The British Museum was the first national public museum in the world, founded in 1753.
It is one of the world’s most renowned cultural institutions and one of London’s busiest attractions. It’s free to access the main galleries, but events and exhibitions may be charging. There is something for everyone from babes in arms who like to stare at something incredible, to school age kids inspired to explore the Romans.
MUMMY’S GIN FUND SAYS:
Free access to amazing places like the British Museum is one of the best things about growing up in London. It’s one of those places that will live in memories and imaginations for years and has sparked countless childhood obsessions with hieroglyphics and treasure hoards.
It is huge and labyrinthine, so can be tiring and confusing, it’s really best not to try it all at once. The gallery information is often aimed at adults so it really is worth picking up family specific add-on interpretation. The website has maps, activity trails and events listings for the parent who likes to plan.
There are more facilities, support services and activities for families at weekends and in school holidays, but if you’re feeling independent you’ll find it quietest in January and February. The special exhibitions are free for kids but expensive for parents, but deals are available and you’re paying to support a fantastic place.
Address: The British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG.
Playground: No playground, the families desk in the Great Court loans a range of gallery activity backpacks suitable from toddler to 12 (free but a deposit is payable) at weekends and during school holidays. Activity trails (ages three to five and six plus) are downloadable from the Museum website in advance. There is also a family events programme listing on the website and it is especially worth checking out what’s on if you visit at the weekend.
Cafe: The Court Café and the Gallery Café do kids’ meals and have high chairs, the Gallery Café has a bigger range and a ‘kids eat free’ deal. Both are quite expensive even with the offer, but the profits do go back into the museum. The Ford Centre has a picnic area at weekends and during school holidays if you prefer to bring your own.
Toilets: There are toilets on every floor and they are regularly cleaned. Accessible toilets and baby change can be found in the Great Court and the Ford Centre for Young Visitors (weekends and school holidays)
Pram / wheelchair / mobility friendly: There are lifts at the main Great Russell Street entrance and level access at the Montague Place entrance. The majority of galleries and all special exhibitions are fully wheelchair/pram accessible. However, it’s a wonderful old building with a good few quirks so your route with a pram and buggy may not always be the most direct and lifts aren’t always easy to locate – pick up a free plan of the museum in the Great Court to help you. Fold up pushchairs can be left in the cloakroom for free if you’d rather roam.
Parking: There is no car park, only a few disabled parking spaces that have to be booked in advance. It’s notoriously difficult to park in Bloomsbury and the museum is in the Congestion Charge Zone.
Tube: Holborn, Tottenham Court Road, Russell Square and Goodge Street are all within one km.
Phone: +44 (0)20 7323 8299
Email: [email protected]
The museum holds a phenomenal collection of artefacts relating to world cultures and is particularly strong on classical antiquities and British archaeology. This includes loads of kids’ favourites like mummified cats and Chinese dragons. It is housed in one of the most iconic museum buildings in the world, from Sir Robert Smirke’s original 1823 quadrangle to the Foster and Partners Great Court opened in 2000. It was also the venue for Night At The Museum 3.
Review by Georgina Young.