London’s hot to trot with great museums. But on the cool for both parents and kids front, the Museum of London spanks some serious bottom (or correct yansh, as we say back in the mother country).
It might strike you as odd that it’s the first time I’d visited the MoL given that I’m a Londoner, writing a blog about raising kids in London, carting the babes to spots known and obscure.
But when you grow up in a city so diverse it’s often easy to overlook what’s right under your nose.
We arrived at Museum of London in the belly of the beast known as half-term and I was sure we’d get swallowed up by the crowds. Luckily it was busy but not congested, with plenty of space for the boys to roam.
In the foyer, we took part in a fun paper aeroplane workshop and flight demo. Ezra flew his plane around the entire weekend.
We explored the exhibitions from the ground floor, checking out relics of prehistoric London and then London under Roman rule.
It’s amazing how much of this stuff they’ve been able to dig up to reimagine what your living room might have looked like if your name was Maximus Aurelius, for instance.
The boys were fascinated by the model reconstructions of the ancient city.
Aside from all the stuff behind ropes and glass, there were many opportunities for the babes to feel and examine up close.
At first, Ezra started trying to complete a museum trail (aimed at ages 3 and upwards), but he soon got diverted by touch-screen puzzles dotted around various galleries.
‘This is a really fun museum, Mummy’, became his refrain.
I didn’t think my companions would be into the Great Fire or the Plague, so we whizzed past this period.
We had a tea break in the rather funky cafe with typically over-priced fare (£1.50 for a glass of milk!). Then we headed into the Galleries of Modern London, just opened in 2010.
Highlights for the kids here included the Playtime Zone with old-school toys and games, and a London transport ramp with boats, buses, cars and an electric train that whizzed by at the push of a button.
I enjoyed checking out the retro cars, vintage fashion and visions of the future city.
In retrospect, we should have arrived earlier so we didn’t feel so rushed towards the end of our visit.
I felt there was loads more I’d have liked to have seen and I’ll be back to check out the London Street Photography exhibition (it had just opened and the queues were endless).
We loved the Museum of London and it made me feel proud to call London my home.
The Museum of London hosts regular weekend and holiday activities for families, including term-time play groups for under 5s. Check out their schedule.
Museum of London is at London Wall, EC2, nearest tubes Barbican/St Paul’s/Moorgate, open daily 10am-6pm, Free (closed Dec 24-26)