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There is no doubt about it, London is a great place for a day of sightseeing and has so many tourist attractions the most difficult decision is deciding where to go first. But if you have kids is it possible to have a fun day out without ending the day with a fractious toddler or a rebellious pre-teen?
Well the good news is that there are lots of exciting and educational things to do in London town and even better news……you can do loads of them absolutely for FREE. Our great city has a host of museums many of which offer brilliant activities for kids and adults alike.
This is my pick of the top family-friendly FREE museums in London:
The Horniman Museum in Forest Hill is an anthropological museum and must be one of the most child-friendly venues in all of London. The museum is set in 16 acres of landscaped gardens and provides great facilities for families. As well as an enormous collection of anthropological items, natural history exhibits and musical instruments there is also a nature trail, weekend workshops and a hands-on-base where children can touch museum objects.
Admission: FREE for entry to the Museum and Gardens (A charge is made for the aquarium and some of the temporary exhibitions)
Opening Times: 10.30am – 5.30pm daily (except 24 – 26 December)
The V&A Museum of Childhood is the largest museum of its kind in the world and is located in Bethnal Green. The whole family have access to some of the best exhibitions about childhood; including board games, Doll’s Houses and children’s literature. There are exhibition activities which you can join in with.
Opening Times: Daily 10.00am – 5 .45pm (Closed 24, 25 and 26 December)
The Grant Museum of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy is part of University College London. It’s an old-fashioned museum packed full of curious and bizarre specimens. There really is a lot to see here but keep a special eye out for the Anaconda skeleton and the Brain Collection. This is a great place for kids, particularly those who are interested in animals or science.
Opening Times: Monday – Saturday 1pm – 5pm (Closed: Sundays, Bank holidays and during Christmas and Easter)
The Science Museum, in South Kensington, is a major tourist attraction and is always popular with both adults and children alike. It has seven floors packed solid with educational and entertaining exhibits. The Launch Pad is a fab hands-on gallery where children can explore basic scientific principles. The museum is currently running a Robot exhibit which explores our fascination with mechanised human form. The exhibit focusses on why they exist rather than on how they work and is well worth a visit.
Opening times: 10 am –6pm (last entry 17.15) Daily
This museum offers a truly inspiring insight into the capital. From prehistoric London through the Roman, Saxon and Medieval periods you are introduced to a multitude of changes from civil war to plague and fire. Finally you are invited to take a look at Victorian London with recreated pleasure gardens.
Opening times: 10 am –6pm Daily
The Museum of London Docklands is the sister museum to the Museum of London and can be found on the Isle of Dogs, East London. The museum tells the story of London’s River Thames and the growth of Docklands. You are invited to wander through the 19th-century Sailor town or join in all the fun at the many free family events held over weekends. There is an area, Mudlarks, for children up to 8 years of age where they can enjoy hands on and educational activities.
Opening Times: Daily 10am – 6pm
These are just a few top museums to visit with you family and there are as you would imagine, loads more. Take a look at some of the following:
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