for discount tickets for Madame Tussauds. The ones we are currently aware of are as follows.
Student Discounts. If you are a registered UK student, you can save up to 56% on Madame Tussauds by taking advantage of their student discount. You can read more about how to do this here.
If you are visiting London by train, you can take advantage of 2 for 1 entry to many attractions, including Madame Tussauds. This needs to be booked in advance, and some date exclusions apply. You can read more about this offer here.
If you are visiting Madame Tussauds as a group of at least 10 people, you can save by purchasing a group entry ticket on the official website.
Deal website Groupon sometimes has deals for Madame Tussauds, you can check those out here.
Otherwise, your best option is to purchase on the official website in advance of your visit, which will normally save you some money compared to buying tickets on the day.
Another option which can save you money on your Madame Tussauds tickets is to purchase an attraction pass which includes Madame Tussauds. So it is a good idea to check if you plan to visit any of the other attractions included on the various combination tickets.
At the time of writing, popular city attraction passes like the London Pass do not include Madame Tussauds.
However, there are some multi-attraction tickets and passes which do include Madame Tussauds. If you were already planning on visiting multiple attractions when in the city, then these passes and combination tickets might save you money.
For example, you can book the following combination tickets:
There are also some passes which include Madame Tussauds, which are as follows:
This will of course depend on you and the types of attractions you prefer.
We certainly have enjoyed Madame Tussauds when we visit. It’s amazing how lifelike the celebrity figures are, and all the exhibits are a lot of fun and very well put together. It’s an interactive experience which is definitely something that can appeal to the whole family.
A big part of the Madame Tussauds experience today for most people is taking photos of the figures and taking selfies with the figures. If this is not something you enjoy, this might not be the best attraction for you.
The other thing to note is that with all of the Madame Tussauds locations, there is a focus on local celebrities, politicians, royalty, athletes, etc. So you’ll see lots of British athletes, film stars, singers, and of course the British Royal Family. But international visitors will be sure to recognize many of these people as well as see plenty of famous people from other parts of the world. There are lots of American figures in particular.
We also like that the London location is the original Madame Tussauds, and that there is an area where you can learn more about Marie Tussaud herself, and see some of the wax figures that she worked on. Jess likes history and really enjoyed seeing the older figures and learning a bit about the history and making of wax figures.
Of course, like every experience and attraction, it’s ultimately up to you as to whether or not you feel it is worth it.
This is of course up to you. At busier times, you can definitely save some time by purchasing the fast-track ticket option. However, if you are visiting at a quieter time, the time difference is likely not going to be very significant.
It’s also worth noting that other than the potentially reduced queue time, there is no other advantage to the fast-track ticket.
Madame Tussauds offers toilets on every level of the attraction, as well as baby changing facilities.
There is a souvenir store at the exit, and food and drink stands serving confectionary, snacks and drinks are also available throughout the attraction.
Before you enter Madame Tussauds you will go through a security screening process.
A number of items are not allowed inside Madame Tussauds, including luggage, large bags, tripods, baby buggies, sharp objects such as penknives and scissors, weapons, animals (except trained assistance dogs), and alcohol. You can see a full list here.
Note that baby strollers/prams/buggies can be stored for free at a special storage facility at the museum. You can also leave luggage and coats but there is a small fee to do so.
Madame Tussauds is designed to be fully accessible, with lifts available and assistance dogs permitted.
Due to the age of the building and the number of lifts available, only three wheelchair users can be accommodated in the building at any one time. It is therefore imperative that wheelchair users book a wheelchair ticket when booking.
The Spirit of London ride is also not suitable for guests in a wheelchair or mobility scooter.
Carers with documentation are eligible for a free ticket when accompanying a disabled guest. They do need to pre-book this ticket, which can be done online here.
There is a full guide to accessibility at Madame Tussauds which you can access from their accessibility page here.
Buggies and larger bags are not permitted inside Madame Tussauds. However, there is an on-site cloakroom and buggy storage facility. Buggies can be left here for free, whilst bags and coats can be checked here for a small fee.
It is generally recommended that you either visit at around opening time or around 2pm if you want to avoid the biggest crowds.
This is because although entry is timed and managed to ensure a good through flow, as the morning goes on the attraction does get a bit busier. So if you want a less crowded experience, then visiting either when it opens or just after lunch tends to result in a less crowded visit.
Yes, Madame Tussauds is fully air-conditioned. This is both for the benefit of the guests but also the wax figures, as these need to be kept in a climate-controlled environment.
It is worth mentioning that whilst the interior of Madame Tussauds is climate controlled, the queuing area is outside the building and not protected from the elements. So you will want to dress for the weather as you may be in line for a period of time before you enter the attraction. Dressing in layers is always a good idea.
If you’d like tips for what to bring for your trip to London, see our London packing list for lots of ideas.
Yes, you are allowed to take food and drink into Madame Tussauds, with the exception of alcoholic beverages.
It is worth noting that the attraction reserves the right to restrict entry of any products they feel might adversely affect the operations of the attraction. In these situations, you will be asked to consume or discard these items before entry.
Photography is very much allowed and indeed encouraged at Madame Tussauds. So feel free to take as many photos as you like with the wax figures!
You are able to get up close to the vast majority of the wax figures and even touch them (lightly of course) to take photos. But a few of the older figures and more important figures are roped off or behind glass, but you can still take photos of them.
The main exceptions to this rule are in the cinema and on the Spirit of London ride, both are areas where photography is not permitted.
In addition, tripods are not permitted at Madame Tussauds. If you are travelling with a tripod, this will be held by security for the duration of your visit.
Whilst you are in the Marylebone area, you may be wondering what other attractions are nearby that you can also visit. Here are some options you might consider whilst in the area:
As you can see, there are plenty of attractions near Madame Tussauds so you could easily make a day of visiting this part of London.
Honestly, there aren’t any similar attractions that we are aware of in London that are like Madame Tussauds. If you want to visit a wax model museum in London, then Madame Tussauds is definitely the best option!
The Marylebone region of London where Madame Tussauds is found can make for a good base for exploring both local attractions and the rest of London. There good transport connections to the rest of the city, and mainline rail stations like Paddington and Euston are also close by.
If you are thinking of staying in this area, here are some accommodation options to consider. These are ordered approximately by price, from lower to higher, but rates can vary so do always check and compare for your dates.
For more inspiration, we have a complete guide to where to stay in London, which covers accommodation options across the whole of London as well as at the major airports.
One of our favorite things about Madame Tussauds is the unique opportunities it offers for taking photos. After all, where else are you going to be able to get a photo of you with your favorite celebrities!
Madame Tussauds is set up to help you get the photos you want. Most of the wax models are displayed in a way that makes posing with them easy.
That said, there are still a few challenges to be aware of when it comes to taking photos. As a professional photographer, I will now share some tips on taking photos at Madame Tussauds to help you get the best shots when you visit.
Hopefully our photography tips help you get some better photos when you visit Madame Tussauds. If you’d like to learn more about photography, we have a whole selection of photography tips here for you to read through.
We have actually visited Madame Tussauds a number of times. Laurence first visited as a child with his family in the 1980s, when it was quite a different experience before social media and selfies were a thing! Back then, the wax figures were to be cautiously observed from behind velvet ropes!
Since then, times have changed, and Jessica and I have visited twice in more recent years. We’ll share our experience from our most recent visit in 2022, which was similar to our visit in 2017 (although some of the exhibits changed between visits).
We booked for the 9:30 AM timeslot, which was the first one on the day we visited. We arrived a little at around 9:20 AM. There was already a queue formed, which we joined. The doors opened at 9:30 AM, and the queue moved quickly. We passed through security and were inside by 9:36 AM.
The first section we visited was the celebrity after-party, which featured many celebrities from the world of film and TV. They were all dressed to the nines and this was a popular location to get photos.
Luckily as we were there early in the day it was not too busy but there were still some short waits to stand next to the most popular celebrities.
We then navigated through the Alien: Escape experience, a horror themed exhibition based on the world of the Alien franchise. This was a lot of fun and a little bit creepy!
As you can tell in the photo below, we were here during the COVID-19 pandemic period and we both wore face masks during our visit but did remove them for many of the photos.
From there we entered the world of movies, featuring stars of the silver screen from E.T. to James Bond. We also saw the giant eighteen-foot animatronic statue of Kong’s head from Kong: Skull Island.
We passed by one of the wax hand creation workshops. Someone was about to get a wax model handmade, which looked like a lot of fun, especially for kids. This is something we might try on a future visit.
Here we descended to a new level where there were sporting stars, Olympic athletes and fashion models.
We then met Royals from the British Royal Family spanning the generations. Here there was a photo opportunity with the present Royal Family.
Our visit was before the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, so the layout will have changed since we were last there.
The Royals were near a number of prominent politicians from both the UK and overseas, after which we entered into the world of Music with plentiful opportunities for photos of a number of popular musicians, both current and past.
We then descended to another level. We particularly liked that the staircases had lots of posters and information about Marie Tussauds and the history of Madame Tussauds, a sort of mini museum as it were.
The new level opened with a small display on Marie Tussauds, with a wax model of the lady herself as well as some of the oldest wax models in the collection. The oldest waxwork in the collection is the breathing Sleeping Beauty made by Philippe Curtius, which dates to 1763. A device in her chest makes it appear that she is asleep and breathing.
There was also information on the process of making a wax model. The video shown when we were there last was of the making of a wax mold of Beyoncé, showing all the steps it take to create a modern wax figure and her experience of the process.
Now it was time to board the Spirit of London ride. This is a ride on rails where you board a “black cab” carriage, and are transported around a number of scenes depicting key events and characters from London’s colorful past.
This includes all kinds of events from the Middles Ages until now and figures include those of people such as William Shakespeare, Queen Victoria, and Winston Churchill.
This part of Madame Tussauds is always a favourite with us. There’s also an opportunity to have your photo taken at the end of the ride so keep an eye out for that.
After the ride we entered Marvel’s Hall of Heroes, home to many of the superhero characters from the Marvel universe.
There were more fun photo opportunities here. This is also where the cinema is, which was showing the Marvel 4D movie when we visited. As of 2023 this is included on all tickets (it used to be a paid add-on).
From the Marvel area we passed through the Star Wars exhibit, which depicted key scenes from many of the Star Wars movies and had some more fun photo opportunities.
We particularly liked the opportunity to fly the Millenium Falcon into hyperspace with Chewie by our side!
Finally, we were into the gift shop where we picked up a couple of gifts for friends before emerging into the sunlight.
We left just after 11am, having spent about 90 minutes inside. We definitely could have spent longer, but we had quite a busy schedule and had visited before, so we really hit some of our highlights rather than stopping absolutely everywhere.
But I think most people should allocate at least 2 hours, perhaps 3 hours, to ensure they have enough time here.
We wanted to share some tips to help you plan your visit to Madame Tussauds.
That’s it for our guide to visiting Madame Tussauds in London. We hope you found it useful in helping you plan your trip to this popular attraction.
We’ve also got a number of other resources to help you plan your trip to London and the UK in general which we think you’ll find useful.
And that’s it! We hope you found our guide to visiting Madame Tussauds helpful, and as always, if you have any questions, just pop them in the comments and we’ll answer them as soon as we can!
So you know: We were provided a pair of complimentary standard tickets for Madame Tussauds to experience a visit as media. We paid for all of our other expenses, including our transport and accommodation in London.
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