Sir John Soane’s Museum
London Founded in 1837 Number of annual visitors: 121,000
Why it should win This is a magical, cultural oasis in the midst of corporate London, even more so following its work (completed last September) restoring many of the interior spaces to how they would have looked when Sir John Soane, the neoclassical architect who died in 1837, was alive. Gazing upon the magnificent Hogarth paintings, you can almost believe that you are back in the 1830s. This Georgian house is also home to some contemporary interventions: in 2016 it was the only UK venue to host sculptures from Sarah Lucas’s British Pavilion from the 2015 Venice Biennale – and they looked right at home within the museum’s unusual spaces. Must-see The crypt with the sarcophagus of the Egyptian king Seti I, of the XIXTH dynasty, is extraordinary.
Quirkiest exhibit Naked, headless sculptures by Marc Quinn form part of the Drawn from Life exhibition, which runs until 23 September.