This London shop is a dream come true for Whovians
London is a large city full of fascinating shops, historical locations, and tourist attractions. One of the more niche shops that can be found there is a shop dedicated to the hit sci-fi TV series Doctor Who. This British-made series first aired in 1963, and was rebooted in 2005, bringing a whole new generation of fans into the fold. The franchise now contains hundreds of episodes as well as radio specials, theater specials, and a variety of other related content. Whether you are a fan of the classic Doctor Who, the reboot, or both, you will be able to find something to enjoy. This shop carries merchandise based on both Doctor Who and its spinoff Torchwood.
A shop for all ages
This store was opened in 1984 by a couple named Alexandra and Kevin Loosely-Saul. Since then, it has been selling a variety of goods, both simple and rare, to Whovians from around the world. It has also moved locations at least once and the front is currently painted a bright TARDIS blue. For those unfamiliar with the show, the term TARDIS is an acronym which stands for “Time And Relative Dimension In Space,” and is the term used for the main spaceship in the show. This ship takes the form of a classic police public call box once commonly found in London. It is also known to be bigger on the inside than its dimensions suggest from the outside. It is one of the most recognizable symbols of the series.
In this specialty shop, you can find all your basic fandom merch, things like keychains, mugs, and t-shirts, and DVD copies of the available seasons. They have merchandise based on both the classic seasons of Doctor Who and the newer reboot seasons. You can also find some rare and valuable items, including some autographs from different cast members throughout the years. But that’s not all this shop has to offer. Turns out that, like the TARDIS, this shop is bigger on the inside.
Located at the back of the store is a museum dedicated to all things Doctor Who. It’s not very advertised and many people don’t know of its existence. In order to get a tour through the Doctor Who museum, you have to ask for a museum ticket at the front counter. The current price is 3 pounds per ticket, and must be purchased in cash. Prices could change at any time. Once you have received your ticket, you are able to enter the museum by going through the TARDIS located at the back of the store. Either the owner or one of the staff will accompany you, and visitors say that the staff is happy to talk about Doctor Who with you while you explore the museum.
It’s not an especially large museum as it is smaller than the size of the shop. According to visitors of the museum, much of the collection is from the older, or classic, series. This is likely due to the fact that not much from the reboot series has been sold into private collections yet. As more becomes available, it is probable that the owners will obtain more objects from the more recent seasons. The museum does have lots of costumes from various episodes throughout the years as well as a variety of other props and paraphernalia. One of the more impressive costumes they display is an original and recognizable outfit complete with scarf, from Tom Baker’s days as the doctor. The museum also has some limited collection items from other TV shows, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, though not many. While they used to allow photos to be taken inside the museum, now only a photo with the TARDIS you enter through is allowed.
How to get there
The official address for the shop is: The Who Shop, 39-41 Barking Road, London E6 1PY
Their hours are subject to change but typical hours are Monday through Saturday from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM. Museum hours may differ so it is best to confirm in advance that it will be open during your trip. You can do so by giving them a call at 020 8471 2356.
Getting there might be a bit challenging for those staying in central London. The first recommendation on how to get there is to let your smartphone guide you. If you don’t happen to have a vehicle or have a smartphone that won’t work abroad, here are a couple of other options. Rideshare apps are often a good way to get around if you have the cash, and often only need internet connection at the start of the journey. If you are taking the subway, or underground, you’ll want to get off at the Uptown Park station. From there, it is just a short walk down the street to the right at Barking road. Take a left on Barking road and the shop is just a bit further down. There is also a local bus route which drops off right next to the shop. As bus routes are often subject to change, it’s best to consult the available local public transportation information to determine which bus route you need.
One of the benefits of taking a trip to this shop and museum is that it is unlikely to be very crowded, unlike most museums. This shop is not a typical tourist attraction, but if you’re a Whovian at heart, it’s well worth the trip.