The museum of London – brilliant discovery of my friend Mandy – is one of the most toddler-friendly museums in central London. It’s quite small, a bit hard to find and doesn’t make it on to the tourist must-see lists, so is wonderfully quiet. There are plenty of hands-on displays that toddlers can get involved in and play with, little doors to open and things to do.
They have children’s backpacks to borrow, stuffed full of goodies including a magnifying glass, torch, a puzzle and games involving things to find around the museum. Ask at the main desk and pay £5 deposit per bag. They will also check buggies into a secure storage room and bring them back for you when you’re finished.
Best bits: stirring pretend food over the fire in the Saxon hut, and playing with the mini trains, busses and tube trains in a street scene near the Victorian bit. They have even thoughtfully provided tables and chairs for grown ups here – perfect as you are likely to get stuck for a while.
Cost: free (Deposit for the backpack is returned when you give it back.)
Travel: Farringdon and Blackfriars tube stations both have step-free access and are 10 – 15 minutes walk away.
Where to eat: the cafe on the lower floor doesn’t do lunch food but is perfect for a break – plenty of space for little ones to run about or play with things from the backpack while you have a coffee. Food in the main museum cafe is nice but it’s a small space and is self-service so can be a bit stressful. There is a Pizza Express two minutes walk along London Wall, or a small park just below the museum or tables in the main lobby for picnics.
Note: the entrance from street level is via a lift at the north side of the Aldersgate Street roundabout. The museum doesn’t open till 10.30.