The Best Museums in London for Kids | Plan a Fun Family Weekend

The best museums in London for kids offer brilliant activities for all the family, making them the perfect day out in the big city with your little ones.

The Best Museums in London for Kids | Plan a Fun Family Weekend
Photo by Stephen Kidd / Unsplash

London is a treasure trove of museums, jam-packed with exciting artefacts and tales of the city’s long and winding history.

Take the kids on an adventure through time, uncovering the secrets of dinosaurs, the mummies of Egypt, trains of days gone by, and even the science behind how things work…

There’s so much to do, see, and explore behind every museum door; the only question is, how many can you pack into one weekend?!

In this blog, we’re delving into the best museums in London for kids, to help you plan a city break filled with fun, family-friendly activities:

Why Visit London’s Museums?

A thirst for knowledge, somewhere to get out of the rain, something different, or simply a curiosity about what came before us… There are plenty of reasons to visit museums, and London is the best place to do so!

There are an incredible number of museums, hosting unimaginable artefacts, as well as activities, events, and exhibitions.

Most museums are free to enter — but do require a donation to help them continue to run!

Here’s our guide to the best museums in London for kids:

Natural History Museum

Millions of years ago, dinosaurs roamed the earth; unlock the theories behind their existence (and demise), and discover their closest living relatives… Did chickens really evolve from T-Rex’s?

Located in South Kensington, approximately 15 minutes from DUKES London, the Natural History Museum is an easily accessible place to visit — and has free entry (but you’ll need to book).

Marvel at the enormous blue whale above your heads as you step through the doors, marking the first of many fascinating sights the museum has to offer.

Surprise any little dinosaur fans in your party by heading to the animatronic Tyrannosaurus — the incredible highlight of the exhibit with its jaw-droppingly real presence.

And, if you’re visiting before 30th June 2024, you’ll be lucky enough to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition! Please note, for the exhibition, you’ll need to book and pay for your tickets in advance.

There’s also a cafe and gift shop, so be sure to indulge in some refreshments, and let the kids take away a special trinket to memorialise the day.

Science Museum

Also located in South Kensington, satisfy curious minds with a visit to the Science Museum, where you can learn about anything and everything from steam engines to space!

An exploration of the modern world and its creation, this innovative, interactive museum is the perfect place to ask (and discover answers to) life’s most interesting questions.

Empower your children to learn and discover, while ensuring a great day out for all the family! The museum offers free admission, but you do need to pre-book your visit.

The British Museum

Journey back in time and discover the history of the human race, art, and culture; with its permanent collection of eight million works, The British Museum is a must-visit for kids and grown-ups alike.

Nestled in the Bloomsbury area of London, it’s just over 10 minutes from our hotel, and is well-worth a visit. It’s free to attend, but you’ll need to pre-book the galleries and exhibitions to ensure entry.

It’d be some feat to see all there is to see in one day, so we recommend booking a 2-hour guided tour, guaranteeing that you discover all the ‘best bits’!

From the Rosetta Stone to the Parthenon Sculptures, The British Museum is filled with extraordinary artefacts — and will appeal to people of all ages.

London Transport Museum

Showcasing over 200 years of transport history, the London Transport Museum is a fun-filled exploration of adventure and travel.

Conveniently located in Covent Garden, the museum underlines the evolution of transport since 1800 — from the red London bus to the first Tube map design.

Whether your child is a budding transport enthusiast or just looking for a fun day out, this museum has something for everyone (including a cafe where you can indulge in a hot meal or a coffee and cake, to refuel throughout the day!)

They often host events, activities, and exhibitions, so take a look online before you go to help plan your itinerary.

You’ll need to book your visit online in advance, and this is a paid activity; but, with interactive galleries and plenty more to do, it’s worth every penny!

Young V&A

The Young V&A is designed especially for children, offering creative spaces for them to exercise their imagination and explore different methods of play.

An inspiring setting, there are three big galleries called Imagine, Play, and Design, where children can learn through touching, exploring, and having hands-on experiences.

As well as their everyday activities open to visitors, the museum also opens its doors for regular exhibitions and events, bringing fresh ideas and inspiration to young minds.

Hailed as one of the best museums in London for kids, it’s definitely one to add to your list of things to do during your family city break.

Imperial War Museum

Including all conflicts in which British or Commonwealth forces have been a part of since 1914, the Imperial War Museum provides a platform for learning and understanding the history of war.

Often a topic for schools throughout the years, it’s important to look back at people’s experiences and remember those who died.

The museum looks at weaponry, planes, tanks, ships, lifestyles, impact, and much more. While the topic may not be the most uplifting, the educational aspects make this a worthwhile visit, and there are often plenty of activities and exhibitions for younger guests.

The guidebook is a helpful tool that showcases the most family-friendly content, as well as tips for adults on how to talk to children about war, along with questions to prompt open, honest, and age-appropriate conversations.

Less than 30 minutes from DUKES London on the Lambeth Road, it’s easy to access via public transport.

Horniman Museum

Rounding up our list of the best museums in London for kids, the Horniman Museum is the perfect place for cultural exploration and natural wonder.

Nestled in Forest Hill and boasting a mesmerising array of exhibits, this family-friendly destination offers a captivating journey through anthropology, natural history, and the world of musical instruments.

With over 350,000 objects in its collection, children can discover instruments from every corner of the globe or delve into the immersive World Gallery; there's something to fascinate and inspire curious minds of all ages.

But the adventure doesn't end indoors; the museum sits in impressive 16-acre gardens (idyllic for a spring day out), featuring a Grade II listed conservatory, ornamental garden, whimsical Butterfly House, and more.

And, if all that wasn’t enough to take your fancy, there’s even an aquarium!

No matter your interests, the Horniman Museum is certain to capture your attention and imagination, as you step through each gallery and discover further wonders and adventures.

Use this helpful guide to help you plan your day accordingly with tickets, opening times, and amenities.

If you’re keen to visit one, some, or even all of these museums, why not book a stay at DUKES London and start planning your trip? If you’d like any help or further information, a member of our team will be happy to help.

Alternatively, why not read our previous blog to discover the best things to see and do in Hyde Park?