London Museums

(London, England, UK)

The London Museumland was originally conceived by Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. With the profit that he made from the Great Exhibition of 1851, 87 acres / 35 hectares of land in South Kensington was purchased to build large museums and important city institutions. Today, it is here that many of London's best and most visited museums can be found.

All the museums listed below welcome children and do their best to make a visit fun. Not only do most have special interactive displays and educational programmes, but often during school holiday times, additional activities are available, designed especially for children. Despite their size, quality and reputation, most of the largest museums in London actually have no admission charge whatsoever, making them all the more appealing for families.

British Museum

Address: Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG, England
Tel: +44 (0)20 7636 1555
Founded over 250 years ago, world-famous collections of drawings, prints, coins, medals and large statues are among the many exhibits. A staggering six and a half million objects are displayed and these include collections from all over the world, some dating back to prehistoric times.

The Museum of London

Address: London Wall, London, EC2Y 5HN, England
Tel: +44 (0)20 7600 3699
The history of London, starting from prehistoric times and moving right up to the present day is depicted here in one of the largest and most comprehensive collections in the world. Numerous Roman, Saxon and Elizabethan remains that have been discovered during the city's various re-buildings are now displayed here. Temporary exhibitions are held regularly with a fascinating look at modern design and history in the making.

Natural History Museum

Address: Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD, England
Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 4342
Everything pertaining to our natural world history can be seen in this, London's most handsome museum. A staggering collection of insects, spiders and moths as big as small birds are beautifully displayed, whilst those interested in life's larger creatures can see full dinosaur skeletons and recreations of our greatest sea dwellers. The Natural History Museum offers a vast array of exciting hands-on exhibits, with displays about ecology and the animal world. Recently opened are the new Dinosaur Gallery and Earthquake Experience, with highlights including a Tyrannosaurus Rex, which actually moves and roars.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday 10:00 to 17:50, Sunday 11:00 to 17:50
Admission: free
Nearest tube station: South Kensington

Science Museum

Address: Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2DD, England
Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 4595
The Science Museum is home to the most comprehensive collections of technology, medicine and science in the whole world. It is very impressive, with seven floors full of items drawn from every conceivable area of science, including telecommunications, time measurement, chemistry, computing, photography and medicine. The museum includes a large Space Gallery, featuring the Apollo 10 command module, the Wellcome Wing, with Digitopolis - an enjoyable look at modern technology, and the popular IMAX cinema. There are many interactive areas which are always popular with children.
Open hours: daily 10:00 to 18:00
Admission: free
Nearest tube station: South Kensington

Victoria and Albert Museum

Address: Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 2RL, England
Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 2197
In terms of sheer variety and scale, this museum is the greatest museum of applied arts in the world. The range of exhibits on display here ensure that, whatever your taste, there is bound to be something that will completely grab your attention. Exhibits include the world's largest collection of Indian art outside India, plus huge Chinese, Islamic, Japanese and Korean galleries. From making puppets to turban tying, there are always plenty of activities for children and adults alike. Embark upon an exciting adventure across the museum with the popular 'Backpack Tours' and 'Activity Carts', both filled with activities such as jigsaws and games.
Activity Cart for Families: Every Sunday from 10:30 with a special event every first Sunday of the month, and additional days during school holidays
Open hours: daily 10:00 to 17:45, except Wednesdays and the last Friday of the month, when it remains open until 22:00
Admission: free
Nearest tube station: South Kensington

Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood

Address: Cambridge Heath Road, London, E2, England
Tel: +44 (0)20 8983 5200
The Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood displays a large collection of toys, dolls and dolls' houses, children's costumes and nursery antiques. In the school holidays and at the weekend there is a programme of activities.
Open hours: Monday to Thursday, Saturday and Sunday - 10:00 to 17:50
Admission: free

Imperial War Museum

Address: Lambeth Road, London, England
Tel: +44 (0)20 7416 5000
This museum features displays about the two World Wars, including exhibitions on the Blitz and Trench experiences and tells the story of 20th-century warfare on the front line and home front. The new 'Holocaust Exhibition' is not recommended for children under the age of 14. Parking is available nearby.
Open hours: daily, 10:00 to 18:00
Admission: free
Nearest tube station: Lambeth North

London Transport Museum

Address: Covent Garden, London, England
Tel: +44 (0)20 7379 6344
Discover the exciting story of London's famous transport system, from 1800 to the present day. With colourful and interesting displays of buses, trams and trains, the museum also has hands-on areas for children, where they can learn all about different aspects of transport with many enjoyable activities.
Open hours: Saturday to Thursday, 10:00 to 18:00, Friday 11:00 to 18:00
Admission: adults admission charge, children under 16 are free
Nearest tube station: Covent Garden

Royal Air Force Museum

Address: Grahame Park Way, London, NW9, England
Tel: +44 (0)20 8205 2266
Britain's National Museum of aviation features over 70 full-sized aircraft, which include a unique collection of British, German and Italian planes. The attraction also houses a flight simulator, 'Touch and Try' Jet Provost Trainer and Sunderland Flying Boat 'walk-through' experience.
Open hours: daily 10:00 to 18:00
Admission: free
Nearest tube station: Colindale
Nearest railway station: Mill Hill Broadway

Theatre Museum

Address: Russell Street, Covent Garden, London, England
Tel: +44 (0)20 7943 4700
Five galleries illustrate the history of the performing arts in the UK, with a collection including displays on ballet, dance, theatre, circus, puppetry, opera, musicals, rock and pop. Workshops on performing arts are usually held daily, covering subjects such as pantomimes and producing plays.
Open hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 to 18:00
Admission: free
Nearest tube station: Covent Garden

Shakespeare's Globe Exhibition

Address: New Globe Walk, London, SE1 9DT, England
Tel: +44 (0)20 7902 1500
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and Exhibition is the fascinating story of the recreation of Shakespeare's Globe. It is the largest exhibition in the world devoted to Shakespeare, and visitors can see the reconstructed Elizabethan theatre, built with the same materials and techniques as 400 years ago. In the summer months, many of Shakespeare's plays are performed in this authentic setting. Guided tours are available.
Open hours: daily, 10:00 to 17:00 - During the theatre season (May to September) guided tours are available between 09:00 to 12:00 and the exhibition is open from 12:00 to 17:30
Admission: charge
Nearest tube station: London Bridge