Are you looking for something to do in London that won’t cost a penny? Do you need somewhere to go on a rainy day in the UK’s capital city? The sprawling metropolis is fat with museums embracing a wide range of subjects and many have one thing in common – you can get in for free.
What’s more, these museums are extremely child-friendly, giving plenty of opportunity to touch as well as to look and providing structured activities such as themed trails.
The larger museums will often host a special display for the season and which they charge for, but access to the vast majority of the museum remains at no charge. Donations are encouraged and every visitor should be able to leave a few coins as token of their appreciation.
Here’s a list of the top museums you can get into for free and which should provide several days of entertainment and education:
The British Museum
Thousands of years of human history are squeezed into room after room at this world-famous institution. The dramatic hall of Egyptian sculpture is not to be missed, and because most children love the macabre they be pleased to meet the long-dead Egyptians ‘Bones’ and ‘Ginger’.
The Natural History Museum
the dinosaur exhibition is always popular, and there’s always a long queue so be prepared to wait. Children also enjoy the creepy-crawly display and gaze in awe at the life-sized blue whale hanging from the ceiling.
The Science Museum
technology is always popular with and this museum has plenty of buttons to push and screens to looks at, along with a huge range of machines, some very one. Stephenson’s ‘Rocket’, the first true railway locomotive, is found here. The basement contains enough hands-on activities to keep children busy all day.
Victoria Albert Museum
this huge building is a historical showcase of art and design from around the world. It might not be so appealing to children, but not everyone looking for an inexpensive day out will have little people to entertain. Save some for another visit – there’s just too much to take in on one day.
Museum of Childhood at Bethnal Green
An outpost of the V A; which focuses on children and will have plenty for them to do.
Museum of London
The story of the great city is laid out: prehistory, the Roman period, the squalid medieval city and the destructive Great Fire of 1666, the drama and poverty of the Victorians, the Second World War Blitz and more.
Bank of England Museum
Founded in 1694 the bank has played a key role in the world’s financial development. The museum accessed a wealth of historical material included the weapons once used by the armed guards.
British Dental Association Museum
This museum has limited opening hours of 1pm to 4pm on Tuesday and Thursday only. But it’s worth making an appointment!
Based in Forest Hill this museum began as a collection by a Victorian tea-trader but it hasn’t stopped there. It contains a wide range of material from across the world.