The main entrance looks like just another office building on Chancery Lane. However, a short journey down a small set of stairs leads you to a large and imposing black safe door. Behind that door resides a variety of shops selling hundreds of silver items. This subterranean haunt that caters to all things silver is better known as the London Silver Vaults.
Constructed of thick, steel-reinforced walls in 1876, the London Silver Vaults were originally established as a safe depository for wealthy Britians looking to protect their valuables. When the vaults first opened, they were guarded by men with swords and shotguns. No one in the past or present has ever breached the vaults. After sustaining a near-direct hit during the Blitz of WWII, the vaults remained unfazed.
Eventually, silver dealers began to rent vaults inside to store their goods. Soon, the vaults were converted into around 30 family-run stores in 1953, each complete with their own vault door.
Nowadays, anyone can visit the London Silver Vaults and marvel at the biggest retail collection of antique and contemporary silver in the world. Here you’ll find everything from royal cutlery and toys to tea caddies, guns, snuff boxes, and various other oddities. The vault is also home to the largest collection of gold-lined silver goblets.
Most visitors are auctioneers, high-end restauranteurs, and collectors. Occasionally celebrities and production crews working on movies like Pirates of the Caribbean or television series such as Downtown Abbey visit the shop searching for the right items that will pop on screen.
Know Before You Go
Visiting is free. The opening hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays until 1 p.m. It's closed on Sundays and bank holidays.