The festive season is upon us and with it comes the end of the school term. The kids will deserve a bit of a break and the chance to overindulge in the Christmas madness, but it won’t be long before the cries of “I’m bored” start rolling in. And while a museum might not be the first thing on their minds, we recommend a trip to the Midtown Museum Mile.
Museum Mile is a vibrant hub of 13 world-class museums in the heart of London, several of which call Midtown their home. From some of the world’s biggest museums to the smaller quirky offerings, this unique cultural neighbourhood is houses over a million objects under it’s collective rooves. If you’re in the market for a day of history, culture, science, art and much more, there’s no better place in London.
There’s a tonne of research which details the benefits of spending time at museums with children. Museums offer immersive learning experiences while provoking the imagination, offering insight into unknown worlds and create unique opportunities for quality time to hang out as a family. Tear ‘em away from the TV in favour of a day of learning. We can guarantee you won’t regret it.
The British Museum
The British Museum offers an extensive exploration of world history. The doors of this museum opened in 1759 and they’ve been curating an exquisite collection of wonders ever since. You’ll see early stone tools under the same roof as cutting-edge contemporary art and an extensive collection of artefacts from Ancient Egypt to Eastern Asia. If the kids are turning their noses up at the idea of trawling through “boring” history, they’ll soon be captivated by rooms 62 and 63 of the Roxie Walker galleries – home to the Egyptian mummies. Other highlights include “mechanical map of the heavens” the Sloane Astrolabe; the Rosetta Stone which has unlocked the key to decoding hieroglyphics and Hoa Hakananai’a – a Maoria statue from Easter Island. It’s free to enter the British Museum and they welcome all ‘studious and curious persons’.
The Cartoon Museum
The Cartoon Museum doesn’t hold as many artefacts that are as ancient as those in the British Museum, there’s still plenty to see. This quirky museum is dedicated to collecting, the best of British cartoon and comic art. With collections ranging from the 18th century to the present day, you’ll find cartoons, caricatures and pages of comic-strip art, including the work of fine Victorian cartoonists alongside the likes of Pont, Gerald Scarfe, Ronald Searle, Giles, Martin Rowson, Steve Bell and a host of favourites from newspapers and magazines. Until 24th December, you can catch the latest temporary exhibition – Daily Funnies: An Exhibition of Strip Cartoons. Entrance to the Cartoon Museum is £7 for adults, while kids under 18 go free.
Right on the periphery of Midtown, Sir John Soane’s Museum is located on Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Created in celebration of the distinguished architect’s life and works, the museum, which was Soane’s home, displays some of his finest work and the house itself remains almost entirely untouched since his death almost 180 years ago. Every Second Saturday (9th December this month!) is family drop-in at The Soane Museum, where families are invited to enjoy a free craft activity during the visit.
Beyond the Midtown border, you’ll find The British Library, The Charles Dickens Museum (currently decked out in Victorian style Christmas decorations), Wellcome Collection and London Transport Museum, to name just a few.