The Best London Museums for Kids

Wonderlab Science Museum

London is famous for its world-class museums, many of which offer a fun and educational day out for the whole family. In this post, I’ll be sharing the best London museums for kids that are fascinating to visit and have plenty of things to do for families, including interactive exhibits, explorer trails, activity packs and play areas.

Science Museum

The Science Museum in South Kensington is one of the best London museums for kids, and our top choice for interactive exhibits and amazing educational experiences. There are seven floors of exhibits across award-winning exhibitions and permanent galleries. With so much to do, visiting the Science Museum is also one of the best free things to do in London with kids.

 
 
 
 
 
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Highlights for kids include the Exploring Space gallery, featuring rockets and spacecraft, and the Making the Modern Age gallery that showcases iconic items in science and technology from the past 250 years, including the Apollo 10 command module.

The Science Museum is one of the best London museums for toddlers. There are two main free interactive areas: the multi-sensory Pattern Pod on the ground floor and the Garden in the basement where under 5s can discover science through play. The Garden has a fun water play table, a treehouse with pulleys and a multi-sensory room. Until 22 September, you will need to a book a free time slot to visit the Garden (see details below).

Science Museum London

Note that due to Covid-19 restrictions, the Science Museum is unable to provide waterproof aprons for children at the water play area in The Garden. The museum shop sells discounted aprons and you are welcome to bring your own. 

At an extra charge and geared towards older children, there are the 3D and 4D flight and space simulators on the top floor, along with an IMAX 3D cinema.

Science Museum, Exhibition Road, Kensington, London SW7 2DD

Free admission. Tickets required for IMAX Theatre, flight simulators and some special exhibitions. Remember to book a time slot at the Garden in addition to the museum ticket.

Book your free ticket in advance at: https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/

Until 22 September, you will need to book a time slot to visit the Garden https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/see-and-do/garden

To visit the Wonderlab, purchase your day or annual pass and book a time slot at https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/see-and-do/wonderlab-equinor-gallery

Wonderlab at the Science Museum

Wonderlab: The Equinor Gallery is located on the top floor of the Science Museum and has 50+ exhibits, shows and demos, with plenty for kids to get hands on and learn about science. 

Wonderlab at the Science Museum London

Highlights at the Wonderlab include playing with forces on the giant slides, watching demonstrations at the Chemistry Bar, using problem-solving skills to build electric circuits and experimenting with the properties of light and sound.

Wonderlab Science Museum

Visiting Wonderlab requires booking a free Science Museum ticket in addition to purchasing a day or annual pass and booking a time slot (details below).

Tickets: Special Offer: from 19 May – 16 July, you can buy a Wonderlab Annual Pass (unlimited access for a year) for the price of a day ticket. Adult day pass (age 17+): £11; Child day pass (age 4‑16): £9; children 3 and under enter free. Annual passes (from 17 July) ‑ Adult £16; Child £14

Book your free ticket in advance at: https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/

To visit the Wonderlab, purchase your day or annual pass and book a time slot at https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/see-and-do/wonderlab-equinor-gallery

Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum is one of the best museums for kids in London, and one of the city’s most iconic and impressive buildings. Highlights at the museum for children include seeing the Mammals gallery, Hope – the 25 metre long blue whale skeleton, the Fossil Marine Reptile gallery and the Red Zone, with a gallery on volcanoes and earthquakes and a collection of gems, minerals and moon rock.

 
 
 
 
 
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Families will especially enjoy seeing the world famous Dinosaur exhibit at the Natural History Museum, which in addition to displaying fascinating fossils and skeletons, features a roaring animatronic model of a Tyrannosaurus rex, three-quarters the size of a life-size one.

 
 
 
 
 
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Natural History Museum, Cromwell Rd, Kensington, London SW7 5B

Free admission. Tickets required for entry to special exhibitions. 

Book your free ticket in advance at https://www.nhm.ac.uk/

Buy tickets for the exhibition, Fantastic Beasts: The Wonders of Nature at https://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/exhibitions/fantastic-beasts-the-wonder-of-nature.html

Horniman Museum

The Horniman Museum is a brilliant London museum for kids located in Forest Hill, South London. This museum features a natural history gallery with a large collection of taxidermy, a musical instrument gallery, an aquarium with 15 exhibits (with ticket purchase) and a calendar of special exhibitions and events. The famous Horniman walrus that has been on display in the museum for over a century, sits in the middle of the natural history gallery with a large collection of taxidermy, skeletons and fossils.

Horniman Museum London

There are plenty of hands-on displays and exhibitions throughout the museum and wonderful gardens to explore, which is why the Horniman Museum is also one of the best London museums for toddlers and pre-schoolers. The gardens include a Nature Trail, a Sound Garden inspired by the museum’s collection of instruments and an Animal Walk where you can see alpacas, sheep, goats and more. 

Best London Museums for Kids

There is also a Butterfly House which will re-open when the museum re-opens on 17 May 2021. To control capacity in the Butterfly House, all visitors, including Members, must book a ticket in advance online for admission to the Butterfly House at https://www.horniman.ac.uk/event/butterfly-house/

Horniman Museum and Gardens, 100 London Rd, Forest Hill, London SE23 3PQ

Free admission. Tickets required for entry to the Butterfly House [£6 for adults and children; under 3’s go free] and special exhibitions.

Book your ticket in advance at https://www.horniman.ac.uk/plan-your-visit/ticket-information/

London Transport Museum

Located in Covent Garden, London Transport Museum is one of the top London museums for kids and a fun experience for the whole family. Discover over 200 years of London’s transport history, examples of buses, trains, taxis and tube carriages, from the 19th century to present day.

 
 
 
 
 
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There’s a fantastic play zone for children over two floors, called All Aboard, where little ones can enjoy repairing a tube train, sitting in the driver’s seat of a bus and helping customers at a mini information desk using the magnetic message board, maps and clocks. The play zone has been designed for children 0 to 7 years old and includes an area specifically for infants, with soft building blocks and an interactive wall.

All Aboard play area London Transport Museum

There is also a Future Engineers tube train simulator, and several bus, tram and train vehicles that you can step onto. The London Transport Museum regularly organises family activities and events throughout the year, including a Santa’s Hideaway experience during the Christmas season.

London Transport Museum, Covent Garden Piazza, London WC2E 7BB

Tickets: Adults £18.50; FREE entry for children and young people under 18. Tickets allow unlimited daytime entry to all museum galleries and temporary exhibitions for a whole year.

Buy an annual pass and/or book your timed entry slot at https://www.ltmuseum.co.uk/visit/tickets

Museum of London

The Museum of London is located in the City, close to the Barbican Centre and a short walk away from St. Paul’s Cathedral. This museum is one of many free museums in London and documents the history of London, from prehistoric to modern times, offering the largest urban history collection in the world with more than six million objects. 

Visiting the Museum of London with kids makes for a fascinating morning or afternoon out learning about the history of London. Kids will enjoy learning about the prehistoric beasts that once roamed London, see what life was like during Roman times, have a look at a typical Saxon house, see exhibits about the Great Fire of 1666, experience walking along a Victorian street and much more during their visit.

Roman Villa - Museum of London

Museum of London, 150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN

Free admission. Tickets required for entry to special exhibitions.

Book your free tickets in advance at https://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/museum-london

Read more about our recent visit here: Visiting the Museum of London with Kids

Museum of London Docklands

The Museum of London Docklands explores the history of the River Thames, the port of London and the people from the arrival of the Romans to the construction of Canary Wharf.

Museum of London Docklands

The Museum of London Docklands is also a fantastic museum to visit with young children. There are family-friendly, hands on exhibits and activities for kids throughout the galleries, plus a fun interactive play area called Mudlarks for under 8s.

Bookings for the Mudlarks play area open at 10am for the following day and currently tickets generally sell out within minutes of going on sale. Mudlarks tickets now include general admission so you no longer need to book separate general admission tickets.

Mudlarks at Museum of London Docklands

Museum of London Docklands, No1 Warehouse, West India Quay, London E14 4AL

Free admission. Tickets required for entry to special exhibitions.

Book your free tickets at https://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/museum-london-docklands

Royal Air Force Museum

The Royal Air Force Museum in North London is one of our top London museums for kids. Families will discover the history of aviation and explore the story of the first 100 years of the Royal Air Force. There are several hangars full of aircraft and vehicles from WWI to modern day, a great outdoor playground and picnic area, and several interactive displays and play areas for kids.

Royal Air Force Museum London

Royal Air Force Museum London, Grahame Park Way, London, NW9 5LL

Free admission. Tickets required for entry to special exhibitions. Parking costs £3 for up to 3 hours, £4 for up to 6 hours 

Book your free tickets at https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/london/

British Museum

Founded in 1753, the British Museum houses a vast collection of art and antiquities from ancient and living cultures, spanning two million years of human history. World-famous objects children will be fascinated to see on display include the Rosetta Stone, Parthenon sculptures, and Egyptian mummies.

British Museum, London

With so much to see, their free Museum Explorer activity trails are a great way to narrow down the focus when visiting the museum with children. The activity trails are available online to download and print in advance. I’d also recommend looking at the British Museum gallery maps online to help plan out your visit ahead of time.

British Museum mummies

British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG

Free admission. Tickets required for entry to special exhibitions.

Book your free tickets and read more about what to expect at https://www.britishmuseum.org/visit

National Maritime Museum

Greenwich is one of my favourite areas in London, and the National Maritime Museum – the world’s largest maritime museum – is free to visit and one of the best London museums for kids. The museum houses a vast collection that spans thousands of objects including a wide array of artwork, maps and charts, and memorabilia.

National Maritime Museum

There are two galleries for children at the museum (check website for gallery opening hours). The Ahoy! Gallery, located on the ground floor, is one of the best London museum play areas for young children. It has been especially designed for babies and children aged up to seven, with themed zones that include a vast model of the deck and cabins of a ship and a fresh fish shop for weighing mussels and lobsters.

AHOY! is now open – the National Maritime Museum recommends booking tickets online in advance to guarantee entry since tickets on the day will be subject to availability. Book the Ahoy! Gallery tickets on the National Maritime Museum website.

National Maritime Museum Greenwich London

On the second floor, is the All Hands interactive gallery for ages 7 to 12, where older children can test their skills defending against a pirate attack, use maritime technology and load a cargo ship before it sets sail. If it’s not busy, I’d recommend the area for pre-schoolers too as there are some activities they can get involved in, like manoeuvring a crane to load ship cargo.

National Maritime MuseumPark Row, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF

Free admission. Tickets required for entry to special exhibitions.

Book your free tickets in advance at https://www.rmg.co.uk/national-maritime-museum

Best London Museums for Kids

I hope this Best London Museums for Kids guide has been helpful for inspiration! Keep in mind that while most museums are free to visit, you may need to book a ticket and it is advisable to book well in advance for busy periods such as weekends, half term or the summer holidays. Always check the museum website before visiting to check the latest guidance.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments! What is your favourite London museum to visit with kids? 

This post was updated on 17 September 2021 with updated information about booking visits to the London museums.

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6 Comments

  1. This is a great round up. We seem to return to the same London museums, when there are loads we still haven’t explored. We’ll have to spread our wings a bit and try some new ones! #CulturedKids

  2. Life has definitely been duller without museums, I cannot wait for them to reopen. Excellent list, I love that you included the gem that is The Horniman! #culturedkids

  3. These all look so good! I have only been to the Natural History Museum, but I am really keen to take my daughter to the London Transport Museum. #CulturedKids

  4. Wow, what an amazing list! You did a great job consolidating these… quite impressive. We were supposed to do a big London trip in 2020 but of course, that didn’t happen. ONE day, we WILL get to do our big London trip and this is SO helpful!

  5. Fab post, so comprehensive. London has such amazing museums. We love the Science Museum, the Wonderlab (which is well worth the ticket and a day out on its own), the Natural History Museum and the Museum of London.

  6. So many of our favourites on here – great round up! We really are spoilt for choice in London for family friendly museums. Thanks for joining in with #CulturedKids

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