Entertaining children on holiday doesn’t have to include the usual moans of boredom and endless begging for treats. Museums are no longer tedious, dusty halls full of displays we can’t touch or interact with. Most UK museums now work really hard to try to encourage children to learn and have fun whilst interacting with the exhibitions. Many have also signed up to the Kids in Museums Manifesto 2012, which encourages museums to be more appealing to children.
Museums are also becoming more child-friendly by accommodating parents with facilities such as baby change areas, lifts for buggies, highchairs and child approved menus. Here’s a look at five of the very best child-friendly UK museums.
National Railway Museum, York
We all know a little boy or girl who is totally obsessed with trains and this museum will not disappoint them. As well as a fascinating display of trains and railway history for adults, kids will be entertained by the storytellers and simulator machines. If kids need to let off some steam the museum also provides an outdoor, train themed play area. The museum is located centrally and is therefore close to many of the York hotels available in the city. Entry is free as this is one of the UK’s National Museums
Beningbrough Hall and Gardens, York
Another great York museum for kids, Beningbrough Hall may at first appear to be just another National Trust Hall and Gardens, but it offers much more than this. A wilderness area, a fort to explore and plenty of baby friendly facilities are all packed into Beningbrough Hall. They also run a number of art workshops for kids and families.
Seven Stories, Newcastle
Nominated for the 2011 Kids in Museums award, this museum is the place to go for little bookworms. It may also ignite a passion for reading, which is yet to be discovered. The museum pays homage to children’s literature and focuses on contemporary books as well as older ones. The museum has many temporary exhibitions often featuring well-known authors such as Julia Donaldson and Anthony Browne.
The National Space Centre, Leicester
A great one for the older kids, especially those with a wonder for all things related to outer space. This museum houses a range of interactive displays that include the history of the universe and space exploration. If you are visiting with a large group you may also be able to book one of the simulated space missions. There is also a 360-degree planetarium. They provide many baby friendly facilities, such as food warming and highchairs.
Science Museum, London
The Science Museum is one of the most famous UK museums and with good reason. Children are encouraged to get involved with experiments and there is a large space for children to be let loose with the hands on displays. The Science Museum also boasts its very own IMAX cinema, which is an unforgettable experience for children. As one of the UK’s National Museums, entry is free.