Visiting Museum of London with kids

Museum of London with kids

Update: Museum of London’s location in the City is now closed and will be re-opening in 2026.

The Museum of London has always been one of the top free museums in London to visit, with an extraordinary collection of more than six million objects from prehistoric to modern times. It was a fascinating place to learn 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.

The London Wall location is now closed and the Museum of London will be re-opening in a new location in West Smithfield. Read the latest updates about the 2026 re-opening at https://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/museum-london

In this Museum of London with kids post, I’ll share more from our experiences visiting the London Wall location before it was closed in 2022.

Museum of London

Visiting Museum of London was fascinating for children, with interactive displays and exhibits to explore, from measuring weights in the Roman London gallery to moving London’s iconic transport vehicles around a track in the People’s City gallery.

Interactive play area at the Museum of London

London Before London (450,000 BC – AD 50)

The first gallery at the museum was London Before London, which explores the lives of the people living in the Lower Thames Valley from around 450,000 BC until the creation of the Roman city of Londinium. Exhibits display evidence found around the city which show that big beasts once roamed London, including rhinos, mammoths and hippos.

Museum of London

Interesting fact: London’s prehistoric landscape was similar to today’s central African plains. 125,000 years ago hippos lived in Trafalgar Square!

Prehistoric London Museum of London gallery

Roman London (AD 50 – 410)

The museum’s Roman London gallery offered a fascinating look into what daily life was like in the city, called Londinium, 2000 years ago. The Romans built the city where London now stands, bridging the Thames and founding Londinium in AD 47.

Roman London

Interesting fact: From around AD 50 to 410, Londinium was the largest city in Britannia and a vital international port.

Museum of London Roman Gallery

The Museum of London’s Roman collection includes over 47,000 objects, mostly recovered during building operations in the City of London and Southwark.

Below is a replica of a portable stall for selling knives and other small cutting tools. Apart from the bundles of replica knives and the wooden handles, the knives and tools are original and came from Roman London.

Roman Gallery at Museum of London

The objects in the collection reflected how the people of Londinium worked, worshiped, relaxed and played. Part of the gallery offered a look into a typical home at the time. The mosaic below is called Bucklersbury Mosaic, dated AD 250, and was discovered in Queen Victoria Street in 1869.

Roman Villa - Museum of London

Museum of London Roman Gallery

Roman London Wall Fragments

Fragments of the Roman London Wall could be seen just outside the Museum of London. This is the view of what remains of London’s city wall, a mix of Roman, medieval and Victorian building.

Ancient Roman wall, City of London

When you exited the museum heading towards Barbican Centre, there was a view of the other side of the wall fragment. 2000 years ago, this was a fort guarding the edge of the city.

Ancient Roman wall in London

Medieval London (410 – 1558)

The next gallery covered the collapse of the Roman city to the accession of Queen Elizabeth I. During this period of time, London grew to become one of the wealthiest and most important cities in Europe.

Medieval London at Museum of London

There was a reconstruction of a typical house in this gallery (not shown) that shows what everyday life was like in the late Saxon town of Lundenburg.

Museum of London, City of London

Interesting fact: London Bridge was fortified to stop Viking raiders from sailing up the Thames

War, Plague and Fire (1550s – 1660s)

One of the most turbulent periods in London’s history, the city experienced the execution of King Charles I in 1649, the plague in 1665 and the Great Fire of 1666.

Below is part of a fire engine, a barrel on wheels with a central pump, that was built in 1678 following the Great Fire of London.

Great Fire of London exhibit

There were some amazing paintings within this gallery depicting the Great Fire. In this gallery, kids could try on a replica of a 17th century helmet worn by firefighters and compare it with a modern helmet from the London Fire Brigade.

Great Fire of London

On display was a model (with a cutaway model on the other side) of the Rose Playhouse, built in 1587 in Southwark, which saw first performances of Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus and Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus.

Rose Theatre Model at Museum of London

Expanding City (1670s – 1850s)

In the Expanding City gallery, the exhibits offered a look into the many artefacts, dollhouses and stunning gowns, as well as everyday objects recovered in excavations (shown below).

Artefacts found in the Thames River

Gallery at Museum of London, City of London

There was also a recreation of Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, with beautiful fashion displayed.

People’s City Gallery (1850s – 1940s)

My favourite part of the museum was the Victorian walk, where you could experience wandering along the winding streets of 19th century London, with lovely details in each of the shopfronts. A toy shop window showed the typical toys and games during the time.

Victorian Walk at Museum of London

Victorian Walk at Museum of London

The Victorian Walk featureed a dozen street trades, including a barber, baker, tobacconist, tailor and pawnbroker.

Victorian Walk at Museum of London

People's City gallery, Museum of London

Another highlight was seeing London’s first motor vehicles, such as this taxi from 1908, that would eventually replace the city’s horse-drawn taxis, buses and carts.

Museum of London

Museum of London

World City (1950s – today)

The final permanent gallery covered the post-war generation – with revolutions in technology, fashion and culture that would transform London.

The London 2012 Cauldron

This iconic sculpture created by Heatherwick Studio was on display here, with footage showing how the cauldron was made and its role in the opening and closing ceremonies. It’s amazing to see up close!

Museum of London Currently Closed

The Museum of London has always been one of the top free museums in London to visit, with an extraordinary collection of more than six million objects from prehistoric to modern times. It was a fascinating place to learn 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.

The London Wall location is now closed and the Museum of London will be re-opening in a new location in West Smithfield. Read the latest updates about the 2026 re-opening at https://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/museum-london

This Museum of London with kids post was updated on 9 January 2023 with latest details about the museum, which is currently closed and due to re-open at a new site in 2026.

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Museum of London with kids

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