Fun places to make learning part of a London holiday with kids

Last updated 1st March 2023

London holidays are great fun for kids, but with so many museums clamouring for attention it’s easy to sneak in some learning too. Best bit, almost all city museums are free! And ones that aren’t work really hard for their money. Take a look.


Blue Whale skeleton, Hinze Hall, Natural History Museum London

1.  Make the Natural History Museum part of your London holiday

From the second kids step into the Natural History Museum, and walk under the 25m long skeleton of an immense Blue Whale, they’re smitten. The scholarly history here is remarkable, of course. But from a child’s perspective, the museum’s a magnificent land of giants, legendary creatures and unbelievable tales.

Make the most of your visit, and instead of trying to see all 36 galleries, try a few self-guided tours. They’re designed with kids in mind and cover everything from Dinosaurs to a wander round the Hintze Gallery guided by David Attenborough. You’ll be able to see masses in just a few hours, with plenty of breathing room for awestruck staring. And once you’re done, treat yourself to a kid-friendly afternoon tea, another great city tradition.

Where: Cromwell Road, Kensington, SW7 5BD

When: Open seven days from 10am to 5.50pm (last entry 5.30pm)

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2. Put kid-friendly Tate Britain to the test

You can get inspired by Tate Britain even before you visit. Which is a great idea for families as the vast collection contains over 60,000 works of British art from 1545 to the present day. In fact it’s one of the finest galleries in the world, yet amazingly it’s free and very relaxed with young visitors.

Kids are encouraged to play games, get interactive, talk about what they like (or don’t like) and they’re invited to draw, doodle and dream around the galleries. If you’re looking for London days out during school holidays, try Story Space, it’s on at weekends during term time and every day of the school holidays.

Don’t believe a major art gallery can be this kid-friendly? Hear from the Tate itself, ‘Remember it’s ok to talk at Tate! It’s ok to make some noise!’ And if you want to run around after your visit, check out our six top London parks for that.

Where: Tate Britain, Millbank, Westminster, SW1P 4RG

When: Open seven days from 10am to 6pm.

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View of Tower of London and Traitors Gate

3.  Don’t miss the legendary Tower on your London holiday

Between Beefeaters, and fantastic beasts, flightless ravens, Crown Jewels and executioner’s tales, the Tower of London packs more drama per minute, than an entire season of Stranger Things. In fact it just misses being on our list of London’s most quirky museums but only because it’s not technically a museum.

Yeoman Warder Tours are included in the ticket price and, apart from the thrill of having a Beefeater guide, they’re a really fun way for kids to learn some history without even trying.

But this summer, don’t just take a tour, go on a family mission instead. The Gunpowder Plot is a thrilling new immersive experience which takes place in a purpose-designed venue in the Tower Vaults next to the Tower of London. Should you choose to accept, your mission is to go undercover and unmask the mysterious figures behind history’s most infamous plot.

Where: St. Katharine’s & Wapping, EC3N 4AB

When: Tuesday to Saturday 9am to 5.30pm, Sunday & Monday 10am to 5.30pm

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Kids getting interactive with London Fog at Tate Modern

4.  Tate Modern for kids workshops and weekend fun

Tate Modern is so welcoming it has ‘Open and Free For All’ printed permanently on its iconic building. Now one of the world’s best modern art galleries the focus on young visitors here is tremendous.

UNIQLO Tate Play is its incredible free programme of art, activities and play for kids of all ages. Parents can join in too and past workshops have covered everything from woodwork to making clothes out of cardboard. And it’s another member of the Tate family that encourages kids to talk and make noise.

Where: Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG

When: Open seven days from 10am to 6pm

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5. The Museum of London is the world’s biggest urban history museum

There’s no bigger museum of urban history on earth than The Museum of London. The city traces its origins back to 450,000BC, and every second is covered here, from Palaeolithic roots to today’s fantastic felines. In fact, the range of exhibits is so extensive, there’s now another enormous space at Museum of London Docklands.

But if kids want to find out about the Great Fire of London; what the Ancient Romans did and why; how local kids played before toys were a thing; and what everyone wore from bearskins to Fashion Week, the Museum of London is still the original, and best.

Where: 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN

When: Open seven days from 10am to 6pm

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