Benjamin Franklin House

This stately historic site in central London consists of an approximately 300-year-old terraced Georgian house that Benjamin Franklin lived in for nearly twenty years while serving in a variety of roles representing colonial American interests in England. The Benjamin Franklin House has been painstakingly preserved, and visitors today can choose to enjoy either an informative Historical Experience or an educational Architectural Tour of the five-story property.

Money Saving Tip! Benjamin Franklin House is included on the London Pass, Go London All-Inclusive Pass and London Explorer Pass. If you are sightseeing in London, then you can save a lot of money with the pass.

History of the Benjamin Franklin House

The Benjamin Franklin House is located on Craven Street, just around the corner from the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, and Charing Cross Station. It was constructed in 1730, and Margaret Stevenson, the woman who would serve as Franklin’s landlady during his residence here, would take possession of the property in 1748. Franklin lived here between the years 1757 and 1762, and then again between 1764 and 1775; today, the structure is notable as the only place Franklin lived that’s still standing.

During the years Franklin resided here, the site became known as something akin to an unofficial United States Embassy. In addition to serving as a lodging house, the building also contained an anatomy school; to that end, when conservation work began on the site in 1998, some 1200 pieces of bone were uncovered here. The Benjamin Franklin House opened to the public in 2006, on the occasion of Franklin’s 300th birthday. Though the attraction is sparsely furnished today to provide ample space for live performances, historic artifacts housed here include Franklin’s leather wallet and a marble bust of Franklin that dates to about 1800.

Benjamin Franklin House Highlights

There are two primary ways for tourists to visit the Benjamin Franklin House. One is by going on the attraction’s Historical Experience. This distinctive program combines live performers playing the roles of eighteenth-century individuals who knew Franklin with pre-recorded film projections to illuminate the story of Franklin’s two decades in London. Currently, the Benjamin Franklin House Historical Tour is available on Saturdays and Sundays between the hours of 11:00am and 4:15pm.

The second way to experience the Benjamin Franklin House is by going on an Architectural Tour of the site. This small-group guided tour provides fascinating insights into the rich past of this nearly 300-year-old home, which served as Franklin’s residence for almost 20 years; for a time, it housed an anatomy school, too. At present, the Benjamin Franklin House Architectural Tour is only available on Fridays between the hours of 11:00am and 4:15pm.

The Benjamin Franklin House also hosts occasional guest lectures, theatrical performances, educational sessions, and more. To learn all about the types of special events that might be scheduled to take place here when you’re planning to visit, check out the Benjamin Franklin House’s official website in advance of your trip.

More to See and Do at the Benjamin Franklin House

Continue reading for some additional things to keep in mind as you plan your upcoming visit to the Benjamin Franklin House.

*All visitors to the Benjamin Franklin House are encouraged to download the attraction’s free digital guide straight to their smartphones. This complimentary resource comes loaded with guided narrations, virtual lectures, and kid-friendly activities that will help you get the most out of your visit.

*The Benjamin Franklin House shop sells a small selection of books, notecards, prints, posters, and toys that make for great gifts or fun souvenirs for those history buffs in your life.

*Given the historic nature of the property, the Benjamin Franklin House is not wheelchair accessible, nor are strollers permitted on any level of the house other than the ground floor. Visitors should also be advised that the five flights of stairs here are sloped and uneven in places, as are many of the site’s floors.

*Parking is very limited around the Benjamin Franklin House—it’s in the heart of London, after all, near big-name destinations like St. James’s Park, Trafalgar Square, and Buckingham Palace—so you’re going to want to take public transportation to get here. The attraction doesn’t have its own food-or-drink options, but you’ll be spoiled for choices throughout the surrounding area.

Why the Benjamin Franklin House Should Be on Your Must-See List

With so much to see and do in London, plenty of lovely tourist attractions and top-notch guided tours tend to fall through the cracks, as it’s difficult to cram everything into a single itinerary—no matter how ambitious you are in planning your sightseeing endeavors. The Benjamin Franklin House is a well-regarded historical site that frequently gets overshadowed by its higher-profile neighbors like Westminster Abbey, the Household Cavalry Museum, the London Transport Museum, and the London Eye, just to name a few. Still, if you’re a fan of colonial American history or looking to add a last-minute attraction to your weekend plans, the Benjamin Franklin House is well worth a stop.