Picking my favourite family friendly museums is a hard task! Often it’s not where you go but when – special exhibitions, events, activities and trails can transform a visit. That’s why I write regular what’s on guides over on museumum.com, to help you find the current best days out with kids. But you also need reliable stalwarts up your sleeve, ready to call on as required. So I’ve chosen five London museums for a great family day out, whenever you visit.
Natural History Museum
The very first museum we’re heading back to! There’s plenty to capture kids’ imagination, with its roaring T rex, shuddering earthquake simulator, glittering gems, fossilised giants and preserved animals. We see different things every time we go, thanks to a mind-boggling 70 million specimens, covering 4.5 million years of history. I particularly love climbing to the top of Hintz Hall to take in the spectacular Victorian architecture – a true cathedral to nature. And with numbers limited during the pandemic, it’s a pleasure to visit without the crowds.
Upcoming: Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature has plenty of digital and physical interactives for little hands to play with, alongside film props, historic specimens and dramatic set dressing. You don’t need to have seen the film to enjoy the exhibition. 17 May 2021 – 3 January 2022. £22 adult, £13.25 child, family from £38.50.
Read my Ultimate Guide to the Natural History Museum HERE
This hidden gem in Forest Hill is an eclectic mix of world cultures, musical instruments and natural history with a packed family event programme. Animal lovers will enjoy the giant stuffed walrus, little aquarium with 15 tanks, butterfly house and animal enclosures – with alpacas! Afterwards, let off steam in their 16 acres of gardens, with a musical instrument playspace and stunning views of London’s skyline. Finish off with a walrus shortbread in the cafe, or a visit to their Sunday farmers market. Well worth crossing the river for.
Upcoming: Immerse yourself in the heart of the forest in Monkey Business. Discover how primates live, move, eat, play and interact and explore their relationship with humans. £8 adult, £4.50 child, £18 family, FREE under 3s.
Check out my Reel of our Monkey Business experience HERE
The Postal Museum
Take a ride through the abandoned tunnels and platforms of Mail Rail where projected shows tell you the story of the post office’s own underground railway. Afterwards, there’s fun, hands-on games including a Travelling Post Office where you sort mail against the clock as the floor shakes. Across the road the Postal Museum tells the fascinating story of the first social network through more interactives, intriguing people stories, bright and wacky vehicles, dressing up and a Jolly Postman Trail. The Museum Kids love whizzing messages across the gallery in their pneumatic tubes. Their postal themed soft play Sorted! is one of the best indoor play spaces in London.
Upcoming: Older kids will love their hard hat tunnel tours, ages 12+.
Read about our trip to Mail Rail and Sorted! HERE
London Transport Museum
Kids can take the driving seat in London Transport Museum’s bus and tube simulators. Travel back to 1800 and discover the history of London’s transport with a stamper trail through the iron and glass former flower market. In normal times you can clamber into many of their colourful collection of old buses, trains, trams, and trolley cars. All Aboard! Family play zone (ages 0-7) has an interactive fleet of mini vehicles and dressing up. Your ticket is valid for a year, and with regular special events and trails there’s always a reason to return – we love seeing Father Christmas in the relaxed winter wonderland grotto.
Upcoming: London Transport Museum’s storage Depot in Acton is opening for May half term. Create your own board game and get a special activity pack. 29-30 May and 2-6 June 2021. £15 adult, £7.50 child, discounts for local residents. Read our review of London Transport Museum Depot here.
Read about a fantastic day out we had at the London Transport Museum HERE
Touch, press, feel, push – and even slide – your way through the Science Museum. There’s interactive galleries for children of all ages, from Pattern Pod multi-sensory area on the ground floor (under 8s) to Engineer your future (ages 5-11). Our favourite is Wonderlab where you play with real scientific phenomena and watch live sciences shows (ages 5+). Bring a change of clothes for The Garden in the basement (ages 3-6), with its water based play. New beautiful, bold galleries on maths, medicine and communications will appeal to older teenagers and adults. Treat the kids with a 3D show in their IMAX cinema or a ride on a state-of-the-art simulator. Do exit via the gift shop – it’s stuffed with excellent science-themed kits, games and toys.
Read about our trip to the Wonderlab HERE
All photos by Museum Mum.