WhatMuseums & Galleries
Warehouse, West India Quay, Hertsmere Road, E14 4AL
Opening hours: 10am–6pm daily
A trip to the Museum of London’s docklands outpost should really be done by water. While the Musuem of London in the City tells the story of London since Roman times, its docklands sibling is all about the river. Take the river boat from Embankment Pier to Canary Wharf, the museum is a short walk from the pier and its building, a listed 19th century sugar warehouse is an exhibit in itself.
The early galleries are on the top floor and show the importance of the river in the early development of London. It really comes into its own however, with the growth of the Empire and the burgeoning trade in sugar, rum and, crucially, humans. There is a whole gallery given over to slavery and our shameful role in it. Some of the stories are not for younger children, but there is a good balance between setting the historical framework, documentary evidence and personal history – some incredibly moving.
On the second floor the 19th century heyday of the docks comes brilliantly to life with Sailortown, a faithful recreation of the dark alleyways, pubs, chandlers, merchant houses. There is even an authentic smell of urine and barrels full of oyster shells – the alkaline in the shells apparently neutralised the acid of the urine so they served as early public urinals. There are lots of hands-on exhibits and we liked the boxes of spices that you have to identify by smell. Cloves were easy, but pepper had our junior noses stumped. There are excellent free talks that run throughout the day. We caught one about different types of sailors’ drinking vessels. Sitting in a recreated pub listening to stories of press gangs, recruiting officers and taking the King’s shilling, the children were rapt.
Full of stories of rum and trading and Empire, we whizzed through the War years and the post-war regeneration programme. Leave time for the superb Mudlarks interactive gallery for under 12s on the ground floor. You have to book tickets in advance and are given a timed slot. From lifting sacks to weighing goods, sailors’ knots to diving gear, they had so much fun playing on the various games, they didn’t even realise they were learning.
The museum's aptly named cafe, Rum & Sugar, has a nice setting. As we caught our river boat back West, full of beer battered cod, chips and mushy peas, the children had a real sense of how the river fits into their city.
Fab regular and holiday workshops.
Opening hours: 10am–6pm daily
Warehouse, West India Quay, Hertsmere Road, E14 4AL
0870 444 3855
Tucked down a side street by the British museum, this is a hidden gem.
Visit the Georgian terraced house that was home to Charles Dickens from 1837-1839
Discover the original Cabinet War Rooms, the wartime bunker that sheltered Churchill and his government during the Blitz.
Family fun aboard this world famous tea clipper
The Design Museum has moved to Kensington. We are mad for it!
Gorgeous gardens and stunning paintings in leafy Dulwich
A lovely small museum that runs a rolling program of fashion, textiles and jewellery exhibitions.
Explore the history of this legendary nurse
Explore the history of the UK's first children's charity.
One of London's best small museums with its own Tudor knot garden.
Lifestyle museum depicting the changing style of English domestic interiors from 1600 to present day.
Explore the house where Handel composed some of his greatest music.
Funky 1960's art gallery in the Southbank Centre
Museum and gardens exploring world cultures, natural history and music.
A behind-the-scenes look at the regiment's ceremonial duties.
The history of modern conflict is powerfully displayed
Explore British Jewish heritage, identity and culture
Mr Bond, I presume?
Try on fire-fighter uniforms and learn about the museum's collection of engines
Marvel at the huge steam engines. Have fun in the outdoor Splash Zone
Trams, buses, the underground - travel round the capital
Shining a light on the stars of British comedy.
A must-see history lesson for all mini Londoners. And their parents.
The National Army Museum in Chelsea is open again. And it is fantastic!
London landmark - home to one of the greatest collections of paintings in the world
The UK's largest marine aquarium in Plymouth, Devon
The world's largest maritime museum, filled with stories of exploration at sea.
Toy heaven in Bethnal Green
Thousands of familiar faces from the pages of history books and today's news
Be amazed by architecture!
The Old Truman Brewery is one of East London's revolutionary arts and media quarters.
Beautiful Tudor hunting lodge and medieval royal forest.
Charming public art gallery within Buckingham Palace
The story of the Royal Air Force through its people and collections
Feeling inspired? Discover a history of rowing on the river Thames with a delightful Wind in the Willows gallery.
Stand on the Greenwich Meridian and touch a 4.5 billion year-old asteroid
Contemporary art gallery brilliantly set up for families.
Fab contemporary art at two locations in Kensington Gardens
Visit the charming and beautifully preserved home of the splendid architect Sir John Soane
Arts and cultural centre with 55 dancing fountains & a magical ice rink.
World-famous arts centre on the South Bank of the Thames
Nathan Sawaya is BRILLIANT once again. Book now for DC Super Heroes.
All things chocolate at this quirky museum
Commercial gallery specialising in illustration
Brave it if you dare!
The spectacular new London museum opens Spring 2017
Interactive and engaging: this is one of London's top museums.
Visit the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design
Stunning house with exceptional collection of 18th century paintings, furniture and objets d'art
Family fun at Wandsworth Museum
The perfect museum for the incurably curious!
Lovely gallery in the heart of Whitechappel
Spring is here and the butterflies have arrived at the Natural History Museum!
Read our a&u review. Great for kids this winter.
Be wowed by the all-new Hintze Hall at the Natural History Museum
Discover stories from South Asia in this fun and creative workshop with Sita Thomas. 28 July, British Library.
Make illustrated ‘story starters’ that you can use to create exciting adventures. 20th August, British Library.
Experience the beautiful and sublime work of one of Japan’s greatest artists. British Museum.
Our two junior reviewers give a thumbs up to a fab new family audio guide.
The increasingly popular BP Portrait Award returns for a 38th year at the National Portrait Gallery.
Peer into Matisse's personal collection. Opens 5 Aug, The Royal Academy of Arts.
This year's Summer Exhibition packs a punch.
Those with children under 7 should try the new All Aboard play zone with ride-on fleet of mini vehicles
Grab some activities and get exploring!
Striking collection of artwork focusing on the relationship artists have with London.
Climb into Moominland at the Royal Festival Hall. Extended to 20 August. We loved it!
Discover 8,000 years of hidden human history unearthed by Crossrail.
May the force be with you!
A theatrical live walkthrough experience from Madame Tussauds.
Delight in over 80 glorious watercolours. Dulwich Picture Gallery.
Wonderful farmers market open every Saturday morning 9.30am–1.30pm.
Discover the mechanisms that give animals their amazing abilities at the Horniman.
Discover how ordinary Londoners faced the challenges of life at home during WWII
Photographs, diaries, toys and film tell the stories of the people who lived through the Holocaust.
Discover the story of the First World War.
Many previously classified objects are on public display for the first time.
Exploring the concept of bravery and what motivates people to undertake acts of heroism
Major retrospective of Kennard's work at the glorious IWM
From conscientious objectors to peace camps, discover the passion of anti-war protesters.
Uncover the mystery of Franklin's lost crew. Opens 14 July, National Maritime Museum.
Feel just how small we are at the National Maritime Museum's starry annual competition. Free.
Experience Tate through sound-scapes!
Kids will love her dazzling kaleisdoscopic colourful paintings. Opens 13 June, Tate Modern.
The new Switch House gets five stars
Children will love the distinctive elongated figures in this major Giacometti show
Cutting edge Californian design at it's very best! Kids will love the dinky Waymo self-drive car and cool Snapchat sunglasses
Fantastic small show at the Design Museum exploring light, colour and form.
A multi-sensory show with a fully functioning perfume laboratory. Opens 21 June, Somerset House.
Children's works are showcased this summer at The National Gallery.
Can you control your cravings!
Experience the power of the Typhoon jet!
The NEW Wonderlab gallery at the Science Museum is BRILLIANT
Fantastic Robots opens at the science museum. Humanoid and animatronic robots like you have never seen before. GO!
Learn why maths plays such an important role in all our lives. Science Museum.
Get inspired by Renaissance and Baroque art and paint with Debra Luker on 1st August.
Mini fashionistas head to the V&A to marvel at Balenciaga, and try a spot of dressing up!
Kimono's, samurai swords and a python handbag!
Flying pigs, psychedelic lights and experimental sounds: why Pink Floyd at the V&A will wow your kids
Charming interactive exhibition celebrating the life of this mischievous bunny. Opens 24 June, River and Rowing Museum.
Over 100 artworks showing the impact of the Internet on artists.
Wonderful museums outside of London.
All sorts of art for all the family.
Family-friendly exhibitions to see this summer
Celebrate the life and writing of this adored storyteller. Opens 22 July, National Museum of Childhood.
Delve into the past and discover stories of East Londoners and the homes they lived in.
An exhibition of Quentin Blake’s expressive drawings at the House of Illustration.
Clamber aboard the Once-ler Wagon, play music with the Boom Band, dress up as Thing 1 at Discover Story Centre.
Spectacular Venetian art at the Queen's Gallery.
A colourful breath of fresh air at the Serpentine Gallery
Follow the buzzyhum to the Roald Dahl Museum this summer. Click inside to see the programme!
From Roman gold bars to todays's economy, explore the history of the bank
Explore the bank’s literary connections over the last three centuries. Opens 19 July.
Full of beautiful books and treasures including Caxton's Chaucer and the Magna Carta.
Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition at The British Library in association with Bloomsbury. 20 Oct 2017–28 Feb 2018.