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Laura Porter

V&A is Fantastically Family-Friendly

By May 29, 2012

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Who doesn't love taking the kids to the South Kensington museums and the younger ones usually beg to go to the "Dinosaur Museum" aka the Natural History Museum. I stopped visiting the NMH when my daughter started school as the queues at weekends just to get inside often means hours of waiting outside. But one rainy Sunday I decided to see just how bad it could be so we headed over to South Kensington after lunch. It was raining very hard and the queue we arrived to was already 2 hours long (there are markers and announcements to help you know how long you've got in line.) I decided nothing is worth 2 hours in the rain and the NHM is sadly a victim of its own success. Yes, they open a side entrance, and at times a third entrance, but the side had a wait of over an hour and the third entrance was shut. So it seems I'll never see the dinosaurs again.

But the good thing about South Kensington is that there are three major museums to choose from. We walked past the Science Museum, which is somewhere I've enjoyed on other days, but the volume was simply headache-inducing with all the excited youngsters so we went to the V&A.

I love the V&A so it's not that I think this is the worst choice in the area, it's just that I'd always thought of the V&A as more mature and less about the kids. But we went in and found the Sackler Centre desk and asked what they thought we should do in the museum. This is where I discovered how wrong I had been as we were offered a place in a Digital Kid's Workshop, a craft session or a Gallery Backpack to borrow and take to the galleries. And all of this was offered for free! I think if the people waiting in line outside the Natural History Museum with sad, wet children knew they could have walked straight into the V&A and be offered all of these activities they wouldn't have bothered joining the line in the first place.

We stayed for the rest of the day and tried all that was on offer. I went to galleries I never normally visit and discovered more about the exhibits by learning together with my daughter. Now she's asking when we can go back and I'm hoping it'll be very soon as I'd love to see the newly curated Fashion Galleries. Find out more about what's on offer for families at the V&A (official site) Image: © Laura Porter (Note: There is a fig leaf kept behind this replica David statue to cover his 'pride' during royal visits!) | London Travel Blog
May 29, 2012 at 3:37 pm
(1) Julia, KidsTravel2 says:

Love the science museum and Natural History Museum for kids and have visited V&A but never thought to do so with kids. Now I will…

May 30, 2012 at 9:23 am
(2) Laura @AboutLondon says:

Thanks for your comment Julia. I thought of the V&A in the same way so I’m glad I’ve found out how child-friendly it actually is. Has a calmer atmosphere too which is great for parents.

May 31, 2012 at 11:33 am
(3) Marion BE says:

The V&A is a real treasure trove, full of all sorts of delights!

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