With the summer holidays in full swing, keeping the kids busy, whilst on a budget, can be quite challenging. Museum entry is free and kids can get a day travelcard (covering London zones 1-6 and buses) from £2. It’s just the adult tickets that can be rather pricey. Driving into London probably will cost more (parking, emission charges and petrol) so the train and bus are no doubt cheaper. Taking the bus can also be an opportunity for sightseeing as all routes covered by the travelcard can be boarded at no extra expense.
The Natural History, Victoria & Albert and, Science Museums. These museums, particularly on a rainy day, can get exceptionally busy and queuing may be required for entry due to their popular appeal to tourists, locals and schools. To avoid queues, get there early! Quite often, the queue for the history museum can be seen to go down the road and round the corner.
All three are within 2 streets of each other, however, all three are too much to cram into a single day. Unless you’re planning on a whistle-stop visit. Each spread across multiple floors with exhibits that vary throughout the year.
For those on a budget, a day (or two) at the museums is perfect. Entry is by donation and, although cafes are on site, packed lunches can be taken. Some special exhibitions may require prior booking.
There’s something for everyone- science, history or art. If none of those take your fancy, there’s plenty of other museums dotted around the capital (for example, Museum of Fans).
Dippy the Diplodocus, the famous fake skeleton in the entrance hall of the Natural History museum has recently been replaced by Hope; a real blue whale skeleton. It’s hard not to marvel at the sheer size of it.
The Science museum frequently changes its featured exhibitions. Last year (perhaps it’s still there) Tim Peake’s return capsule was on display as part of an exhibition on space. Without giving too much away, the Science museum is endlessly fascinating with many interactive experiences; clever little interactive exhibits that are so interesting you don’t even realise you’re learning at the same time.
Named after Queen Victoria (who laid the foundation stone in 1899) and Prince Albert, the V&A museum is home to over 2 million various sculptures, art works, furniture and much more. The museum also has a nice courtyard containing a garden, cafe and seating. Of the 3 museums, the V&A probably isn’t the best choice if on a day out with kids; the history or science museums are more interactive and more interesting (historical figures they saw on Horrible Histories or Night at the Museum or, feeding their curiosity on how stuff works). However, it all depends on what the little one likes.
Maybe the day is sunnier than expected and museums no longer seem like the best way to spend a day. There are plenty of things to do and places to go surrounding the museums (brilliant transport links means distance is no restriction) if plans change.
So pack a lunch and a camera and get ready to learn, be intrigued and marvelled by these wonderful museums!