Day Out at the National Maritime Museum

National Maritime Museum

The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich is the world’s largest maritime museum. Free to visit and one of the best London museums for kids, this museum offers hands-on activities and interactive galleries for families. Learn more about a National Maritime Museum day out with kids in this post.

Maritime Museum London Greenwich

National Maritime Museum

Part of the Royal Museums Greenwich, London’s maritime museum houses a vast collection that spans thousands of objects. The trove of maritime treasures on display include a wide array of artwork, maps and charts, and memorabilia.

Figureheads London Maritime Museum

Among the first exhibits you will see upon entering the museum are the impressive figureheads. The museum has over 230 figureheads in its collection, including the Medusa from the HMS Implacable. Also on the ground floor is the nearly 20-metre long state barge built for Frederick, Prince of Wales, who was the eldest son of George II and father of George III (shown below).

National Maritime Museum

The Pacific Encounters gallery is one of the top exhibits to see at the National Maritime Museum. Learn more about the legacies and traditions of the people living in Fiji today and see a real Fijian canoe. Fijian canoes, known as drua, can only be built by members of the community who inherited the right to use their skills from their ancestors.

South Pacific Sailing Boat Royal Museums Greenwich

Related: Cutty Sark Greenwich with Kids

One of the brilliant, interactive galleries at the National Maritime Museum is the Sea Things gallery. In this gallery, visitors can experience a visual spectacle of over 600 objects and participate in hands-on activities. Many of the objects are on open display, meaning that you can get up close and touch them.

Exhibits at Greenwich Maritime Museum

Related: Things to Do in London this February Half Term

The Great Map

The Great Map is a giant atlas at the centre of the museum. Explore the world and join in on free interactive games. Free activities at the Great Map include using a touch-screen tablet while you walk across the map’s surface to uncover stories of female pirates, Scott’s Antarctic expedition and more.

National Maritime Museum London Day Out with Kids

Five famous ships are also now shown on the Great Map on their voyages. These ships include the world’s largest container ship, Encounter Bay, and RRS Sir David Attenborough, a next-generation marine science platform for UK research in both Antarctica and the Arctic.

Things to do in Greenwich with kids

Related: Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year in London with Kids

AHOY! Gallery Play Area

There are two galleries for children at the National Maritime Museum. Check the Museum website for gallery opening hours. The Ahoy! Gallery, located on the ground floor, is one of the top London museum play areas for young children.

London Museums for Kids National Maritime Museum

The Ahoy! Gallery 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 Gallery National Maritime Museum London

There are plenty of interactive elements for toddlers and pre-schoolers to get hands on, such as a coal-fired engine room with levers to pull, wheels to turn and metal speaking tubes to yell into.

Top London Museums for Toddlers and Preschoolers

There is an area for babies and toddlers, with buckets and spades to scoop up sea creature toys and a small play kitchen.

Ahoy Museum Play Area Babies Toddlers

The National Maritime Museum recommends booking tickets for the AHOY! Gallery online in advance to guarantee entry. The AHOY! Gallery tickets include the free entry to the museum and each sessions is 45 minutes.

London Museums for Toddlers National Maritime Museum

Entry to the AHOY! Gallery is free on weekdays during term time and costs £3 during weekends and school holidays. Tickets on the day will be subject to availability. Book tickets for the AHOY! Gallery.

Things to do with Kids National Maritime Museum

Related: Top Museums in London for Kids

All Hands Interactive Gallery

On the second floor, is the All Hands interactive gallery for ages 7 to 12, where children can explore maritime skills and technologies past and present. Through hands-on exhibits, they can test their skills defending against a pirate attack, use maritime technology and load a cargo ship before it sets sail.

What to see for families National Maritime Museum

If you are visiting during the week, when it’s not too busy, I would also recommend the area for pre-schoolers. There are some activities that young children can get involved in, such as manoeuvring a crane to load ship cargo and helping to prepare food in the ship’s galley.

Family Fun at National Maritime Museum Greenwich London

All Hands Gallery London Maritime Museum

The Cove Playground

The National Maritime Museum now also has a great outdoor playground, right next to the Parkside Café. The Cove features an epic multi-levelled ship with slide, a giant Kraken’s tentacles to scramble through and a Cutty Shark to explore with a secret den.

From the museum website: “The Cove has been developed in collaboration with Willow Dene School, an outstanding special school for children of primary and secondary age. Featuring sensory fun, accessible structures and a host of inclusive games, this is a playful space for everyone.”

National Maritime Museum Family Events

The National Maritime Museum regularly runs a programme of family activities and workshops during half-term and London summer holidays.

You can see the latest list of events, activities and workshops on the Royal Museums Greenwich What’s On webpage. Select “Family Fun” in the “Event type” field for upcoming events and workshops for kids at the National Maritime Museum, Cutty Sark and the Royal Observatory.

What to Expect National Maritime Museum

Lunar New Year Activities

3 February 2024

Celebrate the Year of the Dragon at the National Maritime Museum with a day of live music, performances, lion dances and free family activities. Head to the Great Map for a range of incredible performances from local groups, including a Taiwanese ribbon dance, Korean harp, a martial arts demonstration and the magnificent lion dance!

Related: Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year in London with Kids

Performances will be taking place on the Great Map at 11am, 12.30pm, 2pm and 3.30pm.

Drop-in Lunar New Year activities for kids (suitable for all ages and abilities) include creating and decorating lunar fans, learning mahjong, creating your own dragon and Lunar New Year storytelling.

Book free tickets for the Lunar New Year festivities at the National Maritime Museum

February Half Term Activities

11 – 18 February 2024

Take part in creative and educational workshops to celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month. The National Maritime Museum are running family-friendly activities, from making your own merfolk using oil pastels to dressing up a tiny peg doll to take home.

On Saturday 17 February, join in on the Out at Sea family festival celebrating LGBTQ+ histories through live performances, creative workshops and storytelling.

Check times and the full programme of free February half-term activities running at the National Maritime Museum

Find more inspiration for days out over half term: Things to Do this February Half Term in London

National Maritime Museum Address

Address: Park Row, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF

Tickets: Entry to the museum is free, but you must have a ticket to visit. Tickets required for entry to special exhibitions

Book your free tickets in advance at

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Pin for Later – National Maritime Museum London

National Maritime Museum London Day Out

This post was updated on 16 January 2024 with up-to-date visitor information and details on upcoming events for Lunar New Year and February half term.