When planning a trip to London, don’t forget to include at least one of the many family-friendly museums in the city. These museusm provide all kinds of activities and workshops to keep all ages happy and many are free to visit. You can be sure that each member of the family will leave having learned something from your visit. Here we list arguably London’s best museums for families:
This anthropological museum is regularly voted the most child-friendly of all museums in London. Set within16 acres of gardens to explore, the museum has daily free activities for children and dozens of family-friendly exhibits like a Nature Base with live animals, a hands-on exhibit that lets children touch museum pieces, and an aquarium showing fifteen different environments from around the world.
V&A Museum of Childhood
A lot of thought has gone into making this museum family-friendly despite despite the fact so many toys cannot be touched. In each area there are activity stations with Lego, stickle bricks, a sandpit, board games, rocking horses, a book corner and more. Like many London museums, there are plenty of events for the family at weekends and during school holidays.
London’s Science Museum has exhibits for every family member of any age. There are galleries for children under five, the Pattern Pod for children up to eight, and the Launchpad, which has more than 50 hands-on experiments for older children and to be fair, for most adults too, whether it be attempting to make a rainbow or trying out the museums rotation station. For the less active, the icons of science including Stephenson’s Rocket locomotive and Crick and Watson’s DNA model can be seen here too.
London Transport Museum
This is great fun for all the family as you explore the fascinating and entertaining history of transport in the capital, with many vehicles to explore along the way. There’s a chance to sit in the driver’s cab of a red bus and guide a Northern Line simulator through tunnels and up to platforms. There’s also a play area for under-fives.
All the family will be amazed by the Egyptian mummies at the British museum. With inventive and free family events run on Saturdays, trail booklets for children and daily handling sessions in various galleries, all ages can enjoy one of London’s best museums.
Natural History Museum
Home to the first T. Rex fossil ever discovered plus a specimen of the Baryonyx, one of Europe’s largest meat-eaters ever found will have all the family awestruck. The museum exhibits are separated into four colour-coded zones. In Blue Zone, you will find a life-size model of a blue whale. Geology in the Red Zone includes a dramatic escalator ascent through the centre of the earth with a ground-shaking earthquake simulator at the top.
Set in eighteenth-century almshouses, your family can time travel through the physical history of the English interior from 1600 to present day through a series of period rooms in chronological order. On the first Saturday of the month there are free quizzes and craft activities for 5-16 year-olds, while half-term offers hands-on workshops for all ages. In summer, there is an eclectic array of family days; events often take place in the museum’s beautiful gardens, so bring a picnic to eat on the grass.
Imperial War Museum
As expected, there are guns, planes and tanks in the main galleries, but there is also the ‘A Family in Wartime’ exhibition that tells the story of how ordinary people lived through the challenges of life in London during WWII through the eyes of a London family. The unflinching Holocaust Exhibition, which traces the history of anti-semitism and the shameful death camps is not recommended for under-14s.
National Maritime Museum
The largest of all maritime museums in the world has ten free galleries to explore and a collection of artwork, maps, and memorabilia. One of the best London museums for any family interested in pirates, shipwrecks, and adventure, you can learn about maritime technology while loading cargo, arming a cannon, and sending semaphore signals. You can also use the Ship Simulator Gallery to try piloting a ship and steering it into port.
Golden Hinde II
The Golden Hind was the famous English galleon on which Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the globe. The family can experience life as a sixteenth-century sailor aboard the Golden Hinde II. This full-size reconstruction offers interactive tours with actors in period costumes. You can explore the deck, raise the anchor, fire the guns, and watch a staged sword fight. Older children can enjoy the Golden Tour that includes a visit from a sixteenth century Barber Surgeon who demonstrates how illnesses and injuries were treated, with a prop box of frightening medical tools.