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Museums in London

It’s no surprise that the museums in London are among the best in the world, but we’re willing to bet you didn’t know they are also among the most family friendly! Better still, many of them are completely free! World famous London museums and galleries like the British Museum, the Natural History Museum and the National Gallery have interactive exhibits designed with families in mind, exceptional facilities for babies and young children, family trails, free activities over the school holidays, and even picnic areas so you can bring your own sandwiches. Below are some of our favourite free museums in London, and below those is a section with some superb family friendly museums worth the admission fees – which ones are your favourites?

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_cta admin_label=”Visit London with Kids” title=”Visiting London with Kids?” button_url=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/london-kids/” button_text=”London for Kids” background_color=”#7EBEC5″ use_background_color=”on” background_layout=”dark” text_orientation=”center”]

Check out our list of family friendly events and activities in London, including shows, free events, interactive museum exhibitions, special events for young children, and discounts for visitor attractions, hotels and West End shows.

[/et_pb_cta][et_pb_text admin_label=”Free museums” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left”]

Free museums in London

Below are some of our favourite museums in London with free admission and free activities for children – perfect whether you’re popping in for 30 minutes or making a day of it, and great for little bite-sized visits with young children.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”1_2″][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Ragged School” title=”Ragged School museum in London (Mile End)” url=”http://www.raggedschoolmuseum.org.uk/opening-hours-admission-costs/” url_new_window=”off” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/ragged-school-museum-600×399.png” alt=”Ragged School Museum” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center”]

They’ve restored one of Dr Barnardo’s original classrooms from the 1870s, and equipped it with authentic school desks, slates and chalks. An absolute favourite for children learning about The Victorians and for visitors to London. Free.

[/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_2″][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Grant Museum” title=”Grant Museum of Zoology” url=”http://www.groupon.co.uk/articles/london-jar-of-moles-al” url_new_window=”off” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/grant-museum-of-zoology-anaconda-600×399.png” alt=”Grant Museum of Zoology” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center”]

Housing thousands of skeletons, skulls, and bug-eyed animals suspended in formaldehyde, the Grant Museum of Zoology isn’t your average museum. This incredible, fascinating museum in central London even has Dodo bones, an ice age deer and the rarest skeleton in the world. An absolute must. Free.

[/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left”] [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”1_3″][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Museum of London” title=”Museum of London (City)” url=”http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/london-wall/” url_new_window=”off” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/21376380.jpg” alt=”Museum of London” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center”]

Right in the heart of The City, the Museum of London is the best place to get started if you want to learn about London’s history – whether you’re keen on learning about the Romans, Victorian fashion or the Great Fire of London. Incredible, unmissable, and often overlooked!

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Bank of England” title=”Bank of England Museum in London” url=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/museums-the-bank-of-england-museum-the-city-london/” url_new_window=”off” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/21379475.jpg” alt=”Bank of England Museum in London” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center”]

The Bank of England Museum is a surprisingly child friendly spot, using interactive displays, unusual coins, treasure hunts and storytelling sessions to help children learn about the history of money and the economy. In fact, the museum’s design is so good for kids that they have become a certified Children’s University (CU) Learning Destination. Free.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”National army Museum” title=”National Army Museum in London (Chelsea)” url=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/national-army-museum-chelsea-london/” url_new_window=”off” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/NAM.png” alt=”National Army Museum in London (Chelsea)” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center”]

Discover adventure, banish boredom and unleash imagination. The Kids Zone is a free interactive learning and play space featuring forest, castle, construction, reading, art activity and board-game areas. Bring all your troops – the Kids Zone is tailored for children under 10, including a soft-play area for babies. Free.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Museum of Childhood” title=”V&A Museum of Childhood in London (Bethnal Green)” url=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/family-days-out-east-london/” url_new_window=”off” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/21275246.jpg” alt=”V&A Museum of Childhood in London (Bethnal Green)” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center”]

This fantastic museum houses the Victorian & Albert’s collection of objects that are childhood-related over the ages of 1600s to today. There is a wide range of collection of teddy bears, puppets, toys, clothing and other goods which will get the little ones minds running. What is very impressive is that the museum has an excellent Special Education Needs (SEN) scheme which is designed to give children with special needs the best access to learning opportunities. Free.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”RAF Museum in North London” title=”RAF Museum in North London” url=”http://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/london/” url_new_window=”off” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Royal-Air-Force-Museum-London-Lancaster-600×390.png” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center”]

Easily one of the most fascinating places to visit for children of any age, and a great place to go with babies on a rainy day. There are planes and helicopters galore, plus a fantastic engineering-themed interactive area for kids. Free.

[/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_3″][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”British Museum” title=”British Museum in London (Bloomsbury)” url=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/museums-the-british-museum-bloomsbury-london/” url_new_window=”off” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/21321570.jpg” alt=”British Museum in London (Bloomsbury)” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center”]

The British Museum stretches over 14 acres and has over 90 rooms, some with permanent exhibits including the Egyptian mummies as well as coins and medals dating from the Roman period. Free.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Fulham Palace” title=”Fulham Palace in London” url=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/museums-fulham-palace-london/” url_new_window=”off” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/21170278.jpg” alt=”Fulham Palace in London” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center”]

Fulham Palace was the home of the Bishop of London until recent times (1973). The Museum tells the story of the Palace and the Bishops and is a great place for the children to learn about their local history from prehistoric and Roman settlement, through Tudor, Georgian, Victorian and present day. Free.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Science Museum” title=”Science Museum in London (South Kensington)” url=”http://www.london-baby.com/browse-by-category/museums/” url_new_window=”off” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/21332943.jpg” alt=”Science Museum in London (South Kensington)” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center”]

Besides being an all-around amazing London attraction, this is one of the best museums to take your toddler to as there are two areas that are specifically toddler focused as well as other parts of the museum that are really fun for young children to see. Free.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Museum of London Docklands” title=”Museum of London – Docklands” url=”http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/docklands/whats-on/family-events/” url_new_window=”off” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Toddler-playing-at-Museum-of-London-Docklands-small.jpg” alt=”Museum of London – Docklands” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center”]

An incredible museum for families near Canary Wharf, with interactive galleries where children can learn about the London docks, the lives of sailors (and pirates). A brilliant bit of hands-on history. Free.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Horniman” title=”Horniman Museum in London (Forest Hill)” url=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/horniman-museum-gardens-london/” url_new_window=”off” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Horniman-Laura-Mtunwazi-Father-toddler-and-insect-470×313.jpg” alt=”Horniman Museum in London” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center”]

The Horniman Museum and Gardens was joint winner of Kids in Museums‘ Telegraph Family Friendly Museum Award 2013 and was voted by families as being one of the most child friendly museums in London. Free.

[/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_3″][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”National Gallery” title=”National Gallery in London (Trafalgar Square)” url=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/museums-the-national-gallery-charing-cross-london/” url_new_window=”off” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/214044661.jpg” alt=”National Gallery in London (Trafalgar Square)” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center”]

The National Gallery is home to around 2000 pictures from Western European painters dating as far back as the early 13th century including Turner, Van Gogh and Picasso. On weekends and school holidays they host magical art history themed storytelling sessions for under 5s, plus art workshops and more. Free.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”V&A” title=”V&A – The Victoria & Albert Museum in London (South Kensington)” url=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/museums-the-victoria-albert-museum-south-kensington-london/” url_new_window=”off” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/21201016.jpg” alt=”V&A – The Victoria & Albert Museum in London (South Kensington)” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center”]

The Victoria & Albert is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts. It consists of more than 145 galleries housing 4 million objects, including national collections of sculpture, furniture, fashion and photography. Free.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Burgh House” title=”Burgh House historic home in London (Belsize Park)” url=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/museums-burgh-house-belsize-park-london/” url_new_window=”off” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/12605674.jpg” alt=”Burgh House historic home in London (Belsize Park)” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center”]

Burgh House is a family friendly historic property with period costumes to try on, a toy box and reading corner, and a museum trail. They host Mini Mozart music classes for babies and toddlers, family carol concerts and art workshops for kids. The cafe is really kid friendly too. Free.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Saatchi” title=”The Saatchi Gallery in London” url=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/museums-the-saatchi-gallery-chelsea-london/” url_new_window=”off” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/21369422.jpg” alt=”The Saatchi Gallery in London” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center”]

Nothing about the gallery is specifically pitched for young children, but it is a really pleasant place to wander and interact with art in a more traditional, abstract way. It is also completely accessible for buggies and wheelchairs. Free.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Geffrye” title=”Geffrye Museum” url=”http://www.geffrye-museum.org.uk/” url_new_window=”off” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/geffrye.jpg” alt=”Geffrye Museum” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center”]

A truly unique museum showing how homes and gardens reflect changes in society, behaviour, style and taste over the past 400 years. Children absolutely love walking through the period rooms and gardens and imagining going back in time. Free.

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Not-so-free museums in London

We’ve also handpicked some excellent museums in London which are unfortunately not free, but are definitely worth the admission fees!

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”1_3″][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Transport Museum” title=”London Transport Museum (Covent Garden)” url=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/museums-the-london-transport-museum-covent-garden-london/” url_new_window=”off” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/transport-museum21.jpg” alt=”The London Transport Museum in Covent Garden – London” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center”]

London Transport Museum charts the evolution of London’s transport from its beginnings in 1829 with the very first Shillibeer’s Horse Omnibus. The history of the underground is also featured, and the the museum also includes the oldest tram system with many examples of electric trams. Excellent indoor play area too!

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Handel House” title=”Handel House Museum in London (Mayfair)” url=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/museums-handel-house-museum-mayfair-london/” url_new_window=”off” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/21170018.jpg” alt=”Handel House Museum in London (Mayfair)” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center”]

The Handel House Museum was home to the composer George Frideric Handel from 1723 until his death in 1759 and the place where he composed some of his most significant music. For children there are music workshops, Georgian costumes to try on, family concerts and a ‘hands on’ discovery trail through the museum.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Cartoon” title=”Cartoon Museum in London (Holborn)” url=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/museums-the-cartoon-museum-holborn-london/” url_new_window=”off” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/21321567.jpg” alt=”Cartoon Museum in London (Holborn)” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center”]

The Cartoon Museum exhibits the examples of British cartoons, caricature, and comic art from the 18th century to the present day.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Jewish Museum” title=”Jewish Museum in London (Camden)” url=”http://www.jewishmuseum.org.uk/” url_new_window=”off” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/jewish-museum-in-London.gif” alt=”Jewish Museum in London (Camden)” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center”]

This beautiful museum houses one of the finest collections of rare ceremonial objects and is a wonderful place to learn about Judaism and Britain’s Jewish history from 1066 to present day communities. Unmissable.

[/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_3″][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”National Maritime Museum” title=”National Maritime Museum in London (Greenwich)” url=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/national-maritime-museum-greenwich-london/” url_new_window=”off” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/National-Maritime-Museum.jpg” alt=”National Maritime Museum in London (Greenwich)” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center”]

The National Maritime Museum has lots of free family activities including messy play for under 3s, activities, storytelling, performance, discovery trails and make and do for under 5s and older children. Children will also love the planetarium shows.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Canal” title=”London Canal Museum (Islington)” url=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/museums-london-canal-museum-islington-london/” url_new_window=”off” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/10027929.jpg” alt=”London Canal Museum (Islington)” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center”]

The London Canal Museum is housed in a former ice warehouse built in 1862-63 for Carlo Gatti, the famous ice cream maker, and focuses on the history of the ice and ice cream trade as well as the canals.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Somerset House” title=”Somerset House in London” url=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/museums-somerset-house-charing-cross-london/” url_new_window=”off” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/21319110.jpg” alt=”Somerset House in London” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center”]

With fountains to run through in the summer, ice skating in the winter and plenty of open-air concerts and films, contemporary art and design exhibitions this is a lovely place to spend a day with your family. Free creative workshops for children 6 to 12 years and their families, studio days for young people, and free holiday drop-ins.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Cutty Sark” title=”Cutty Sark tea clipper ship in London (Greenwich)” url=”http://www.rmg.co.uk/cuttysark” url_new_window=”off” alt=”Cutty Sark tea clipper ship in London (Greenwich)” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Cutty-Sark.jpg”]

This world famous ship is the last surviving tea clipper and was the fastest and greatest of her time. It is really is a sight to see, and a wonderful place to learn about 19th century tea trading and how it shaped the world. Besides being able to climb aboard and explore the ship, it has been raised over three metres allowing visitors the unique and jaw-dropping experience of walking underneath.

[/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_3″][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Operating Theatre” title=”Old Operating Theatre Museum in London (Southwark)” url=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/museums-the-old-operating-theatre-museum-southwark-london/” url_new_window=”off” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/21427751.jpg” alt=”Old Operating Theatre Museum in London (Southwark)” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center”]

The Old Operating Theatre Museum is set at the top of a church tower which was built in 1821. Despite it being ‘gore-free’, the Theatre Museum is just as stomach churning as the London Dungeon as this theatre dates back to the pre-anaesthetic era. Florence Nightingale commenced her nursing training here.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Nightingale” title=”Florence Nightingale Museum” url=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/museums-florence-nightingale-museum-lambeth-london/” url_new_window=”off” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/10016214.jpg” alt=”Florence Nightingale Museum” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center”]

The Florence Nightingale Museum at St Thomas’s Hospital celebrates the woman who revolutionised the nursing profession by establishing the first school of nursing at this hospital in 1859. A brilliant place to take children who are learning about The Victorians.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”HMS Belfast” title=”HMS Belfast floating war museum in London (Southwark)” url=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/museums-hms-belfast-southwark-london/” url_new_window=”off” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/10017120.jpg” alt=”HMS Belfast floating war museum in London (Southwark)” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center”]

HMS Belfast is the largest surviving example of Britain’s twentieth century naval power and is now a museum moored on the Thames between Tower and London Bridge. HMS Belfast is now a naval time capsule, providing nine decks of living history to explore.

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Clink” title=”Clink Prison Museum in London (Southwark)” url=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/museums-the-clink-prison-museum-southwark-london/” url_new_window=”off” image=”http://reallykidfriendly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/21427795.jpg” alt=”Clink Prison Museum in London (Southwark)” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center”]

The Clink Prison Museum is built upon the original site of the Clink Prison. The Prison dates back to 1144 making it one of England’s oldest, if not the oldest Prison.

[/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_cta admin_label=”Whats On” title=”What's On in London” button_url=”http://whatson.reallykidfriendly.com/pages/545c1abc-0e2e-4709-a0a0-c500e1cccfaa” button_text=”What's On” background_color=”#7EBEC5″ use_background_color=”on” background_layout=”dark” text_orientation=”center”]Check out our What’s On section for things to do, activities for the school holidays, and family friendly places to go in London.[/et_pb_cta][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left”] [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

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