Young visitors at the Museum of London Docklands
© VisitBritain
Young visitors at the Museum of London Docklands

Museum of London & Museum of London Docklands

What better place is there to travel back half a million years, to a time when lions and hippos roamed Trafalgar Square, and to find out why people from all over the world came to settle in London. Displays are spread over two sites, the Museum of London in the City and its second venue close to Canary Wharf (where the emphasis is on London’s history as a port), both of which are now free to enter.

Best for: All ages (there are activities from ages 6 months and up)


Museum of London & Museum of London Docklands

What to expect

Public transport
Picnic areas
Open year-round

What to do

Make a beeline for the spectacular Galleries of Modern London, where 7000 objects and interactive displays trace the capital’s tumultuous history from the Great Fire of 1666. Highlights include the chance to step inside an original prison cell, stroll though a life-size reconstruction of a Victorian pleasure garden or street scene and play at being a child in the 1950s in one of the family areas.

Other big-hitters with children are the Animals of Prehistoric London gallery, the Roman London market model, and the War, Plague and Fire gallery. Learning about London in the Blitz or during the Great Fire of London gives kids a real sense of historical London.

At the Docklands site, don’t miss the Mudlarks children’s gallery with its themed soft-play area for under-5s, and Sailortown, an atmospheric re-creation of 19th-century riverside Wapping, complete with the authentic smells. Occasionally during the school holidays and on selected weekends, special events are put on for families, including sleepovers and hands-on activities. Check out the recommendations for the best things to do when visiting with kids.

See the museums’ excellent things to do and see page for suggestions for games and activities to help you make the most of your visit.

Try to time your visit with one of the lively program of free family events such as storytelling and creative workshops, for everyone from babies and up, on weekends and in school holidays. Note that some need booking in advance.

Under 5's are well catered for at Museum of London, with Explorer Bags, term-time activities and essentials such as baby changing facilities and easy access around the museum.


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Expanding City Gallery, Museum of London©VisitBritain / Pawel Libera

Expanding City Gallery, Museum of London

Where to stay

See our London destination guide for full details on family-friendly hotels and other places to stay in the capital.


Both museums are open daily 10am–6pm (closed 24-26 December each year)

Booth Map Room, Museum of London©VisitBritain / Pawel Libera

Booth Map Room, Museum of London

Museum of London Docklands London, Sugar and Slavery entrance©VisitBritain

Museum of London Docklands London, Sugar and Slavery entrance


The main site has a foyer café serving light snacks and drinks plus you can eat in or takeaway (highchairs are available). In addition there is a family-friendly restaurant, a second café in the Museum of Modern London galleries plus a lunch space where you can sit with your own food.

The Docklands site has a cafe where you can refuel with a selection of snacks and light meals, plus a selection for kids where you can choose 4 items for a set fee. Also with the museum is a trendy restaurant/bar, Rum & Sugar, serving up hearty meals with a kids menu too.

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Free to enter, at both museums.