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12 Museums for Kids in London You Don’t Want to Miss

London is one of the world’s most popular destinations, and it’s a great city to visit with kids. Whether they are interested in art, science, history, or just places to play, London has something for everyone. Better yet, many of the most popular museums are free to visit. This is a list of the best museums for kids in London – fun, educational, and easy to reach. 

12 Family-Friendly Museums in London - Kids Are A Trip

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Museums for Kids in London We Love

1. Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum is probably the best museum for kids in London and one I recommend to anyone visiting London for the first time. The collection is enormous, and there are plenty of exhibits to interest children of all ages. 

The dinosaur exhibit (complete with full-size animatronic T-Rex) is always a favorite, with fossils, skeletons, and models to teach young visitors about some of the most interesting creatures ever to walk the earth. In the mammal gallery, you will find models of a variety of animals from around the world including bears, big cats, and wild dogs. 

The Treasures of the Earth gallery showcases precious stones and minerals, with displays of diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and more. This is my favorite – walking through a room filled with sparkly things!

Natural History Museum London in a day

Visitors can even experience an earthquake, with a room constructed to replicate the effects of an earthquake on a Japanese supermarket. 

This family-friendly museum is free to visit but also has paid temporary exhibits. You will need to book a ticket online in advance, but you don’t need to pay. It can be very busy at weekends and during school holidays, so it’s particularly important to book for visits in those times. 

As with the other free museums in London, there are kiosks near the entrance to make small donations to support the museum. There is no obligation to do so and you won’t be made to feel unwelcome if you don’t donate. 

2. Science Museum

The Science Museum sits next to the Natural History Museum, so the two make a perfect combined visit. 

There are galleries featuring space exploration, engineering, cars, medicine, and more. The flight gallery has various aircraft on display, including the Gipsy Moth plane that Amy Johnson used to become the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia.

Science Museum London
Photo: Fiona Spinks

There is a space gallery that includes a full-size replica of the lander that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin used to land on the moon. The Soyuz module that brought Tim Peake back to Earth from the International Space Station can also be found here.

I particularly like that there are several displays featuring women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Significantly fewer girls go on to study STEM subjects at school than boys, so a museum that makes a point of showing women succeeding in science gets extra marks from me. 

The general collection is free, but there is also a paid educational gallery called Wonderlab filled with interactive exhibits. Children can participate in experiments and watch demonstrations to help them engage with learning.

Like the Natural History Museum, you need to book in advance, even though the main museum has free entry. Again, this is particularly important on weekends and in school holidays. 

3. British Museum

The British Museum is another free option, with a collection spanning thousands of years of civilization from around the world. It is one of the best London museums, and we recommend it for anyone planning a trip.

British Museum mummies
Photo: Fiona Spinks

Kids of all ages will love the 18th-century Samurai armor, Greek amphorae from 500 BC, and the Rosetta Stone which in the 1820s finally allowed an Egyptologist to decipher ancient hieroglyphs. Of course, the Ancient Egypt gallery is always a hit with kids, including the various mummies on display. 

In the main courtyard, there is a desk where you can pick up free activity guides for children. Use these to explore the museum, or download them on your phone in advance for a more extensive collection of guides. 

4. Victoria and Albert Museum

The main V&A museum is dedicated to art and design. It’s more suitable for older children as the museum doesn’t have many interactive displays compared to some of the others on this list. 

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If you are visiting London with teenagers who are interested in art, fashion, and design this museum is a great choice. There are textiles from around the world, and the world’s largest collection of post-classical sculpture. 

V and A Museum in London for kids
Photo: Fiona Spinks

This is also a great place for budding artists to learn about different eras and styles in art and design. For example the variations between Baroque, Rococo, and Classical design styles.  

My favorite display is in the entrance hall. There is a blue and yellow glass sculpture hanging from the ceiling by Dale Chihuly. 

The main collection offers free admission, and it is extensive. The museum also frequently runs temporary paid exhibitions which are very popular, especially those around fashion and photography. 

Favorite Museum Tours in London

5. Young V&A

The Young V&A in Bethnal Green is very different from the main site and much more interactive. It is a combination of a museum about childhood and a space for children to play. 

There are displays of toys from across history and exhibits about challenges facing children around the world. There is also a stage for kids to perform on and dress up areas as well as several stations at which kids can draw and create. You’ll also find soft play areas for young children. 

The museum underwent a revamp in 2023 and is much more colorful and bright than before. If you’ve visited in the past and felt underwhelmed, give it another chance. 

The redesign was done with children in mind, and the focus on play makes it a great choice if you want to visit a children’s museum without worrying about how much noise they might make. 

This is another free museum, and you don’t need to book. Unsurprisingly it can get very busy during school holidays, so try to arrive when it opens to avoid crowds. 

6. Museum of London Docklands

The main Museum of London site is now closed until 2026, but this East London outpost is just as good as the original. This one is located in a warehouse and was once part of the world’s largest dock system. These days the area around the museum is full of modern buildings rather than warehouses, but the museum remains. 

As London has developed around the River Thames, for centuries the river has played a crucial role in trade and transport. The museum explores that history, from the 1800s to modern developments. 

Museum of London Docklands

This might not initially sound exciting for children, but there are lots of interactive sections for them to enjoy. They can try building a small bridge and tunnel or walk through a reconstructed Victorian street. There are even dress-up and drawing stations. 

The museum has regular free activities for kids, so check the website to see what’s on. They also have a dedicated soft play and activity area called Mudlarks (although you do have to pay for a session). The main museum is free to enter, and overall it is very kid-friendly.  

Bonus tip: If you are visiting in winter book a ticket for the annual open-air ice skating rink at nearby Canary Wharf.

7. London Transport Museum

The London Transport Museum in Covent Garden is the perfect choice for children in the stage of being fascinated by trains and buses. From horse-drawn cabs to the London Underground, this museum covers a wide range of transport used across centuries. 

Museums for Kids in London Transportation Museum

The All Aboard play area has miniature buses, trains, and boats that kids can get into, as well as soft play areas and problem-solving games. Like many other London museums, there are free activity sessions for children during school holidays. 

The museum is free for children, but adults must purchase a ticket which is also an annual pass. You also need to book a timed entry slot, so make sure you have a look at the website to see what events are running before making a reservation. 

8. Imperial War Museum

The Imperial War Museum is fascinating, but won’t be suitable for all children. It’s a museum dedicated to the history of war and conflict. That makes it an excellent choice for a learning experience, with displays of weapons, uniforms, tanks, and aircraft that children will enjoy. 

IWM also addresses some more difficult topics, such as the Holocaust. It’s an important museum, but the nature of the subject matter does mean you’ll need to consider whether it is age-appropriate for your children. 

Don’t rule it out though. The museum runs a range of activities for kids at weekends and during school holidays so there is plenty for children to see and do. 

Inside Churchill War Rooms London

A great addition to IWM is the Churchill War Rooms, an underground bunker where the British government operated during the Second World War. There are endless interactive elements throughout the museum, and it’s perfect for the whole family.

9. Warner Brothers Studio Tour (Harry Potter)

Calling this a museum is a bit of a stretch, but it’s worth including on the list due to its popularity. It’s also the most expensive destination on this list, and it only just about fits the criteria of being in London. Despite all that, it’s a great day out for families especially if you are spending several days in London.

The site is dedicated to all things Harry Potter, perfect for fans of the books and films. There are original props and costumes, a reconstruction of Diagon Alley, and another of the Forbidden Forest. You can try a butterbeer, visit Gringotts Bank, and see 4 Privet Drive. 

Warner Bros Studio London

You can easily spend a full day here as it is an extensive ‘museum’ with lots to do and see.

To get there, take a 20-minute train from Euston Station to Watford Junction, and then hop on to the dedicated shuttle bus. Make sure you book in advance as you won’t be able to just turn up and get a ticket on the day. 

10. National Gallery

This is another choice more suitable for older children (although they run creative sessions for younger children), but if you have kids interested in art then the National Gallery is a must-do. 

The gallery houses several famous works of art, such as Van Gogh’s Sunflowers and The Water-Lily Pond by Monet. It is an extensive collection in a beautiful building on Trafalgar Square. 

National Portrait Gallery Trafalgar Square London

The quality of the collection makes it extremely popular, so I recommend you book a free ticket online in advance, and try to get there early in the day. If you don’t book and just arrive in the afternoon you can find yourself waiting for a while to get in. 

You’ll also find the National Portrait Gallery next to the National Gallery. The two can easily be combined, and both are free to enter. 

11. The Postal Museum

​The Postal Museum is a hidden gem in London and is worth a visit if your kids are fascinated by communication and the postal service.

Families can hop on the “Mail Rail”, a 100-year-old miniature train that travels through London’s underground tunnels. Kids can sort letters, design their own stamps, and even try on postal worker outfits.

The museum is in Clerkenwell, north of central London, and is easily accessed by public transportation. Children 3 and under are free with an accompanying adult, and it is recommended you book your spot and ticket in advance to ensure entry.

12. Royal Museums Greenwich

If you are up for a day trip from London, consider heading to the Royal Museums Greenwich which features four different family friendly museums – Cutty Sark, National Maritime Museum, the Queen’s House, and the Royal Observatory. 

Cutty Sark is a famous sailing ship that dates to the 19th century. It was the fastest tea ship of its time. The museum offers a variety of family events, workshops, and performances throughout the year.

Cutty Sark Museum London with kids

If someone in your family loves all things sea exploration, the National Maritime Museum needs to be on your list. Galleries feature ships and boats of all shapes and sizes and discuss British naval history through the centuries. The museum offers fun activities like Family Trails, which are interactive worksheets to get young people engaged.

Queen’s House is a 17th-century royal residence known for its artwork, so families might want to skip it. The Royal Observatory is the home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), the Prime Meridian, and London’s Planetarium. There are historic clocks and telescopes and even the Great Equatorial Telescope, one of the largest refracting telescopes in the world.

The National Maritime Museum and Queen’s House both offer free admission.

Conclusion: Best Museums for Kids in London

As you can see, London’s museums are sure to keep children entertained and they are some of the best free things to do in London. From exploring the city’s history to seeing famous artwork or learning about science, you won’t be short of options in London. 

So, make sure you leave time for one or two of these world-class museums on your London itinerary. It’s a fantastic city to visit as a family, and your kids are sure to love visiting these fascinating sites. 

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