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British Museum

British Museum – Great Court British Museum – Great Court

The British Museum is a vast space – home to more than 13 million objects – where you can be sure of learning something new about world culture, however many times you visit (and you’ll need several visits to even start getting to grips with the museum). Even better, it’s free (although a few temporary exhibitions may charge an admission fee).

Best for: Families who enjoy exploring and being creative. It’s best for children aged about 4 and over.

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What to Expect:


  • Cafe/restaurant
  • Educational
  • Free to enter
  • Great for kids 4-12
  • Great for teens
  • Open year-round
  • Picnic areas
  • Public transport
  • Special events
 

What to do

Keep an eye out for major exhibitions, especially those that might tie in with the National Curriculum and your child’s learning – and that might even influence your holiday plans!

Make a beeline for the big-hitters – the Rosetta Stone (which helped decipher Eyptian hieroglyphics), the mummies, Lindow Man (a peat-preserved body), the Lewis Chessmen, and Koz the two-headed dog are some of the crowd-pleasers. Do call ahead if you’re coming to see something specific, as exhibits are sometimes removed for cleaning or lending, and try to arrive early to ogle the most popular objects – or wait until the last hour before closing, when the crowds will have thinned out.

See the museum’s website for a guide to family visits, including recommendations for amazing objects to look out for, free family events each weekend, handling sessions and even a free app you can download for the kids.

Borrow crayons, pencils and pads from the Paul Hamlyn Library within the museum, and encourage kids to get draw and write about what interests them. The Library also gives out free family trails, free themed activity packs and even a children’s hand-held multimedia guide (£3; available to book online in advance), and also has its own children’s library with books for all ages and regular storytelling sessions.

And if you are visiting with the younger guests, under 5 year olds are in for a treat. The free Little Feet sessions for exploring, making and playing, interactive trails and backpacks are a great way to keep the little ones amused.

Where to stay

See our destination guide to London for family-friendly accommodation recommendations and bookings. Note that the museum often offers hotel packages to run with its special exhibitions.

 

When

The museum is open daily between 10am and 5.30pm (until 8.30pm on Fridays) except 1st January, Good Friday (the Friday before Easter), and 24–26 December. The opening times of some galleries may change at short notice.

How

Tottenham Court Road, Holborn, Russell Square and Goodge Street Tube stations are within walking distance of the museum, and many bus routes serve the area. See the museum website’s journey planner.

Eat

The museum has two family-friendly cafés (with child-friendly food and highchairs) as well as the more formal Court Restaurant, which can also be fun, especially with older kids, as it sometimes offers special menus based on current exhibitions. The Gallery Cafe offers a free kids meal (for children under 12) with each adult meal purchased; ideal for saving pennies. And if you bring your own picnic, during school holidays and weekends the Ford Centre offers place to sit, relax and eat your packed lunch.

Cost

It’s free for everyone although a few temporary exhibitions may charge an admission fee.

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