Museum of London Docklands
The Museum of London Docklands, situated in the heart of Canary Wharf, explores the history of London’s River Thames. The museum has recently upped its family appeal by adding a load of child friendly interactives throughout the galleries. These include building a bridge, 19th century fancy dress, drawing, and ship building to name a few. The Mudlarks Gallery, an interactive space for children up to 8, is brilliant. You can weigh cargo, tie nautical knots and load a tea clipper whilst learning museum facts in a fun and stimulating environment. They also have a soft play area for babies and toddlers where they can climb into a boat or drive a DLR train. Family facilities are fantastic with plenty of high chairs, changing facilities, activity bags and word games on offer. To top it all off their regular family events are superb with pirate takeovers, family raves and an incredible Santa’s Grotto at Christmas.
DO NOT MISS!
Sailor Town, a recreation of the old docks from the 19th century. The dark, spooky, atmospheric streets are so real you are instantly transported back in time.
Tickets are FREE.
National Army Museum
The National Army Museum, found in Chelsea, explores British Military history from the English Civil War up to modern day. Albeit a gritty subject matter, it is our history, and the National Army Museum addresses it perfectly to kids with their family friendly interactives. I’m talking a tunnel under a tank, dressing up, playing a soldiers drum, marching in a drill, sorting your rations and climbing aboard a tank, and this is just in the galleries. To make their family appeal even stronger they also have an incredible Play Base area, an immersive experience for ages 8 and under, which includes a soft play assault course, climbing aboard an army truck and preparing food in the cookhouse. Family activity backpacks are also on offer for 2-7s and one for 8+ and to top it all off they run excellent relevant events throughout all of the school holidays.
DO NOT MISS
The Play Base area, a hugely welcome addition to the museum for families as the children get to play and have fun in an engaging and safe environment.
Tickets for the museum are free. Tickets for Play Base cost £4.75 for children aged 1-8. Adults and children under 1 go free.
London Transport Museum
Nestled in the heart of the lively Covent Garden, the London Transport Museum explores the story of London and its transport systems over the last 200 years. The museum does a marvellous job in entertaining all ages, from kids to adults. Activities in the museum include sitting on the seats of a 1938 Northern Line tube train, driving a London bus and stepping aboard a wooden 1966 railway coach. Then there’s the parent’s life saver, the All Aboard play zone for 0-7’s. Step aboard the Baby DLR, serve soup in the Thames Nipper Cafe, become a cab driver and loads more. A new addition to the museum is the Future Engineers Gallery, a family friendly space which explores engineering in an exciting and informative way. This museum also does a wonderful job of immersing you in the transport experience from putting the famous roundel logo in your coffee to the transport patterned sofas dotted around. There are fantastic facilities for families including a buggy park, a breastfeeding room and a family room. Family friendly events in the holidays are always in theme and the shop is fab!!
DO NOT MISS
The All Aboard play zone. Although please bear in mind you may not be able to drag the kids away, so might be worth doing the rest of the museum beforehand. On the plus side it’s right next to the cafe so you may just be able to get a hot cuppa while they play.
Tickets cost £17.50 for adults, under 18s go free. A big bonus is that your ticket lasts for a whole year.
The Postal Museum
The Postal Museum, located close to Farringdon station, reveals five centuries of history through the eyes of its iconic postal service and is a hidden gem for families. The museum galleries have plenty to keep the little ones engaged with activities such as posting a letter through a vacuum tube, creating a personalised stamp, dressing up as a postie and the Jolly Postman trail. The museum is just the perfect size for those little legs and you may get to brush up on your postal history too. In addition, they have the amazing Mail Rail Ride which takes you on a 15-minute journey on a miniature train through the original tunnels and station platforms under the streets of London. They also have a play area Sorted! for 0-8-year-olds, an immersive play space with all things Postal to play with including streets, buildings, trolleys, pulleys, slides and chutes. With regular family-friendly events, this museum is a must-see for families.
DO NOT MISS!
The Mail Rail Ride, every kids dream, and adults for that matter.
Tickets for general admission (Mail Rail and Exhibitions) cost £17.05 for adults, £10.45 for children. Tickets for children to also enter the Sorted! play space cost £11.95.
Museum of Childhood
Last but by no means least one of my absolute favourites, the Museum of Childhood, in Bethnal Green. Home to the largest collection of childhood objects in the UK ranging in date from the 1600’s to the present day, this museum is just as appealing to nostalgic adults as it is to kids. The galleries are full to the brim with objects children can get their hands on which include rocking horses, building blocks, a sensory area, lego and a sandpit which is always an absolute winner. Their new family-friendly exhibition ‘A Pirate’s Life for Me’ has just opened, which is a total delight for kids. The exhibition focuses on fictional pirates in popular culture from Victorian Britain to the present day. Activities include dressing up, going on a treasure hunt, stepping inside a Pirate’s tavern, a tropical island and a pirate ship where they can walk the plank. There are regular family-friendly events in the holidays as well as weekends, which include storytelling and arts and crafts. Facilities are good and they are currently in the process of having a major redevelopment with its aim to become a world-leading museum of design and creativity for children and families. Exciting stuff!
DO NOT MISS!
The ‘A Pirate’s Life for Me’ exhibition. This is running until 22nd April and defo one not to miss!
Tickets are FREE.