Family-friendly museums in London

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Independent charity Kids in Museums aims to remove the hassle and put the fun back into family museum visits. Time Out sent parents Matt and Claire on a whirlwind tour of museums that have already signed up to the Kids in Museums manifesto. Find out how family-friendly London's museums really are

  • Family-friendly museums in London

    The V&A's John Madejski Garden is an oasis for families


  • V&A | Royal Academy | Horniman Museum | V&A Museum of Childhood | Imperial War Museum | More family-friendly museums

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    The welcome
    Quite the coup – or coo in fact. Staff at the information desk smiled and fussed over the twins; a little thing but it made us feel welcome.
    The experience The disabled entrance, sandwiched between towering revolving doors, isn’t that obvious, but once we worked out how to get in, accessing the galleries was relatively easy. We headed straight for the new theatre and performance galleries, which have a fun dressing-up corner. Kids get backpacks with jigsaws and games during the holidays.
    The restaurant Choose between the light and airy new restaurant and the ornately tiled Victorian rooms next door. Food isn’t cheap – and kids’ meals are poor value at £4.95 for a ham or cheese sandwich on white bread, a piece of fruit and a drink. Go for a deli sandwich with salad (£6-£7) or a hot meal instead, or take your own kids’ lunch. There are jugs of tap water and plenty of high chairs.

    The loos Exemplary. Most have baby-changing facilities but the Sackler Centre on the ground floor is best – spacious and clean.
    The shop Frighteningly expensive ceramics and jewellery is kept behind glass and out of harm’s way. Kids might be more interested in the cute felt finger puppets (£5) or stylish Japanese paper balloons (£8). Older children may appreciate a fingerprinting kit (£8) or a badgemaking set (£5.99).
    Family-friendly verdict The galleries may be highbrow but the V&A is making a real effort to keep kids entertained, particularly with its activities programme. The grassy courtyard is a boon for parents.
    V&A, Cromwell Rd, SW7 2RL (7942 2000/www.vam.ac.uk). 10am-5.45pm daily (until 10pm Fri). Free entry to the main collection; temporary exhibitions are typically from £5-£11; free under-12s.

    V&A | Royal Academy | Horniman Museum | V&A Museum of Childhood | Imperial War Museum | More family-friendly museums

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Exemplary. Most have baby-changing facilities but the Sackler Centre on the ground floor is best – spacious and clean. Frighteningly expensive ceramics and jewellery is kept behind glass and out of harm’s way. Kids might be more interested in the cute felt finger puppets (£5) or stylish Japanese paper balloons (£8). Older children may appreciate a fingerprinting kit (£8) or a badgemaking set (£5.99). The galleries may be highbrow but the V&A is making a real effort to keep kids entertained, particularly with its activities programme. The grassy courtyard is a boon for parents.V&A | Royal Academy | Horniman Museum | V&A Museum of Childhood | Imperial War Museum | More family-friendly museums

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