Best London Museums for Kids Under 5!

London, a city steeped in history and culture, offers a plethora of exciting destinations for families to explore. While the city’s bustling streets and iconic landmarks may seem like a daunting prospect for parents with toddlers, fear not! London’s world-class museums have thoughtfully curated exhibits and interactive spaces that are perfect for engaging young minds. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at three of the best London museums for kids: the Museum of London Docklands, the National Maritime Museum, and the Young Victoria and Albert Museum (Young V&A).

1. Museum of London Docklands: Unraveling the City’s Maritime Past

Nestled on the scenic Canary Wharf, the Museum of London Docklands provides a captivating journey into the capital’s maritime heritage. Specifically designed to cater to all ages, this museum ensures that even the youngest visitors have an unforgettable experience.

  • Mudlarks Gallery: This interactive play area is a toddler’s paradise. Children can play with ship toys at the dock, explore the sailor themed soft play area, dress up as sailors, and enjoy the water play table. The gallery’s sensory elements allow toddlers to engage with London’s dockyard history in a hands-on and educational way. Book this 40 minute session in advance here (£2.50 per person including adults).
  • Sailortown: Step back in time as you and your little ones wander through the recreated Sailortown. This immersive space offers a glimpse into Victorian London, complete with narrow streets and atmospheric sounds. Toddlers will be fascinated by the sounds and sights of a bustling dockyard.
  • Children’s corner in galleries: Also you will find little corners in other galleries that are made for young visitors to experience the history of the city, including pretend canteens in the docks, wooden train tracks, and tool boxes.

2. National Maritime Museum: Discovering the Sea’s Secrets

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(Detailed video review of Ahoy! Gallery at the National Maritime Museum)

Situated in the historic Greenwich, the National Maritime Museum takes families on a captivating journey through Britain’s maritime history. It boasts an array of family-friendly activities and exhibits to keep toddlers entertained.

  • AHOY! Gallery: This interactive gallery is tailor-made for young adventurers. Toddlers can set sail in a miniature boat, dress up as a captain, and uncover hidden treasures. Exciting experiences include cooking & shop play, baby sensory station, boats in docks, stoking the boiler of a steamship, fish market play, and so on! This Gallery is the very reason why I chose the National Maritime Museum as the one of the best London Museums for kids! It is FREE on weekdays during term time and £3 on weekends and school holidays (one adult is included in the ticket).
  • All Hands Children’s Gallery: Though this gallery is aimed for older children (6-12s), there are things that toddlers will also enjoy. Loading cargo in the port (like driving a crane) is certainly something that your little one will enjoy. Also, preschoolers can also try playing a game where you can fire a cannon to defeat a pirate ship.
  • Trails and Guides: The museum offers various trails and guides for young visitors, making it easier for parents to engage their toddlers with age-appropriate content. These guides are designed to foster curiosity and keep little minds engaged throughout their visit.

3. Young Victoria and Albert Museum (Young V&A): Nurturing Young Creativity

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The Young V&A, which recently reopened after years of renovation, is the perfect place to introduce toddlers to the world of art, design, and creativity. While the V&A Museum itself houses an extensive collection, the Young V&A caters specifically to young visitors. It has three big galleries: Imagine, Play, and Design.

  • IMAGINE Gallery: The Gallery has a storytelling and performance stage, where in between the scheduled performances, children can be performers themselves by dressing up with prepared costumes and props! And it’s got beautiful doll’s house collections that even adults will admire!
  • PLAY Gallery: There is a Mini Museum in the Play Gallery, which is designed for babies and toddlers under 3. So from very young, little ones can explore the world of design and beauty and have diverse sensory experience! Though it is designed for Under 3’s, it is fascinating enough for big kids! (My 3.5 year old toddler had such fun, and we saw much older kids having a great time there!) Outside the Mini Museum, there are many sections where kids can explore, from pattern-making with sand, ball-run track, and construction play.
  • DESIGN Gallery: Designed for older kids and young people, but even toddlers and preschoolers had fun colouring and drawing on the design table!

Taking toddlers to museums in London is not just about keeping them entertained, but also about nurturing their curiosity and love for learning. These three museums go above and beyond in providing interactive and educational experiences for young children. So, the next time you plan a family outing in London, consider visiting the Museum of London Docklands, the National Maritime Museum, and the Young Victoria and Albert Museum for an enriching adventure that your toddlers will cherish for years to come. Happy exploring! Enjoy those best London museums for kids!

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