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Fun but obscure museums/galleries in London !

(27 Posts)
Takver Wed 15-Jul-09 21:52:09

DD & I are going to visit friends in London for a week in the summer holidays - was wondering if anyone had any good suggestions for fun places to visit that might be a bit less packed than the obvious Science museum/natural history museum etc. I'd thought of the Geological museum, but apparantly it has been taken over by the Natural history museum.

DD is 7 and interested in all sorts of things & likes outings generally - she'd probably enjoy pretty much anywhere especially if it had some kind of child friendly quiz/hunt or that sort of thing.

MrsBadger Wed 15-Jul-09 21:58:50

the Earth Galleries of the NH museum (as tehy now are) are still worth a visit

the Geffrye Museum

the Design Museum

you could spend years and years in the V&A - it's so big it never gets crowded all over (iyswim)

is there a Wellcome Trust thing? [rummages]
ah yes, here

IlanaK Wed 15-Jul-09 22:03:33

Grant Museum of Zoology
Petrie Museum (Egyption stuff)
Wallace Collection (good armoury)
Horniman Museum - amazing place, but a little outside the centre

Foundling Museum (Russel Square)

Takver Wed 15-Jul-09 22:05:10

Do you reckon the Earth Galleries would be as packed as the rest of the NH museum? When we've been in the summer holidays before its just been so full that its not really been fun. . . perhaps better for a half term?

I'd wondered about the Geffrye museum - and I take your point about the V&A . . .was thinking perhaps the same might be true of the British Museum as I think they have lots of children's trail thingys.

We are a bit rubbish about crowding as we come from a very, very small village in rural Wales and our local 'big town' has about 3000 inhabitants grin

squeaver Wed 15-Jul-09 22:06:20

Museum of Childhood

Kew Gardens do some good stuff

Apparently the Observatory in Greenwich is good now (tho probably busy)

Tate Modern also usually has stuff for kids during the holidays and the National Gallery.

Takver Wed 15-Jul-09 22:06:29

I think the Horniman has lots of insects??? That would definitely go down well...

Will write all these down so that we can have a list for future visits too!

christiana Wed 15-Jul-09 22:07:48

Message withdrawn

Takver Wed 15-Jul-09 22:08:44

Do you reckon the Museum of Childhood is good for a 7 yo? I had that one on my list, but MiL reckoned better for older children

IlanaK Wed 15-Jul-09 22:10:46

Do you want to stay central? If so, then here is my suggestion.

Go to the NHM, but avoid all the crowds in the museum itself and go down to a place called "Investigate" which is in the basement. It is designed for children and is a room full of specimens with table for the children to examine them - with microscopes, computers, rulers, paper for recording etc.

Then go to the Science Museum next door, but again avoid the crowds by heading to one of the lesser known galleries on the upper floors. Launch pad is excellent for children, but will be packed. See how you feel by then, if you can face the crowds. They do hourly science shows in the launchpad in a small theatre room which are worth seeing.

Then, go across the road to the VandA. I don't know this museum as well, but they have lots of art trolleys for kids in the various galleries.

This way, you can sample the three big museums but in a less stressed way.

Do google the Grant Museum of Zoology and the Pterie Museum. Buth right near each other, very central, very small and lesser known museums - but very good.

IlanaK Wed 15-Jul-09 22:11:50

The Horniman has a whole variety of things -including a good aquarium and a natural history section. It is well worth a visit but is out of central London.

Zinaide Wed 15-Jul-09 22:12:00

Museum of London in Docklands is in the heart of an interesting pedestrianised area with river frontage a few minutes away, and lots of space to run about in

Second recommendations for the lovely Geffrye and also the Foundling Museum, with Coram's Fields opposite

If you want a quiet spot in the Science Museum the maritime galleries are full of intricate scale models of boats and ships.

In fact all of it is fairly quiet except for the pit of Hades which is Launchpad hmm. Wallace and Gromit was not that busy because of the cost, and was lovely.

Mintyy Wed 15-Jul-09 22:12:22

Horniman is filled to the brim with stuffed dead animals, bones, skeletons, frogs, snakes, bees, and has a good if tiny aquarium with seahorses and jellyfish. It also has the most beautiful gardens, a small collection of outdoor animals (goats, rabbits, turkeys etc) an amazing musical instrument collection, art from Africa and the South Americas, fantastic views of London, a reasonable cafe - and it is FREE to get in. You need Forest Hill train station, only 15 mins from London Bridge or Charing Cross.

Zinaide Wed 15-Jul-09 22:13:12

Oh, and if she likes Things, like vases, and lamps, and furniture, the madness of the Sir John Soane Museum might appeal too

IlanaK Wed 15-Jul-09 22:13:24

Oh! ANd of course the Museum of London! Its central and an excellent museum. However, I know some of it was closed for a while due to major works - just check it is still open.

iheartdusty Wed 15-Jul-09 22:13:39

The Foundling Museum reduces me to tears, but it is very interesting.

Museum of London is very child friendly but I would guess it is busy.

Ragged School museum also very good.

couple of websites here and here

Mintyy Wed 15-Jul-09 22:13:51

On the East London side, you can't go wrong with the Geffrye Museum (Shoreditch/Dalston borders) and the Museum of Childhood (Bethnal Green).

IlanaK Wed 15-Jul-09 22:14:07

God I love London

Zinaide Wed 15-Jul-09 22:14:32

IMHO the Museum of Childhood is a glorious nostalgia-fest for parents and older kids. I am not sure a 7 year old would really appreciate it

Zinaide Wed 15-Jul-09 22:15:41

Lots of the Museum of London is closed for redevelopment. Such as the crowd-pleasing Great Fire of London gallery. It should re-open soon I think, but we found it so horribly crowded last holidays we left.

JumeirahJane Thu 16-Jul-09 06:32:29

The Horniman Museum in Forest Hill has wonderfully diverse exhibits and summer events programme. Perfect for a 7yo.

tattycoram Thu 16-Jul-09 06:55:28

The Museum of London in Docklands is good and is always empty. The V&A would be great though, the rooms all feel very different iyswim and they've opened up the central courtyard now to make a lovely garden. They've got fantastic clothes and jewellery to look at and lots of odd and quirky things. Good cafes too.

ConstantlyCooking Thu 16-Jul-09 07:56:52

The Wallace Collection is v central and has lots of events for children in the summer that are either free/cheap. You need to book in advance but these means they are not too busy. DS had a great time trying on armour there a few years ago.

Takver Thu 16-Jul-09 11:24:41

Fantastic, thanks everybody for suggestions. We have several friends in London, so we have lots of opportunities. I think we've done the quiet bits of the Science museum quite comprehensively . . . although we've never been able to face the hordes in Launchpad

I like the idea of the Investigate bit in the NHM, even if we don't get there this time. We spent about 6 hours last time we were in Oxford in the Natural History museum there and still didn't manage to see everything (btw if anyone is in Oxford I would thoroughly recommend it), so I know that would be a hit!

babybarrister Fri 24-Jul-09 16:06:05

Army Museum in Chelsea - fantastic interactive galleries for kids and soft play area - and all free!!!! [good coffee as well ....]

GrapefruitMoon Fri 31-Jul-09 09:00:35

It's not very central but the RAF museum in Hendon is good if she enjoyed the Science Museum. Obviously it's got lots of aircraft but also a good section a bit like Launchpad - reminded me of the olden days in the Science Museum! It's free and lots of parking available. Think you can get a tube too with a short walk to the museum.

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