Five fantastic gift shops (with great galleries and museums attached)

London Calling

We're all familiar with the idea of exiting an exhibition through the gift shop, but in the flattened world of internet retail, gift shops are becoming increasingly popular browsing destinations in their own right.

Design Museum

Catnip for museum geeks, according to our source, the Design Museum's shop may be small but, like many of the pieces on show in its collections, it's still perfectly formed. Good design has often been described as art you can buy, take home with you and actually find a use for other than covering up some empty wall space, and if the shop often comes across as more pop-up boutique rather than museum store, that's definitely a good thing.

Inside you'll find enough coffee-table books on design, branding and architecture to start your own creative agency, as well as a range of contemporary cultural home-wares, desktop decorations and electronic gadgetry to ensure your new start-up has a suitably trendy 21st century head start whether you're aiming for Shoreditch chic or Mad Men mastery.

The National Gallery

Whether checking the latest exhibition or simply stepping back to spend a quiet minute or two with your favourite piece from the gallery's vast permanent collection, a visit to the National Gallery is bound to inspire in all kinds of ways. One of those is almost certainly the notion that it would be lovely to take just one small piece home with you.

While the gallery takes a dim view on art theft, its more than happy to point you to the custom printing service in its gift shop. Here you can browse through an online catalogue of the gallery's collection, select your preferred print size, and then simply press print and take your new masterpiece home.

The Photographer's Gallery

The Photographer's Gallery is the place to go for specialist photography books and magazines as well as an extensive range of camera equipment. The online shop is so good we'll make an internet shopping exception; they have a full list of gallery editions and works by individual listed photographers online. Anything you can't find there, just give the a shout, there are thousands more items available to order.

Tate Modern

While not quite as big as the adjoining Turbine Hall, Tate Modern's shop is a book browsers dream, and our museum geek reports feeling cleverer simply by standing near the shelves.

It's not the size that impresses though, but the range, with everything from a children's art book section and biographies of famous artists sitting next to PHD level texts on post-postmodernist theory and Deleuzian deconstruction. They also have a great range for souvenir hunters, from the expected postcards and prints through to exclusive ranges of designer ware commissioned especially for Tate.

Wellcome Collection

Although technically a branch of Blackwell's books situated inside the venue, the bookshop staff have focused considerable attention to their shelves, curating a changing display of modern medical and popular science titles that both link directly to the theme of the current exhibition as well as covering some of the most topical science debates of the day. It doesn't hurt that the bookshop is located at the far end of Wellcome Collections cafe, which makes it the perfect site to soak up some coffee and free wifi while tweeting about your exciting new purchases.

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